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Aldwarke

The River Don flows in a series of loops to the east of Aldwarke where there had presumably been an old wharf or aldwarke in ancient times. This was part of the extensive Manor of Rawmarsh and was through most of time a farming area. There must have been a farmhouse with outbuildings but as far as I know no village. The Manor of Rawmarsh was split between three heiresses and a new manor house was built at Aldwarke for the heiress who had inherited that third.

In the 1660s land at Aldwarke belong to the Frankland or Franklin family. Sir Henry Frankland of Aldwarke died in 1624 and his son another Henry in 1665. At some point Aldwarke came into the hands of the Foljambe family and the Medieval hall was demolished and a modern hall was built for Francis Foljambe in 1720. It enjoyed a pleasant rural setting amongst extensive field and woods.

Aldwarke Hall
Aldwarke Hall

The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, the canal and the straightening of the River Don took place in the 1730s/40s but does not seem to have had much impact upon Aldwarke. The railways were built to the northwest in the 19th Century.

Aldwarke Lock
Aldwarke Lock

Industrialisation crept upon the area. In the 1860s Aldwarke Main Colliery was sunk on a triangular section of land adjacent to Aldwarke Manor House and Roundwood Colliery to the north. At some time after this the Foljambe family must have upped sticks and Aldwarke Hall was demolished in 1898 by which time it must have been in bad repair. The farm and stables together with a cricket ground and woodlands are still shown on a map from the early 1970s.

The colliery closed in 1961. By this time Aldwarke Lane had been rebuilt and Aldwarke Sewage Works covered an extensive area close to the River Don. A remnant of the old course of Aldwarke Lane, Old Aldwarke Bridge is now disused and modern traffic takes the new road and bridge over t'Wesh.

Old Aldwarke Bridge
Old Aldwarke Bridge

Now the whole area is covered by the massive Aldwarke Steel Works with its the electricity generating station which dominate this part of the Don Valley.

Aldwarke Steel Works
Aldwarke Steel Works

There is a canal/river side walk from Aldwarke to the Back of Retail World at Parkgate. It passes along the levee between the river and the canal and the sewage works. It is quite a pleasant stroll if you can stand the smell: me, I take a peg whenever I go that way.

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