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An Historical Look Around the Villages of Rotherham...

The Village of Whiston

During the floods of last year (2007) much of Whiston village had to be evacuated. The initial reason for this was not the danger from Ulley Reservoir, lingering high above Whiston, but that Whiston Brook, which meanders its way through the valley in which the old centre of Whiston has been built, burst its banks.

As in Treeton and other places, houses in the village were flooded. The village resides in a hollow with narrow lanes and alleyways, and flights of steps which are celebrated in a poem wrought in a tapestry on an end wall of the Manorial Barn.

It is easy to see why Whiston is so vulnerable. Pleasley Road slopes downwards from the traffic lights at the crossroads and then makes an abrupt uphill climb as it emerges out of the village. Water always finds the lowest levels and the area in the bottom around the Sitwell Arms is naturally low-lying. The Brook wanders very close to houses and it is now quite soothing to lean on the quaint little bridge, watching the less-torrent like waters passing underneath, amid the peaceful setting on Turner Lane. The area has been grassed and there are a variety of plants and it looks well tended, and standing over it is the colourful Whiston village sign.

Turner Lane winds up past the Golden Ball pub and eventually leads to St. Mary Magdalene church, Whiston Parish Church. This is an old church, the tower base goes back to the 13th Century, but a lot of the build is 15th Century, as are the bells. Previous to this building the monks of the Norman Abbey of St. Wandrille claimed a chapel here as one of theirs. During the early 19th Century there were some ill-judged improvements leading to a partial rebuild later on in the century, initiated by the then rector, Rev. William Howard, the third son of the first Earl of Effingham. He did not live to see his plans come to fruition, however the endeavour was funded in great measure by his sister, Lady Charlotte Howard. Several fine stained glass windows were also inserted around this time when the church was known as the 'Parish Church of St. James', but Canon Raine, an eminent historian of the time, stated that this was a modern ascription and that the original dedication was to St. Mary Magdalene, and so it has been ever since.

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