Chapter Eleven Part V
For the most part Nineteenth Century, Maltby gives the impression of being roused from the torpor and lack of enthusiasm of the previous century. Apart from the aristocracy with the lavish weddings like that of Lady Sibell – her sister’s wedding which took place earlier when the local press said the presents were reported to worth £30,000! – and the professional in-comers, most of the village would be poor to say the least.
Village enjoyments depended on the goodwill of the landowners and professional people. From time to time the parish magazine mentions a “treat” for children held at Maltby Hall. Church collections appear to have been given to “charities”. It is recorded, for instance, that the collections at the Harvest services in 1867 were given to the coal club which enabled every poor person to obtain a ton of coal for 5 or 6 shillings. The harvest collection was £9.3s.8d. In 1877 there was a Cottage Gardener’s Society.
There seems to have been virtually one man was fined for driving his cart on the Turnpike without holding the reins! There were the inevitable tragic events which come to even the smallest village December 20th, 1873 a boy of 14, servant to Mr. Felix Nicholson of Bullatree Farm, was killed when he fell from a cart near Roche Abbey. Some years later a young man, son of a well respected servant of Lord Scarborough, was found crowned at Roche Abbey. In May 1890 there is a report of an attempted murder of a young girl by her grandfather who later committed suicide.
In 1880 two Faster entertainments were given by the Maltby Dramatic Society. These growing social activities and the Reading Room were doubtless the work of some of the new families – the Misses Crosskey (their father was the village Doctor) and the Mackenzie Smiths who lived at the Hall. Lady Mabel Smith was an ardent pioneer in education and social welfare.
The economic historian F. W. Hobsbawm describes the results of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution and its industrial and economic results. “The Industrial Revolution re-shaped the social and working patterns. Ours was a country filled with a stoic mass of those destined to live all their lives on a bare and uncertain subsistence until old age threw them on the scrap heap of the Poor Law, underfed, badly housed and badly clothed”. Hard though the lot of the Maltby villager and estate worker or farm labourer might be it was at least better than the life of the “stoic mass” in the great and growing manufacturing town of Sheffield.
Fred Kitchen, the Maltby author, described the difference when he wrote from his own experience as a farm labourer: “Traditionally the farm servant was hired annually at the great Hiring Fairs. If unmarried, he lived in and ate at the farmer’s table. A large part of his income was in kind. He earned little, but enjoyed the security of regular employment, unlike the man hired weekly or daily who earned no’ wages when not actually working for a master”. Barbara Hammond makes the point in the “Village Labourer”.
“In the Nineteenth Century”, she wrote, “through the, patriarchal relationship between master and man … the poor labourer shared the Fate of the poor farmer. A man was discharged only in cases of direst necessity”. Such would be the pattern for many in Maltby. hey had little and, being landless, could make no impact on the decisions of the landowners and tithe holders who were enfranchised. But many were, as Hammond points out, protected by the lingering communal sense of the ancient feudal economy. But even in the mid-century the pattern was changing. The 1851 Census showed that townsmen for the first time outnumbered country folk.
Many of this growing majority of townsfolk living and working in the dirt and grime of the new “coke-towns” of Rotherham and Sheffield took advantage of the good air and picturesque surroundings of rural Maltby. The ruins of Roche were a great attraction. The Sheffield – Bawtry Turnpike made travel easier. The opening of the Sheffield to Rotherham railway facilitated the day trip to Roche. From about 373 up to the First World War tourists flocked to Roche in the summer months. White’s Directory of 1871 records that William Goodband lived in the Abbey House and offered good stabling and refreshments.
He was also Lord Scarbrough’s farm bailiff. Scarbrough allowed the Abbey grounds to be opened on Mondays and Thursdays. Among others J. Moorhouse ran a horse omnibus from the Ship Hotel Livery Stables in Rotherham at 2 shillings a journey. Excursions were run from further afield. Choir outings, Sunday School Treats, Friendly Societies and many others found the overgrown valley with its attractions of the “Wishing Well”, the “Stepping Stones” and the “Table Mountain” a fascinating place in which to spend a summer day. Maltby rose to the occasion in catering for this urban invasion.
Several cafes and eating rooms supplied meals. Tea and sugar and hot water were supplied to picnickers by Roche Abbey cottagers. The occupant of Roche Abbey house before Goodband was Miss Hartshorn whose family name can be traced back via Maltby tombstones for 200 years. Michael Hartshorn of Roche Abbey was listed as a cabinet maker.
Besides the day trippers, many Rotherham and Sheffield business people brought their families to Maltby for the summer. Some of the larger houses on Rotherham Road date from this period. So attractive did Maltby’s new found status as a holiday resort appear that in 1880 the building of a Rotherham to Bawtry Railway was authorized by Act of Parliament! In 1888 the project was wisely abandoned.
Vicar Rolleston died in 1868. He had two sons and a daughter, Rosemary. His son George was born at Maltby Hail in 1829 and died at Oxford in 1881. He was a distinguished Linacre Professor of Physiology at Oxford University. it is of interest that he excavated the Dinnington Barrow near to Maltby. Distinguished though George was he was ready to give time to Maltby, stay with his sister in 1878 and give a lecture to the villagers on “Our doemstic animals”!
William, George’s younger brother, was equally distinguished. He became an early colonist in New Zealand, and spent 45 years in the Colony. For some years he was Superintendent of the Canterbury Province, He died in New Zealand in 1903. Rolleston’s death meant a new Vicarage had to be built. The Hall had belonged to the Rollestons. On his death the Hall was purchased by the Schofields of Sand Hall, East Yorkshire. From the Schofields the Hall went to Miss White and became a school. It was then bought by a Colonel Mackenzie Smith, a grandson of Dr. Catty, Rector of Ecclesfield, Sheffield.
Mackenzie Smith married Lady Mabel, a sister of the Earl Fitzwilliam. The Mackenzie Smiths resided at the Hall for some years. Inevitably the new Vicarage of 1868 was large. It was obviously designed for a “gentleman”. It had seventeen rooms, stabling and a place for two carriages! It was in 1952.