Round About Conisboro´ – Beating the Bounds (2)

July 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 21

Round About Conisboro´

The account I was able to give last week of the old, and obsolete custom as far as Conisbrough is concerned, of traversing the parish boundary appears to have aroused some interest. This week I propose to continue and conclude the narrative given in the old document I mentioned in the last issue of this paper.

Whether the events which occurred during the perambulation of 1816 proved to be of a more enjoyable character that was anticipated, or whether the weather next year was more favourable I am unable to say, but on the 15 th May 1817, a party of 25 assembled at the trysting place to participate in the fun whereas the previous year´s party only numbered 14, only four of these failing to turn up for the second year´s tramp. Business commenced at the bottom of North Cliff field, that is, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the present glass works, for at that time the North Cliff would probably run down to the river bank as the present main road to Mexborough would not then be in existence.

The party kept “the course of the Denaby fence, and followed the same round a piece of ground called the old Wong, and to the bar on Rotherham Road”. This name “Old Wong” is still attached to an enclosed field which is part of the glebe belonging to the Vicar of Conisbrough. The Bar would be probably at Hill top, where toll would be taken from the users of the turnpike road. The Hooten fence was then followed to “Cragg House”, where two verses of the 18 th Psalm were sung. The ruins of this house may still be seen at the Southern corner of Hooten Wood. The parish boundary line was then followed to the Wall of Ravenfield Park, and in the Park a piece of land was traced out which belonged to Conisbrough Parish.

Thence to Ravenfield “to the house of John Cross, publican, and then to Samuel Gleadless, both houses being in Conisbrough parish, and sung part of the aforesaid psalm at each house. A Thirsty soul would now-a-days, seek in vain for a publican in Ravenfield.

Then on to Woodlaithes Farm, past the Red House “to Mr. Whitehead´s house, walked round the kitchen, and told the master of the house or business, that we were making a perambulation of the boundary of the parish, and that he must excuse our freedom”. The apology was, I think, very necessary as it must have been rather a shock to a peaceful householder to find his home invaded by five and twenty men. From here “to Flanderwell to the house of Mrs. Frost”, sung part of the 18 th psalm in the dwelling house, making a remark upon a certain threshold which divides the parishes of Conisbrough and Rotherham”. It is difficult for us to-day to realise that once upon a time the parishes of Conisbrough and Rotherham met at any point.

Returning home by way of Bramley “we were met there by a refreshment of bread and cheese and ale”. From there “to the house of John Pattison where we made a full stop, and called over the names of one company”. The route then was through the Parks “to the house of Mrs. Armitage to a dinner and ale at the expense of the parish, and thus we completed the boundary of the parish”. Evidently there was no fear in those days of the eagle eye of the auditor, or dinner and ale at the expenses of the parish would not be indulged in.

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