Intangible Heritage

Much of the heritage of the Dearne, as with other areas, is difficult to describe or explain. The intangible heritage is that which passes through generations or is just part of life in the Dearne. This is an area that the DVLP is particularly well placed to focus on.

As with many areas the place names of the Dearne have been shaped by the landscape. Ings is the Old Norse word for water meadows and marshes. The area is dotted with “Ings” – Rabbit Ings, Wombwell Ings and Denaby Ings as well as various Ings Roads and Ings Lanes. The Monk Bretton name is derived from the “farmstead of Britons”. Wentworth was “Wintra’s enclosure”. Wombwell was “Wamba’s spring or stream”. Worsbrough was “Wyrc or Wirc’s stronghold”. Darfield was “open land frequented by deer”. The number of place names ending in borough, burgh and brough demonstrates the history of fortified enclosures.  Even when not considering the origins of place names many of the names in the area have a local, regional and possibly national resonance due to their association with mining, particularly as a result of the miner’s strike of 1984. Name such as Houghton Main, Wath, Manvers, Hickleton Main, Cadeby & Denaby and Cortonwood, even for those not from the area bring immediate associations. Linked to this, the Oaks Colliery at Stairfoot, was the scene of the biggest mining disaster in English history with over 360 people dying in 1866 – the 150th anniversary is in 2016. The name Fitzwilliam is also prevalent across the area as a result of Wentworth Woodhouse, the wealth generated, the villages created and the relative paternalism show by the Fitzwilliam family.

The development phase of the DVLP has only hinted at the level of stories, oral history, traditions and heritage that there are within the Dearne. There is a strength of community to the area, influenced directly by the landscape but particularly by the mining industry.