900 YEARS OF HISTORY
The Church was founded in Anglo-Saxon times.
The first building however was destroyed, though individual
stones from it can be found in the present base.
The earliest part of the present structure is the bottom
part of the tower that dates from the Norman Period. The upper part of the tower is 15th
century. During this period of restoration the roof of the nave was rebuilt.
|Early records reveal that there were galleries
on the north and south side.
The early vestry was at
the East End of the church and the old entrance to it can be seen at the right hand end of
the Holy Table. There was a roof over the chancel screen. The old entrance and stairway to
this can be seen at the left of the pulpit.
Most of the woodwork dates from the Jacobean period, 1620,
and has been described as "some of the finest Jacobean pews in the country". Of
special note are not only the nave pews but also the font cover and the manor pew on the
south side of the choir and the wooden panel depicting the Wombwell family that is placed
in the south chapel.
There are records of a major restoration in 1867 and
another in 1897 when the chancel was re-decorated with mosaic and marble.
During this century another major restoration took place in
1911 when plaster was removed from the walls. A new pulpit, east window, holy table and
chancel screen were also added.
The East Window
In 1963 the organ was extensively restored and the new
screen constructed and the choir vestry re furnished.
The Church had a peal of 6 bells, two of which date from
pre-reformation days; the rest are 17th and 18th century. In his history of South
Yorkshire, Hunter made special note of the "sweet silver tones of the bells of
In about 1938 as a result of extensive subsidence damage
the arch between the nave and the tower was strengthened and the screen inserted. Also due
to the same subsidence, caused by coal extraction, the tower was declared unsafe and the
bells were silenced for many years. Again in the 50's the bells were silenced for some 25
years. The National Coal Board undertook major restoration work and the bells were rung
for the queens Silver Jubilee.
Mike King (Tower Captain) gathered unto himself a group of
young people whom he trained to a very high standard of camponology.
They worked hard to secure 2 new bells, and with the help
of a large private donation two new bells were cast. Darfield Church now has a ring of 8
A massive churchyard surrounds Darfield Church. Over
700 headstones have been recorded. Three memorials are worthy of special mention.
LUNDHILL OBELISK - A mining explosion took place in 1857 at
Lundhill. In this explosion 189 men and boys were killed and as a consequence 90 women
were widowed and 220 children were made orphans. A special disaster fund was set up to
which Queen Victoria donated £200 and Prince Albert donated £100.
HOUGHTON MAIN CAGE DISASTER - On New Years Eve 1886 a cage
carrying 10 men and boys crashed to the pit bottom. All 10 were killed. A full report of
this appears overleaf.
EBENEZER ELLIOT - Commonly known as the "Corn Law
Rhymer", born to an iron founder in Rotherham in 1781. An account of Elliott's life
HOUGHTON MAIN COLLIERY CAGE DISASTER:
30th DECEMBER 1886
Extracts from the notebook of Mr. C. Dunbar (Manager);
December 30th 1886 at 7.45 p.m.
Sitting in my own house I heard a rumbling noise at
the pit., I ran to the pit as quick as I could. I got a lamp at the lamp cabin and went on
the pit hill. I asked the Banksman what was the matter. He said, "I do not know but I
think the pit has fired up as I saw the fire rise up the shaft and go up the
pulleys". I asked him where the cage was, and he said, "I don't know".
Phillip White said, "The pit has exploded for it has blown that bottle up the
pit", pointing to a tin bottle lying on the flat sheets. I went and picked the bottle
up and looked at it. Alan Beresford, the Engineman came on the pit hill and I asked him
how he was. He said that something had hit him on the brow and stunned him. I asked him if
he knew what was the matter, and he said the pit has fired. I asked him if he knew where
the cage was and he said, "No".
Cage Disaster Monument
|Then I ran to seek Mr. Elliott and met him at
the pit yard gate and told him what I had heard on the pit hill. Mr. Elliott and I went to
No. 2 pit and the fan was going all right. I got the key and opened the door and went into
No. 2 pit top to see if the ventilation was going alright, then Mr. Elliott and I went
into Fan Drift, to try and smell if there was any gas or anything unusual coming up the
pit, which there was not. Then I rapped down the pit and got an answer back. Mr. Elliott
said, "We'll go down the pit to see what is the matter". J. C. Dunbar, Tho.
Hancock, Geo. Dawson, Sam Ellis, Jes Rushworth, Jes Smith and Mr. Elliott went down the
pit and went to No. 1 pit bottom.
Daniel Elliott told
me that there had been a cage come back into the sump with 10 men in. I saw an arm, leg
and several pieces of human bodies lying about the pit bottom. I got the names that were
in the cage and gave it to Mr. Elliott at No. 2 pit bottom.
During nearly all the history of Darfield Church there has been two rectors,
representing the first and second mediety. (These dates may be approximate)
|Rector of the First Mediety
||Vicars of the Second
|1230 Richard Fillius Roberti
||1366 Williamde Willesthorpe
|1288 Robert de Levisham
||1402 Robert Warsop
|1319 Robert de Conesburg
||1407 William Strbyn
|1335 Roger Filius Joannes
|de al Woodhall
||1451 Thomas Barneby
|1375 Edmund de Brierly
||1468 Robert Barneby
|Thomas de Kirkby
||1481 Oliver Croft
|1405 Thomas de Wykarsley
||1506 John Syth
|1451 John Watyn
||1507 Roger Best
|1470 Robert Drax
||1538 Robert Laurence
|1472 Hugh Bosville
||1551 Edward Mawe
|1520 Thomas Drax
||1554 William Biggleskirk
|1534 William Jackson
|1554 John Drax
||1571 William Cliffe
||1598 John Jones
|(Was also Bishop of Carlisle)
||1624 Richard Townsend
|1598 John Jones
||1660 Henry Loveday
|1600 Robert Dickenson
|1615 Jerome Waterhouse
|(Chaplain to the King)
|1631 Walter Stonehouse
||1726 Edward Hoyland
|1661 Robert Rogers
||1768 John Lonsdale
|1666 Ralph Eaton
||1807 William Pugh
|1705 William Greenwood
||1812 Charles le Bas
|1732 Randolf Marriott
||Thomas Earle Platt
|Henry Bowen Cooke
||1873 F. Sleape
|1879 Henry Pennant Cooke
|1892 Albert Ernest Sorby
||1906 Second Mediety; Dissolved
|1935 Harold Drown
||Vicar became Vicar of Wombwell
|1950 Frank Alfred Casson
|1955 Wilfred Howard
|1973 John Ivan Batty
|1991 Martin Brown