Kiveton & Wales Heritage

Kiveton & Wales Heritage

In This Section

Before The Pits

Also see A History of Wales Until 1900 an extensive study published around ten years ago, now republished and available from the history society. Also see, Dawn Mason's Kiveton Hall, Geoff Nuttall's excellent and comprehensively researched Who was Lord Conyers?

This section is being developed by the history society in the future, when we hope it will contain many more insights into the history of Kiveton and Wales before the sinking of the deep pits.

It is common misconception that there was little in Kiveton Park or Wales prior to the sinking of the deep pits in the mid-19th century. In several maps from the nineteenth century, Kiveton, which was officially deemed a hamlet of nearby Harthill, did not even appear: there was just an untitled space amidst a triangle of long-established villages with well-known medieval pedigrees, namely Harthill, Todwick and Wales; or just a small settlement on the fringes of the large park around what had been Kiveton Hall. However, this is misleading. It's certainly true that Kiveton and Wales grew enormously and were both transformed after the pits were sunk, but they had rich histories going back long before, which are all too often ignored.

As discussed on Paul Newbold's J31 website, which reveals much about the history of many communities in this area, both the names of Kiveton and Wales preceded the Norman Conquest. Wales is thought to be derived from the Saxon for ‘Stranger' while Kiveton from the Saxon for ‘homestead' and ‘hollow'. Wales was a more established community than Kiveton before mining started on a large scale. This is well shown by the development of Wales Church, a little of which is discussed elsewhere on this site, and can be read in more detail on the Church's own site and in a fascinating pamphlet available in the Church itself. Wales Church was built in Norman times.

There considerable documentary evidence about this area in medieval times. The Doomsday books records Cieutone as owned by William de Warenne, one of the richest land-owners in England, and one of the few who had fought alongside William the Conquerer at Hastings. Poll tax lists from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries record the name Keuton as being widespread. Hugh de Keueton acted as a juror at the trial of William Somer who was convicted of stealing an overtunic at Conisburgh. Incidentally, on the same day Adam the Miller of Herthill's wife was fined for illegal brewing.i In 1368, Sir John De Keuton, alongside other local figures of note, bore witness to the granting of a garden in Todwick by his son William to William Scintepoule of Todwick.ii

In 1379, presumably the same John De Keuton, whose occupation was recorded as a Sergeant-at-Arms, had to pay far more than anyone else liable to pay in the parish of Harthill. In a fascinating charter of Edward III, who ruled in the fourteenth century, it was again John de Kyveton, then Rector at Radcliffe, who bestowed land and rent to Roche Abbey on the condition that the Abbot would say mass everyday at the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Kiveton.

This chapel seems to have then existed in comparable form for some centuries until the reformation - the break with Rome in the time of Henry VIII and the creation of the Church of England. The chapel was sold in 1532, along with local lands: ‘Manors of Harthill and Keton als. Keueton and 30 messuages and a water-mill with lands there; and in woodhall, Waliswood, Thorpe Ryonyld, and Aughton; also the advowson of the free chapel or chantry of Keton, als. Keueton.' Interestingly, ‘John Keton, clerk, Nicholas Metcalfe, clerk, Edward Eire, Christopher Eire, Ankarus Fretchewell, and William Bayn' can also be found in the document. This building was still described in 1547 as the ‘Chapel of Trinity at Kiveton'.

It should be noted that, as is well known, the Chantry at Hard Lane, gave the name to Chantry Place. It is also documented that the most recent manifestation of Kiveton Hall was built in the late seventeenth century. There are hints, witnessed by a few local people, that there was possibly much more before that time. Large foundation stones have been found and there are reports of stone-built tunnels stretching out under the fields towards Todwick. The stones were much bigger than which would have been used in the early-modern building of Kiveton Hall. These are only anecdotes but if they have any truth then they are important indications as to the possible nature of buildings here in medieval times or before.

There are many pieces of documentary evidence about the nature of Kiveton in the early sixteenth century. A manuscript in Arundel Castle discusses the recovery of property in Kiveton and elsewhere.iii Fines for the Easter Term of 1544 include ‘Lands in Keton in the parish of herthill', from William Hewet to Nicholas Keton, ‘son and air of Cuthbert Keton'.iv Just a few months later we find reference to ‘three messuages with land in the parish of herthill', again between Hewet and Nicholas, who in this instance is described simply as a ‘gent'. We also have a full survey of the Kiveton estate dated 1564.v Joseph Hunter provided the following account in 1828:

The parish of Harthill: The principle tenants at Kiveton under the Segraves were a family who acquired as their hereditary name the name of their principle, and perhaps only, estate. The last of these was Nicholas Keeton or Kiveton, who lived in the reign of King Henry VIII. Probably by one of these, or by the Segraves, the chapel of Kiveton was founded, which fell at Reformation. In King Henry's Valor it is described as a chantry in the chapel of Kneton (Keeton) in the parish of Harthill. Richard Darwent, the chaplain, was then cantarist. Its annual endowment was 55s 8d, issuing out of lands and tenements at Harthill, Anston, Wales, Blithe, and Torworth. The possession of an interest at Torworth seems to show that the Serlbys had been benefactors. In Holgate's return of chantries (1547) it is described as 'The chapel of Trinity at Keeton.'Nicholas Keeton in 27 Henry VIII (i.e. 1536) sold his estate at Kiveton to William Hewet, of London, citizens and

Sir Edward Osborne of Kiveton was an important political figure in the years before the English Civil War, heavily involved in the administration of Ireland, where he was given permission by the King to visit in the summer of 1639. Even more fascinatingly, a volume of 155 sheets of writing by his first wife, Margaret, survives in the British Museum, packed with musing, poetry and literary exercises.vii Edward's life was hit by tragedy in 1638. The diary of Sir Henry Slingsby reveals that on the morning of 31 October 1638, Sir Edward left his home in York to travel to Kiveton and his wife travelled to London. As they travelled seven chimneys fell on the Manor House, burying and killing their teenage son.viii This was Thomas Osbourne, who because of his brother's death became the First Duke of Leeds. Sir Edward Osborne was a keen supporter of the Royalists during the Civil War, even becoming lietuentant general of the Royalist forces raised at York. He played little direct part in the war after the Royalist defeat at the battle of Marston Moor in 1644. After the war finished Sir Edward had to face parliament, which gave him, ‘Sir Edward Osborne, of Kiveton in the County of York'', a large fine because he had acted as ‘A Commissioner for levying Monies, to maintain the Forces raised against the Parliament.'ix It is recorded that Sir Thomas Osborne returned to Kiveton in 1653, the year after his marriage to the well-connected Lady Bridget Bertie, after spending some rather exotic times in Italy and Paris. In 1656 we have records of a lease in Lincolnshire undertaken by Dame Anne Osbourne, again ‘Kiveton alias Keeton', and Sir Thomas Osbourne. Thomas had something of an illustrious and powerful career over subsequent decades, reaching the position of Lord Treasurer in 1673, at which point his title became ‘Baron Osborne of Kiveton and Viscount Latimer of Danby'. However, amidst tensions and without allies, his position became tenuous.

Even worse, in 1679 the Baron of Kiveton, or rather ‘Danby' as he was now popularly referred to, was committed to the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned for five years. When he was released illness prevented him taking a decisive political role and it is recorded that he retired to his Yorkshire estate. He was involved in further political turmoil in the conspiracy against James, supporting William of Orange. Further importance of Kiveton is demonstrated when Thomas formally moved to Kiveton in 1688. Pereguine Osborne was made Lord Osborne of Kiveton in 1690 and for a while attended the House of Lords which commendable regularity, but it was for more dashing exploits that he was well known. He was an important naval commander, and even led the first ever regiment of marines. The histories of the Dukes of Leeds, and others who shared this amongst other titles have been told elsewhere. Of note, the fifth Duke of Leeds was Francis Osborne, who took his father's barony as Lord Osborne of Kiveton on 15 May 1776. He was a prominent figure and foreign secretary in the years prior to the Napoleonic wars, although it has been suggested by one biographer that his vanity outlived his political decline. He died on 31 January 1799 and was buried at Harthill.

The exploits of the varied lords of Kiveton is fascinating, but they tell little of the development of the local area and its people. It is these aspects which the History Society will be exploring over the course of 2008. In the physical sense, the most obvious contribution to the outward appearance of the village came at the end of the seventeenth century when a large hall was built, just up from Kiveton towards Todwick...


Thanks go to Dawn Mason and Sheffield Archives for advice on this section

Thomas Osborne was the first Duke of Leeds and arranged the building of Kiveton Hall between 1698 and 1704. This hall has become something of a local legend, which it deserves for its sheer size and style. It's worth pondering how things might have been if it had survived. The exact positioning of the hall might seem slightly strange, but if you stand for a moment where the hall used to be and look west you'll be rewarded with a glorious expansive vista towards Sheffield, and what then would have been Sheffield Park.

Kiveton Hall was not to last, for, in the understated words of White's Dictionary of the West Riding (1837), Kiveton ‘continued to be one of the principal seats of his [the Duke of Leeds] successors, till his present Grace pulled it down and enclosed its spacious park about the year 1812.'x Rather cruelly, the Nottingham Journal for 11 January 1812 advertised an auction to take place on the 17 January, for the fittings of the hall, including joists and fireplaces.

The reasons for its demolition remain conjecture, but the story is widespread that a lost bet with the Prince of Wales led to the Hall's fate. There is little to corroborate this version of events but the Hall was certainly demolished and it's curious to imagine that just months prior to the Battle of Trafalgar a major stately home may have been demolished due to a wager with the future King.

However, three points suggest the wager theory is only a myth. Firstly, it was totally denied by the then Duke of Leeds just after the First World in correspondence with a regional history society. Secondly, in the same letter, it was pointed out, correctly, that this story has been attached to many different stately homes that fell from grace. Thirdly, and most convincingly, several maps from the late eighteenth century, which give an impression of buildings according to their significance according to size, suggest the Hall to be of lesser importance than Todwick Manor: in short, it had already fallen from grace long before its demolition, for whatever reason. Nevertheless, distinguished visitors were still being entertaining at Kiveton in the first decade of the nineteenth century, only a few years before its demolition. The most likely reason for its demolition is that put forward convincingly by Geoff Nuttall, that the expenditure of two estates and the encroaching industrialisation from the north and west led to a permanent move to Hornby Castle.

The sheer grandeur of the hall at its peak is evidenced by the interior decorations, sketches for which by Louis Laguerre have survived in archives. The hall was designed by William Malman, whose approach led his biographer to describe him as a ‘maverick architect', although Kiveton itself seems to have been fairly conventional and escaped his more flamboyant efforts.xi One architectural commentator suggested the design was ‘somewhat ineffectually proto-Palladian'.xii

This is not to underestimate its scale and grandeur. Even the sash windows were based on those recently installed at St. James's Palace in London.xiii Celebrated carver Thomas Young was involved in the working of its wooden features; other major projects he worked on included Chatsworth Hall in Derbyshire.xiv As the century progressed, other plans were made to extend its grandeur, incorporating the work of some of Britain's best architects, such as James Gibb who designed a ‘gothic ruin' for the Hall in 1741 - although this was never brought to fruition.xv

The extent of the gardens and the efforts of its gardeners were astonishing. For example, we know that in 1708 the Hall's nurseries had, at various stages of growth, an astonishing 703 limes, 310 elms, 40 sycamores, 30 chestnuts, 120 ashes and 350 oaks.xvi In 1727, George Vertue described the Hall as: at Keaton ye Seat of the Ld Marquis of Carmarthen - Nottinghamshire, a regular square building brick and stone with offices, Wings, built by Osborn Du. of Leeds - after 1690. A fine park.xvii

There is an equally fascinating list of dogs kept in the kennels of the hall in 1763 and full inventory of the hall for 1727.xviii This inventory is an incredible document, a copy of which can be read at Sheffield Archives.xix On just the ground floor of the first wing the inventory deals with the following rooms are recorded: The North Garret and Clost; the second garret (south); the third Garret or wardrobe; the fourth garret or wardrobe; the sixth garret (south); north back stairs; little room eastwards; the long wardrobe; little room east.

Going up on to the second floor there stood the ‘great dining room'. Beautiful paintings and tapestries graced the walls, and a large double hearth stood beneath a purple marble chimney peace. A painting of Charles I on horseback acted as a reminder of the family's role in the civil war a hundred years before. Other paintings included of the family itself and in the centre of the room stood a large banquet table of Eqyptian marble on a wooden frame. Perhaps the most eye-catching of the decorations in the room would have been the five marble statues on black pedestals, depicting rather curiously Cleopatra, Venus. Cupid, Paris and Nero. The Great Drawing Room, also on the second floor, was similarly impressive, in similar taste to the Dining Room, including fourteen chairs and two stools, with black and gold framed, governed in flowered velvet. The Great Bedchamber was similarly priuod, and included a full length painting of Queen Mary. The best dressing room was packed with tapestries and paintings, as was the best closet, with hangings of Indian satin.

The picture room was astonishing. It had a fireplace of best Plymouth marble, which was pretty standard for this building, but it also contained a huge amount of priceless paintings. The family were clearly Royalists. Charles I popped up on a few paintings, as did Charles II, and there was a picture of Henry VIII and his sisters. Local dignitaries were pictured, including Edward Osborn and ‘Alderman Hewyt'. There was a ‘Festival of Rubins' and a whole variety of biblical scenes or scenes of particular fashions, such as of an Italian magician. Rather curiously, the ceiling in the picture room is recorded as being decorated with a cupid but also a ‘death's head'.

The rest of the hall has rooms of similar note. The servants' room in the south-east wing was rather different, containing a bell line and pulleys so they could be summoned and a ‘sacking bedstead of old materials'. There was a Great Stair Case between the floors, which contained an organ in a case painted olive and gold. The stairs themselves were covered in matting, presumably both for comfort and to stop people slipping and coming crashing down them. The upper floor of the Great Hall had a large fire grate and seven statues: a rather motley selection incorporating Pan. Hercules, Lucretia, Diana, Paris, Venus and, unsurprisingly, Cupid with his bow.

The vestibule contained more of the same exuberance, as did the drawing rooms and bedchambers of the eastern wing. An item of note could be seen in the south-eastern closet: a dressing mirror in a frame of red Japanese wood - this was in 1727! The servants room in this wing is similarly revealing as those elsewhere in the hall, including a single picture of Eliza and the prophet. The servants had their own hall, in which was set a long oak table, a fire range and an ‘old couch'. The stewards also had their own hall and closet. The hall had its own chapel, although there is some indication, judging by the amount of old broken furniture, that it was used as a storeroom for that not wanted elsewhere.

All this was only one wing. As we move to what the 1727 survey described as ‘the Right Wing' we find even more rooms. These are more basic, austere in some respects and seemingly designed for higher servants. Yet, a bedchamber in the same wing included a quilt made in Holland, with the adjacent rooms containing a harpsical, a card table and prints of the naval hospital at Greenwich and two prints of ships. There were also prints of Chelsea House, of Badminton and extensive genealogical listings of English, French, German, Spanish and even the Turkish Royal families. This room had, seemingly, a rather male feel to it, and was very different to two other rooms in the right wing: the Lady's Woman's Room and Closet and the Queen Damask Room.

Lord Danby's Room was fairly conventional. Standards were high, including Cornish curtains and a large vainet on a silver gilt frame. The passages and stairs aoround the Lord's room were very cluttered. Paintings were accompanied by maps of England, Westminster and Middlesex, and a large walnut pendulum clock ticked away in one passage. In the same wing were other rooms including a dining room with a whole range of portraits of gentry. The Green Room had a particularly interesting feature of note: seven stags' heads fixed upon its walls. Around these rooms lay more rooms for servants, including the porter's room, housekeeper's room and a linen room, packed with trunks and chests containing linen for the main beds in the hall. In the left wing of the hall there were ten different garrets and rooms for the cooks and the cook's maid. Interestingly, there was also a room for the ‘Mrs Carter', although the record give no record of who this was.

In the vicinity the hall were also a washhouse, a distillery room and two dairies. There was a great stable, middle stable and stable for the hunt. There was a poultry room, gardener's room, a dog kennel and bacon room, containing a chest in which bacon would have been laid and a bench on which it would have been salted. There was a bake house and a bolting house. Interestingly, it was recorded that many of the cushions and common prayer books at Harthill Church came under the inventory of the Hall.

Such was Kiveton Hall in 1727 - as to why it fell from favour and when..... who knows?

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