HAVE you heard of Sprotbrough Colliery?
The proper answer to this question should be ‘no’, for as we all know, there is no such colliery.
How many of you know however, that we were only a whisker away from having one?
Back in the latter part of the 19th century Major Bewicke-Copley of Sprotbrough Hall wanted to sink a shaft for mining coal on the boundary of his land which overlooked the magnificent hill on which stands Cusworth Hall.
The landlord of Cusworth was strongly opposed to this as the view from his grand vantage point of Cusworth Hall would have been ruined forever.
The face of nearby Bentley and Arksey was permanently altered at the arrival of their coal mine as the village became a far cry from its rural community.
A rather messy row ensued between the landlords of Cusworth and Sprotbrough over the sale of boundaries.
I believe that the more gentlemanly of the two parties was the landlord of Cusworth even though he had more to lose.
Bewicke-Copley would have seen nothing of the grime and soot from his noble pile at the uppermost reaches of Sprotbrough whereas the Battie-Wrightsons would have suffered it in its entirety.
In an effort to blot out what was to come, William Henry Battie Wrightson planted hundreds of trees along his boundary, many of which are still with us today. We can only speculate as to the true reason that the ‘pit’ didn’t go ahead but some of the reasons may include the fact that the Battie-Wrightsons would not have allowed the workings to have continued northwards under Cusworth Hall and also that there would have been a distinct risk of flooding in that geographical location.
Had the colliery opened, the shafts would have been sunk on what is now the football pitches behind Malvern Avenue in Cusworth’s new estate, the yards would have extended right along Anchorage Lane playing fields (behind PC World and Curry’s) and as far as Sprotbrough Road, and the spoil heaps would have completely changed the idyllic scenery that we take for granted when travelling the country roads between Cusworth and Sprotbrough.
I for one loved the community spirit that existed within a mining village but I have to say that I am pleased that this colliery did not materialise.