Parish History

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Hatfield Town CouncilHatfieldHatfield CemeteryHatfield ChurchDunsvilleDunscroft Hatfield Woodhouse Lindholme

Travis School now Hatfield Town Council OfficesHATFIELD TOWN COUNCIL

The building now occupied by Hatfield Town Council was the original Travis School.

The old school building was erected in 1682 as a Free Grammar School, mainly by the efforts of John  Hatfield, senior.  It was in decline as a grammar school at the beginning of the nineteenth century and was taken over by the Travis Trust c.1827.  The Travis Trust was formed in 1710 when Henry Travis, a London attorney, in his will left 400 acres of land in Yorkshire, in trust, the income therefrom to be used for the shooling of poor children in the parishes of Hatfield, Thorne and Wroot.  For the first hundred or more years the Travis teachers used their own cottages in which to teach poor children.  The Rev Thomas Fox, Vicar of Hatfield from 1801 to 1848 was appointed headmaster of the Grammar School in 1827.  He was also Treasurer of the Travis Trust and was appointed the teacher for Hatfield by the Trust in the same year.  He combined both teaching posts and the grammar school effectively became the Travis School.  The Rev Fox also incorporated the school into the Church National School system.  There is no record of him actually teaching and it is believed he paid other teachers a smaller salary to do the work.

The original building was rectangular and the front or east wing was added in 1895, making an additional classroom.  This was mainly through the efforts of the Rev G P Haydon who in 1880 had arranged for new toilets, cloakroom and a porch to be built and 60 yards of wall to be erected.  Thomas Cooper senior, a tailor and the village postmaster, who was a Unitarian and opposed to Haydon, threatened to pull down the wall, claiming it was encroachment on the path and sent a gang of men to intimidate the builders.

Two prefabricated buildings, known as West Riding classrooms, were delivered in 1958 because of the acute overcrowding at that time.  They were converted into the Nursery Unit in 1984.

The new Travis School was officially opened in 1968.

(Source - The Parish of Hatfield in Pictures by Ben Brown)

HATFIELD  Back to top 

The name Hatfield - or Hethefeld - means "a track of open cultivated land".  The village lies on a small gravel island in the middle of what was once an area covered mostly by peat moors and bogs.  So far, very little evidence has been accumulated regarding this earea in early times.  Various authorities say the Cymbri were the first to settle here, about 2500 years ago.  It is also said the Phoenicians traded here, followed by the Romans.  However, the main Roman road from south to north makes a definite detour to the west around this marshy area.  After the Romans left this country, the north was harried by the Picts, the Scots and the Danes.  Eventually the Saxon King Deira took control, followed by Edwin, the first Christian King of Northumbria.  Edwin was killed and his forces defeated at the Battle of Hatfield in AD 633, by Penda, the pagain King of Mercia.  Local tradition has it that the battle was fought at Slay Pits and some say that the dead were buried at the mound near the junction of Doncaster Road and Lings Lane.  However, in Anglo-Saxon times Hatfield was the name given to a large administrative area which included part of Nottinghamshire and modern historians think the battle probably took place near Edwinstowe.  Slay Pits may be the site of an earlier battle.  The so-called burial mound was the base of a windmill. (Thomas Jeffrey's map 1767-72).

The first documentary reference to settlement is that provided by the Domesday Survey of 1086.  At the time of this great survey, Hatfield, together with the nearby places of Stainforth, Bramwith, Fishlake, Thorne and Tudworth, formed part of the large estate of  William de Warenne of Conisbrough Castle.  Hatfield was described as follows - "in HEDFELD (there are) 12 sokemen with 6 ploughs.  A church (is) there, and a priest.  Pasturable woodland 6 furlongs in length and 6 in breadth." Tudworth had 7 sokemen (freemen), 7 villeins (service men) and 3 ploughs.  It paid 20000 eels to the lord annually.

From William the Conqueror's days onwards for at least 500 years, Hatfield Chase, with the village of Hatfield more or less at its centre, was a forest of some 70 000 acres in extent.  Originally owned by the Warenne family, it became a Roayl forest in the 14th century.  Hatfield Park, which was fenced and held fallow deer, lay to the south-west of the village.

Manor House, traditionally the site of King Edwin of Northumbria's palace, occupied a special place in the social and economic structure of the community.  William de Hatfield, the second son of Edward III was born there but died in early boyhood.  Edward's Queen, Phillipa, stayed at the Manor whilst Edward was fighting with his army against Scotland.  Geoffrey Chaucer, famous for his Canterbury Tales, lived there for a time between the years 1356 and 1359.  He was a squire or page in the service of Prince Lionel, third son of Edward III.  Henry the eldest son of Richard, Duke of York, was born there in 1441.  In the 15th century, Thomas Hatfield, who later became Bishop of Durham and Keeper of the Privy Seal, is also believed to have been born there.

In 1607, there is a record that Hatfield was affected by the Plague and by huge floods.

John Hatfield, a Captain in the Parliamentary Army, settled in the village in the mid 17th centry.  He was the first of four John Hatfields who acquired land and great influence in the area.  In 1627 Thomas Wormeley left 40 acres of land in Kirkhouse Green to found a "free Grammar School".  John Hatfield gave land and raised money to erect the school building in 1682.

In the 17th century, the land around Hatfield was divided into three open fields.  During the 18th centry they were sub-divided and became five in number, known as West Field, Far of Firth Field, New Mill Field, Old Mill Field and Adam or Haddam Field.  Hund Oak Field was part of West Field.  The fields were divided into strips, which were individually owned and tilled.  There was also a certain amount of agriculture carried on in closes.  In 1794 Hatfield, Thorne and Fishlake petitioned Parliament for the fields to be enclosed.  The Act was eventually passed in 1811 and the Enclosure Commissioners divided the open fields and commons into smaller units and allotted them to the owners of the strips or to those who had grazing rights.  The Commissioners also defined the public and private roads and public footpaths in the parish.  The Enclosure Award, recording all this information was made in 1825.  Hedges and fences were erected to give largely the pattern you see today.

In 1837 Hatfield had an Independent Chapel and a Primitive Methodist Chapel, the latter newly built in 1835.

HATFIELD CEMETERY  Back to top                                                                   


Up to the mid-nineteenth century, the dead in this country were mostly buried in churchyards.  Many churchyards became over-crowded and were considered a health risk.  The Rev Thomas Fox, Vicar of Hatfield, was in correspondence with the Archbishop of York in 1842 re land for additional burial ground.  Eventually the plot of land now known as Dr Waters Gardens was taken over by the Church and used as an addition to the churchyard.

The Burial Act of 1853 authorised the setting up of Burial Boards to create and administer new burial grounds or cemeteries.  The Hatfield Vestry ratepayers, who controlled the township of Hatfield, formed a Burial Board which held its virst meeting in the old Travis School on 9 November 1883.  the Rev G P Haydon was elected chairman and Mr George Kenyon junior of Thorne was appointed Clerk to the Board.  Eventually it was agreed to purchase a plot of land on the Mill Field containing 4 acres, 1 rood, 35 perch from Mr John Stubbs at £50 an acre.

Mr Holby was employed as architecft and produced plans of the chapel and cottage.  The plans were accepted "subject to the alteration of buttresses (with the exception of those at the gates) being weathered into the wall instead of stone capped."

The sum of £1200 was borrowed on the security of the poor rates from the Public Works Loan Board.  The Loan Board quoted interest at £5 per cent but the members of the Burial Board said they could get a lower rate on the market and the Loan Board finally agreed £4 per cent.

The Burial Board adopted a Common Seal with "the Royal Arms of Edward III inserted in a lozenge (like the seal of Guildford School Board produced) with the words "Hatfield Burial Board" and the date round it."  The Board were looking at a number of specimen seals and there is no mention of them being aware that King Edward III was associated with Hatfield, his son Prince William being born in Hatfield Manor House.

Work on laying out the burial ground and building the chapel and boundary walls was carried out by Messrs Athron Bros & Gill in the tender amount of £950.  Burials in the new cemetery commenced in 1886.  The newly formed Hatfield Parish Council took over responsibility and has continued to administer the cemetery every since.

Source - Ben Brown

Hatfield ChurchHATFIELD CHURCH  Back to top 

A church at Hatfield was mentioned in the Domesday Survey but nothing remains of that building.  The present church, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, was the first to be built in this locality and parochial rights extended to Fishlake, Stainforth and Thorne.  When churches were built at Thorne and Fishlake, Hatfield church still maintained parochial rights over them for a considerable time.  Stainforth remained part of Hatfield Parish until 1884.  Parts of the church date back to the twelfth century.  The west and south doorways and part of the outer walls of the naive are constructed of small boulders or pebbles, typical of the Norman period.  Some of the windows at the west end are also Norman.  Extensive re-building took place in the period 1480-1500, the material being magnesian limestone.  Several masons' marks, cut in the stone, confirm these dates.  The tower, 100 feet high, was built at this time and bears the arms of the Savage family.  Sir Edward Savage became Bailiff of Hatfield in 1495 and his brother Thomas was Archbishop of York from 1501 to 1507.  The Saint Catherine Chapel on the north side and the Lady Chapel on the south side were added at the beginning of the sixteenth century.  After the re-building, the Church was dedicated to Saint Mary but the original name of Saint Lawrence was regained in the eighteenth century.

DUNSVILLE  Back to top 

The village of Dunsville as we know it today has only been in existence for sixty or seventy years.  Before that it was a little hamlet known as Park Lane.  The story begins several centuries ago when Hatfield Chase was a large forest in which noblemen and the Kings of England hunted for game.  At the south west end of the Chase there was a Park which stretched from the west side of Hatfield, across the areas now known as Dunscroft and Dunsville to Wheatley and Barnby Dun.  The Chase and the Park have long disappeared bu the name Park Lane lingered on.  for many years Park Lane consisted of two or three farms an a few farm cottages.  Then towards the end of the eighteenth century, William Gossip, who had married Ann Hatfield, decided to build a large house there which he called Park Lane House, or Hall.

Dunsville is an inter-war development, built by Mr E C Dunn in the early 1930's in the area previously known as Park Lane.  The 1851 census shows 17 householders in Park Lane, including Park Lane Hall, with a total population of 97.  There were three farms, tenanted by Thomas Holgate (60 acres), George Kynman (65 acres) and William Dobson (58 acres).  The other householders were all agricultural labourers with the exception of Henry Pilkington at the Hall.  It remained more or less unchanged until Mr. Dunn began to build in the 1930's, with the assistance of a government scheme introduced in 1933, for building houses to let at rents below 10 shillings (50p) per week.  The name was changed from Park Lane to Dunsville in the late 1930's.  When first built, the rents were reckoned to be the cheapest in England.  In later years, as the houses required repairs and modernisation, Mr. Dunn sold them to the sitting tenants for a reasonable sum. 

It has an early 19th century country house (now a nursing home) known as Wyndthorpe Hall, previously owned by Lord Chetwynd.  It is understood this Hall was visited several times by King Edward VII.  Holy Tree Cottage, (now demolished), was an 18th century keeper's cottage.

(Source - The Parish of Hatfield in Pictures by Ben Brown)

Hatfield CollieryDUNSCROFT  Back to top 

Roche Abbey, whose Abbot was responsible for appointing a Vicar to the living of Hatfield from 1347 to 1507, also erected Dunscroft Grange to administer the rectorial tithes which belonged to the Abbey until the Reformation.  Then the tithes reverted to the Crown.  The Dunscroft Grange building which was demolished in 1965 (on the site of the Abbey public house) was built in the early 17th century, probably the the Lee family who owned the tithes. 

Right up to the 1920's, Dunscroft was solely an agricultural area.  The 1851 census showed only 11 households with a population of 42.  One of the farms was the Grange or Abbey Farm (120 acres) occupied by Francis Wharton.  There was another small farm of 48 acres tenanted by John Newsome and the remainder of the houses were occupied by farm labourers.  Between Dunscroft and Park Lane was an area named The Parks, consisting of four farms occupied by Samuel Martin (120 acres) Thomas Outwin (117 acres), Thomas Dawson (245 acres) and George Outwin (241 acres).  Most of this land was eventually owned by the Parks Estates Company from whom it was purchased in 1921/1924 by the Hatfield Main Colliery Company, (the colliery opened in 1916) in order to build houses for their expanding workforce.  Building commenced in 1922 and was not completed until the end of that decade.

It has a modern round church of interesting design at the junction of Abbey Road and Sheep Dip Lane.`

(Source - The Parish of Hatfield in Pictures by Ben Brown)


Little is known of the early history of Hatfield Woodhouse but to all intents and purposes it has been part of Hatfield, although some of the inhabitants may say otherwise.  At the time of the formation of Hatfield Parish Council in 1894, a motion was put forward that it be regarded as a separate ward but the motion was lost.  Some of the Parish Councillors were from Hatfield Woodhouse.

Looking at the Directory for 1894, there are a number of shops and occupations shown as belonging to Woodhouse, although not so many as at Hatfield.  At one time Woodhouse had its own quota of shoemakers and tailors but none are shown in 1894.  It did however, have two blacksmiths - William Sykes and John Ramskir, the latter also being an ironmonger.  There was one bricklayer, Joseph Lowe and two joiners, Thomas Wm Coates and H Rowley.

Mrs Goddard and George D Jubb were shown as grocers and there were no less than six shopkeepers.  These were William Bottom, George Briggs, J Draper (also a buthcer), Mrs Roberts, Mrs Taylor (also a farmer) and Thomas Welch.  Butchers were Henry Billyard, George Hirst of Stone Hill and of course, J Draper.  Mr H Hepworth was newsagent and farmer.

For many years there had ben two thrashing machine operators at Woodhouse but by 1894 there was only one, that as G Hepworth.  There were also two carriers shown at Woodhouse - George Hanson (also a farmer) and Joseph Shaw.  People born at the beginning of the twentieth century can remember the Woodhouse Carrier picking up passengers in Hatfield, on their way to market early on a Saturday morning and dropping them off between 5.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on their way back.

W Gregory was shown as an insurance agent but in fact, he was Secretary of a Friendly Society like the Shephers or the Foresters.

Some of the Inns shown at Woodhouse or on the outskirts were old coaching inns.  The Green Tree Inn was one, with Elizabeth Morris as landlady.  At the Spotted Bull, Mrs Wilburn had been landlady for some years.  It ceased to be a public house in 1910 and the local inhabitants bought the fixtures and fittings to start up their own Working Men's Club.  Job Walker was landlord of the Robin Hood and Little John whilst C Sanderson was landlord of the Black Bull at High Levels.

Three principal residents shown as living in Woodhouse were Ann Pigott, Mrs Rawson an Mrs Rickard.

(Source -Ben Brown)


LINDHOLME Back to top

The Lindholme estate covers 120 acres which were previously an island in the middle of peat lands, made up of a glacial moraine deposited at the end of the last ice age.  On Lindholme Island, two geological sections have been exposed, both of which provide rate evidence of the limits of the last glaciation in Eastern England.  It is anticipated that the sections will be the basis for further discreet scientific research.

There is archaeological evidence of human presence on Lindholme Island dating back thousands of years.  In the spring of 2010, a geologist who was carrying out some research on the land, found a knapped flint which has been dated at approximately 1600 years old.  In addition, a local amateur historian discovered a 5000 year old wooden track way to the north of the island.  One of any four such track ways have been found in Europe.

The Lindholme Hall Estate, in the centre of the Hatfield Moor Nature Reserve, is made up of grassland, heathland and woodland, including ancient oak and Scots pine, believed to originate from colonies dating back to the ice age.  The island is very beautiful, inspiring and peaceful, with a medieval character.

On the international scale, the moor habitat is as rare as the Amazonian rain forest and considered to be a very precious part of our national heritage.  Hatfield Moor, previously milled for garden peat, is now the largest reclamation project in Europe. 

There is evidence to suggest Lindholme Island was the location of a chapel in ancient times.  Records also indicate that in the 15th century, the island was used as a hermitage.

Lindholme was known during Saxon times and was the centre of a religious community.  A hermit, William de Lindholme, lived a lonely existence in a desolate region which took its name from this man.  One local story is that when he knew his life was coming to an end, he dug his own grave and buried himself by knocking away a support from under a large stone which sealed his last resting place.  His ghost is said to inhabit the moors!  His grave was discovered near the present Lindholme Hall in 1727.  The quietness and solitude is certain proof that the area has altered little since the time of William de Lindholme.  It is reputed that Billy de Lindholme's ghost has been seen by local residents.

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