Cubley and Mortimer's Road

Horse Racing
The Penistone Races were held between 1726 and 1730 on the Race Common, on fields above Cubley near the current Doubting Lane. Racecommon Avenue in Cubley is named after it. This would have been before the 'enclosures' of 1826 in this area, when the previously open 'commons' were enclosed by walls for more efficient farming.

Mortimer's Road
Pack Horse RouteHans Winthrop Mortimer
of Caldwell Hall, Derbyshire was Lord of the Manor of Bamford and MP for Shaftesbury. His father was the eminent, connected and wealthy physician Dr Cromwell Mortimer, who had worked for the king and had been Secretary of the Royal Society for twenty years.

HW Mortimer desired to build a good road from Penistone Bridge to Grindleford, largely based upon an old packhorse route known as 'Halifax Gate' in earlier times with Grindleford was where two other routes met up, both turnpiked in 1758:

In 1771, Royal Assent was given to an 'Act for repairing and widening the Road leading from Penistone Bridge, in the County of York, to Grindleford Bridge, in the County of Derby, and the roads severally leading from Bamford Wood Gate, over Yorkshire Bridge, to the Guide Post on Thornhill Moor, to or near the Eight Mile Stone on Hathersage Moor, and to the village of Derwent, in the said County of Derby.' (London Gazette, 26th March 1771).

The road was in use by 1777. This was a time when coach travel was becoming more popular and better roads were needed. His improved route between Penistone Bridge (River Don at Bridge End) and Grindleford in Derbyshire became known as 'Mortimer's Road'. It carried wool, cheese and lead northwards with returning loads of woollen cloth from the Halifax area.

This map has been modified to include the approximate position of the earlier 'Halifax Gate' packhorse route as a dotted line, taken from a sketch in 'Mortimer Road - The Turnpike that Failed'. The sketch showed a considerable deviation from the old 'Halifax Gate' packhorse route in the Cranberry area near Cubley.

Given its closeness to Doubting Lane above Cubley, it is likely that the lane was part of the original route, the sketch being only an approximation and bearing in mind that the enclosures of 1826 might have required the lane to be moved slightly. There is also the remnant of an old route at the other side of the top road which might have been the continuation, going down to the bridge at the bottom. Unfortunately, the turnpiked road failed as a business venture and HW Mortimer died bankrupt in 1807.

Stocksbridge Archive has the same sketch of the packhorse route on Mortimer's page. See also turnpikes in our area, an interesting walk near Bradfield and this pdf for Midhope. See 'Mortimer Road - The Turnpike that Failed' by Howard Smith and available in Penistone Library. See S Yorks Timescapes to read about the effects of enclosing the commons. The map above is reproduced and linked © 'OpenStreetMap contributors', courtesy of 'OpenStreetMap', under the Open Database License. See Copyright details.

Cubley Model Village
Cubley's 'modern' history is tied up with that of the old Cammel-Laird iron and steel works, which is explored in more detail on the David Brown page. In 1914, an Iron and Steelworks was started in Penistone by Messrs Benson, Adamson and Garnet. Three years later it was sold to Charles Cammel, to become Cammell Laird and Co. Ltd steelworks, whose main product was railway lines.

In 1921-22, the Cubley housing estate was started on land purchased in 1919. It was planned as a 'model village', mostly on the old 'Race Common' (where there used to be horse races many years ago), to accommodate workers at Cammell Laird steelworks. The centre picture above (from an old Penistone Almanac) shows it in some detail. It is interesting that it features allotments, a bowling club, village green, a monument, two churches, a hostel, recreation ground and a school. So it was quite self-contained except for (just as in modern times) no new shops.

You can view the actual plan in Cubley Hall near the bar area (also shown here, with the kind permission of Cubley Hall). The design was by top architect Herbert Baker, who had worked with Sir Edward Lutyens on New Delhi. The Chairman of Cammell-Laird's, Mr WL Hichens, said that they planned to erect about 500 houses on the estate, starting with a hundred. They hoped that the village would become a model for the rest of the country. Only part of the plan was built, mostly that which was on land transferred to Penistone Council in 1921.

Cubley PlanCubley Plan

Vinegar Brewery
In more recent times, Cubley Bottom was famous for Penistone Pure Malt Vinegar Company, which closed in the 1970s. See the Vinegar Brewery history page for more about the brewery.


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