The Sportsman Inn in 1925

For photographs of old Ryhill, contact "Old Barnsley" in the Market Hall, Barnsley.

Telephone 01226 200018

Or Click Here for their web site


The Chronology has been compiled from information gleaned from two books:

Ryhill in History Volume 1, written by a variety of contributors and published by Ryhill Parish Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council in 1981.

A History of Ryhill Volume 2, written by Jack McGillivray and published by Ryhill Parish Council in 1989.

(ISBN 0 947780 59 5)

For a real insight into Ryhill, the above publications contain a mountain of detail and make fascinating reading. There is more information in the Library at Havercroft (Just below the Junior and Infants school).

If you like this chronology then all credit must go to the authors of the above books. I only claim credit for any errors and omissions you may find.

If you can add to this chronology by giving me dates (particularly more recent ones) important to the village then I will be pleased to up date the document. I am particularly interested in knowing when various organisations, - band, cricket club, etc., were set up.


1086 - First reference to Ryhill - in Doomsday Book as part of land granted to Ilbert de Lacy by William the Conqueror. Known as Rihella  Click Here to see the Ryhill entry

1124 - Lands including Ryhill transferred to Nostell Priory by Robert de Lacy. Ryhill remained in control of the Nostell canons for the next 400 years- until the Dissolution of the monasteries.

1379 - A Poll Tax was levied throughout the country and the amount paid ranged between four old pence to four pounds, dependant upon wealth and rank. 24 people paid the tax and it is estimated that the population would have been around 60.

The  population before the Black Death in 1348 would have been higher.

1466 - Rent was paid "from tithes of the mill of Rihill" to the monks at Nostell - the first reference to the mill. Mill Lane survives to this day but all traces of the mill have gone.

Sometime between 1505 and 1539 - A water supply was constructed from the spring at Ryhill to Nostell Priory via pipes laid across the fields for two and half miles. Over the spring was erected a small building with a niche over the door in which the image of a saint (probably St Oswald) once stood. The shrine is also supposed to have been dedicated to St James. The field to the north of Ryhill where the spring issued was called Wells Close. The spring was later known as The Priory Fountain.

1524 - Cardinal Wolsey travelled to York and stayed at Nostell for two nights on his way.

1539 - Monasteries (including Nostell Priory) were  dissolved and parish of Wragby, which included Ryhill, was bought by Dr Thomas Leigh.

1542 - The winter has been described as very wild and tempestuous. 90 people died during this year compared to a normal total of about 15.An epidemic of some sort hit the village and it has been suggested that the high death toll from it may have been due to the absence of the monks who had previously cared for the sick and needy.

1654 - Nostell estate and Ryhill village bought by Sir Rowland Winn, a London merchant, and the estate has remained in the hands of the Winn family ever since.

1672 - The Hearth Tax return for 1672 lists 30 people as paying the tax, indicating a total population of around120. There were three forges in the village.

1707 - Dispute between parishioners and Winn family regarding payment of tithes. The parishioners claimed that they had been paying money instead of produce and the Winns could not have both. The parishioners of Wragby won the dispute and continued to make payments for another 37years.

1711 - John Slack of Ryhill, gentleman, paid 87.3s 0d for various crofts and lands in parts of the East Field, West Field, Lafferlangs, and in The Pitts. (The Pitts lay over towards Wintersett, and coal could be found there up to the middle of the twentieth century).

1793 -  Work began on the Barnsley Canal - to run15miles from Heath Common to Barnby, near Silkstone. A stream known variously as Haw Park Beck and Bleakley Dike, which rises to the north of Ryhill and Havercroft was dammed and connected to the canal. A steam engine pump drew water back into the reservoir when necessary. When full to capacity the water covered an area of 80 acres. The cost of constructing the canal  was 95,000 - well above budget and partly due to the two years spent cutting through rock at Cold Hiendley.

1799 - First barge uses canal. the toll for coal was one penny per ton per mile.

1801 - Census population was 142 in 28 inhabited houses - little changed over a hundred years.

1804 - Barnsley canal connected with Dearne and Dove canal and shipping 10,000 tons of fine Silkstone coal a year.

1807 - Wintersett reservoir enlarged and a  new, more powerful pumping engine installed.

1820's - Canal carries over 100,000 tons of coal alone as well as other goods.

1828 -  Wesleyan Chapel opens in Mill Lane - the only place of worship in the village.

1828 - A deed refers to a field called "The Pithill" in Ryhill and at Havercroft there were fields known as New Pits and Far Pits.

1836 - Decision taken to increase depth of Wintersett reservoir by 5 to7 feet by raising banks and lock walls. Now covers 130 acres and is 40 feet deep in parts.

1840 - First local railway station at Notton Bridge, a  mile and a half from Ryhill. (ran from Derby to Leeds).

1850's - To increase water supply, a new reservoir constructed between the canal and Wintersett lagoon, creating the system that is there today.

1856 - Probable date of construction of Methodist United Free Church in Mill Lane at a cost of 130.

1860 - Village still lit by oil lamps and candles.

1861 - Census population 160. Two pubs in village  - The Hammer and The Sportsman Inn. ( In 1822 these had been The Gate and The Shoulder of Mutton)

1865 - Anglican services began in village using a barn as premises for services - Rev W G Cald. it was known as The Mission barn and is still located adjoining the farm next to the Hammer and Anvil.

1867 - Ryhill described in a trade directory as "a small village" - nothing much had changed, still agricultural with a few shops. Only other industry was the working of two sandstone quarries.

1868 - Lease signed to work coal at Havercroft Main. It was a small and shallow pit.

1870 - Church Infants school opened in house in Ryhill Pitts Lane. Ryhill  now had three schools - two Methodist, one Church of England.

1871 - The canal was bought outright by the Calder Company for 48,000 and the company held it until nationalisation in 1948.

1874 - Ryhill Main, with an 108 yards sinking was opened by Henry Lodge, a former weaver from Skelmanthorpe. The  pit suffered a number of fatal accidents - in 1878,1881,1884, and 1885. the pit employed 322 men in 1901 and 299 in 1918.

1876 - Ryhill splits from Wragby and becomes a separate parish, taking parts of Wragby, Royston, Felkirk, and Sandal Magna.

1876 - St James Parish Church opens.

1877 - Ryhill Church School opened. Up to now there were two schools, one provided by the Methodist Chapel, the other by Miss Green. Older children, if they went to any school, went to Wragby Church School.

1877 - First Ryhill Feast - the tradition lasted a hundred years.

1878 - Coal production from Monckton Main began. By 1903, 1721 men worked  there and this had risen to 4023 in 1940. The pit was abandoned in the1960's.

1879 - proposals for setting up coke ovens at Monckton approved.

1881 - Census population 797. The increase over the years was due to the advent of deep coalmining.

1882 - The railways came to Ryhill with the opening of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire's Barnsley Coal Railway Extension to Nostell. - The rail passenger station opened. It's fortunes faltered in 1930 with the loss of passenger services and in its latter days the station was used only for summer excursions to Blackpool - and the Club trips!

1892 - Havercroft Main pit closed.

1894 - Establishment of first Parish Council - early activities included street lighting by oil lamps.

1895 - Bulk water supply agreed for with Barnsley Corporation.

1896 - Ryhill and District Homing Society formed.

1896 - Infants school erected for 226 children.

1899 - Barnsley British Co-operative Society opens branch shop in village.

1899 - Hammer and Anvil rebuilt (was venue for many Ryhill estate sales).

1907 - Wesleyan Chapel moves to new premises in Chapel Street.

1912 - Ryhill's second station - "Ryhill Halt" opened on the Ryhill to South Hiendley road. the station building was a converted railway carriage and the service provided four trains each week day to Wakefield, The last service for passenger trains was in September 1951.

1912 - Infants School augmented by addition of Ryhill Boys and Girls School, to accommodate 400 pupils.

1913 - Imperial Picturedrome built by George Barraclough on Charles Street site. The cinema was managed throughout its eight or nine years of operation by Ellis Barraclough, George's son. It was known as Ellis Barraclough's Picture Oil! Oswald (Toz) Hepworth bought the empty building in 1928 and converted it to a piggery and slaughterhouse.

1913 - Empire Cinema in Chapel Street was built by Ernest Silverwood who also owned Silver Ace Motor Coaches and other commercial enterprises in the village. Sound films were introduced in 1930 and the cinema eventually closed in 1959, being then used by Smedley's Foods. It is now demolished and the land used for housing.

1914 - Lafflands Lane in state of disrepair and adjoining owners agree to do necessary work to avoid cost of work being done by Hemsworth Rural District Council.

1919+ - Doctor Samuel Hodkinson  arrived shortly after the end of WW1 and took over the existing practice. He pioneered a scheme of weekly payments for his services. He also pulled teeth, tested eyes, and dispensed medicines. Mr Dunleavy later took over Dentistry.

1920 - Ex-army hut used as school for senior girls.

1921 - The Miners Strike and a Royal Navy detachment comes to guard Ryhill Main with fixed bayonets.

By 1922 - Ryhill had two fried fish shops, two cinemas, a pawnbroker, and two tripe boiling plants.

1923 - Hemsworth Rural District Council completes first eight council houses in Ryhill.

1923 - Ryhill Main (Lodge's) abandoned.

1923 - Report of County Medical Officer states that there are still some 343 privy middens as against some 80 water closets in Ryhill and the average number of persons per house was considered far to high at 5.24.

1925 - New Monckton Colliery sank new shaft in Havercroft.

1926 - General Strike brings poverty to Ryhill - soup kitchens and school breakfasts. 100 men summoned to Barnsley Court House for stealing coal from Lodge's pit. Wages cut after strike ended.

1926 - Parish magazine - "strike or no strike, the children did not loose their treat"

1927 - Ryhill station renamed "Ryhill and Wintersett"

1933 - Fire in Number 3 pit.

1934 - Electricity installed in St James Church at a cost of 31.

1935 - Fire in stackyard  of Henry Hammerton destroys a year's work.

1937 - West Riding Sailing Club formed at Wintersett. The club took over the lease from the Wintersett Fishing Club.

1939 - Miners of area get a full weeks holiday with pay for the first time.

1941 - Bomb dropped on Wintersett kills one rat and one cockerel!

1950 - Less than one barge a week now using canal.

1953- Canal abandoned.

1966 - Monckton Colliery closes.

1970 - J Keleman catches record pike at Wintersett - 29 lbs, and 42inches long.

1972 - New library built

For information about the Ryhill and Havercroft War Memorial inside Ryhill Cemetery, CLICK HERE

For more about the Barnsley Canal, CLICK HERE

As you will have noticed, there is not much recent material - if you can help, please e-mail me.