Welcome to the Brierley Village Web site

Pronounced as "bry"-"early"

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Brierley is a small village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire England

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Email your history questions about Brierley and the surrounding area to

Richard Watson a local historian and co author of "Brereley a history of Brierley" 


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Question from Sandy Wade-Gery who lives in Bedford February 2006   


   My mothers father (John Dymond) my Grandfather lived at Burntwood Hall.

I popped in there on the way home to Bedford the other day to see the place after an absence of 50 years! The Manageress Ms Angie King asked me to help with some local history as she loves working there and wants some info about the place. It was quite moving for me as I had many boyhood memories and of course remembered the famous authentic secret passage! Naturally it has changed and no longer looks so grand as I remember but at least somebody has found a use for it. The inside main Staircase and Library and Atrium room, Drawing room ceiling still look fantastic. I understand a TV company want to use it for their show background. My ancestors I believe ran a mine and there was a terrible accident where Dymonds hair went grey after days under ground trying to help/save his men.

My Mum is still alive (95) and is bright as a button!

If you (or anyone) can help with some history especially some of the old characters that would be so good?


Sandy Wade-Gery Bedford


Reply from Richard

Dear Sandy

Your contact has prompted me to revise the Dymond family notes in my on line booklet 'Brereley a History of Brierley' which can be seen at http://www.brierleyyorkshireengland.net This is a copy of the revised notes. I would welcome your comments

"Another early family was the Dymond family as can be seen from the Manor records and the rental lists. James ‘Dimond’ paid a ‘Freerent’ (Freehold?) of 1s 8d for property in Brierley plus 4d for land called Mortenland in a 1662 rental. This same James is listed as living in Brierley on the 1665 Court Baron records. Also in 1665, Thomas? Dymond a freeholder of Brierley was summoned to attend at Ringstone Hill with the militia, to prepare for the Dutch Invasion, Widow Dymond paid £10-15-00 rent to Brierley Manor in 1701. Joseph Dymond was born on 5th December 1746. He was an astronomer and mathematician. He accompanied the Prince of Wales on a trip to Hudson Bay in 1766 and died at Blyth on 10th December. 1796. 

     James 'Dimond' is named as a Brierley farmer aged 22 on the Staincross Militia List dated 1806. In 1813 The Wesleyan Methodists bought £5, a plot of land in South Croft from Mrs. Dymond. On the tithe award survey of 1840 John Dymond occupied a farm on the north of  what is now Church Street Brierley where he lived with his wife Mary three children and two servants. This was owned by the Manor. John Dymond also owned a farm of 33 acres further west on the same street.

     By 1861 the family had moved to what is now Elms Farm on Common Road Brierley. Here Mary Dymond aged 54 lived with her son Thomas who was a land surveyor, James who worked the 102 acre farm, and her daughter Elizabeth. The family built a row of cottages opposite this farm. By 1881 Mary Dymond was living on Church Street. James Dymond now aged 46 and a Coal owner was living with his wife Mary and three children at Elms Farm. Thomas Dymond aged 48 also a Coal Owner was living at Burntwood Hall with his wife Anne (nee Tomasson), and two children.

     Thomas Dymond was born in 1833 and lived to be sixty-seven years old. He was the manager of the Barnsley Main Colliery Company. He was married twice and his first wife. Elizabeth died in 1866 at the age of only twenty-eight. His second wife named Anne outlived him dying in 1923. Thomas Dymond bought Burntwood Hall about 1868 and it then stayed with the Dymond family for almost a century. Burntwood has always been part of Great Houghton but Thomas, being a Brierley man, had close connections with the village. He was church warden for Felkirk and in 1876 gave three bells to Felkirk Church when the tower was restored. Anne Dymond who was born at Penistone, was the aunt of Beatrice Tomasson. Beatrice was born at Barnby Moor Nottinghamshire and lived for many years in Gortnamona House Clontuskert Ireland, she came to live at Burntwood Hall as governess to Anne's daughter Catherine. She later became known as leading lady a mountaineer.

     On the death of Roger Dymond in 1960, the Dymond estate was sold off. Burnt Wood Hall is now the property of Mr. Douglas Ross-Gardner, the son of a well remembered local doctor. Howell Wood is now the property of the new West Yorkshire County Council.


Extra note

     There is a family tradition that Thomas Dymond owned a colliery where there was a disaster that deeply upset him and that his hair went grey overnight. He is known to have been Managing Director of Barnsley Main Colliery. Oaks Colliery was on the site of the later Barnsley Main. There was a disaster at Oaks Colliery that claimed several hundred lives on the 12th. -13th. December 1866. This made national headlines at the time. It does seem possible that Thomas Dymond could have been Managing Director 1866; it is the year his first wife died. There is a memorial to the disaster at the top of a hill on Doncaster Road Barnsley."


Reply from Sandy

Dear Richard,

Thanks for this ....most impressed.

My knowledge is a bit hazy and I will print this out and show my Mother Mrs Margaret Francis Wade-Gery (nee Dymond) who lived there with her father Robert Dymond.

   I have difficulty remembering my own fathers’ family history which has been centred here at Bushmead Priory since the 15thC

The sunken garden she tells me the family called the Fairy garden and her father kept Bees there. The locals were frightened to visit because of a particularly vicious stinging Italian Queen Bee.

The secret underground passage used to partly fill with water and then freeze in winter making it difficult to walk through. During the war one of the workers used to hide there with his family when the air raid sirens sounded. (this amused the family as they considered the Germans hardly likely to bomb a remote part of Yorkshire. She also remembered they made their own gas in a plant situated on the right hand side of the driveway. The main garden stone wall needed constant annual maintenance because of the soft stone!

Her father John Dymond created a written work called Dymond on Death Duties which is known by all Legal firms who have an updated copy in their libraries....his eyesight suffered during this work and she helped him to finish it.

 They used 5 watt bulbs in the hallway which seems incredibly poor lighting

   The Forester known as Heaton worked across the Estate and the Woodlands, Ice House and Lakes....he sadly committed suicide after the Dymonds left and somehow tied his feet together so this would facilitate his removal from the Lake!

Lots of snippets some rather morose but nevertheless interesting!




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