Netherwood Hall

The now demolished Netherwood Hall near Darfield, Barnsley stood close to the River Dove, on the site of the former manor house of Woodhall which can be traced back to at least the 15th century. Netherwood was a Georgian building but probably included remnants of the former manor house.

The fifteenth century saw Woodhall Manor occupied by the Drax and Bosville families. By a settlement charter of December 1420 John and Margaret Drax are granted the rights of the manor from John Bosville and his eldest son William. John Bosville had inherited the manor, together with Ardsley, probably on his first marriage to Mary Drax. John was descended from Martin de Bosville who arrived from Normandy in the 11th century. The Drax family continued to occupy Woodhall until the early 17th century.

In 1516 there was reported in the Court of the Star Chamber at Westminster the 'siege of Woodhall Manor' involving Thomas Drax, a priest. In 1601 the Darfield parish register records the burial of Thomas Drax of Netherwood Hall, esquire. It seems that the names Netherwood and Woodhall are interchangeable from this time although this is the first mention of the new name.

In 1603 a Ralphe Woodcock occupied 'Nether Woodhall', but by 1605 the Bosville family were once again in residence. The manor then passed to the Taylor family in the late 17th century, and the 18th century saw a succession of different families mentioned in the Darfield parish register, including Foulstone, Battie, Walker, Morley, and Rock.

John Garland purchased the hall in 1777. John was described as a clothier and cloth dresser of Simpson Fold, Leeds, although the family had been linked with the Todwick area of South Yorkshire for hundreds of years. It appears that John inherited money from a cousin which allowed him to buy the hall. John had married Mary Benson at Throapham near Todwick in October 1774, and their first two children, John and Thomas were baptised there in 1775 and 1776. The eldest son John inherited the hall and, married to Sarah White in 1796, produced seven children. The eldest of these, another John Garland married Bertha Birks in 1830 and occupied the hall as a 'gentleman farmer'. Bertha was the daughter of John Birks of Hemingfield, who was known as the 'honest Yorkshire lawyer'.

John and Bertha were succeeded by Harry Garland who married Martha Elizabeth Ownsworth of Thurnscoe Grange in 1864. In 1861 Harry was described as a farmer of 170 acres employing 'five labourers and one boy'. After Harry's death in 1890 the hall was inherited by his oldest son Arthur who married Charlotte Elizabeth Wilde in 1896. Not long after this the hall was sold to the Mitchell Main Colliery Company. By now the hall was situated between Mitchells Main and Darfield Main collieries. The Mitchell family lived there for ten years, and then for fourteen years it was occupied by the family of Mr John W Halmshaw, who was General Manager at Mitchells Main.

From about 1924 the hall became the offices for the colliery. In 1928 it was offered to the Wombwell Urban District Council who were looking for a site for an isolation hospital. The offer appears to have been rejected and for about thirty years the hall served as a miners' welfare club and institute. The report of the offer, however, gives a good description of the site -

Netherwood Hall is quite an imposing building, and covers a considerable area of ground. The aspect is south-east but some of the rooms open to the south. The Hall was probably erected about 200 years ago, and is stone built throughout. The architecture is of the 'solid' type of the period, and is very similar to the rectory at Darfield and Swaithe Hall. The rooms are lofty and the walls panelled, the panels in one room containing rare old paintings. There are fine open staircases.

The situation is rather low lying, but the hall itself occupies an eminence from which the gardens dip gently to the River Dove. Once well stocked with fruit trees, possessing a vinery and abounding in blooms,the gardens used to be a vision of glory. The spot is somewhat secluded and still not without attractions, but the prospect has been marred to some extent by the collieries less than half a mile away. The Darfield Main pit yard adjoins the grounds, which are about eight acres in extent. In the event of the scheme maturing, more land will probably be available.

After the construction of a new Mitchell and Darfield Miners' Welfare Institute in Barnsley Road, Wombwell, Netherwood Hall was put on the market in the 1960s, but with no buyer forthcoming and much vandalism it was demolished. A picture of the hall taken in 1963 just before it was demolished is shown here, courtesy of Frank Robinson. Some of the site is now occupied by a nature reserve, which still includes 'Garlands Pond'.

Garland genealogy page


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Another family with an interest in Netherwood Hall is Rock, see  or contact Clayton Rock at

Acknowledgements to (the late Peter) & Marina Garland Henry, Judi Binns, and the late Ken Graham


last updated 14 May 2010