Wombwell’s dark past comes to life in print as town’s history book is finally published

Derrick Markham
Derrick Markham

EVIL deeds at Wombwell Hall are laid bare in a history book that is finally set to be published.

Wombwell Historical Records was compiled over five years by Derrick Markham, and has stayed in a large, well-thumbed binder at the town’s library.

Former Wombwell man Derrick, 75, now lives at York. It was following a visit here to see his pal Joss Hudson that he began to write the previously unrecorded history of the town, and completed his work in 1976.

At that time, he was living in London and had easy access to the public records that he pored over for hours.

One gripping discovery told how the Lord of the Manor was poisoned at Wombwell Hall on Easter Sunday 1531.

The family had been to Evensong at Darfield Church. At the supper table Henry, 42, had called for a cup of ale... it was this that contained the poison that killed him!

The London Commission assigned Westminster to investigate the tragedy that had two known suspects; Henry’s wife, Kataren, and servant Elizabeth Green.

Derrick said: “Witnesses gave grim testimonies at court, but most verdicts did not survive the test of time, and nor did this one.

“It was known Henry’s marriage was not happy – his wife had left him for three years previously.

“There were grim testimonies from witnesses but the vital evidence had gone.”

This is just one snippet in the volume. More murder, riots and attempted murder show the violent past of Netherwood Hall, within this quirky and mundane fact file of centuries.

The original Wombwell Historical Records will be housed by Barnsley Council for reference.

But Derrick’s printed copies are available in a much reduced A4 size.

They cost £9.99 from Wombwell Library, or Matalan, Cortonwood, – where £1 per sale will be donated to the NSPCC.