Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BARNSLEY

BARNSLEY, a town, a township, three chapelries, a subdistrict, and a district in W. R. Yorkshire. The town stands in a fertile tract, on the river Dearne, at a focus of railways and canals, 10 miles by road, and 11¼ by railway, south of Wakefield. Railways go from it north-westward, south-westward, and south-eastward; and canals connect it northward with Wakefield, and eastward with the Don. It figures in Domesday as a manorial seat, under the name of Bernesley; and was known afterwards as Bleak Barnesley or Black Barnsley: but is now a busy and flourishing scene of manufacturing industry. It consists chiefly of narrow streets, and is straggling and plain, yet has two large market-places and some handsome houses, and is built principally of stone from quarries in the neighbourhood; and it is governed by a local board of health. Its chief objects are waterworks, enlarged in 1868; a handsome courthouse, built in 1861, at a cost of about £4,000; a large corn exchange, in the Grecian style; a public park presented to the town by Joseph Locke, Esq., and containing a statue of him by Marochetti, erected in 1866; a church, rebuilt in 1821: two handsome churches, built in 1822 and 1858, the former at a cost of £5,918; a beautiful Independent chapel, built in 1851, at a cost of £5,000; a fine and very spacious Wesleyan chapel; eight other dissenting chapels; a Roman Catholic chapel; an ultra-mural cemetery with two mortuary chapels, formed at a cost of £7,000; a mechanics' institution; a Franklin institution; an endowed grammar school; a workhouse; and charities £306 a year.

The town has a head post office,‡ a telegraph station, two banking offices, and three chief inns; and it is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and publishes four weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; and fairs on the Wednesday before 28 Feb., 13 May, and 11 Oct. Wire-drawing was carried on from at least the time of James I., and had long the reputation of producing the best wire in the kingdom, but has now very greatly declined. The manufacture of linen cloth, damasks, diapers, ducks, checks, ticks, and similar fabrics, took the place of the wire-drawing, and is very prosperous. The yarn is partly spun in large mills on the spot, and partly brought from the mills of Leeds; and is woven principally by the weavers in their own houses. About 1,000 power-looms and about 3,500 hand-looms are employed. Bleaching, dyeing, wool-working, glass-making, and iron-working also are carried on. Extensive coal mines likewise are in the neighbourhood. An explosion, with loss of 72 lives, took place, in 1847, at the Oaks colliery; and another, with similar loss, took place, in December 1862, at Worsbrough. The pop. in 1801 was little above 3,000; in 1861, was upwards of 17,000; in 1865, nearly 20,000.

The township includes also the hamlets of Old Barnsley, Measborough, Kinston-place, and Old Mill; and is in the parish of Silkstone. Acres, 4,000. Real property, £69,154; of which £14,490 are in mines. Pop., 17,890. Houses, 3,565.-The chapelries are St. Mary, of old date; St. George, constituted in 1831; and St. John, in 1844. The three jointly comprise the township. The livings are St. M. a rectory, St. G. and St. J. vicarages, in the dio. of Ripon. Value of St. M., £400;* of St. G., £300:* of St. J., £300. Patron of St. M. and St. G., the Bishop of Ripon; of St. J., alternately the Crown and the Bishop.-The subdistrict comprises parts of the parishes of Silkstone, Darton, Roystone, and Darfield. Acres, 10,628. Pop., 25,468. Houses, 5,125. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Darton, containing parts of the parishes of Darton and Roystone; the subdistrict of Darfield, containing parts of the parishes of Darfield and Wath-upon-Dearne; and the subdistrict of Worsbrough containing parts of the parishes of Darfield and Silkstone.-Acres, 35,37. poor rates in 1866, £19,024. Pop. in 1861, 45,797. Houses, 9,094. Marriages in 1866, 448; births, 2,143,-of which 138 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,298,-of which 710 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,3,121: births, 16,907;-deaths, 9,713. The places of worship in 1851 were 17 of the Church of England, with 9,014 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 377 s.; 1 of Baptists with 390 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 300 s.; 19 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 2,993 s.; 6 of New Connection Methodists, with 1,408 s.; 7 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,539 s.; 4 of the Wesleyan Association, with 870 s.: 5 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 130 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 500 s. The schools were 27 public day-schools, with 2,875 scholars; 44 private day schools, with 1,217 s.; 54 Sunday schools, with 6,100 s.: and 5 evening schools for adults, with 154 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a township, three chapelries, a subdistrict, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Barnsley CP/Ch       Yorkshire AncC
Place: Barnsley

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