Elsecar /ˈɛlsɪkɑːr/ (listen) is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Like many villages in the area, it was for many years a colliery village until the widespread pit closures during the 1980s. Elsecar is near the town of Hoyland and the villages of Jump and Wentworth. Elsecar is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Hoyland, 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Barnsley and 8 miles (13 km) north-east of Sheffield. The village falls within the Barnsley MBC Ward of Hoyland Milton.

Elsecar is unique as a name. It is thought to derive from the Old English personal name of Aelfsige (mentioned in Cartulary of Nostell Priory, 1259–66) and the Old Norse word kjarr, used to denote a marsh or brushwood.[1]

Holy Trinity Church Elsecar March 2017

Holy Trinity Parish Church in Elsecar
Elsecar is located in South Yorkshire
Location within South Yorkshire
Population2,500 (2001)
OS grid referenceSE389001
• London145 mi (233 km) S
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtS74
Dialling code01226
PoliceSouth Yorkshire
FireSouth Yorkshire
EU ParliamentYorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Elsecar as having a population of 1912 and 353 dwelling places.[2]


J Davey Elsecar manhole cover April 2017
Manhole cover from an Elsecar foundry

Elsecar was nothing more than a series of farms up until the 18th century. Although coal had been mined in the area since the 14th century the first colliery, Elsecar Old, did not open until 1750. The first proper mine shaft was sunk in 1795 at Elsecar New Colliery. The village was formed to take advantage of the coal resources in the area, the seams of the Carboniferous Middle Coal Measures, the Kents Thick and Kents Thin coal seams.[1] Many of the new buildings were built by the Earl Fitzwilliam, who resided in nearby Wentworth Woodhouse, to house their workers. By the end of the century several pits were opened.

John and William Darwin & Co. of Sheffield opened the first furnace at Elsecar Ironworks (at the bottom of Forge Lane) in 1795. In 1799 another ironworks was founded at Milton by Walkers of Masborough, less than a mile to the west of Elsecar.[1] These came under the ownership of the Fitzwilliam family after their respective companies collapsed. In 1838 a horse drawn tramroad was constructed to link Dearne and Dove Canal with the Milton Ironworks, Tankersley Park ironstone mines, Lidgett Colliery and the Thorncliffe Ironworks at Chapeltown. Stationary engines were used for the incline sections, and remained in operational until about 1880.[1]

There was also a distillery which opened in 1814; however this only lasted four years. Two smaller family run forges were also established in the mid 19th century and they survived well into the 20th century. The two main forges were closed by the end of the century.

The last colliery to open was Elsecar Main in 1908: It was also the last to close in 1983. In 1988 the last pit in the area, Cortonwood, also closed. Elsecar Workshops were sold off by British Coal the following year, ending the village's ties to the coal industry. The village suffered from similar economic problems to all the mining villages in the region. There are still outstanding applications for mining parts of the village but these are unlikely to be acted upon.

In March 2017 Elsecar was designated as one of 10 Heritage Action Zones by Historic England with the benefit that the area would benefit from a share of £6m.[3]


In 1910 a local amateur photographer, Herbert Parkin, took some photographs of the local reservoir and surrounding areas and sent them into the Sheffield Star under the caption Elsecar-by-the-Sea. The name caught on and with the help of good transports link from Sheffield via the local railway station a thriving tourism business was established. The Hoyland council decided to create the public park to take advantage of the influx. The name is still jokingly used by some locals and to advertise events around the reservoir.[4]


Elsecar Heritage Centre Yard March 2017
Elsecar Heritage Centre

Elsecar features the popular Elsecar Heritage Centre a living history centre and contains the only Newcomen steam engine in the world to have remained in its original location. Craft workshops, a monthly antiques fair and other special events are also held here.

There is also a public park with a bandstand, children's playground, a refreshment room, and a pitch and putt golf course. The reservoir, now a local nature reserve, is adjacent to the upper park.

Various remains of the industry of the village also remain. There is a plaque next to the top lock on the canal marking the former location of a colliery. Along the canal there are also some shaft heads from pumping stations left standing. The remains of iron mines can be found in undergrowth on the wooded section of Broadcar Lane.


Elsecar has its own railway station on the Hallam and Penistone lines so it is possible to make direct journeys to Barnsley, Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield, and Wakefield. Buses run to and from Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield.

A railway junction named "Elsecar Junction" was located on the (now closed) Woodhead Line, some distance from Elsecar, close to the Wath marshalling yard. The line through Elsecar Junction, including Wath marshalling yard, closed in 1988.

Mardy Monster at Elsecar Heritage Railway (39) (9757058061)
Elsecar Heritage Railway

The Elsecar Heritage Railway is based at the heritage centre. It currently runs between Rockingham Station (at the back of the heritage centre) and Hemingfield Basin. This service is currently for pleasure only; you cannot alight at Hemingfield Basin. There are plans to extend the line to Cortonwood and add regular stops. The railway is operated by steam locomotives, along with the "Earl of Strafford" diesel engine.

In 1793 An Act of Parliament authorised the making of the Dearne and Dove Canal between Swinton and Barnsley, with two branches, one to Worsbrough and another to Elsecar at a location then known as Cobcar Ing, a water meadow a few hundred yards from Elsecar New Colliery. Currently only the top pond is usable but there are plans to restore the entire length.[1]


The village has its own cricket club, established in 1854, which plays in the South Yorkshire Cricket League.[5] It also has several junior teams that play in the Barnsley & District Junior Cricket Association.

It was represented in the FA Cup by Elsecar Main F.C. in the 1900s.

Notable people

  • George Utley, Football player who turned out for Barnsley F.C., captained Sheffield United F.C. and played once England was born in Reform Row in Elsecar. He also won two FA Cup winners medals, one with each of his clubs.
  • Sir Thomas Tomlinson Kt, BEM, JP (1877–1959) Tommy Tomlinson, as he was affectionately known locally, was one of the area's best known residents for over forty years and lived at 20 Fitzwilliam Street. In 1910 he became branch secretary of the Yorkshire Miners' Association and was elected to Hoyland UDC for the Elsecar ward in 1912 and to the West Riding County Council in 1921. Continuing as a Councillor for Hoyland UDC until 1940, he was chairman in 1921-3 and 1933-5. He occupied various posts at the Wesleyan Reform Church. He became a County Alderman in 1929 and was Chairman of the West Riding County Council 1946-9 and 1952-5. He was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in 1945 and knighted in 1954.
  • Arthur O'Loughlin, retired undefeated World kickboxing champion, was brought up in Hoyland and now lives in Elsecar with his wife, Christine. Arthur now owns 'Locky's', a bar in nearby Wombwell.
  • Bobby Knutt, popular comedian and entertainer, lived in Elsecar for several years.
  • Laban Solomon, who lived on Church Street and died in 1903, aged 61, is buried in Elsecar churchyard beneath a kneeling angel, near the Wath Road.He was a well known composer, he being a particular favourite of Queen Victoria. He composed hymn tunes and other sacred music. He wrote tunes for such well known hymns as 'Oh, so bright' and 'All hail the power of Jesus' name,' as well as some more obscure ones, some written by the Rev E Doughty Solomon, a relation of his. For Sunday School Anniversaries he also supplied orchestral parts by post.


Old Row cottages Elsecar March 2017

Former miners and steelworkers cottages by the village green

Miners Lodging House Elsecar March 2017

Former lodging house for miners (1853)

Milton Hall Elsecar March 2017

Milton Hall Community Centre (1870)

The Market Inn Elsecar March 2017

The Market Inn

The Inclined Plane - geograph.org.uk - 1535505

Inclined Plane on the former tramway

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Elsecar Appraisal" (PDF). barnsley.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ "History of Elsecar, in Barnsley and West Riding | Map and description". www.visionofbritain.org.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Coventry and Hull among 10 'historic action zones'". BBC News. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Elsecar Park". www.barnsley.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Elsecar CC". elsecarmain.play-cricket.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  • Population figures
  • Howse, Geoffrey (1999), Around Hoyland, Sutton Publishing Limited, ISBN 0-7509-2268-0
  • Howse, Geoffrey (2000), Around Hoyland A Second Selection, Sutton Publishing Limited, ISBN 0-7509-2726-7
  • Howse, Geoffrey (2002) Around Hoyland People & Places, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-3148-5

External links

Media related to Elsecar at Wikimedia Commons

Albert Pape

Albert Arthur Pape (13 June 1897 – 18 November 1955) was an English footballer. His regular position was as a forward. Born in Elsecar, South Yorkshire, he played for several clubs in The Football League, including Notts County, Clapton Orient and Manchester United.

Dearne and Dove Canal

The Dearne and Dove Canal ran for almost ten miles through South Yorkshire, England from Swinton to Barnsley through nineteen locks, rising 127 feet (39 m). The canal also had two short branches, the Worsbrough branch and the Elsecar branch, both about two miles long with reservoirs at the head of each. The Elsecar branch also has another six locks. The only tunnel was bypassed by a cutting in 1840.The canal was created mainly to carry cargo from the extensive coal mining industry in the area. Other cargo included pig iron, glass, lime, oil products and general merchandise. A combination of railway competition and subsidence caused by the same mines it served forced the canal into a gradual decline, closing completely in 1961. As the local coal industry also collapsed in the 1980s the canal was thrown a lifeline with the forming of the Barnsley Canal Group who are now attempting to restore the whole canal, an effort further boosted by the abandonment of the railway which replaced it.

Earl Fitzwilliam's private railway station

Earl Fitzwilliam's private railway station is a former private railway station in South Yorkshire, England, situated at the upper end of the Elsecar branch of the South Yorkshire Railway.

The station was opened in 1870, after the line passed to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and was used by the Earl's parties visiting the St. Leger race meeting at Doncaster. The Earl's parties were conveyed by coach from Wentworth Woodhouse to the station to join these trains which were known, and shown in railway publications as "E.F.W. Specials".

Works records of Elsecar show that these trains ran until 'the early years of the 20th century'. The M.S.& L.R. issued a 'Royal Standard' to the station to be flown when royalty was included in the party.

The station was also host to other trains not connected to the St. Leger race meeting or usage by Earl Fitzwilliam. These were the seaside excursions operated for the pleasure of the villagers which were a regular feature of the summers before the First World War. Because of the length of journey and the suitability of the junction, meeting the main line in that direction, Cleethorpes was a popular destination.

The building was of two storeys, the upper storey containing a waiting/drawing room where the Earl entertained his guests prior to departure. Still standing, the station is included within the site of the Elsecar Heritage Centre. The first mile of the line, northwards from the Heritage Centre toward Cortonwood, has been re-laid after it was closed in 1983 with the closure of Elsecar Main Colliery and is now operated by the Elsecar Steam Railway. The remainder of the line, from Cortonwood to Elsecar Junction near Brampton, was closed after the closure of Cortonwood colliery in 1985, and the track lifted.

Elsecar Collieries

The Elsecar Collieries were the coal mines sunk in and around Elsecar, a small village to the south of Barnsley in what is now South Yorkshire, but was traditionally in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The last operating mine, Elsecar Main, closed in 1984 and with its closure ended 230 years of mining in the village

Elsecar Heritage Centre

Elsecar Heritage Centre is a living history centre in Elsecar, Barnsley, England.

Elsecar Heritage Railway

The Elsecar Heritage Railway (EHR) is located on the southern part of the former South Yorkshire Railway freight-only branch which ran from Elsecar Junction on its Mexborough to Barnsley Line.

The Elsecar Heritage Railway operates an out and back tourist train ride on a 1 mile (1.6 km) section of the branch using steam and diesel locomotives, currently running between Rockingham station (at the back of the Elsecar Heritage Centre) and Hemingfield Basin. The railway is operated using a variety of different preserved rolling stock.

The EHR plans eventually to operate the line into Cortonwood, with a new halt at Hemingfield, doubling the length of the line to two miles.

Elsecar Ironworks

The Elsecar Ironworks opened in 1795 in the village of Elsecar near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The company was bankrupted in 1827 and taken over by the Wentworth estate who owned the land it stood on. The buildings are now part of the Elsecar Heritage Centre.

Elsecar Main F.C.

Elsecar Main F.C. was an English association football club based in Elsecar, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Elsecar goods station

Elsecar goods station was a goods facility constructed near the village of Elsecar, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, at the terminus of the South Yorkshire Railways branch line from Elsecar Junction on its Mexborough to Barnsley line. The total length of the line was 2 miles 1204 yards.The line from Elsecar Junction followed closely that of the Elsecar Branch of the Dearne and Dove Canal to its terminus at Elsecar where the sidings of Earl Fitzwillian's Elsecar Colliery are alongside. Also joining the line are the exchange sidings of Lidgett Colliery, reached by an incline from a triangular junction in the yard. The route of this tramway can still be seen today running between the hedgerows towards its summit and the point where it turns towards the colliery.In 1930 the facilities in the yard included a goods shed with crane and sidings to the Elsecar Ironworks, the local gas works as well as the building containing Earl Fitzwilliam's private railway station and other warehouse facilities.

The facilities were closed in the early 1970s.

Elsecar railway station

Elsecar railway station is a railway station in Elsecar, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. It is based on the Penistone Line and Hallam Line served by Northern. The station was opened by the Midland Railway in July 1897 and was at one time known as Elsecar & Hoyland.

CCTV was recently installed for the purposes of crime prevention. Other improvements to the station include new signage, lighting, and the installation of passenger information display screens to provide real-time service information.

A new 85-bay car park at the station was opened in November 2013 - funded by South Yorkshire PTE, this cost £500,000 and is located behind the northbound platform.

George Utley

George Utley (born 16 May 1887 in Elsecar; died 8 January 1966 in Blackpool) was an English footballer who played for Barnsley, Sheffield United and England. He was strong and powerful half back who could shoot at goal when required.Utley was born in Reform Row, Elsecar, which lies south of Barnsley. He was the 11th and final child of James and Mary Utley. His father was an engine tender at a colliery and his brothers worked in the local coal mines and foundries.

Kirk Balk Academy

Kirk Balk Academy is a secondary school located in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. The school is mainly intended for students living in its immediate area: Birdwell, Hoyland, Jump, Tankersley, Elsecar and Pilley.

The school is an 11-16 academy teaching a wide curriculum in lower School (Y7 and 8) with a variety of qualifications in the upper School (Y9-11), such as GCSE and BTEC.

A new building for the school was finished in late 2011, allowing for the demolition of the old school. This made space for a school field, which is used for Physical Education. Along with the new building, the school changed its name from Kirk Balk School to Kirk Balk Community College, created a new logo, and added a new uniform. In September 2014, the school was renamed Kirk Balk Academy. In March 2015, it was formally converted to academy status, sponsored by the Northern Education Trust. In September 2016 Ms Jo Nolan became the Executive Principal of Kirk Balk Academy and another NET school, Thomas Hepburn Academy. Mr Dean Buckley became the Head of Academy.

Leawood Pump House

The Leawood Pump House (also known as High Peak Pump House) was built near Cromford, Derbyshire, England in 1849 to supply water to the Cromford Canal, built some 50 years previously. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Located a little along the canal towpath from High Peak Junction, it stands to a height of 45 feet (14 m) on the right bank of the River Derwent, at the end of the Derwent Aqueduct, and has a 95-foot (29 m) chimney stack with a cast-iron cap.

The Watt-type beam engine was designed and erected by Graham and Company of Milton Works, Elsecar, Sheffield. The beam length is 33 feet (10 m), the piston diameter 50 inches (1.3 m), stroke of 10 feet (3.0 m) and the engine works at 7 strokes per minute. The boilers, replaced in 1900, have a pressure of 40 p.s.i.

Water is drawn from the River Derwent through a 150-yard (140 m) tunnel to a reservoir in the basement. It is then lifted 30 feet (9.1 m) and discharged into the canal.

The immense size of the pump (which can transfer almost four tons of water per stroke and seven strokes a minute, a total of over 39,000 tons of water per 24 hours) is explained by the fact that there were restrictions on removing water from the Derwent river, this being allowed only between 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 p.m. on Sundays.

The pumphouse worked continuously from 1849 until 1944 when the canal closed. It was restored in 1979 by the Cromford Canal Society and is run periodically.

List of schools in Barnsley

This is a list of schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in the English county of South Yorkshire.

Milton Ironworks

Not to be confused with the Milton Ironworks, Glasgow, Scotland

The Milton Ironworks was an iron works established in the 19th century in the Elsecar area of Barnsley, West Yorkshire, England.

Penistone Line

The Penistone Line is operated by Northern in the West Yorkshire Metro/ Travel South Yorkshire area of northern England. It connects Huddersfield and Sheffield via Penistone and Barnsley, serving many rural communities. Metrocards (Zone 5) can be used for travel between Huddersfield and Denby Dale and intermediate stations.

Rockingham railway station (South Yorkshire)

Rockingham (South Yorkshire) railway station is the terminus of the preserved line which is being built along the trackbed of the former Elsecar branch of the South Yorkshire Railway. The station is built within the Elsecar Heritage Centre, the former National Coal Board workshops at Elsecar. The station officially opened to passengers on 5 April 1996, when the inaugural train ran to Hemingfield.The line runs from Rockingham station to Hemingfield Basin, alongside the Elsecar Branch of the Dearne and Dove Canal but it was intended to extend the line to Cortonwood with halts at Hemingfield and Cortonwood during 2013. However, by February 2017 the project was ongoing but still incomplete.The station was called Rockingham by Barnsley Council (who re-opened the railway) after a second name of the Earl Fitzwilliam family, the original builders of the line in the 1850s.

South Yorkshire Coalfield

The South Yorkshire Coalfield is so named from its position within Yorkshire. It covers most of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and a small part of North Yorkshire. The exposed coalfield outcrops in the Pennine foothills and dips under Permian rocks in the east. Its most famous coal seam is the Barnsley Bed. Coal has been mined from shallow seams and outcrops since medieval times and possibly earlier.

South Yorkshire Railway

The South Yorkshire Railway was a railway company with lines in the south of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Initially promoted as the South Yorkshire Coal Railway in 1845, the railway was enabled by an act of 1847 as the South Yorkshire Doncaster and Goole Railway Company which incorporated into it the permitted line of the Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Goole Railway south of Barnsley, the River Dun Navigation, and Dearne and Dove Canals; and had permission for a line from Swinton to Doncaster and other branches. On 10 November 1849 the first section of line opened between Swinton and Doncaster, with the remainder opening in the early 1850s.

In 1850 the company formally amalgamated with its canal interests, forming the South Yorkshire Railway and River Dun Company, in context generally referred to as the "South Yorkshire Railway".

As well as extensive colliery traffic, the company's tracks eventually supported a passenger service between Barnsley and Doncaster; a branch line from Wombwell to Sheffield through the Blackburn valley; and services beyond Doncaster to Thorne and Keadby.

The South Yorkshire Railway was absorbed by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1864.

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