Meet the People: The Penty family

An important part of the work of the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery, is to research and reveal the working lives and social history stories from the local community. Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of our Hemingfield’s Hidden History project, alongside restoration efforts to save Hemingfield Colliery’s unique buildings like Pump House Cottage, we are delighted to be able to share and celebrate the stories of local families and individuals associated with Hemingfield and the pit itself.

One of the hidden jewels from the research has been the story of the Penty family, from Tingle Bridge, Hemingfield, and through local history outreach work with relatives we are delighted to share some of the details below:

Group of miners at Hemingfield Colliery, early 20th Century, including members of the Penty family. (Photo credit: Mary Reid)

Hemingfield: Home and History

Mary Reid has shared her family’s story. Her ancestor John Penty moved to Hemingfield in the late 1830s, working for the Birks family, living down by Tingle Bridge. The family remained there until 1970.

Undated view of Tingle Bridge level crossing, over the canal and railway, with the cottages behind where the Pentys lived for many years (Photo credit: Mary Reid)

“In the 1950s and 60s I often went to stay with my Grandma Penty at Tingle Bridge. I would get off the train at Elsecar and walk down passing Hemingfield Colliery and always knowing that James Penty was killed there.”

PENTY. – The death occurred at Tingle Bridge, Hemingfield, on Tuesday, of Mr John Penty. He had attained the age of 82, was born and died in the same house, and was one of the oldest servants of Earl Fitzwilliam. He survived his wife, Annie Penty (78) by exactly a fortnight. Mr Penty belonged to an old Hemingfield family. His father (also John Penty) came to the village from Clayton-in-the-Clay something like a hundred years ago as farm bailiff to Mr. Birks, whose farmstead was in Beech House lane. The family had occupied the same cottage overlooking the railway crossing and the canal bridge at Tingle Bridge for close upon a century. Mr. Penty started work at Simon Wood colliery when a boy, and later became banksman at the old Hemingfield colliery. On being pensioned off at the closing of that pit he was employed at Earl Fitzwilliam’s collieries for 63 years. Simon Wood Colliery was dismantled many years ago. Old residents will recall that it adjoined Reform Row, Elsecar, and occupied a site near where the Elsecar Main Colliery now stands. Mr. Penty had two sons. The younger, Mr. James Penty, was killed in a cage accident at the old Hemingfield pit two years ago. Mr. Penty was greatly respected in the district. The interment is to take place at Elsecar to-day (Friday).

The South Yorkshire Times  24/2/1928, p.10

“Since becoming aware of the conservation group and liaising with the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery, I have been researching the Penty family and their relationship with the Colliery and the local community.”

Amongst the family papers is a fascinating photograph of the working men at the pit: faces – known and unknown – at Hemingfield Colliery. Mary introduces us to them, but can you fill in any of the gaps?

Mary introduces us to the faces of Hemingfield’s working miners over a hundred years ago. Can you identify anyone? Or have stories to share? Get in touch!

“I am hoping that this information and photos and other memorabilia can be given to the Colliery and will eventually be part of a community collection put on public display. “

Mary Reid, January 2022

– Recognise any names or faces?Have stories of your own to share?please do Get in touch!