Heritage Open Days in South Yorkshire

This September, explore some of the region’s most historically interesting places with Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture which sees places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history.

All events are FREE and take place between Friday 10th and Sunday 19th September. You can find a full list of events taking place in our area via www.heritageopendays.org.uk, but here are just some of the events happening locally.

Maurice Dobson Museum and Heritage Centre

Saturday 11th September 10am-4pm and Sunday 12th September 12pm-4pm

See this beautifully restored Georgian Yeoman’s residence which was once a grocery shop run by Maurice Dobson and his partner Fred in the 1950s and ‘60s. Tour the three exhibition rooms which are full of memorabilia and artefacts from local industries.

There is also an outdoor Victorian kitchen complete with Yorkshire Range where the volunteers will showcase traditional foods and recipes of the era.

No booking required

2 Vicar Road, Darfield, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S73 9JZ

Elsecar Guided History Tour

Saturday 11th & 18th and Sunday 12th & 19th September 12pm-2pm

Enjoy a fascinating history tour of Elsecar with expert guides. With over 200 years of history, discover how the Earls Fitzwilliam created a new model village, with bustling workshops, mighty ironworks, and deep dark collieries. Find out what it was like to work there, and what happened when Royalty and aristocrats came to visit.

Max 15 people per tour – booking required call 01226 740203

Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8HJ

Old Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth

Saturday 11th & 18th and Sunday 12th & 19th September 10am-5pm

See the remains of the 15th century church which was converted to a mausoleum in 1877 after a new church was built. Memorials remain of the Wentworth family including the Earl of Strafford who was beheaded on Tower Hill just before the Civil War.

Chance to enter the vault each day from 2pm-4pm

No booking required

Main Street, Wentworth, Rotherham S62 7TX

St Mary’s Church Barnsley

Tuesday 14th and Saturday 18th September 11am-3pm

Tours at 11.30, 12.30 and 1.30pm

Take a guided tour of this beautiful historic church in Barnsley town centre which bears the scars of the reformation period, has at least one grave stone dating to the English Civil War, splendid Victorian stained glass, and a unique First World War memorial pillar restored in 2020.

Craft activities by local artist, Charlotte Fairclough, and refreshments with ‘More Tea, Vicar?’ talk by historian Jane Ainsworth into the lives of a handful of past parish clergy and the food they may have eaten.

No booking required

St. Marys Church, Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AH

St Leonard’s Church, Wortley

Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th September 10.30am-4pm

Explore the imposing church and churchyards which date from 1753 and contain monuments and memorials to the Wortley family, the Earls of Wharncliffe. See the stained glass windows, operational pipe organ from 1820, and a gravestone which legend says is that of Dick Turpin but is in fact another famous highway man, Swift Nick.

Church tower will be open on the Saturday to see the bells with a demo of bell ringing.

No booking required

St Leonard’s Church, Halifax Road, Wortley, Barnsley S35 7DB

CemeTreats & Funeral Feasts at Wombwell Cemetery

Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September 10am-4pm

Step back in time with Friends of Wombwell Cemetery to discover the wonderful foody cemetery and funeral traditions.

From Pagans holding silent dinners, to lemons left on gravestones, or even Victorians taking picnics to the graveside, explore the many traditions that were held, not just in England, but around the world. There will also be information from Wombwell Heritage Group about the history of the town.

Booking not required

Wombwell Cemetery, Cemetery Road, Wombwell, Barnsley S73 8HY

St James’ Church, Ravenfield

Friday 17th and Saturday 18th 10am-2pm and Sunday 19th September 12pm-3pm

Look around this hidden gem of a church from the 18th century with a rare, recently restored one-fingered clock and six bells that can be rung by one person.

No booking required

Church Lane, Ravenfield, Rotherham S65 4NG

Hemingfield Colliery

Saturday 18th September 10.30am-4pm and Sunday 19th September 12.30pm-3.30pm

Join the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery to explore the history and heritage of this scheduled Victorian colliery, once part of Earl Fitzwilliam’s Elsecar Collieries. Regular guided tours of the site, its coal working, railway and canal history, and connections to Elsecar, Wentworth and the wider world.

No booking required

Hemingfield Colliery, Hemingfield, Barnsley S73 0NX

Thundercliffe: Seeds of Change

Sunday 19th September 3pm-5.30pm

Enjoy an afternoon of three short talks under the willow trees by the Russian bath in the historic gardens at Thundercliffe Grange.

A potted history of institutional food growing and land use at Thundercliffe in three chapters of its unique history, from the iron-working Cistercian grange of the 12th century, through the Victorian asylum pleasure and walled gardens, to the NHS hospital market gardens of the 1950s.

Chapter One – the White Monks (1200s to 1500s) by Mary Hampton, folk singer and current resident

Chapter Two – the Women’s Asylum (1880s – 1930s) by Eleanor Houldcroft, landscape architect and specialist in heritage gardens restoration.

Chapter Three – the NHS Children’s Hospital (1950s-1970s) by Darrell Maryon, head gardener at Wortley Hall organic kitchen garden.

Homemade refreshments will be available in the orchard between talks.

Booking required, email moyasketch@gmail.com

Thundercliffe Grange, Grange Lane, Kimberworth, Rotherham S61 2SQ

Barnburgh Dovecote

Sunday 19th September 10am-4pm

An opportunity to view the grade II* 16th century octagonal dovecote, originally constructed as a wedding gift from the Lord High Chancellor of England, Thomas More to his son John on his marriage to Anne Cresacre. It is estimated that it might have housed up to 2,000 birds in its heyday.

The dovecote is now cared for by the residents of the new development built on the site of the old Barnburgh Hall which was demolished by the NCB in 1969.

No booking required

Barnburgh Hall Gardens, Barnburgh, Doncaster DN5 7DS

Talk about medical pioneer, Mary Wortley Montagu, at Wortley Hall

Monday 13th September 10am-11am

For the 300th anniversary of the introduction of smallpox inoculation to England from Turkey, historian Jenny Rudd gives an insightful talk into the woman for whom we all owe our lives – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Find out how Mary overcame prejudice against both race and gender to achieve her pioneering mission. This ‘walk and talk’ style event takes place outside and questions, conversation and personal anecdotes are welcomed

No booking required

Wortley Hall, Sheffield S35 7DB