Thrybergh Ravenfield Dalton

South Yorkshire England

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THE BLACKING MILL

A presentation by Keith Barraclough

 

 

Photo kindly presented by Keith Barraclough

This Photo was taken by Charlie Donovan of Thrybergh, c1963. It shows the mill and outbuildings, which shield the house from this view.

 

 

Situated in the valley below Milburn House on Hollings Lane the History of the Blacking Mill stretches way back into the history of Thrybergh. The Mill is no longer there, it has like other sites which should have been protected been demolished . There are mentions of the Mill in the documentation of the village, and there is no doubt that it once was a major factor of the continued existence of the Village.
In 1578 what became known as Barracloughs Farm in the mid 1900's was built, named The Blacking Mill. Keith Barraclough former resident of the Blacking Mill writes
C.1956 Rotherham Museum dated the house where I lived (now destroyed), off Hollings lane as being 380 years old, c1578 ad. I remember the Millrace and grooves in the wall where the waterwheel had been. This was lost c1930. inside the mill were several granite millstones of approx 5' diameter. It was said that, through the 16th to 19th centuries, all of the local grown wheat was brought to the Mill for grinding
If you look at the location where the Blacking Mill was, you will note that like most water mills the position was ideally suited for the purpose, in an enclosed Valley with a constant supply of water. The layout of the buildings was also well planned, in the positioning of the Barn the low ground and the Cottage, ensuring that the Barn was in the dampest area. The whole layout of these Mills was designed so that with good access to the working components and storage, [again the ground levels were important] one man could run the Mill
In 1841 it was occupied by Valentine Wilkinson age 45 a Maltster Selina Wilkinson age 16 Ann Wilkinson age10 and Mary Morley age 30
Also Nathen Beaumont age 44 an agricultural labourer, Mary Beaumont age40, Thomas Beaumont age 10 William Beaumont age 2
In 1881 Benjamin Turner was the Miller listed as,
Benjamin Turner Head M Male 62 Thrybergh, York, England Miller
Elizabeth Turner Wife M Female 53 Bramley, York, England Miller Wife
John Henry Turner Son U Male 24 Dalton, York, England Miller Son No Occ
Sarah Ellen Turner Daur U Female 19 Dalton, York, England Miller Daughter
Lenord Wille Turner Son Male 13 Thrybergh, York, England Scholar
Again in 1891 we find,
The Mill is listed asThrybergh Mill now occupied by the son of the now late Benjamin
Leonard Turner Head M 23 Thrybergh Miller and Farmer
Mary A Turner Wife M 23 Chesterfield
Elizabeth Turner Mother Widow 62 Bramley Yorks
Edith A Sargan Niece S 16 Thrybergh
Frank Bohan Serv S 17 Thrybergh Servant

By 1901 we find at the Blacking Mill on census day
Leonard Turner age 33 born in Thrybergh Corn Miller Farmer, and his son Edwin Turner age 7 born in Thrybergh.

The Mill as on the 1901 OS Map has no description given, yet from the census information we see it is still operating as a corn mill.. The Mill and land was sold to the Dalton Main Colliery Company, around this time and the Mill was occupied by the then Undermanager of Silverwood.


Approximately 1925 Harold Barraclough age 17 was living at the Blacking mill Thrybergh he signed on as a Driver at Silverwood, previously he had been working on the surface. Also
Percy Barraclough of the Blacking  mill age 15 signed on to work in what was known as the West Pit, Percy had also previously worked on the surface.
John T. Barraclough the third brother was also to work at Silverwood.

There was also ? Barraclough living at View Place ? who signed on as a stoneworker in 1928, He had previously worked at Brodworth.
Keith Barraclough former resident of the Blacking Mill and son of John T. writes
The Blacking Mill on Hollings Lane was owned by the 'National Coal Board' throughout the 20th century. It was used from before I was born as the 'Holiday home' for the pit ponies. I was not allowed to walk them down from the pit, because of their state of high excitement at being 'up top'. Once they were released into the field, they all ran round the perimeter of the field until they were exhausted. When they had settled down we were allowed to ride them (bare-back). I used to take a string of three or four back to the pithead after their two weeks, ready for another 50 weeks down below. I used to help Mr Sargent, the ostler, prepare 'Short', a chestnut brown pony for the shows at Clifton Park, Wickersley etc. I remember there being 47 ponies when I was 5 to 10 years old. including Blue, Porter, Stallin, (All greys) Thistle, Tony, Gyp (Chestnuts) and Twig a black stallion. and yes he was a beauty.

When the South Yorkshire pits stopped using ponies, The Blacking Mill became the South Yorkshire rest home  for all the local ponies. Latterly this was transferred to the fields on the left side of the road, as you approached Silverwood.
A chap called Arnold Sayles, manned two pump houses in dingle dell. The small one pumped water from the settling tanks, up to the major pumps, further up the valley. the major pumps pumped the water up to the coal washers in the pit yard to wash the coal. (yes they did wash coal), the dirty water fell by gravity, through pipes and timber water chutes back into the valley and into the settling tanks, so that the silt could settle and clean' water be pumped back up again. This system saved the need to use Yorkshire Water's' supply, and the National rivers authority would not allow unfiltered water into the brook / Don.
Here is another indistinct photo that I took of my Alsatian 'Lucky' Clearing a five bar gate, which she used to do 'because she could'.
The near horizontal pipe in the mid-distance fed a minor pumping station, which pumped filtered water up the valley to just beyond where the two woods appear to meet.

 

 

 

Here is another indistinct photo that I took of my Alsatian 'Lucky' Clearing a five bar gate, which she used to do 'because she could'.

 

 

 

Part of our garden at the Blacking Mill, was on a filled in settling tank. We dug the swimming pool down through the dried coal dust, (called Jubilee) and into the clay below (104 cubic yards in all). we stored quite a bit of the jubilee and used it in a heating system for the pool, comprising an old greenhouse boiler and 3 pipes running into the pool, along one wall down and back out to the boiler. (gravity fed)
Two other characters of that time were Mr Lawrence, Hostler in the forties and I understand that he was killed in a road accident at Wickersley, c 1950/ 53. Mr Sarjent then took over the hostlers job, based in our wash-house, which was our bathroom at the time. (we did wait for him to go home before having a bath)
John T. Barraclough (my Dad), worked at Silverwood (Mainly on top) as Bricklayer / Foreman bricklayer, then Pit head supervisor from c1947 to 1967 .His father (also from Blacking Mill) worked at Silverwood from ??? to  c 1950. He, and two others dug the footpath right of way, from the old Cenotaph site to Sunnyside via Dingle Dell, there always was a path thro' there, but on the east side of the valley. They cut the new path, with a double handrail formed with split railway sleepers as posts, and disused pit winding ropes as a double handrail. this was done c1947/8.
A brick and steel bridge was built up at the Sunnyside end, to allow the crossing of a swampy area. this was done by my dad. The purpose of all that work was to allow the coal board to tip over the previous path.

 

 

 

The foundations of the Blacking corn mill, may still be there, there is a  pit which may have been the wheel pit, at the north-west end of the mill, it is capped with concrete and a metal grill.

 

Many thanks to Keith Barraclough for sharing his knowledge on this page.

 

 

 

 

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