Thurcroft = "Thurscroft"= Thori's enclosure
The parish of Thurcroft covers the colliery village of Thurcroft and the hamlet of Brampton-en-le-Morthen. The parish was formerly included the village of Laughton-en-le-Morthen which was made a separate parish in 1995.
Origin of Thurcroft
Thurcroft is first documented in a Roche Abbey charter of 1309, although Hunter has reference to a William de Thurcroft in the reign of Edward I. As the personal name 'Thori' is of Norse origin, the name is probably much older. It probably originated as an isolated clearing in the wasteland around Laughton. Until the early 20th century, there was no settlement of Thurcroft, only Thurcroft Hall and three farms.
The Mirfields, Beckwiths and Thurcroft Hall
The daughter of William de Thurcroft married Hugh, younger son of William de Mirfield of Mirfield (WYks). Their son, Roger Mirfield, lived at Thurcroft. The Mirfields remained at Thurcroft until the 17th century when the estate passed to the Beckwith family as a result of the marriage of Margaret, widow of Roger Mirfield (who died without heirs) and William Beckwith.
The present hall dates from 1699 and bears a date stone with the Beckwith motto 'joir en bien' [take joy in good]. The Beckwiths also had property at Trimdon, Co Durham. In 1766, Mrs Beckwith left two annuities charged on the Thurcroft estate, one of 20s a year for educational purposes and another of 52s a year for the weekly distribution of bread. William Beckwith, who died in 1816, left £7,255 to the Foundling Hospital in London, charged with the payment of £24 a year for charitable use in the parish of Laughton. In 1831 Major (later General) William Beckwith of Thurcroft was responsible for calming riots in Bristol. By 1838 the Beckwiths had ceased to use Thurcroft Hall and it was occupied by a farmer, Thomas Jennings. Later in the 19th century the estate was purchased by Sheffield brewer Thomas Marrian senior (d1883) who was succeeded by his son, Thomas Marrian junior. The hall is now the home of the Massarella family and is the headquarters of the family catering business and riding school.
In 1902 Thomas Marrian junior leased the coal under his estate to the Rothervale Collieries Ltd. Sinking began in 1909 but, because of problems with water and faulting, coal was not reached until 1912 and full time working did not commence until 1913. In 1918, coke ovens and a brickworks were erected at Thurcroft. The brickworks was later taken over by Butterley Brick (closed 1992). Manpower at the colliery reached a peak in 1931-9 and again in 1947 when over 2,000 men were employed. Initially only the Barnsley seam was worked but the Parkgate seam was was opened up in 1942 to meet the war time increase in demand. The Barnsley seam was exhausted in 1967 and working in the Parkgate seam finished in 1972 because of difficult working conditions and extreme temperatures. In 1976 an extensive modernisation scheme was intended to take the pit into the next century but closure came in 1991. The workforce, together with the council and the Coalfield Communities Campaign, fought to keep the pit open, run by the miners, but the attempt foundered on British Coal's demand that they pay the cost of maintaining the mine during the negotiations. In 1995, proposals to turn the colliery site into a waste tip met with widespread opposition.
As the colliery was sunk in a greenfield site, there were no houses for the workers who came to work the new pit. From 1913 the Colliery Company began to build houses, designed by Rotherham architect, JE Knight. There was a second instalment of building in 1926, in which year the Rural District Council also began to build houses in the village.
In 1901 the population of the parish of Laughton stood at 631. By 1911 it had risen to 1,859 and in 1921 to 2,679. This rise was due to the growth of Thurcroft. In 1923 a new parish of Thurcroft was formed, combining Laughton, Thurcroft and Brampton-en-le-Morthen. The recreation ground, paddling pool and tennis courts were built by local unemployed men in the 1920s and 1930s. The village was badly hit during the coal strike of 1926 when the Thurcroft meals and Kitchen and Relief Fund served almost 250,000 meals between May and September.
The new mining village of Thurcroft fell within the ecclesiastical parish of Laughton. In 1915 a mission church was started in a room loaned by Mr Stray of New Orchard Farm. A Sunday School was started in unfinished houses in the 'Green'. The church members eventually purchased a wooden hut, dedicated on St Simon and St Jude's Day 1917, and a priest-in-charge was appointed in 1919. In 1921-2 the hut was replaced with a new wood and asbestos building, later the church hall. A permanent church in artificial stone was erected in 1937-9 by the colliery company, the foundation stone being laid by Sir Walter Benton Jones, chairman of Rother Vale Collieries. A new ecclesiastical parish of Thurcroft was formed in 1948.
A wooden Methodist chapel was erected in 1914. This served until 1925 when a sum of £6,000 from money provided for Joseph Rank and Son, millers for the construction of churches in the Yorkshire Coalfield, was added to money raised by the congregation to construct a permanent chapel, opened in 1926. In 1983 the congregation began to hold services in the Anglican Church and the chapel building was sold to the Rotherham Sports and Acro Display Club. The Catholic church closed in 1989.
A temporary school was erected in 1914 so that the children of the miners did not have to make the journey to the schools at Laughton. A permanent infant and junior school was built in 1919. Between 1940 and 1970 Thurcroft also had its own secondary school. A new infant school was constructed in 1958.
The village burial ground to the south of the village was established by the parish council in the 1920s and transferred to the care of Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in 1983. The new village hall, opened in 1983, was named after local county and parish councillor, Gordon Bennett, who had died the previous year. An extension, including a bar, lounge and council chamber for the parish council, was added in 1987. The parish council was instrumental in the installation of a winding wheel from the colliery as a feature at the junction of Green Arbour Road and Toad Lane.
(Extracted from:- RMBC, Patchwork of Parishes, 1997)
Last modification: 30/01/2014