What does this old sketch plan tell us about how Fishlake inhabitants travelled to Stainforth and Doncaster before 1700?

The document is entitled Sketch Plan of the River Dunn between Fishlake and Stainforth to show the course of the old river. n.d., ref. TN/HC D/4. West Yorkshire Archives. Although this plan is not dated it can be estimated to be early 18 th century. The document forms part of the Ingram Collection as the Ingram family of Leeds owned the Manor of Hatfield at this time which included Fishlake at this time.

sketchmapphoto-003

Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archives, Leeds.

This roughly drawn sketch plan shows the villages of Fishlake Stainforth and Thorne, both branches of the River Don and the level bank. The highway and lanes are shown on both sides of the Don. Field names, Turnpike and Ferry House. Also a Staith made by the participants (Dutch drainage investors).

A transcription of the legend is as follows....

"N.B.   The intent of this map is to show - that in memory there was two Rivers, one of which began or branche out of ye other at ye point of Dunstall Hills & ran near Thorne, through ye Levills into Trent - and ye second run as now by the Town of Fishlock, both North East of ye (levels in Quo) & between- it & ye town of Fishlock & both unpassable for carriages- The Ancient & onely highway from Fishlock (& private way from the River there; where all business was usually done) was through part of ye towne of Fishlock & over a drain called the Taining* at Bines* Bridge & over ye West Nabb & cross ye River Dun at Stainford ford which was & is now kept in Repair and passable for all carriages ----- wheras now the Stainford People do not pass the foard at Stainford (but tho they stop other People) carey for paie over ye (levills in Quo) cross the warpt up River at the point of Dunstall Hill & cross Kirk Towne Nabb & make landing place thereon south of ye River & oposit to ye Town of Fishlock & likewise on ye place in Qustion & make their Private way to lead hay over Dunstall hill & on ye warpt up River & by leave through ye bank Ings from their meadow called stainford East Ings & have sufford their Private way by Huddleground laine to **  s***k & toft”.

So this description appears to tell us that the route from Fishlake, Westward to Stainforth and onward to Doncater was not as we do now by crossing the West Nab along what we call the Nab Road. Instead we are told " The Ancient & onely highway from Fishlock (& private way from the River there; where all business was usually done) was through part of ye towne of Fishlock & over a drain called the Taining at Bines* Bridge & over ye West Nabb & cross ye River Dun at Stainford ford which was & is now kept in Repair and passable for all carriages ".

*On the sketch this bridge is spelt'Binds'. This may be a personal name as there is an extant will dated July 11 1558 of Nicholas Bynd of Fyshelacke (sic) yeoman.

We have further information about this bridge come from the 'Bylaw Book of Fishlake 1580-1675' for the year 1588 we read "Item to John Trymygm for bord for the bynd brygg xijs".

*Taining according to the Oxford English Dictionary means "some kind of device for catching fish in rivers". Could this explain at least one of the proposes of this water course?

So to recap the route suggests that travel was along Trundle Lane, pass the stone cross and along Far Bank Lane via Plumbtree Hill Road to (avoiding West Nab common) to Stainforth Ford. This highway as shown on the map is called “the way to Stainford & Doncaster”. This is supported by a more sophisticated from the same collection map ref. TN/HC D/7. “Survey of the River Dunn from Bramwith to Went's Mouth taken for Lord Irwin by Arthur Scott. 1752” (see below). This document clearly shows the original run of the Taining Drain from the river Don inland northward under the present Taining Lane as far as Far Bank turning to the West and running as far at Plumbtree Hill Road and South emptying into the river Don West of Stainforth. Binds Bridge is clearly shown close to Far Bank.

 

1752-map-001

Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archives, Leeds.

This map of 1752 and the Thomas Jeffrey map of 1771 both show a poorly defined track running approximately along the route of the present road. Confirming that this was not a well establishes highway at this period.
The Enclosure map of Fishlake by Haywood 1825 shows the present Nab Road called Stainforth and Fishlake Road and Taining Draining which by this time was diverted Westward in line with present day Nab Road and called West Nab Drain. The old course of the Taining Drain can just be made out on this map.
By 1854 the Ordinance Survey 6 inch to the mile map shows the majority of the Taining Drain had been obliterated. Interestingly this map names the area north and west of the West Nab and Far Bank as Barnsbridge, not that dissimilar to Binds Bridge, so is this a corruption of the former bridge? The Nab Road is by then a well established road called Stainforth and Fishlake Road.

In summary the evidence gives creditability to the theory that before the present Nab Road became a viable highway across the West Nab Common, sometime during the late 18 th century, it was customary for Fishlake inhabitants to travel overland via Far Bank. This is entirely understandable given that prior to the enclose of West Nab in the early 19 th century this common land close to the river Don was susceptible to flooding making it difficult to or unreliable for travel.

In addition this idea gives a reasonable explanation for the location of the medieval cross at Far Bank effectively being the old entry and exit point to the village of Fishlake from the West and North West.

At a recent meeting of the Fishlake Local History Group October 2016 participants who know the area really well confirm that this notion is logical and makes perfect sense given the history and topography of the landscape.

Rob Downing 21 October 2016.

Rob Downings research at https://wordpress.com/view/fishlakeheritage.wordpress.com