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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  Christine Holgate March 2006


Dear Richard

I have a piece of writing by one of my ancestors Polly Crowther, it  is a scrap of paper on which Polly has written several nursery rhymes, and the addresses of friends and relations. At one point on the paper she writes "Composition by Miss P. Crowther, Higham, Barnsley" (the Crowthers lived at Higham Farm), She has also written her address as Miss Crowther, T (or J) Dymond Esq., Burntwood Hall, Brierley, Barnsley . Do you have any more information about the servants living at Burntwood Hall?

Kind regards,

Christine Holgate


Reply from Richard

Dear Christine

I have checked the 1901 census and found these three people called Polly Crowther, Polly C.  aged 9 born in Glamorgan Cardiff living at Canton , Polly C. aged 20 born in Bradford living in Bradford, Polly C. aged 44 born in Halifax living in Halifax .


The 1881 census has this for Burntwood Hall.

Thomas Dymond aged 48 born in Brierley Coal Owner (he

died in 1900.) Anne Dymond 44 born in Thurlstone,

Catherine 5  daughter, Frances  3 Niece.


John Richard aged 30 born  in Clipstone, Butler      

Herbert  Terry 14 Beaghall, York , Page

Elizabeth Goodhind 26 Doncaster           Nurse

Mary Cattes 36 Belfast           Cook

Anne Cooper 16 Clayton In The Clay, kitchen maid        

Isabel Hope 32  Salford, Lancashire Housemaid

Amanda Rowbottom  17 Markfield, Leicester         Under Housemaid

And this for Elms Farm Brierley

James Dymond aged 46 born in Brierley        Coal Owner

Mary Dymond  24 born in Ware, Hertford    

Frances 3 Brierley, Ethel 2 Brierley, Frank 7 months Brierley


Edith Barrow aged 25 born in Epworth Cook

Selina Pettrie 22 Edinboro , Scotland Housemaid

Edith Cowwell 5          Hull Nurse

Annis S. Porteous15 Dewhurst Kent


It is probably T. Dymond on the letter you have, he owned Burntwood from about 1868 and died in 1900.

As I have not studied the later history of the Dymond family I am not sure which member of the family followed Anne Dymond at the hall. As you will see the servants came from quite a range of places. Barnsley Archives at the Central Library have the 1871 and 1891 census which may be useful to you.




Your interesting enquiry has led me to do some more checking, is this your family please?

1881 census Higham  
William Crowther widower aged 83.    Handicap: Blind

                   Farmer Of 120 Acres

Joe     38  Crowther born in Barugh Famers Son

Mary            36 Crowther born in Richmond daughter     (in law?)   

Jane   11 born in          Higham granddaughter    Scholar

Mary    8 born in          Higham granddaughter       Scholar

Timothy 6 born in         Higham grandson                 Scholar      

William 3 born in          Higham grandson

Emily    1 born in  Higham granddaughter

John Smith 19 born in Higham Farm Servant (Indoor)

George Hirst 55  born in Higham Farm Servant (Indoor)         

Ann Hinchliffe 46 born in  Higham Farm Servant (Indoor)

There is also an entry in the Kelly’s West Riding Directory for 1893; Joe Crowther farmer at Higham.

As Polly can be a nickname for Mary I take Mary aged 8 to be your Polly Crowther. If so she was of the right age to have visited Burntwood as a friend of Catherine Dymond at the time Beatrice Tomasson was governess at the hall c1890-1901. Please see my web page Beatrice Tomasson & Dymond Family on my Brierley Yorkshire England web site at http://www.brierley59.freeserve.co.uk/




Dear Richard,

Many thanks for all your kind help. I have only just looked at my emails - Jane Crowther was my Great Grandmother, and I already had the census details for 1881, but did not realise that Polly was a nickname for Mary - this has solved the mystery of who Polly was in the piece of writing that I have from my grandmother. I also did not know that William had the handicap "blind" on the census - my grandmother used to say that Willie was blinded by the tail of a horse lashing at him - the family bred horses. I will pursue this further in Barnsley Archives. Thank you very much.

Kind regards,



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