The Village of Elsecar, South Yorkshire: Historic Area Assessment

Author(s): Jayne Rimmer, David Went, Lucy Jessop

Elsecar, the industrial village near Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire, was developed in the late 18th- and 19th-centuries under the patronage of the Earls Fitzwilliam to take advantage of the abundant local reserves of coal and ironstone beneath the estate, and the arrival of the Dearne and Dove Canal followed by the South Yorkshire Railway. Elsecar’s industries, in particular its collieries, contributed to the Fitzwilliams’ extraordinary wealth and supported the village’s planned expansion. Throughout the 19th century the Fitzwilliams dictated the provision of housing and various social institutions at Elsecar and, much more unusually, maintained a direct controlling interest in the management of the collieries and, when necessary, the ironworks. Many groups and individuals have contributed to the preservation of Elsecar’s industrial heritage since the last coal mine closed in 1984. The significance of this heritage, which in some respects can be seen as a microcosm of the whole Industrial Revolution, was further recognised in 2017 by the creation of a ‘Heritage Action Zone’ (HAZ): a three-year partnership between Historic England and Barnsley Council to assist with the growth of Elsecar as a heritage destination and the identification of new development opportunities which support and enhance Elsecar’s unique character and history. This Historic Area Assessment forms part of the HAZ project. It is intended to illustrate the varied character and significance of the village and its setting in order to inform interpretation, conservation and development under the direction of revised planning guidance.

Report Number:
Research Report
Coal Standing Building Standing Structure Industrial Heritage Architectural Investigation Heritage Action Zone


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