History of Wath

History of Wath | Topics | Wath Urban Trail 


History of Wath

The first written reference to Wath is in the Domesday Book of 1086, when Wath and its local settlements farmed some 2,700 acres of land. From that prosperous agricultural base there developed tanning, brewing, milling and weaving. Other trades included boot-maker, hatter, wheelwright, carpenter and blacksmith. Coal mining had developed by the 17th. century and became increasingly important, but was not dominant until after 1870.

Throughout the centuries careful thought was given to efficient cultivation of the great open-fields rising to the south of the village. For example, in October 1697 the manorial court agreed that all should erect good fences around the hard corn field, or be fined one shilling for each rood (5 metres) unfenced. Landowners such as the Earl Fitzwilliam regulated mining in Wath Wood by allowing only one bell-pit to be worked at a time, insisting that the surface be made good.

In 1739 the Earl of Malton leased 60 acres of land in Wath to Robert Fenton for £27.7s.6d per year. If Fenton grew corn or grain for more than four successive years without a crop of turnips or a fallow year, then he had to pay an extra £5 per acre. Fenton was an important farmer with 20 parcels of land among the ings and moors between the village and the river Dearne; 10 parcels in the Upper Field; 11 in the Sandygate Field and 14 in the Far Field. By the time Thomas Gee carried out the enclosure award in 1814 the 3 great arable fields contained more than 1,000 separate strips of land.

Our first record of coal mining is a tragic entry in the parish register for 12th September, 1606:

Buried Jo Beamonte Kyld in Addy Colepitt

Such was the value of coal that it led to the building of the Dearne and Dove canal in the 1790s so that vast coal reserves could be exploited. Helped by the development of canal and railway, industrialisation of the Dearne Valley accelerated during the early 19th century. By 1825 a pottery (Twigg Brothers) was established at Newhill and in 1844-45 gas lighting came to Wath’s streets. Yet, until deep mining developed after 1870 the village’s total population grew slowly:

1801 - 662
1871 - 2023
1901 - 8515
  Map of Wath
Map by J.C. Harvey
Wath Market Charter   Farm Notebook   Scything Hay   Church Farm
Wath Market Charter 7th September 1312   Farm notebook 1778 John Payne Newhill Hall   Scything hay on the Grange, Wath   Church Farm, Wath. Also known as Church View Farm
Yorkshire Collieries   Manvers Main Bill Heading   Manvers Main Shaft Marker   Newhill Colliery
Yorkshire Collieries map   Manvers Main bill heading 1888   Manvers Main No.4 shaft marker abandoned 1988   Newhill Colliery workings 1880s


Agriculture   Agriculture

Farming was the foundation of Wath’s prosperity.
  Coal Mining   Coal Mining

Mining brought greater prosperity to Wath as payment for mineral rights produced considerable income for landowners.
Artisits   Artists

Artists have been inspired for centuries to record their views of Wath.
  Housing   Housing

Farm incomes paid for the Georgian housing ‘boom’ in Wath during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Montgomery   Montgomery

James Montgomery was born in 1771 and lived in Wath 1789. A celebrated poet, hymn writer and journalist.
  Parish Church   Parish Church

All Saints is the true treasure of Wath. Of Saxon origin it was substantially rebuilt during the 12th - 14th centuries. Parts are pre-Norman.
World War I   World War I

Wath suffered as badly as any other part of the nation. There are 244 names on the town’s war memorial. Henry Ramsden of West Melton lied about his age and enlisted in November 1914 age 16. He was killed at Gallipoli in 1915.
  World War II   World War II

Mercifully, the loss of life was nothing like that in the Great War, with 65 names on the war memorial. Jack Breislin was in the Royal Tank Regiment and survived wounds received in 1944. His father was sergeant-major in the Wath company of the Yorks & Lancs in the Great War and had survived his wounds.

Wath Urban Trail

Leaflet sponsored by Rotherham MBC, Wentworth North Area Assembly, Living Streets, published July 2009
Wath Urban Trail - 1   Wath Urban Trail - 2   Wath Urban Trail - 3
Wath Urban Trail Map
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