Ryhill, Wakefield .
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Ryhill is a small former mining village and civil parish in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and like many of the surrounding villages, it is still recovering from the effects of pit closures; the first mention of it in recorded history is an entry in the 1086 Domesday Book, it was part of the land granted to Ilbert de Lacy by William the Conqueror, and it describes 'Rihella' as having 4 ploughlands and an area of pasturable woodland; the name "Ryhill" itself is almost self-explanatory: it simply means "hill where rye is grown", originating in Old English, the name is formed of the elements ryge and hyll.

In 1124 lands including Ryhill were transferred to Nostell Priory by Robert de Lacy and Ryhill remained in control of the Nostell canons for the next 400 years until the Dissolution of the monasteries; sometime between 1505 and 1539 a water supply was created from the spring at Ryhill to Nostell Priory via pipes laid across the fields for two and half miles; over the spring was erected a small building with a niche over the door in which the image of a saint, probably St Oswald, once stood; the shrine is also supposed to have been dedicated to St James; the field to the north of Ryhill where the spring issued was called Wells Close; the spring was later known as The Priory Fountain.

In 1793 work began on the Barnsley Canal, to run 15 miles from Heath Common to Barnby, near Silkstone; it opened for use in 1799 and the toll for coal was one penny per ton per mile; in 1804 the canal was connected with the Dearne and Dove canal and shipped around 10,000 tons of fine Silkstone coal a year; by the 1820's the Canal carried over 100,000 tons of coal as well as other goods; however, by 1950 less than one barge a week was still using the canal and it was abandoned in 1953.

In 1836 a decision was taken to increase the depth of the Wintersett reservoir by 5 to7 feet by raising banks and lock walls; it now covers about 130 acres and is about 40 feet deep in parts, and in the 1850's a new reservoir was constructed between the canal and the Wintersett lagoon in order to increase the water supply.

In 1867 Ryhill was described as a small agricultural village with a few shops; its only other industry was the working of two sandstone quarries, but in 1868 coalmining started when a lease was signed to work coal at Havercroft Main, a small and shallow pit, which eventually closed down in 1892; it became a true mining village in 1874 when the Ryhill Main colliery was opened, employing 322 men by 1901.

In 1878 coal production from Monckton Main colliery began, employing 1721 men by 1903, which rose to 4023 by 1940, but the pit was abandoned in the1960's; in 1925 the New Monckton Colliery sank a new shaft in roughly the same area, but it too closed down in 1966 after 41 years.



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