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An Historical Look Around the Villages of Barnsley...
Historic Monk Bretton

By Brian Elliott

Stand at the top of Burton Bank, a short distance from the centre of old Monk Bretton and, on a clear day, you will see one of the best views of Barnsley, the Dearne valley and distant moorland.

Today, the village has become an almost imperceptible part of its urban neighbour but not too long ago the river and the rising high ground contributed to making ‘Bretton’, ‘Burton’ or Monk Bretton (or even ‘Monk Burton’) into one of the most distinctive communities of our area.

On Burton Bank is a Quaker burial ground, now unfortunately almost obliterated, one of the earliest in the country. It was deliberately sited here, a relatively remote, out of the way site, during the early 1650s when religious persecution was rife. Later, during more tolerant times, a small meeting house was erected. This location became a focus for local and visiting Quakers for many years until a new place of worship was established in Barnsley, on Huddersfield Road, in the early nineteenth century. The Quakers or Society of Friends were an important group in the development of trade and early industry in and around Barnsley.

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