Welcome to the Brierley Village Web site

Pronounced as "bry"-"early"

Introducing the work of Brierley and its people in photographs (Baipip)

Brierley is a small village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire England

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From Brierley and the surrounding area


It's a ghostly village

Daily newspaper 23 December 1902


Old newspaper cuttings index page


Also see Local news stories index




   Mr W Brady and several other magistrates sitting at the Barnsley West Riding police court yesterday, heard some singular statements in connection with a charge against four miners, James Turner, John Scott, Benjamine Thompson and Jas McQueen of Grimethorpe were brought up, charged with having been on the enclosed premises of James Laybourne, a farmer, of Brierley, on Sunday night, for a felonious purpose.

Superintendent Quest said the facts were very peculiar. During last week a rumour got abroad that Violet Farm, where prosecutor lived, was haunted, and as a result numbers of people had flocked to the place, and considerable damage had been done by people anxious to see the ghost. Mr Laybourne, having been annoyed, complained to the police, and about ten o'clock on Sunday night two officers were on the spot. They kept watch and saw two of the prisoners enter the house through a window that had been broken, they were secured, and the other two were seen in the kitchen finishing of the remains of Mr Laybourne's supper. The prisoners were worse for drink.

In answer to the chairman, who asked the men to explain their singular conduct, Scott said they only went to the farm to see the ghost, and he added "I don't believe in ghosts, and I went to stay until twelve o'clock to see it, but instead of a ghost it was a constable who came" (laughter). The chairman said the least they could have done was to have asked permission to gratify their curiosity. They would be fined 40s each and costs.


Violet Farm House 1906

William and Catherine Fox tenanted the farm at this time. At the window you can see their three daughters Emily, Ida and Mabel. I remember as a young lad in the 1960s visiting the farm and buying apples for 10 a penny from one of the girls who by this time was quite elderly. The farm labourer is unknown. The family are buried in the cemetery at St Paul's church.


Violet Farm House 2003

Violet Farmhouse with the building of the new housing estate taking place on the site of the former Brierley Colliery and more recently the Amco offices.

Mr Laybourne was seen after the proceedings by our correspondent, who says he evidently believes the story that the house is visited in a mysterious manner, he declares that some time ago the wash tub in the wash house was turned on its side. The clothes were put back again, and some time afterwards although the place was locked up, the tub was found once again turned upside down with the clothes in it. He says all sorts of household articles have been transferred from one room to another, pieces of light furniture in the room have been "flashed" from one side to another, and a three-legged stool has been known to dance around the kitchen. Since Thursday last the mysterious happenings have been less demonstrative. A local head of spiritualists have volunteered to pay him a visit to try to elucidate the strange occurrences. Cushions had leaped into the fireplace with such a "suddenness", Mr Laybourne said "that you could hardly see them go". Actually small articles had travelled up the stairs, as though directed by some magic wand, and such articles were strewn all over the place. Asked if the inmates were disturbed during the night, Mr L Laybourne said the disturbances chiefly occurred in the forenoon's, and were confined to the kitchen, though in the rooms above there had been heard mysterious sounds. Mrs Laybourne and the members of the family have left the house, but Mr Laybourne and his farmer friend are still living there.

(40s was 40 shillings, which is 2. Quite an amount in those days).

Violet Farm is situated at the top of Brierley Hill behind what was once the colliery. Its view over Brierley Common and Ringstone Hill is a sight of natural beauty. As we have already read, one of the previous tenants was Mr Laybourne and there was also a Mr Dunhill.

In 1906, William and Catherine Fox tenanted the farm from George Saville Foljambe Esq. Notts. The tenancy began in February with the rent as follows;

GROSS 97.06s.00d (97.30p)

ARABLE 46.05s. 04d (46.27 approx.)

TOTAL 143.11s. 04d. (143.57p approx.).

In the 1960s the farm was tenanted by Tom Ward whose daughter Pat, provided all the animals for the first and second series of All creatures great and small, and also animals for the TV series Last of the Summer wine, also for Nanny, Boon, Goodbye Mr Chips and many more TV programmes. In December 1999 she lived in Creswell, Derbyshire.

The farm employed many local residents over the years, and in the Baipip archives you will find photographs of, Clem Pickering, Arthur Thorpe, Reg Sheridan, William Fox jnr. who was the son of William and Catherine Fox, Molly Weaver (later Mrs Swinbank and who probably served you with petrol from the old filling station which was situated next door at Orchard House), Billy Richard's and John Naycock as a young boy.


Old newspaper cuttings index page


Also see Local news stories index