HIGHWAYMAN WHO HAD CLOSE ASSOCIATIONS WITH BRIERLEY
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to use it for research purposes as some of the information is inaccurate.
is situated six miles from Barnsley along Pontefract Road. The village
stands on a hill, and the spire of the 70-years-old church forms a
landmark within a considerable radius.
village as expanded considerably during recent years, and redbrick
Council houses now stand where corn once grew, whilst some of the older
buildings have entirely disappeared.
one public house, the Three Horse Shoes, is amongst the oldest buildings
in the village, and popular legend tells us that it did on one occasion
in its history, shelter the famous Dick Turpin.
the opposite side to the Three Horse Shoes, a small triangle patch of
grass is all that remains of the site where, at the beginning of the
century, the shop of the village blacksmith stood. The last blacksmith,
Mr Charles Hanson, took over the shop on the death of his brother George
in 1912. It was the last of the three blacksmiths' shops, the other two
being at Shafton and South Hiendley, to fall a victim to the march of
time. It was pulled down to make room for the widening of the road at
the Three Horse Shoes Corner nearly twenty years ago. The old gentlemen
protested vigorously, and appealed against the insufficient compensation
paid him, and finally obtained permission to re-build the shop a little
further back in the orchard behind. Unfortunately, Mr Hanson died before
this could be accomplished and about three years after his original shop
had been taken down.
we turn the double bend by the Co-operative, we find that for the rest
of Church Street, the divisions between ancient and modern becomes more
marked. Excepting the school, half of which is modern, two houses of red
brick, and the church that is comparatively modern, all the buildings on
the right hand side of the road are all modern except for one.
building now used as a Methodist Church has perhaps the most unique
history of any place of worship in the district. It began its life an
indefinite number of years ago as a mistle and housed the cows of nearby
Hall Farm. Later it had other portions built onto it and became the
Working Men's Club. When Methodist Union took place about twenty years
ago, the two branches of Methodism in the village, both worshipping in
tumbledown buildings bought the place and joined forces. The buildings
they vacated are now used as the Women's Social Services Club and a
greengrocery storehouse respectively.
in common with most small villages has its reputedly haunted house. This
is Lindley House, which stands at the junction between Church Street and
Common road. This house, which has the appearance of a grim fortress
from the Common road angle, but is surprisingly lovely when viewed from
its own front garden, is said to be haunted by a ghost wearing the
livery of a footman. A somewhat humorous story is told of a housemaid,
who, on the first, and indeed, the only night she spent in the house,
rushed from her bedroom crying that she had seen the Devil, whom she
asserted was exactly like her mother. She left the following day.
village is not dependent on Dick Turpin's brief visit for its
association with the highwayman. It has in fact its own highwayman. One
John Nevison, who lived and hid his treasures in the Old Adam Oak on
Ringstone-Hill. This tree, which was hollow, was said to be 27 feet in
girth at a distance of one yard from the ground, and was no doubt quite
equal to a highwayman's needs.
who had a quite attractive Robin Hood kind of reputation, was once
captured and sentenced to death, but reprieved on condition he joined
the army. He did so, but apparently, army life did meet with his
approval, for he soon deserted and returned to his trade.
is on record that an innkeeper, Adam Hawkesworth, of Ringstone-Hill, had
his sign taken down in 1676 as a punishment for giving shelter to
Nevison. The highwayman was eventually captured and paid the fixed
penalty a few years later. Oak tree and Inn have both passed on and
Ringstone-hill, about 15 minutes walk from the village across the common
is now occupied by one solitary farm.
Hall is probably the oldest house that Brierley can claim, though its
origin is wrapped in mystery and even the date of its being built is
uncertain. The present owner is Mr Dymond, whose Uncle Thomas Dymond,
bought the house from a Mr Taylor, of Middlewood Hall, Darfield, in
1886. Robert Dymond, who was then residing at Fieldhead house, which
stands next to Brierley Hall, and had been the home of the Dymonds for
300 years, inherited it from his cousin John Dymond in 1940. The house
as a rather strange water system. Drinking water is obtained from a well
in the garden, but water for all other purposes is pumped from a lake in
the wood behind the house into a cistern in the roof. It is heated there
and drawn from a tap in the ordinary way.
is one of the few places in England where a Court Leet still functions.
The original use of these courts was to deal with petty crime, but most
of their functions were taken over by the Courts of Justice, and Court
Leets began to die out in the fourteenth century. The Brierley Court
Leet, which has been in existence for over 600 years, has amongst its
duties the care of the local common land and defends the rights of the
commoners, people who's privilege it is to use the common lands for
grazing. Mr William Makings, of Grimethorpe, is the Court Bailiff. He
inherited that post from his father 15 years ago, and his duties include
calling the meetings and collecting the rents which include sums ranging
from 1d to £5. The last meeting of the Court Leet was held about two
years ago. It has had nine meetings in 45 years.
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