NEWSLETTER - 27th February 1996
Firstly, it is my proud duty to announce that this month has been Mr. Norman Wat1son's 90th birthday. As you probably know Mr. Watson is our Honorary President and with Mr. D. Axe was joint founder of this society. Mr.Watson is still one of the mainstays of it, to whom many of us turn to for help as his vast knowledge of the history of Mexborough cannot be surpassed.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. WATSON
Another birthday to be celebrated in the near future is that of Doncaster Road Junior School, the building of which will be one hundred years old on the 24th April 1996. In the summer of 1994, using the records of the school, I managed to compile an account of the first thirty years of its life, from its humble beginnings in the
Congregational Chapel Schoolrooms on Garden Street, to the retirement of their first headteacher Mr. Brown after thirty years of service there, and all the trials and tribulations those years brought. Mr. Davies, who is the present head, has informed me that this is to be made into two booklets by the school. The one for the benefit of the young children will be a short simplified version, the full version is for older children and for people interested in local history. The simplified version will be on sale on the day to raise funds for the school, so please dip into your pocket and help them won't you.
Don't forget to make a note in your diary ALL YOU OLD PUPILS AND TEACHERS OF DONCASTER ROAD SCHOOL YOU ARE NEEDED AT YOUR OLD SCHOOL, ON SATURDAY 27th APRIL 1996 TO ATTEND THE CELEBRATION.
This month there is only one new publication, YORKSHIRE HISTORY which we receive bimonthly for our members to read. This month it covers the Romans in Malton by Peter Hoy, Law and Order in Bridlington by John Earnshaw, Exodus from Rowley by Michael Cooney, Scholemoor Cemetery by Kenneth Kenzie, Coaching in Doncaster by Philip Scowcroft, Place-names, Landscape History Newsline, Book Publishing. The articles I found of particular interest were Law and Order in Bridlington and Coaching in Doncaster, the former because it gave a description of important civic positions and what these posts entailed prior to the existence of the Local Boards, posts which were common to any small town in this country at the time, including Mexborough. Mr. Earnshaw first tells us that a Court Leet was a court held twice a year along with the "pains" which was a court held for infringements of grazing rights and boundary disputes. He then goes on to tell us of the PINDER who was the man who was responsible for collecting stray animals found within the manor and impounding them in the town's pinfold. The CONSTABLE had the most important post from the point of view of law and order. He was given a staff of office on which a pike head (similar to a spear) was attached. In later years this became a truncheon. He was responsible for maintaining the peace and executing "Hues and Cryes". He was expected to be present at all affrays, fights, riots, and attempts to resist arrest. His expenses, known as the Constable Tax, were met through a rate levied on property within the manor. The BYLAWMEN were a type of Constable and were employed to see that by-laws relating to grazing rites were not broken. He also helped the Pinder to find stray animals. They also had to report any sick animal grazing with healthy ones and report the illegal planting of crops. THE NEATHERD (cowherd) AND SHEPHERD, the Neatherd was responsible for keeping the beasts in the allotted enclosures and repairing the same, as the open field system was in use at this time it is my belief that the enclosures referred to would be constructed using wicker hurdles put up temporarily to keep animals from the growing crops. The Shepherd and Swineherd would do likewise with the sheep and pigs. BREAD WEIGHERS AND ALE FINDERS (similar to our present day weights and measures inspectors) It was obligatory for those making bread and brewing ale for sale to have a licence to comply with the weights and measures act and it was the duty of the Bread Weighers and the Ale Finder to make sure that all loaves of bread were of the correct weight and that all measures of ale were exact. MARKET SEARCHERS it was their responsibility to deal with "quality control" in the market and to deal with instances of the selling of bad meat, under-weight fruit and candles (these were sold by weight in those days). Those retailing goods at a Saturday market had to pay a toll to the Bailiff and those found not doing so were fined.
The next article I found of interest was Coaching in Doncaster which is well worth a read. In particular there was the mention of a passenger carrying steam-packet which travelled between Thorne and Hull c1823 and also JAMES ASHFORTH who OPERATED A COACH LINK BETWEEN SWINTON AND DONCASTER WHEN THE NORTH MIDLAND RAILWAY OPENED IN 1840. (The nearest station at that time to Doncaster was Swinton as Doncaster did not have a railway service in the town).
THE SALE OF LAND IN MEXBOROUGH OWNED BY THE MONTAGU ESTATES AND ALSO THE SALE OF THE TITLE OF "LORD OF THE MANOR OF MEXBOROUGH" 1931
Andrew Montagu of Melton Park purchased the title of the Lord of the Manor of Mexborough with all the land and its rights on 20th August 1863 from Edward Kater then of 46, Sussex Gardens Middlesex.
Andrew Montagu died on Tuesday 8th October 1895 and the estates then passed to his nephew Capt. F. J. 0. Montagu of Shortgrove Hall, Newport, Essex. In 1926 Capt. Montagu's mother died and it was in the following year that Melton Hall was sold to George Meanley, and we find a George Meanley (it is not known if this
of the sale of property owned by Capt. Montagu in Mexborough and also the sale of the title Lord of the Manor of Mexborough.
This sale was conducted by Messrs. Shearman and Johnson and took place at The Danum Hotel, Doncaster at the end of April 1931.
When our old market and market hall were being planned in the 1870s arrangements were made with the Montagu Estates to rent from them the land on which it was to be built, so prior to the estates' sale in 1931 an agreement was arranged between Mexborough Urban District Council and the Montagu Estates for the former to purchase the land on which both the market and its hall stood.
The write-up on this auction which took place at the Danum makes for very interesting reading to the local historian as it describes in detail most of the houses and farms to be found in the town at the time. For example Manor Farm, Church Street, Mexborough, which is described as being stone built and having four bedrooms, attic, both a front and back staircase, dining room, drawing room, kitchen, dairy, cellars, numerous farm buildings, orchard, and garden. The farm had 181 acres of land and was purchased by Mr. A. S. Richardson who was agent to Lord Mexborough for £2,350.
Glebe Farm, Church Street, Mexborough was withdrawn from the sale as it did not bring the desired amount but it is described as having three quarters of a mile of frontage to the River Don, and 84 acres of land, the farmhouse was stone built and had four bedrooms, two sitting rooms, kitchen, scullery, large storeroom, two cellars, and farm buildings.
The Croft which was situated to the north of Church Street and at the base of what is now Benita Avenue, was purchased by a Mr. Woffinden of Mexborough. (It does not give his full name and therefore we are unable to ascertain whether this was the same person who was our councillor and cinema owner). In 1931 the Croft consisted of one and half acres of land on which stood a cottage which had two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, coalplace, and wash house.
"The Farm" (This could be what was known locally as Castle Hills Farm and was situated to the north of Church Street, opposite Fern Villa), Low Road, Mexborough, was one of the largest farms in Mexborough in those days and consisted of 133 acres of land and a large stone built farm house which had five bedrooms, bathroom, two box rooms, front and back staircases, dining room, drawing room, kitchen, scullery, larder, dairy, outhouses, and numerous farm buildings.
"Ward's Homestead" which stood to the south of Church Street behind the Ship Inn (close to the Ferry Boat Inn) is said to have had two acres of land, farm buildings and a farmhouse built of stone, contained four bedrooms, parlour, dining room, kitchen, scullery, larder, and fruit chamber. This was withdrawn from the sale.
Although the Keel Inn (this once stood to the east of the row of old cottages on Church Street) did sell and was purchased by Mr. Albert Atkinson for £475, it had three bedrooms, sitting room, living room, kitchen, outhouses, stables, and other buildings and was built in two acres of land. The aforementioned cottages were
withdrawn from the sale.
Mr. J. Guest purchased ten acres of land on West Street, and Mr. Fowler land on Park Road, while Mr. Ward of Swinton purchased the Glebe Field which stood between Park Road and Carlyle Street (part of which is now a riding school owned by Jane Hemingway). Part of Adwick Road close to the hospital was bought by Mr. F. E. Hall, and Mr. H. Smith purchased land on Cemetery Road. The Leach which is described as being an ideal factory site of six acres was withdrawn as it did not bring the desired amount, and another area of land which was withdrawn was twenty three acres which stood in front of Mexborough Waterworks and is now known as The Rocket Field.
No one seemed to have been interested in three lots, these being four acres of land at the junction of Church Street and Doncaster Road, five acres next to Don View Cottages, and strangely Mexborough Fairground, Sales Shop, and Auction Mart on Station Road.
The last thing to be put up for sale on that day was the "manor or lordship" of Mexborough with all common rights, and appurtenances, courts leet, court barons, etc, and Mexborough Pastures which were approximately 24 acres, and were sold to a Mr Richardson for £85.
The question which the last paragraph of this newsletter leaves us with is, who is the present Lord of the Manor of Mexborough and did Mr. Richardson buy the title for himself or as agent for Capt. Montagu?
Before I leave you I would just like to correct something printed in the South Yorkshire Times on 26th January 1996 under the heading of "The Good Old Days" which refers to the centenary of Doncaster Road Junior School and tells that I have written a book on its early days. In this newspaper article it states that in the book I wrote "that in 1894 a teacher was said to have taken a girl by the hair and hit her in the face and a child was thrashed with a bicycle tyre after which a teacher resigned" May I point out that these instances of physical abuse did not take place at Doncaster Road Junior School but at other schools under the jurisdiction of Mexborough School Board and were written about to illustrate the abuse meted out to some pupils prior to the introduction of the Corporal Punishment Regulations in 1908.
Information for this newsletter came from:-
- Photocopy of original sale documents between Edward Kater and Andrew Montagu.
- Cutting from The Mexborough and Swinton Times entitled Death of James Montagu J.P. 11th January 1891.
- Mexborough Local Board Book 1870 - 1890
- Cutting from The Mexborough and Swinton Times dated 1st. May 1931 entitled Montagu Estate, Low Prices for Mexborough Land. Manor Farm Sold.
Information obtained on the sale of Melton Hall to George Meanley - from a private collection.