Glassby Arch

This project will see the restoration, reassembly and relocation of this historic arch in Mexborough.

The Glassby Arch is a freestanding semi-circular Romanesque arch. It has beenrelocated into the grounds of Mexborough Almhouses where it will be more visible, secure and public. The arch was created by Robert Glassby, who became known as  “Sculptor to the Queen”, He constructed the Glassby Arch in 1860 and it was his first attempt at such a large project.   Over the years it’s been moved about and neglected therefore a partnership between the DVLP, Mexborough Charity Trust, Doncaster Council, Mexborough & District Heritage Society and the National Crime Agency was formed in order to restore, reassemble and relocate the historic arch.

The Project

This project has seen the restoration, reassembly and relocation of this historic arch within Mexborough. It is a partnership between the DVLP, Mexborough Charity Trust, Doncaster Council and Mexborough & District Heritage Society and the National Crime Agency

The Glassby Arch is a free-standing, semicircular Romanesque arch resting on dressed stone abutments set beneath a triangular superstructure, constructed in 1860 by Robert Glassby. Glassby, a stonemason who was born in Mexborough in 1835, became known locally as the ‘Sculptor to the Queen’ through his work on the Albert Memorial.

The DVLP had the opportunity to rescue this arch, which is considered to be of national importance. The new site is within the grounds of Mexborough Almhouses in a more visible, public and secure position. This is also the area of the original birthplace of Glassby. This will provide a starting point for a series of historical trails within the area. Interpretation will be carried out through the interpretation project to build on the work already carried out in the area.


Glassby ArchGlassby started his working life as a journeyman stonemason before he began studying drawing and modelling at Sheffield School of Art with the support and patronage of John Reed. The arch was Glassby’s first attempt at such a large work and was constructed in 1860 for John Reed, the owner of Rockingham Pottery. Regarded as the most important of Robert Glassby’s early works, the arch originally formed the entrance to the garden of Reed’s home at Prospect House, Market Street. The Glassby Arch remained in situ until 1966, when Prospect House was demolished due to the construction of the Mexborough by-pass.

It was taken down and moved to Fern Villa, Church Street in 1968 on condition that it remained the property of the people of the town and was visible to them at all times. This condition was observed until 2007 when following the demolition of Fern Villa a large new house was allowed to obscure the arch from the road. The arch’s condition has since deteriorated due to the absence of the previous owner and its future has been threatened for some time. The arch is considered to be of national importance, which is reflected in its inclusion on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

It was during this period of ownership that the National Crime Agency seized the house, grounds and arch as part of a Civil Recovery Order resulting from investigations into alleged drug dealing and money laundering. In 2014, the National Crime Agency gifted the arch to the Mexborough Charity Trust and the people of Mexborough in perpetuity.

Friday 6th November 2015 saw the unveiling of the arch and the event was attended by over 50 people, including a descendant of Robert Glassby who travelled up from Essex to be part of the day. The arch can be now seen in the grounds of the Almshouses in Church Street, Mexborough. More details of the unveiling and photos of the completed arch can be found through the links below.


Locations in the Dearne

All locations that are affected by this project are as follows: