12 to 15 Skiers Hall Cottages


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Elsecar, Barnsley, 7S4 8EU


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Statutory Address:
Elsecar, Barnsley, 7S4 8EU

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Estate workers cottages, 1797 to 1798, by John Carr of York for the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam.

Reasons for Designation

Numbers 12 to 15 Skiers Hall Cottages of 1797 to 1798, for the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam and designed by John Carr, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an early example of generously planned lower rank housing by the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam; * a good quality C18 design by John Carr using his classic style of alternating massing, single or triple bays, hipped roofs and false voussour lintels; * the original overall design remains, and the double-depth plan form of each cottage is legible; * internal fixtures and fittings are retained including stone staircases, sandstone fireplaces, cupboards, simple joinery and fittings, re-used timber lintels and beams and at least one queen post roof structure with carpenters’ assembly marks.

Historic interest:

* as an early example of late-C18 iron and colliery worker's housing built by the paternalistic fourth Earl Fitzwilliam to develop the industrial model village of Elsecar.

Group value:

* they benefit from historic group value with a dispersed group of other listed buildings built by the fifth Earl Fitzwilliam as part of the planned industrial model village of Elsecar.


The fourth Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833), politician and landowner, had a paternalistic relationship with Elsecar, the hamlet that he transformed into an estate village of workers’ housing. Skiers Hall was purchased by the Earl in 1749 and Numbers 12 to 15 Skiers Hall Cottages were built around 1797 to 1798. They are one of the earliest examples of planned workers’ housing by the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam for his tenanted iron and colliery workers. John Carr (1723-1807), foremost Georgian architect and magistrate, was paid an annual retainer by the estate and commissioned in 1796 to draw up a set of six building plans for a number of ‘Lodges and Cottages’ for colliers housing. Subsequently between 1797 and 1798 the Earl built, converted or repaired at least 42 dwellings, Skiers Hall Cottages included, to attract colliers to the village to run the Elsecar (New) Colliery, sunk in 1794, and iron works built in 1795. The Earl provided generous housing with gardens, yards, pig sties and allotments amongst other employment benefits. In 1845 the Mines Commissioner Tremenheere highlighted the superior quality of miners workers’ housing at Elsecar compared to the rest of the country. It is known the earls conducted visitors around the estate to showcase the modernity of their landscape improvements, including visits to industrial premises and the mines; the cottages were possibly seen on part of the route. The cottages remained in estate ownership until sold in 1972.

The builders of Skiers Hall Cottages adapted Carr’s 1796 building plans, perhaps with a mind to economy, but utilised his signature style of alternate storey heights, symmetrical bay and window arrangements and hipped roof. Each cottage was two-up, two-down with a main entrance to the south in the eastern or western elevation. They were mostly designed with a central stone staircase against the spine wall, the western cottage exceptionally with a quarter winder stair set parallel to the west wall, and all had monolithic sandstone fireplaces (in their south rooms with flanking built-in cupboards) and pantry cupboards beneath the stair. Carr's building designs and historic mapping indicates that the single-storey set-back linking units where intended as part of Carr’s original design but might have been built in the early C19 as un-roofed set-back walled yards. They may have functioned for a short time as pigsties, but were re-modelled to T-shaped roofed units, split between cottages as washrooms, by the late C19. Around this period the south half of the east linking unit was re-built as a larder with a stone slate roof, central red brick stack, two sliding ventilation windows and a flat lintel window. North entrance doors were also inserted in each cottage by this time. To the south is a narrow flagged walled court connected to four long gardens, which were deliberately orientated north-south with views out to the spire of Holy Trinity Wentworth (Old) Church and originally the canal reservoir.

The cottages underwent repairs following mining subsidence in the C20, this thought to date the irregular drop in ground-floor levels and ceiling panelling in number 14. Other C20 alterations included the blocking of the west entrance and the alteration of a ground-floor window to a door in number 15; the remodelling of the north half of the east linking unit to create two separate utility blocks; the insertion of first-floor windows to the north and south elevations of number 13, the insertion of a window and roof-lights to the west linking unit and the addition of north porches. Internally the first-floor rooms of the cottages have been divided, with the insertion of stud walls to insert bedrooms and modern conveniences.


Four cottages, 1797 to 1798, by John Carr for the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam.

MATERIALS: hammer-dressed coursed sandstone, with scored stone dressings. Hipped sandstone slate roofs and central brick chimney stacks to the cottages.

PLAN: a group of four estate workers cottages orientated north-south, arranged as a pair of semi-detached cottages connecting to end cottages by single-storey linking units. Each cottage is two-up, two-down with all rooms originally heated (parlour and kitchen and bedrooms). It is reported there are central stone staircases to numbers 13 to 15 but a west aligned staircase to number 12. There is a narrow flagged courtyard to the south.

EXTERIOR: main (south) elevation: a seven bay elevation which uses alternate storey heights, symmetrical bays and hipped roofs to appear as a homogenised design from Barrow Lane west of Wentworth (in winter) or Armroyd Lane. It is composed of three cottage units of 1:3:1 bays connected by set-back single-storey link units. The two-storey cottages, with coursed stone plinths, have low-hipped stone slate roofs to the end cottages and a double broken hip and valley stone slate roof to the semi-detached cottages. All cottage roofs have C20 gutters, and a C19 central red brick ridge stack. Windows throughout have wedge shaped monolithic lintels cut with false voussoirs and projecting window sills; the semi-detached cottages have intentional blind central windows. A modern window is inserted in the first floor of the western semi-detached cottage and the east end cottage ground floor window is altered to an external door. All windows contain replacement eight-over-eight wooden sliding sashes or plastic glazing. The eastern link unit, partially re-built in late-C19 coursed stone, has an east window, with flat lintel and draught margined jambs, and a smaller west window beneath a pitched stone slate roof and central red brick ridge stack. The western link unit has a modern window east of the central scored window, beneath a slate butterfly roof with roof-lights. South entrances to the cottages are provided by two-stepped access doors in the inner east or west elevation; apart from the eastern end cottage which has been blocked. Above these doors, but central within the elevation, is a first floor window, with a monolithic sandstone lintel. The east and west returns of the end cottages each have two small late-C18 first floor windows with plain lintels and projecting sills. The rear (north) elevation has a matching arrangement of storeys, bays and windows to the south elevation. There are C19 doorways to the east or west of the ground floor windows, all with modern porches, and an inserted modern window to the first floor of the western semi-detached cottage. The re-built eastern link comprises two separate units: that to the east unit retains the C18 wall as a capped parapet over a flat-roofed utility room, and that to the west is modern with an arched key-stoned window beneath a pitched and coped slate roof.

INTERIOR: the ground-floor of number 12 and both floors of number 14 and the eastern link unit were inspected.

Number 12: the two-room deep plan-form survives, the majority of which is consistent with a late-C18 or early-C19 date. The north room retains the original quarter winder stone staircase, set behind a partition and against the west wall. It also retains a large re-used spine beam, with rafter mortices exposed. The south room has squared ceiling beams. Both rooms each have one monolithic sandstone fireplace, and the south has flanking built-in stone cupboards. Joinery mostly dates to the construction of the cottage, and includes the south room with panelled splayed window and leafs of hinged shutters; simple moulded oak architraves; re-used agricultural timbers as door lintels; a couple of plank and batten doors with original hinge straps and handles, and a two panelled cupboard door with HL-hinges and handles.

Number 14: the two-room deep ground floor plan survives, the majority of which is consistent with a late-C18 or early-C19 date. A central straight stone staircase is set between the spine walls of the ground floor north and south rooms, and beneath is a flagged cupboard. The south room retains squared ceiling beams, and has a monolithic sandstone fireplace surround, with flanking built-in stone cupboards, that to the east concealed behind plaster. A late-C19 partition forms a passage from the external southern door. Following C20 subsidence, panelling has been inserted between the exposed square beams in the south room. The two room deep first floor plan has been adapted, with the insertion of stud partitions to create three rooms and a bathroom. The central room (former south room) retains a monolithic sandstone fire surround. The roof structure is reported to be queen post, with roman numeral carpenters’ assembly marks. The joinery is mostly original, the majority dating to the construction of the cottage and include: simple moulded oak architraves; plank and batten doors across both floors, with original hinge straps and handles and re-used agricultural timbers, some with exposed mortices, as door lintels. C19 ground floor features include an under-stairs pantry with four-panelled door, brass handle and the letters WT engraved in the right panel. The initials match a wedding stone re-set into patio steps. The pantry has C19 L-bracket shelving. On the first floor C19 features include a square window set in the internal spine wall of the first floor north room, with glass retained behind wallpaper.

Eastern linking unit: the south half houses a modern kitchen but historic features include a C19 pine planked ceiling; two exposed beams, one with two metal hanging hooks, and two sliding roof ventilation windows.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a narrow flagged south courtyard with coursed sandstone and flag capped boundary wall; the wall has been partially removed south of number 14 and its materials re-used to create a two-step patio, with the retention of a wedding stone inscribed ‘WT 29 1802 ?? 20’.


Books and journals
May, R, Historic Area Assessment: land to the west of Elsecar baseline Report, (2017), 16, 27
Rimmer, J, Went, D, Jessop, L, The Village of Elsecar, South Yorkshire: Historic Area Assessment. Historic England Research Report 06-2019, (2019), 18, 177, 179, 181, 214
The House of Lords, , Reports from Commissioners, Volume 34, (1845), 25
Wragg, Brian, Worsley, Giles (editor), The Life and Works of John Carr of York, (2000), 221
Medlicott, I.R., 'The Development of Coal mIning on the Norfolk and Rockingham-Fitzwilliam Estates in South Yorkshire 1750-1830' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 59, (1987), 103-118
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Carr, John (1723-1807)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Fitzwilliam, William Wentworth, second Earl Fitzwilliam in the peerage of Great Britain, and fourth Earl Fitzwilliam in the peerage of Ireland (1748-1833)
Sheffield Archives FC/P/Wath 14L 1794 Draft Nether Hoyland enclosure map
Sheffield Archives WWM/MP/16/3 John Carr's designs for colliers' housing at Elsecar
Sheffield Independent Wednesday 27 April 1892


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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