Scawthorpe

Being from Scawthorpe myself, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I have an interest in the history of the village. You would be forgiven for thinking that Scawthorpe is a 20th century creation as; at one time the village was a small (very small) hamlet in the bigger estate of Bentley and Arksey. When the coal mine came to Bentley in 1905 the immediate and surrounding areas were ripe for development as a massive influx of workers created the urgent need for affordable housing. Good sized, 3 bedroom houses were built by the Doncaster Corporation and the NCB.

What was Scawthorpe like before this transformation?

Slicing through the top most part of Scawthorpe and forming the boundary between itself and Sunnyfields is York Road. This busy link road runs parallel and approximately 500 yards from the ‘Roman Ridge’, part of the Great North Road which was constructed by the Romans. Being in such close proximity to such an important trading route, Scawthorpe must have seen many travellers throughout the centuries.

When William the Conqueror came to England in 1066, one of his important supporters, a certain Nigel Fossard was rewarded for his service to the king in his battle against Harold. Part of his award was lands in this area; one of those manors was that of Arksey. Scawthorpe and Bentley came under the umbrella of Arksey and Fossard placed his stamp on the area by building fortified manor houses. One of these houses was Radcliffe Moat, a motte and bailey castle between Scawthorpe and Bentley (now intersected by the Leeds railway line), the other, and Radcliffe’s predecessor, was the scheduled ancient monument at Castle Hills.

The monument comprised a 4-5m high motte with a kidney-shaped inner bailey to the north and a sub-rectangular outer bailey to the east. The inner bailey was approximately 30m across and the outer bailey approximately 70m x 40m. On the west side, between the motte and inner bailey, a 2m high oval mound formed the end of the rampart circling the motte to the south west and has since been interpreted as a defended approach to the monument.

The complexity of the earthworks suggests that it was a monument of some importance. Certainly it commanded the manor of Langthwaite (later Hangthwaite), one of six held by Nigel Fossard in 1086 from the Count of Mortain. The de Langthwaites seem to have become an important family, whose name appears in many northern documents. It was in the later medieval period that the manor was moved approximately 300m east to Radcliffe.

The immediate area was essentially a medium sized village and recent finds in the soil adjoining the castle mounds strongly suggest this to be case.

Jumping forward 2-3 hundred years brings us to the time of the Cooke’s of Wheatley. The Cooke family became the Lords of the Manor of Arksey. This manor contained a number of smaller hamlets namely, Almholme, Bodles, Doncaster-Bridgend, Scawthorpe, Shaftholme, and Stockbridge. By the time of the 1871 census, there was only one residence recorded in Scawthorpe. There was no address listed, the entry simply calls the building, a farm, Scawthorpe. Living there was the Farmer and his Wife, a Mr and Mrs Monton, their 2 children Ernest and Mona, a female servant named Elizabeth Welbnom (possible mis-spelling), and 3 farm labourers all with the same Christian name, Thomas Millers, Thomas Thorpe, and Thomas Exley, the farmer obviously liked the name Tom!

By the 1920’s, the village and surrounding area was described this way by Eric Higton of the nearby mining village of Highfields:

“As with Sprotbrough Lane, there were no building except farm properties on Castle Hills Lane and Green Lane (which boasted a fishpond where it joined the main road, and was known locally as fishpond lane). On the left hand side of the track as it neared the top of the rise opposite Jossey Lane stood Scawthorpe Hall with its three lodges, the centre one of which stood empty for some time; the windows boarded up. Locally, it was reputed to be haunted.”

By 1986, such was the necessity to build, build, build more housing for the mine workers, the description was somewhat different:

“Just 2.5 miles north-west of Doncaster beside the old Great North Road lies Scawthorpe a residential area built in the 1920’s with private houses, Coal Board and Council properties. Many coal miners and their families live in this community. There are also bungalows and flats for the elderly and a home for the disabled. In Scawthorpe there is not much traffic and it is quite a quiet place. There is a group of basic shops, a clinic and a doctor’s surgery. There is also a working men’s club, a pub, two churches and a library. Five schools serve the area catering for every age group. Scawthorpe estate is laid out in geometric patterns, with small green spaces where children can play. There is some light industry and on two sides it is surrounded by farm land.”

-By Symeon Waller.

27 responses to “Scawthorpe

  1. Hi I was wondering if anyone has any information on the Old railway house at scawthorpe, I have been told that what is now the trans pennine trail which crosses at the hill on pipering lane was as train line for the pits. Can anyone advise. Thanks

  2. David Andrew Harvey

    I was born at 30 Langdale Dr in 1957. I went to Sunnyfields Junior School. I loved playing football and cricket on the field with my brother Martin and many other lads from the street – Gary Lewis, Austin White, John Waller (Gogger) and his brother Denbo, Graham Fletcher, Graham Baily and Malcy Roberts. Further up the street were the Woods brothers, David, Keith and Glenn, then Mark and Dave Thomas, who were good cricketers! Hardly played with anyone from the pit houses though! That was another country!! Oh the memories come flooding back!

  3. Hi everyone.
    Just got back to the site and I’m glad to see people are still posting. I lived at 128 Petersgate from the early 50’s to the early 60’s. I’m guessing Robin Thompson and I played on the same green during the 50’s.
    The bungalows were just being built and my other mates were John Macmillan, Tony and Stephen Canning. Brian and Allan Townsley, Barry Frost and some others that will come to me as the day progresses.

    • Janet Pickersgill

      I remember your family Allan, my maiden name was Yates & we lived on Clevedon Crescent. You might remember my brother Michael. If my memory is correct you had a sister Carol who was the same age as me.

  4. Lived in chiltern rd 1955 through til 59 remember Adam and Eve being built neighbours names were Foster Strutt Lumley Green Nevin and Barley

  5. I lived in Scawthorpe in the early 50,s we moved down from Northumberland my dad a coal miner mum a house wife .
    We lived in Petersgate we had the grass semi circle in front of us . We all the kids there played out side a lot.
    Ball games, ,diff. seasons ,diff games. I remember the building of the cottage bungalows for the pensioners
    getting built. In winter on the long footpath we used to make a long slippery slide, not many cars around then.
    Dad worked at Bentley Pit, after leaving Scawthorpe Primary School I went to Bentley Secondary High School.
    Old teachers, cane slipper etc.for a lot of us. Mr Chriss Haw woodwork teacher a tyrant at times,,,,,
    Then in the 60s a job at Scawthorpe Garge near the new shops at the time and the Doctors and the Adam Eve Pub
    I remember our next doors Smith s and family the Scotts, the Wards Robin Jacksons . Also my Methodist
    Church in Bentley Happy Days there . more so on Sunday School outing once a year. Bentley Park was a place we walked to with our bottle of water and bread to eat in the summer time.. This is my first tme on the internet
    so please forgive my mistakes. Robin Thompson Perth West Australia

    • I spoke with you before Robin,I remember your sister Susan I’ve been married to Christine for 42 years live in Gatley Cheshire, my brother John came to visit for a few days. I’m retired now have two daughters and four grandchildren, I think you came back from Australia then went back for good. Hope your well Robin.

  6. Christine Ward (formely Sharpe)

    Hi, I so enjoyed reading about Scawthorpe as I moved into a brand new house on Langthwaite Road in June 1948. I was two and a half years old. I am still in the same house now and will never ever move from it.
    I started the school on the day it opened and now have three generations attended there.
    I have hundreds of memories and would love to write about it here. How do I join you?
    As a matter of interest, take a look at `Wiganworld`. How wonderful if we could have a website like theirs!

  7. pauline hibbard

    i was born in bentley 58 years ago ,i remember the park and the bandstand i moved to cleaveden cresent when i was 5 and went to jossey lane school my teacher was mrs pritchard all my family are from that area and the crosslands and browns and johnsons i have been told were well known however i moved away when i was 7 and never went back but i remember all my family whom i loved dearly but the problem is i cant find them and i dont know whear to start.

  8. Clare Edwards

    Yes I’ve since learned it was demolished to make way for the sycamore estate, what a shame another treasure is lost to so called progress.

    • That’s right Clare, the Scawthorpe Hall cottages are still at the back of the new estate overlooking the fields. I guess they would have housed the farm workers. It is a terrace of about 8 properties.

  9. Thank you. x

  10. Hi all, Please can anyone help me, Im trying to find old pictures of scawthorpe, ive lived in Scawthorpe my whole life and never plan to move, Id love to see how the village has changed through out the years. I live on Chatsworth Crescent and love it!

    • Hi Lisa, I too am from Scawthorpe being brought up on Homefield Crescent. I have a real affinity with the village. I don’t have any old photo’s but I will try and get hold of some. Leave it with me.

  11. i was born according to my birth certificate at 46 chatsworth crescent scawthorpe in 1955 but according to doncaster archives the houses were not built until till 1959 ? please can anyone help

    • Ray the houses on Chatsworth Cres were way before 1959. My mum and
      dad were one of first to move in and that was 1953/4 so your birth certificate is right.. Really interesting site x

  12. Thanks symeon for the info on Scawthorpe Hall, would you know if there are any photos or pictures of the hall. My mum said it was knocked down sometime after the 2nd world war. The old mill house on the A635 next to the Mill House pub has been lovingly restored to its former glory and the gardens are beautifully restored too.

    • Hi Clare, glad you liked the information. Photo’s???? I am sure they are out there, but where??
      The building that you refer to as the Old Mill House in Scawsby is actually Scawsby Hall. As you look at it from the main road, the lower section on the left is very old, perhaps 16th century, and around the back, Mrs Harrison who used to live in the Hall when it was a farm said there was a hole in the rear wall about 10 feet up which she told me was where the gallows used to be. I don’t know if that was true but, I suppose it could have been true if the Lord of the Manor lived there way back when.
      I used to work on the farm in 1991 and we used to have our breakfast in that front kitchen of the hall.
      Happy memories.

    • I have seen a photo of Scawthorpe Hall in the Doncaster Central Library, it was in a small brochure in the reception
      area,but this was more than five years ago.I remember the hall from the late 1960s.as i used to be allowed in the
      wood to spot birds as a child.It had a sunken rose garden,and was very atmospheric to me.

  13. Just had a quick look on A2A site (Access to Archives) Several deeds mention Scawthorpe, earliest is 1626 ‘arable land in Scawthorpe’; others 1655, 1693/4, 1748/9/56/68. 1821 ‘Cow Half in Scawthorpe Field’. Scawthorpe Hall is on 1854 OS map so when was it built?
    Mention in 1915 of ‘Donald Maggregor of Scawthorpe Hall, colliery agent’.

  14. Symeon, Good work, but i am pretty sure the railway line should be the Leeds line and not the York line which is further east.
    Roger

  15. Hi symeon

    Really interesting to hear about scawthorpe. I was born in the old police house in highfields where my father was the community bobby in the early to late 70’s. My parents now live at sunnyfields. I wondered if you had any more information on scawthorpe hall, I’ve always been fascinated by the three lodges and assume it must have been a pretty spectacular hall.

    • In the 1871 census William and Mary Hollins lived at Scawthorpe Hall as Farmer and wife in their 50’s.
      In 1881, the census records a farmer named Edward Jackson living at Scawthorpe Hall being a farmer of 133 acres. He lived there with his wife Francis and his 2 daughters Emily and Hannah. Also in the hall were 3 female servants Alice, Emily and Elizabeth.
      Before moving to Scawthorpe, the Jacksons used to live at Kirk Fenton Hall which is a nine bedroom property 6 miles outside Tadcaster. There, Edward was recorded as owner and farmer of 85 acres in 1871, so his move to Scawthorpe saw him increase his farm size by about 50 acres.
      In Scawthorpe Hall Lodge lived James and Isabella Compton. James was a Coachman. They had 2 sons, James and Charles and one daughter called Christina. The 3 children were born all over the country which suggests that his job as a coachman took him all over. One was born in Edinburgh, one in Bedfordshire and the other in Potternewton (which I believe is near Leeds).
      The one or two other listings for Scawthorpe were either Farmers or Cattle dealers suggesting that there wasn’t much there apart from fields back then.

  16. Really good read. Do you know anything about Woodside park or Amersall road? I expect it was a wood of forest.. 🙂

    • Eyup Samantha. I know that Amersall Rd was once at the centre of an area that was called Hammersall in the 1600’s and that Woodside Park and Castle Hills School now stands on a tract of land that used to be known as Askern Springs right up until about 1840.

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