Cubley and Mortimer's Road

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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, mostly on the old 'Race Common' which had featured horse racing in days gone by. The estate was intended to be a 'model village' for the Cammell Laird workers. The design was by the top architect, Herbert Baker, who had worked with Sir Edward Lutyens on New Delhi.

The Chairman of Cammell-Laird's, Mr WL Hichens, had said that they planned to erect about 500 houses on the estate, starting with a hundred. It is interesting that it featured 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. They hoped that the new model village would be copied elsewhere in the country. You can view the actual plan in Cubley Hall near the bar area (also shown here, with the kind permission of Cubley Hall).

Unfortunately, bad times were around the corner towards the end of the 1920s, with the Depression and mass unemployment. Only part of the plan could be built in those circumstances, mostly on land which had been transferred to Penistone Council in 1921. In those days, our local council was a significant authority, landlord and employer. We must also remember that nearly everyone rented their accommodation in those days. Only the rich could afford their own homes. Council estates were gradually set up everywhere and they were, on average, decent places to live. Much of Penistone's estates (such as Park Avenue) were built pre-war.

Cubley PlanCubley Plan

Cubley Hall
A leaflet from Cubley Hall says that it was a moorland farm on a pack-horse route in the 1700s, then it became a gentleman's residence with four acres of gardens and grounds during the reign of Queen Victoria. Some details of its sale in 1898 can be gleaned from Barnsley Archives (see this section). The seller appears to be Leslie Hateley Fowler of Cubley Hall Farm, in the Manor of Penistone, in the County of York. Different amounts of money relate to different parts of an extensive property, which appears to be summarised thus:

All that messuage dwellinghouse known as Cubley Hall, situate in Cubley. Also, all those several closes called Near Ing, 1 acre, 3 roods and 37 perches, Lower Spout Field and Snippax in one field, 2 acres, 3 roods and 22 perches, New Close, 3 acres, another New Close, 3 acres and 24 perches, Far Ing, 2 acres, 2 roods and 24 perches, Coit Croft and Common Piece in one field, 5 acres, 2 roods and 34 perches, Rough Nook and Middle Joan Royd in one close, 8 acres, 2 roods and 25 perches, Far Joan Royd, 4 acres, 1 rood and 18 perches, Far Hackings, 3 acres, 2 roods and 5 perches, another Hackings called Square Hackings, 3 acres and 25 perches, another Hackings, 6 acres, 1 rood and 25 perches, Upper Spout Field and Ings in one field, 3 acres, 3 roods and 13 perches and Far Close, 2 acres. Also, all that messuage dwellinghouse in The Allen Field, 7 acres, 3 roods, 13 perches and also, Croft, 1 rood, 3 perches, Coit Croft, 4 acres, 2 roods and 39 perches, Joan Royd, 2 acres and 1 rood, Rough Nook, 7 acres, 3 roods and 18 perches, West Field, 5 acres, 1 rood and 24 perches, Near Long Field, 4 acres and 21 perches, Croft, 3 roods and 26 perches, Far Long Field, 5 acres, 2 roods and 2 perches, Far Hackings, 3 acres, 2 roods and 4 perches, Middle Hackings, 3 acres, 3 roods and 11 perches, Diamond and Allen Fields, 6 acres and 27 perches and Spout Field, 3 acres, 3 roods and 24 perches.

There are some wonderful field names in the box above, perhaps known only to local farmers and, perhaps again, newly invented in the 19th century from the enclosures of the commons earlier that century. The Hackings name lives on in Hackings Avenue.

Cubley Hall was to later become a children's home. From 1834 to 1930, the system of poor relief in England and Wales had been administered by Boards of Guardians. Penistone had its own Poor Law Union which would have looked after the interests of any orphans. They were abolished in 1930 and their responsibilities passed on to regional councils, which in our area would have been the Public Assistance Committee of the West Riding County Council (WRCC).

At first the WRCC had taken over 24 children's homes but this was extended at various times. According to the Children's Homes website, it was extended again in 1946, when Cubley Hall was established as a children's home with 20 places available (the same page gives 18 places). Different sources give different establishment dates. The Cubley Hall leaflet gives the 1930s, while the Penistone Almanack 1984 gives the date as 1950. According to the Children's Homes site, the 1948 Children's Act of Parliament required councils to provide for all needy children in their areas and recommended limiting the numbers of children, although this was difficult to implement.

The WRCC was abolished from the local government Act of 1974, passing the responsibility of children's homes to the new borough councils, which in our case would be Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC). Main door to Cubley HallThe Cubley Hall children's Home was closed by Barnsley Council in 1980. With an annual running cost of £100,000, inconvenient location for children travelling to special schools and a degree of unruly behaviour by the children attending Penistone Grammar School, these were said to be factors in the decision to close the home. A year later, Penistone Town Council attempted to find other uses of the building to serve the community, including a suggested swimming pool but nothing was achieved.

In 1980, former truck drivers John Wigfield and David James Slade pooled their redundancy money to buy Cubley Hall. I recall being enthusiastically shown around by one of them as the cement was drying, just before it opened in 1982. In 1990 an old oak-beamed stone barn was converted into a large carvery. Accommodation was added in 1996. They had built Cubley Hall into a popular pub, restaurant and guest house, as it continues to be in the present age. Cubley Hall Ltd., is a Registered Company, No. 10495655, as a private company limited by shares.

The resident ghost, Miss Florence Lockley is affectionately known as 'Flo'. The story goes that she was married at Cubley Hall in 1904 (another account gives the Methodist Chapel) and there are photographs of her and her family on the walls of Cubley Hall. Take a look at the Spooky Stories page which has more backgound to Flo from when the hall was a children's home.

Vinegar Brewery
In more recent times, Cubley Bottom was famous for Penistone Pure Malt Vinegar Company, which closed in the 1970s. Before then, it had been an important beer brewery, supplying the local pubs and beyond. See the Vinegar Brewery history page for more about the brewery - and a bit of horse-trough vandalism by modern-day builders.

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