Timeline of History in the Penistone Area


AD 1600 - AD 1700
Year Date Event
Quick Links: Intro - 1000 - 1600 - 1700 - 1800 - 1900 - 2000 - Refs - Generate English calendar for year: Time & Date
1600   Population of England and Wales about 4 million. One source gives a figure of 4,109,000 for 1601.
1603   Bubonic Plaque. Another epidemic returns to the country.
1604   PGS. Inquisition during the reign of King James I regarding 'Penistone Free Grammar School', to ascertain what property was in the school's possession. Ref 7.
1605   Gunpowder Plot Discovered. Thirty barrels of gunpowder were discovered in a cellar beneath the House of Lords, to be exploded on the occasion of the opening of Parliament, with the King as the main target. The 'Gunpowder Plot' was abandoned after a conspirator revealed the plans. His brother-in-law would have been killed in the explosion. Guy Fawkes was tortured to reveal names and other information, although he bravely resisted as much as possible to give his co-conspirators time to flee. Having signed a confession, he was put to death. The Gunpowder Plot had been a reaction to the presecution of Catholics in England. It would have changed the course of English history, had it killed the King and others. A law was passed requiring bonfires to be lit and church bells to be rung throughout the land on 5th November each year. See Penistone's Bonfire Night page for more.
1612   Bubonic Plaque. Another epidemic returns to the country.
1613   PGS Schoolmasters. A list from 1611 to 1893 can be found on the PGS History page
1615   Pancake Recipe - Pancakes were a signature of Shrove Tuesday as they used ingredients such as milk and eggs that were given up for Lent. Gervase Markham’s 1615 Pancake Recipe: “To make the best Pancake, take two or three egges, and breake them into a dish, and beate them well: Then adde vnto them a pretty quantity of faire running water, and beate all well together: Then put in cloues, mace, cinamon, and a nutmegge, and season it with salt; which doue make it thicke as you thinke good with fine wheate flower: Then frie the cakes as thinne as may bee with sweete butter, or sweete seame, and make them brown, and so serue them vp with sugar strowed vpon them. There be some which mixe Pancakes with new milke or creame, but that makes them tough, cloying, and not so crispe, pleasant and sauoruy, as running water”
1623,4   Famine. Poor Harvests throughout the land led to much starvation. Improvements to agriculture meant that this was the last peace-time famine on this scale in our country, although there were other times of hunger.
1626   Thirteen parishioners from Denby drowned, while trying to cross the waters of Scout Dike on their way to Penistone Church to worship. this led the Denby parish to apply for a licence from Tobias Matthew, Archbishop of York, to build their own chapel. It was later granted for Denby to have its own Chapel of Easement. See 1627 below and the list of Vicars.
1627 12th Dec New Chapel of Ease opened in Denby dedicated to 'the Greater Glory of God in honour of St John the Evangelist'. It was licenced for Religious Ordinances but not Holy Communion and the parishioners still needed to travel to Penistone Church. It had strong links with Penistone Grammar School, whose staff conducted limited services from time to time. The building fell into disrepair over time and all but the tower was rebuilt in 1845.
1629   Part of Hoylandswaine common land enclosed by Sir Francis Wortley, April, provoking a group of locals to arm themselves and tear the walls down in the dead of night. It was quite futile. Sir Francis had legal methods to have his own way in the end. Ref 14, P117. Read about the detrimental effects of enclosing common land. S Yorks Timescapes.
1630   Diversion of the River Don by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden (1595 - 1677), who introduced Dutch land reclamation methods to England. Up to this year, the River Don entered the River Aire at Snaith. Vermuyden dug the 'Dutch River', which provided a direct route from the Don to the River Ouse at Goole. 'Its waters are now delivered to the Ouse at Goole by the Dutch River which commemorates the nationality of Vermuyden and many of his workmen who undertook the work to save much valuable land from mundation. The old channel can still be traced.' Ref 7 p140.
1635   Mnemonic for the Months - This item appeared in the 1878 Penistone Almanack, without explaining its source:
The lines by which we remember the number of days in each month are very old, and in 1635, though a little longer than the now current lines, they were of much better quality. The old lines are:

'April, June, and September,
'Thirty days have, as November,
'Each month else doth never vary,
'From 31, save February,
'Which 28 doth still confine,
'Save in leap year, then 29.'
1636   Nether Mill House built.
1637   Bubonic Plaque. The Plague returns to England around this time.
  The English Civil War. The Civil War refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651 and affected every part of the country, even more than Brexit has done. It started when Charles I raised his royal standard in Nottingham. The country became split between those supporting the King (the Royalists) and those supporting Parliament (called the Roundheads from their close-cropped hair). Soldiers were at one time garrisoned in Penistone Church tower. Historians break it down to three periods: First English Civil War (1642–1646), the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). (Wiki). The three major battles of the Civil War were at: Edge Hill (1642), Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645). Take a look at the Civil War maps at Texas University Library, showing how areas of the country were controlled by each side. Of particular local interest is Captain Adam Eyre (1614-1661) who fought under Lord Fairfax. He was much involved in parish affairs around our area, especially Hazlehead, which he spelled as 'Haslehead'. See the History Learning site and some ECW Teaching Notes. See also the next item.
1644   Penistone Church - The medieval stained-glass church windows were smashed by puritans during the Civil War. Sir Francis Wortley was the leading Royalist, with Sir Thomas Wentworth of Bretton, with a garrison at Tankersley. Leading Parliamentarians were Sir Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite, Captain Adam Eyre of Hazlehead, Captain William Rich of Bullhouse and the Wordsworths of Water Hall. The Parliamentarians set up a garrison in Penistone church under Captain Rich, Captain Eyre and Captain Shirt of Cawthorne and put a cannon on the tower to defend the town against the Royalists. A look-out sentry on the tower was reputed to have been shot as he was 'peeping into the town' by a bullet from a Royalist sniper. The late Dick Brownhill had the sniper in Booth's Yard (where the Co-op is now located) but the booklet below refers to 'Jonathan Wordsworth's fold-yard', and attributes it to a 'Wilson of Broomhead'. Refer to Penistone History Group's Journal No. 3 (Jan 2018), Ref 10 and Ref 17 p6.
  Penistone Church Register starts from this year but, according to Genuki, entries of marriages are defective from 1740 - 1745 and 1786 - 1812. See Penistone Church history page.
1647 24th April Sir Francis Wortley fined £500. According to a leaflet obtainable from Wortley Hall, Sir Richard Wortley's (see 1586) son Francis (1591–1652) rose to prominence during the Civil War (which had started in 1642). Sir Francis Wortley was a Royalist and fought for King Charles I at the Siege of Hull in 1642. He 'raised a troop of horse' and Wortley Hall was used as a garrison for 150 dragoons, which he commanded and led into battle on Tankersley Moor. He was taken prisoner by parliamentarian forces commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax at Walton Hall, near Wakefield (or Wotton House), on 3 June 1644 and removed to the Tower of London. His estates were sequestrated and he had to pay a heavy fine of £500 on 24th April 1647 to recover his property (details from: pp 48-49, 'The Complete Baronetage' by George E Cockayne, pub 1900). According to Wikipedia, he paid the fine upon his release in 1649. In September 1652, he succeeded to the baronetcy. He died in 1665 and his baronetcy became extinct. In 1646, King Charles surrendered to the Scots but they effectively sold him to the English Parliament for £400,000. He was tried at Westminster Hall in January 1649, and found guilty that he had 'Traitorously and maliciously levied war against the present Parliament and the people therein represented.' Charles was executed 30th January 1649. See Wortley, Sir Francis at the History of Parliament.
1649   Famine in Northern England.
1650s   The Society of Friends start to regular meetings at High Flatts this decade, in a barn adopted for the purpose as a Meeting Place. It was something of a wilderness at the time. High Flatts has been said to be one of the earliest Quaker developments in the country. See my Quaker page.
1650   Cannon Hall. William Hewet Esq., of Beccles, Norfolk, son of Sir Edward Hewet, of St. Martin's- in-the-Fields, London, sold the Manor and Farm along with other farms, land and cottages to Robert Hartley for £2,900. From an indentiture of 25th November 1650, William Hewet conveyed to Robert Hartley for £2,900 the manor, farm, and capital messuage called Cannon Hall, with Rowroyd, Jowet-house, Broadgates, five small cottages at Cawthorne, Wilmroyd close, and 'the tithes thereof.' Robert Hartley died at the age of 29 in 1656. See 'A History of Cawthorne' by Charles Pratt MA, Vicar of Cawthorne. According to Wikipedia, Cannon Hall took its name from a 13th-century inhabitant Gilbert Canun and was in the ownership of the Bosville family of Ardsley in the 14th century.
1652   High Flatts Quakers (The Society of Friends). It has been suggested that the earliest date of Quaker influence and activity within High Flatts was 1652, when it is thought John Firth and local ‘Friends’ found a sympathetic host for the meetings of this persecuted faith. As with rural settlements of this nature, farming resulted in the construction of scattered farms, but the introduction of the non-conformist religion founded by George Fox (1624 - 1691) encouraged activities and influenced the individuals who resided in and around High Flatts and within the heart of the conservation area, now known as ‘Quaker Bottom’. See High Flatts Conservation Appraisal (pdf).
1655   Bullhouse Hall by Sylvanus Rich. Grade II Listed in April 1988 by English Heritage, along with other Bullhouse buildings. Principal list entry Number: 1151820 (other List Numbers apply). 'This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.'
1662   Introduction of the Hearth Tax in England, repealed 1689. The hearth tax was levied on each householder according to the number of hearths and stoves in the dwelling. It was introduced during the reign of Charles II, attempting to make up a shortfall of income. It was repealed in the reign of William and Mary, after only 27 years, to be replaced by the Window Tax in 1696. The tax was not popular as it meant that assessors entered homes to assess the number of hearths and stoves. See the footnotes about Lady Day on this page. See the Hearth Tax site and the 1672 West Riding Lady Day Returns (360kB pdf). See the full text of the Statute.
1665   Bubonic Plague in Derbyshire. The Great Plague struck London in 1665. It arrived in the Derbyshire village of Eyam this year, having arrived via a flea-infested bundle of cloth from London, destined for the local tailor. His assistant George Vicars had ordered the bundle but was dead within the week. Villagers tried to limit the spread of the disease by various measures and looked to the church for leadership, at a time of religious upheaval. They appeared to be winning as the death rate fell, but in 1666 it returned in strength. The villagers were led by their consciences and religious conviction to make the bold decision to quarantine themselves from the rest of the world, which was almost the same as choosing death over life. This particularly protected the industrial city of Sheffield but it caused great problems, such as preventing them from going to Bakewell Market and Fulwood for supplies. Money would be left in a stream outside the village in exchange for goods delivered. Church services were also held in the open air to reduce the spread. The Earl of Devonshire (of Chatsworth House near Bakewell) arranged for food and medicine to be left at the southern boundary of the village. Villagers buried their own dead and engraved gravestones as best they could. By the end of the Plague, about 14 months from its start, 76 families had been affected and around 260 victims had died out of a population of around 800. This would have been the closest the Penistone area came to suffering the plague, a distance 'as the crow flies' of about 10 miles, or nearly 15 miles by road. Had the villagers not taken the courageous decision to isolate themselves, it is anyone's guess how how many hundreds or thousands of other lives might have been lost. From the BBC 'Local Legends' site.
1667   Hepworth Feast founded to commemorate the Great Plague in Hepworth village. This was the most northerly part of the country to suffer from the Great Plague of 1665-1666. According to local legend, a barricade was made at Barrack's Fold to quarantine diseased villagers in south Hepworth from the northern part of the village. Thirteen people died of the plague and thirteen trees were planted to remember them. Two of them fell down but were re-planted in a small ceremony in 2004. The end of the plague is still commemorated on the last Monday of June every year with Hepworth Feast and a procession. See Calendar Customs and the Wikipedia entry.
1672 Lady Day
25th Mar.
Hearth Tax was levied from 1662 until 1689. People had to pay two shillings per hearth, twice a year. The parish constable listed householders and hearths in each house. There were a lot of conditions and exemptions, such as those on low incomes or those who lived in houses of little value. Totals for Penistone on Lady Day (25th March) 1672: 1 - 13; 2 - 9; 3 - 2; 4 - 1; 5 - 2; 6 - 0; 7 - 1. The poor were not listed as they were exempted from the tax. Charitable institutions, such as hospitals and alms houses, were also exempt. Until 1751 Lady Day was used for legal purposes as the start of the New Year, with the earlier months belonging to the previous year in England (not Scotland). See the footnotes about Lady Day on this page. See the Hearth Tax site and the 1672 West Riding Lady Day Returns (360kB pdf) and the full Statute.
1673 29th Oct. Will of William Rich provides £1 each year from rents, towards the poor of the parish.
1674   Witchcraft accusations. Two women local to Denby, Anne Shillitoe and Susan Hinchcliffe, accused of witchcraft by Mary Moor of Clayton West. Both were charged with witchcraft and taken to Barnsley Court where they were committed for trial at York (result unknown).
1682   Dr Nicholas Saunderson born this year, of John and Anne in Thurlstone. His father John worked for the Excise and his grandfather was Richard Harrison. According to local historian John N Dransfield (Ref 7) NS was totally blind by the age of two through smallpox (which agrees with other sources). He was reported to have learnt to read by running his fingers over gravestones in Penistone churchyard. See the article below this table for more detail.
1689 Oct Death of the popular, non-conformist minister Rev Henry Swyft (or Swift), who was buried in Penistone churchyard. On his tombstone: 'Here was interred the body of Mr Henry Swift, Nov 2, 1869, aged 66 years, and having been minister of Peniston 40 years'. His successor was Rev Edmund Hough, who so displeased Elkanah Rich of Bullhouse Hall with his preaching style that it led to Bullhouse Chapel being built to continue the non-conformist tradition. See 1692. The Vicars page has more about Rev Henry Swyft.
1690   Godfrey 'Justice' Bosville purchases the Manor of Midhope. Godfrey's father was also called Godfrey Bosville, Lord of the Manor of Gunthwaite, who lived in Gunthwaite Hall. See also 1705.
1692 18th April Bullhouse Chapel completed, near Bullhouse Hall. It was built by Elkanah Rich, who is buried there, soon after the death of Rev Henry Swyft in October 1689, the popular non-conformist vicar of Penistone Church. Elkanah was not happy with the preaching style of Henry's successor. The chapel began as a Presbyterian meeting house but, after the Act of Toleration of 1672, was licenced for non-conformist worship from 1689. Ref 6. Please also download a few notes about Bullhouse Chapel (pdf) from the 'Heritage Inspired' site. The Vicars page has more about Rev Henry Swyft.
1695   New Tax Imposed. This applied to each recorded baptism, marriage or burial.
1696   The Window Tax replaced Hearth Tax and was, apocryphally, the origin of the term ‘Daylight robbery’. Houses with a small number of windows, initially ten, were subject to a two-shilling house tax but exempted from the window tax. Houses with more than ten windows were liable for additional taxes which increased in line with the number of windows. Houses with between ten and twenty windows paid eight shillings more. It was revised in 1747 and, after 1825, houses with fewer than eight windows were exempted. Non-essential windows were often filled in to reduce this tax. It was strictly enforced and, in some cases, even perforated grates or grilles in larders were charged as if they were a large window. It was repealed in 1851, after campaigners argued that it was a 'tax on health', and a 'tax on light and air'. In 1851, it was reported that the production of glass since 1810 had remained almost the same despite the large increase in population and building of new houses. See the Parliament website.
5th Nov Bell-ringers being paid eight shillings to ring Penistone Church bells to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The same year, 4s 6d was paid for 'a bel-rop and 2d for bringing it home'. The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years after 1605 by special sermons and such as the ringing of church bells, which have evolved into the Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night) of today. Ref 26.
1697   High Flatts Quakers (The Society of Friends). Meetings were held at a barn within Quaker Bottom until its conversion into a purpose built Meeting House this year. This Meeting House was completely rebuilt in 1754 on the same site, and still hosts Sunday meetings. As with rural settlements of this nature, farming resulted in the construction of scattered farms, but the introduction of the non-conformist religion founded by George Fox (1624 - 1691) encouraged activities and influenced the individuals who resided in and around High Flatts and within the heart of the conservation area, now known as ‘Quaker Bottom’. See High Flatts Conservation Appraisal (pdf).
1698   Penistone Church Clock - Repaired at a cost of 3 Pounds, 4 Shillings. Ref 26.
1699   Charter for Penistone Market approved by Parliament, established mostly through the work of Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite. It is likely that markets had been held in Penistone long before this tkme but the Royal Charter gave it a legal footing. The market was to be held on Tuesdays.  Markets had been held since the 13th century on Tuesdays at nearby Penisale (exact location not known but probably Langsett - see 1290). After complaints from Barnsley (with their market being held on Wednesdays), a change to Thursday was agreed for Penistone. We must remeber that Barnsley was no bigger, more important or more dominant than Penistone at that time. The Charter also allowed for a three-day Fair from 10th to 12th June each year, as well as the market, both to be held in the Market Place in front of Penistone Church Tower. The Market and Summer Fair helped to transform Penistone from a village to a small town. Ref 9.
, ,   Population of England and Wales about 5½ million.
Quick Links: Intro - 1000 - 1600 - 1700 - 1800 - 1900 - 2000 - Refs - Generate English calendar for year: Time & Date

Dr Nicholas Saunderson
NS was born 1692 of John and Anne in Thurlstone. His father John worked for the Excise and his grandfather was Richard Harrison. According to local historian John N Dransfield (Ref 7) NS was totally blind by the age of two through smallpox (which agrees with other sources). Apparently in error, Wikipedia claimed in an earlier version that he lost his eyesight at the age of eight (now apparently corrected), which reminds us why it is not a reliable source.

He was reported to have learnt to read by running his fingers over gravestones in Penistone churchyard. In spite of his blindness, he made great progress in classical and mathematic knowledge at Penistone Grammar School, then under the care of Mr Staniforth (a Puritan clergyman). It is stated that he enjoyed the Roman writers Virgil and Horace and could freely quote from them but the authors he chiefly studied were in the Greek language. These were Euclid, Archimedes and Diophantus.

His father John taught him arithmetic and NS went on to assist him in his excise work. He became proficient in making long calculations by the strength of his memory and he invented new rules to solve arithmetic problems with ease. With the backing of Mr West, a local gentleman of Underbank, he attended a small academy in Attercliffe at the age of eighteen, where he made himself master of logic and metaphysics. This was an academy intended for the education of dissenting ministers. Its mode of instruction did not well suit his genius and he seems to have mostly educated himself, to great effect. He is reported to have been aided by Dr Nettleton of Halifax, who taught him the principles of algebra and geometry.

With a phenomenal understanding of algebra, geometry and mathematics and with the help of friends, he obtained a post at Cambridge University, where he taught philosophy in 1707. He was not admitted into any college but chose Christ's College for his residence. With the help of his friend Isaac Newton, he was granted a degree in 1711 by Queen Anne and became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics upon the chair becoming vacant by the celebrated Prof. Whiston, who had been of great assistance to him. When George II visited the university in 1728, Prof N Saunderson was created Doctor of Laws by his majesty's command.

He continued at Cambridge until he died 19th April 1739, aged 57. He was buried in Boxworth, Herts. His posthumous work 'The Method of Fluxions Applied to a Select Number of Useful Problems' was a study in differential calculus and his other, posthumous, work was 'The Elements of Algebra, in Ten Books.'

A spiral obelisk was erected in Penistone St John's Garden in 2006 to commemorate Saunderson. This had been designed and constructed by local artist Sarah Jones-Morris as a memorial to the blind professor.

Mostly from Ref 7 with some details from from page footnotes in 'Yorkshire Diaries', a Surtees Society book 1875 containing the diary of Captain Adam Eyre. This can be found in Huddersfield Reference Library. See also an interesting biography from the University of St Andrews.

Royalty During This Period
Until 1603 the English and Scottish Crowns were separate, although links between the two were always close. The Stuarts were the first kings of the United Kingdom. King James I of England who began the period was also King James VI of Scotland, thus combining the two thrones for the first time. The Stuart dynasty reigned in England and Scotland from 1603 to 1714, a period which saw a flourishing Court culture but also much upheaval and instability, of plague, fire and war.

Cromwell's convincing military successes at Drogheda in Ireland (1649), Dunbar in Scotland (1650) and Worcester in England (1651) forced Charles I's son, Charles, into foreign exile despite being accepted as King in Scotland. From 1649 to 1660, England was therefore a republic during the Interregnum ('between reigns'). A series of political experiments followed, as the country's rulers tried to redefine and establish a workable constitution without a monarchy. It was an age of intense religious debate and radical politics. Both contributed to a bloody civil war in the mid-seventeenth century between Crown and Parliament (the Cavaliers and the Roundheads), resulting in a parliamentary victory for Oliver Cromwell and the dramatic execution of King Charles I.

In 1689 Parliament declared that James had abdicated by deserting his kingdom. William (r. 1689-1702) and Mary (r. 1689-94) were offered the throne as joint monarchs. They accepted a Declaration of Rights (later a Bill), drawn up by a Convention of Parliament, which limited the Sovereign's power, reaffirmed Parliament's claim to control taxation and legislation, and provided guarantees against the abuses of power which James II and the other Stuart Kings had committed. See The British Monarchy.

The Stuarts

Sources Used in the Timeline
The Books:

Some small details were added from 'An Explorer's Guide to Penistone & District', 2006, a few leaflets describing local walks and some anecdotal remarks from Penistone people. Where information is anecdotal, it has been marked as such.

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