Silkstone is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, between the towns of Barnsley and Penistone and includes the village of Silkstone Common.
The name Silkstone is Old English in origin and is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon man’s name Sylc and the suffix tun meaning a farmstead. Silkstone is also mentioned in the Doomsday Book (1086) as belonging partly to Cawthorne and partly to Tateshalla.
There was no church here at that time, but in 1090 the church of Silkstone was given by Swaine, son of Ailric to the monks of Pontefract. The Church of All Saints was constructed in the 12th century (with alterations/renovations in the 15th and 19th century it is a grade 1 listed building.
The village has a rich mining heritage running through its veins. By 1800 land-owners knew about the ‘Black gold’ here underground, but only horse and cart transport was available to the new canal basin.
The Waggoway was laid and private landowners added their private branches. Stretching through the village, the horse drawn railway, one of only eleven with so many surviving features, has become somewhat a landmark in Silkstone.
When the Barnsley Canal opened in 1799, it had insufficient cargoes to make it pay. A short waggonway to a nearby pit was taken up after the mine closed due to an underground methane gas explosion.
The new Waggonway opened in 1809 crossing over five coal seams which outcropped across the valley. The Waggonway was essential to transport the high quality Silkstone coal to its terminus at Barnby Basin, Cawthorne.
The line was taken up around the 1860’s. Today you can still see the stone sleepers and areas of the route which would have once been joined by the clip-clop of hooves, the sweat of the workers and the memories of the Huskar Disaster.
In the Silkstone cemetery where the children were buried a Memorial has been erected to remember them by, with all the names of the children listed on three sides of the memorial.