The Darfield Heritage Trail.

The  Darfield Millennium Heritage Trail has been created by the Darfield Millennium Committee as part of the Millennium Commemorations. It is published in leaflet form available free from the Maurice Dobson Museum & Heritage Centre. This shortened, edited version of the Trail Leaflet has been prepared to enable visitors to download and print it before visiting Darfield.

The Trail follows a figure-of-eight course starting from the Cross Keys Public House in the centre of the village. The sites are marked on the map as footprints; on the ground as oval, gold on black markers bearing the appropriate number and attached to lampposts. In this edited version, the map has been split into two parts, each covering one loop of the figure-of-eight. The total walk will take between one and a half and two hours, the latter part including an uphill stretch.

Park your car; enjoy your walk; glimpse our history; and go carefully. At the end, or on route, there are many hostelries which serve good drinks and excellent value food.

A guide can be arranged to take interested groups or school parties round the whole or part of the Heritage Trail. If you are interested, contact should be made with;

mdmuseum@talktalk.net 

A donation would be requested for Museum funds.

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  1. The Cross Keys.

 Start outside the Cross Keys public house.

   In pre conquest days, Darfield had both a Vicarage and a Rectory. The old Vicarage stood on this site alongside the old 

  Cross Keys Inn. The present Rectory was rebuilt in 1935 and can be seen on the left as you approach the church. On the

   right is the Church Hall which was built as a theatre and cinema .

   2. All Saints Church and Churchyard.

   Ent er the churchyard through the main gates.

    At one time the parish of Darfield included the townships of Darfield, Houghton Parva, Houghton Magna, Billingley,

    Wombwell, Worsbrough and Ardsley. This explains the size and importance of the Church. The tower is late Medieval on

    a Saxon and Norman base. The earliest of the bells dates from 1616. The Nave and Chancel are 14th. Century and there

    are Jacobean pews and a locally carved early 20th. Century Chancel Screen.

    The churchyard contains the remains of a medieval cross, the grave of Ebenezer Elliott, (the corn law rhymer); an obelisk

    commemorating the Lundhill mining disaster of 1857 and the memorial to the Houghton Main Colliery disaster of 1886.  

 

   3. The Church Steps and Fishing Ponds.

   Follow the main path past the church to the top of the steps leaving the churchyard.

    Each of the seven townships in the parish had to contribute to the upkeep of part of the church wall. At the top of the steps

    the word 'Billingley' carved into the stone marks that village's section. At the foot of the steps the pattern of the willow trees

    indicates the outline of the now filled in medieval fishing ponds.

    4. The Pinfold and Bridge Inn.

   Continue on the path toward Pinfold Lane.

    On the left at the junction of the path and Pinfold Lane lay the walled enclosure called the pinfold controlled by the

    Pinder. Here he impounded stray animals and imposed a fine for their release.

    The present 1960's Bridge Inn replaces an earlier 15th. Century inn demolished because of subsidence. The line of the old

    road runs in front of the inn.

     5. Darfield Bridge and Toll Bar.

   Walk toward the main road and turn right along it.

    The A635 was a turnpike road constructed in 1740. A three arched 18th. Century stone bridge was demolished to make way

    for the new constructions. Remnants of the old bridge may still be found.

    The toll bar cottage was on land to the west of the main road and was demolished in the 1990's. A board showing the scale

    of charges for using the turnpike and formerly on the cottage is now displayed on the wall of the park pavillion. (See No. 12)

  6. The Railway and Holly House.

   Follow the main road until you arrive at the abutments of the former railway bridge.

    The railway bridge was removed in the 1990's, the line having been built by George Stephenson in 1840. Steps that led to

    Darfield Station may be found beyond the Western abutment. The Station was originally at the Broomhill end of a tunnel

    but in1880 was moved nearer to the road when the tunnel was 'scalped' into a cutting.

    The present Holly House is probably 17th. Century with a re-fronting in Georgian times. It is likely to be on much earlier

    foundations. Beyond Holly House lay Darfield mill.

    Cross the road with great care !

    Returning on the Northern side of the A635, a depression at the field edge indicates the earlier course of the river. A good 

    view of Middlewood Hall is obtained from here.

  7. Middlewood Lodge.

   Return along the main road for about a quarter of a mile.

    The19th. Century lodge marked the drive to the 17th. Century Middlewood Hall. The hall was remodelled in the 19th.

    Century and then converted into dwelling units in 1980. The course of the turnpikemay be seen in front of the lodge.

  8. The Wayside Shrine, Milestone and Old Smithy.

   Cross the road once more to find the Shrine set behind a stone boundary wall.

    The Wayside Shrine was erected by the Taylor family to mark the names of men killed in the 1914-18 War. The mound

    behind the shrine is reputed to be part of roman earthworks.

    A little further up the hill is an 18th. Century milestone probably dating from the first legislation for the erection of

    milestones.

    On the left of the path in front of the row of stone cottages are the remains of a smithy. The circular stone  tyring platform

    may still be found.

      9. School Street.

    Enter and walk along School Street from the pathway called Park Hill.

    The new bungalows on the left occupy the site of Shroggs Head School which replaced a School at the far end of School

    Street built in 1842.

    The Conservative Club on the right was formerly a Wesleyan Chapel.

    The Cricket Club was fouded in 1858, playing on land in Cliffe Road from 1865, then in Vicar Lane from 1869 before 

    moving to the present ground on the left of the street in 1909

    10. The Church School.

   Continue along School Street.

    Built by public subscription, this school opened in 1902. In 1906 the school was associated with the 'Darfield Judgement';

    when in a House of Lords ruling, a child who attended an Ascension Day Service in church could have the rest of the day off

    and still receive their mark.

    11. The Reading Room and Museum.

    Returning to where you started, be ready now to turn right up Church Street.

    On the left at the end of the street is the former Reading Room donated to the village by the then Rector  in 1879.

    The museum is essentially Georgian on much earlier foundations. It was used as a corner shop for many years before it was

    willed to the village in 1989 by its previous owner Maurice Dobson.

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  12. Thornhill House and the Council Offices.

  These properties may all be seen as you walk up Church Street.

    Proceeding up Church Street, on the left are two 19th. Century stone houses, the first formerly the Police Station, the other

    a doctors surgery.

    On the right is Thornhill House which was the home of the village doctor. The Council Offices of the old Darfield Urban

    District Council were previously known as the 'Poplars' and had extensive gardens and orchards. This is now the new doctors

    surgery. Immediately beyond the surgery is the Park Pavilion at the entrance to the Miners Welfare Park.

    13. Snape Hill.

   Snape Hill is a continuation of Church Street and then becomes the road to Wombwell.

    Look for Field House, (1850), on the left almost hidden now that it is surrounded by later housing.

    There is a fine late Victorian shop front on the right hand corner of Church Street and Garden Street.

    On the right at the top of Snape Hill is Cambridge House and College Terrace, so called as they are built on land that

    belonged to one of the Cambridge Colleges.

    A little further down the hill on the right are the remains of a sandstone quarry, now largely filled in.

    14. Low Valley Chapels and Schools.

    Continue following the road in the Wombwell direction and turn into Pitt Street after the left hand bend in the road.

    You are now in Low Valley. A high density of housing developed here in late Victorian times to provide homes for mine

    workers. On the right is the Primitive Methodist Chapel, (1909) and on the left the Darfield Elementary School, (1906). This

    has now been demolished and replaced by a new school. On the sharp bend in the road is the old Astoria Cinema, now the

    Fishing Republic.

    In Pitt Street was one of the earliest schools in Darfield.  

    Many of the Low Valley houses have now been demolished and the open spaces are now being redeveloped.

   15. Darfield Fault Open Space.  

    Return to the bend in the road and take the footpath through the housing estate that will lead to Barnsley Road.

    Emerg ing from the housing estate, the undeveloped green area marks the line of the Darfield Fault. In the distance to the

    left may be seen Upperwood Hall, (1835), one of the five halls that lay around Darfield. 

     16. The Nurses Home .

     Continue on the pathway until Barnsley Road is reached.

       The large house on the right was built as the residence for a District Nurse in 1913. Small voluntary subscriptions enabled

      families to have the services of the nurse in times of sickness or accident. Look for the inscription over the front door.

     17. Site of Woodhall.

    Walk down Barnsley Road back toward the centre of Darfield.

     Where the new bungalows now stand across the road from the Nurses Home, was the site of Woodhall Farm.

    18. Top Chapel and Roman Coin Hoards.

   Continue down Barnsley Road.

    In the land to the left of Barnsley Road, whilst the housing was being developed, two hoards of silver Roman coins were

    found during building work. A beehive quern stone was also discovered.

    Toward the end of the road is the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel built in 1886.

    Continue your walk now to the Cross Keys Inn where your walk started.