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Discover Monk Bretton in Barnsley - from its' history to where to buy the best pies and sausage rolls in Barnsley


Aerial image of Monk Bretton in Barnsley overlooking St Paul's church.
St. Pauls Church, Monk Bretton, courtesy of Pennine SEO's Drone Photography Service


Welcome to Monk Bretton! Butcher Residential is local, family-run estate agency which has sold properties all around Barnsley for over 30 years. We have excellent knowledge of the area and are in a position to best advise buyers on where they should be looking to buy property.  It is our duty to best inform our buyers of the area they are considering moving to. This ultimate guide to Monk Bretton will give you a lot of useful information about  Monk Bretton that will help in your decision-making regarding where to live in Barnsley. Once you are familiar with the area, be sure to then go and view our properties for sale in Monk Bretton and houses for sale in Barnsley. We also let properties so if you are looking to rent, you can view our houses for rent in Barnsley. If you are a landlord looking to rent your properties in Barnsley, Penistone or Denby Dale and surrounding areas, then please see our Lettings page.




  1. Location
  2. Population
  3. History
  4. Present day
  5. Places of interest
  6. Places to eat
  7. Nearby attractions
  8. Schools
  9. Food and Drink in Barnsley
  10. Property in Monk Bretton



Where is Monk Bretton?

Monk Bretton is a large village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley which is on the border with West Yorkshire. Nestled in the heart of South Yorkshire, the village has a rich history that dates back centuries!


We have listed the travelling time it takes from Monk Bretton to the following destinations by car:

  • Monk Bretton to Barnsley Town Centre is 9 min (2.1 miles) via Rotherham Rd/A633.
  • Monk Bretton to Meadowhall is 32 min (14.8 miles) via M1.
  • Monk Bretton to Manchester Airport is 1 hr 15 min (43.4 miles) via A628.
  • Monk Bretton to Leeds is 40 min (24.2 miles) via M1.
  • Monk Bretton to Leeds Bradford Airport is 1 hr 2 min (34.4 miles) via M1.
  • Monk Bretton to Manchester City Centre is 1 hr 22 min (37.5 miles) via A628. 
  • Monk Bretton to Sheffield City Centre is 46 min (19.7 miles) via M1.
  • Monk Bretton to Cannon Hall Farm is 21 min (7.9 miles) via B6131. 
  • Monk Bretton to the National Coal Mining Museum for England is 24 min (10.8 miles) via A637.
  • Monk Bretton to The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is 15 min (6.8 miles) via Wakefield Rd/A61.


What is the Population of Monk Bretton, Barnsley?

According to the 2021 Census, Monk Bretton has a population of 11,963 people, 5,789 of whom are men and 6,173 of whom are women.


Monk Bretton History

From its ancient settlement to today's thriving community, Monk Bretton is undoubtedly steeped in fascinating history. The village name Monk Bretton became known as such when Monk Bretton Priory was founded in 1154 as the Priory of Mary Magdalene of Lund and was originally a monastery under the Cluniac order. The monastery is in the village of Lundwood, close to the Cundy Cross roundabout. 

Over time, the monastery took the name of the nearby village of Bretton and became known as Monk Bretton Priory. The resident monks cared for people with low incomes physically and spiritually. They were also well known for the making of beer and wine. 

The monastery closed on November 30, 1538, and was surrendered to Henry VIII on November 21, 1539, under his savage 'Raising of the North' campaign to break with the Catholic church. In 1541, the site was given over to Henry VIII's commissioner, William Blitheman. In 1580, the land was sold to George Talbot, the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who gave the estate to his son Henry on his marriage to Elizabeth Rayner. 

A further indication of early settlement is still visible in Monk Bretton Park. The Undulating ground surface is evidence of Medieval or Postmedieval ploughing with a team of oxen, and the ridge and furrow pattern indicates the strip farming system. It is registered with the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.

The ridge and furrow strips are still used today, but not for farming; their gradual slopes make for thrilling cycling stunts. An ancient monastic relic dating back to the 13th century remains today in the heart of the old Monk Bretton village; joining the two main roads, Cross Street and High Street, is the 'Butter Cross,' or preaching stone, erected by the Benedictine monks from Monk Breton Priory, so that they could preach Christianity to the locals.

The Priory and Cross are now Scheduled Ancient Monuments under the care of English Heritage. Even though Monk Bretton is an ancient settlement, there are few preserved older buildings other than the Butter Cross and Monk Bretton Castle, a remarkable tower structure built by a local clergyman, Mr Wordsworth (1783-1869), and used as a lookout tower with beacons lit to mark special occasions. Wordsworth's tower was his "calm retreat," from its height, he looked over towards Barnsley, Wakefield, and the large estates of Wentworth Castle, Wentworth Woodhouse, and Bretton Park. 

Wordsworth (a distant relative of the poet of the same name) studied at Oxford before being ordained as a priest. Before relocating to the parish of Ardwick on the outskirts of Manchester, he was vicar at Mersham in Kent and Domestic Chaplain to Viscount Palmerston. He and his wife had relocated to Monk Bretton, near Barnsley, by 1824 after inheriting his grandfather's land.

There, Wordsworth lived the life of a country gentleman and rose to the position of renowned magistrate. The tower is also known as Wordsworth's Folly, Burton Castle, or Monk Bretton Castle. It was formerly known as the Summer House and is recorded as such on the first series of Ordnance Survey maps, released in 1841. There needs to be a record of the architect of the tower. The tower had views to the 'dome atop Pontefract Church' (St Giles), 10 miles away, as well as numerous other churches and another pleasure pavilion, the belvedere at Bilham, over 8 miles away, according to a sketch map taken from the surveyor's plan.

When the updated 1st edition map was released in 1855, the tower was dubbed the Observatory, and the village conducted its 1857 Floral & Horticultural Show in the adjacent 'Observatory Field'.

Locals petitioned in 1895 for the Observatory Field to be turned into a leisure area and the tower open to the public, many of whom had 'no notion what a splendid perspective there is from the top'. It was suggested that such a park would be unparalleled locally "in terms of the beauty of the situation and the extent of prospect it would command." The effort was successful, as maps from the early twentieth century show a 'Cricket and Football Ground' in the shadow of the Observatory. However, there is no indication that the tower was ever available to visitors. 



Monk Bretton Cricket Club still use the 'Castle Ground'

The club has proudly provided Yorkshire and England with opening batter Martyn Moxon and bowler Darren Gough. Both men also captained Yorkshire. Another well-known sportsperson, Barnsley, Manchester United and England centre, Tommy Taylor, also lived in the parish. Sadly, He was killed in the Munich Air Disaster on February 6, 1958, aged 26. His grave is marked 034 in Monk Bretton Cemetery.

To commemorate the new queen's coronation (our late Queen Elizabeth II), a beacon was fired at 'Monk Bretton Castle' in 1953. Sadly, this was the tower's final stand; a few years later, Barnsley Council dismantled the unsafe structure on safety grounds. 

For many years, the tower was framed by the twin columns of Monk Bretton's distinctive and elegant war monument, constructed in 1920 to commemorate those who did not return from the First World War. The columns, which also remember those killed in World War II, were relocated across the street in 1978 and are now housed in a small remembrance garden on High Street and only meters away from the ancient Butter Cross folly.

It is still possible to stand atop the tower's location, next to an ordnance survey trig point, and enjoy a panoramic view of Barnsley and beyond. The tower is likely to be remembered; it is recognised in the street names of a recently constructed neighbouring housing estate.

This brings us to the current day

Monk Bretton has changed dramatically from the days of Monks preaching from the Butter Cross relic and the renowned magistrate looking out over the vast countryside from their tower folly to a population of over 12,000 and an expanding housing estate, which almost unites neighbouring areas such as Cudworth, Lundwood, Smithies and Carlton. 

Monk Bretton consists of private and council estates, a Residential Home, a Health Centre, a Post Office, a Pharmacy, two working men's clubs, four public houses and three mini markets. The village has a cemetery, cricket club community centre and a Scout group and Girl Guide groups. There is also a Village Memorial Garden and two primary schools, St Helen's Primary Academy and Burton Road Primary School. Monk Bretton also has an industrial estate and one of Europe's most significant glass Bottleworks. 

As the mining industry declined, Redfearn Bros threw an industrial lifeline to the village and Barnsley. They built the largest glassworks in Europe with an associated rail and canal network on land off Burton Road. In March 1946, Mr Milton Asquith, chair of Redfearn's, cut the first sod at the site, and production of bottles started a year later with 200 employees. The company sent bottles to ports and countries throughout the world. 

A predominant landmark of Monk Bretton is St. Paul's Church, which stands on the corner of Burton Road and Cross Street in Monk Bretton village. The church was opened in 1838 and is immensely proud of its Catholic tradition. The existing church was built for £4000; in the church entrance stands a 1000-year-old stone font once used in the Monk Bretton Priory for winemaking. The church is a popular venue for all occasions, including weddings and baptisms. The adjoining Parish Centre at Saint Paul's is available for hire for community and family activities. It accommodates up to 100 people standing and 60 seated and can be used for children's parties, special celebrations, and other events. 


Places of interest in Monk Bretton

The ruins of the Monk Bretton Priory make a stunning backdrop to any photographic venue, such as weddings, christenings, and baby reveal, as well as a tranquil place to meditate.


Places to Eat

And for those that like Pork Pies, a trip to Speedy's (Denis Speed Butchers) is a must to sample the "Best Pies in Barnsley"! You can find them at the following address: 1 High Street, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, S71 2EL


Schools in Monk Bretton

You can check Ofsted reports of schools by visiting Ofsted's Website.

St Helens Primary Academy

Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) was formally established in 2008 by the Greensward Charitable Trust in Essex. The first school in the Trust was Greensward Academy, which Maltings Academy and New Rickstones Academy joined in 2008. AET today has a national presence with 57 schools across the Primary, Secondary and Special phases, inspiring over 33,000 children to choose a remarkable life with an age range of 3-11 years, starting with EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) through to year six. As of 2020, the number of pupils at the school is 225. The school principal states: "At St Helen's we are creating a remarkable learning community where children will become confident, able to direct their own learning, develop lively and questioning minds and tackle challenges with resilience. We aim to inspire each child to go on and lead a remarkable life."

Burton Road Primary School

A community school with 361 pupils, aged from Early Years Foundation Stage to year six. The school motto is "Follow the Road to Success", and this is true as the school was recently awarded by the director of Yorkshire Sports with the 'Centre of Excellence for Physical Activity.' 


The closest college to Monk Bretton is Barnsley College, rated Outstanding by Ofsted (click to see report).

Nearby Attractions

Cannon Hall Farm

A large family-run farm home to (groups of each animal). The farm also offers a selection of restaurants and cafes, all offering excellent homemade produce; there is even a café for the dog! The farm shop offers quality produce. With the beautiful playground attractions and the chance to feed the animals, this is a fantastic day out for all the family.

Dearne Valley Bird Sanctuary

In the heart of Yorkshire's Dearne Valley lies Old Moor, a family-friendly nature reserve waiting to welcome you. Blessed with a wide range of facilities and teeming with wildlife, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from idyllic walks or wildlife watching to pond dipping and our adventure playground. Our meadows are full of orchids, wildflowers, and butterflies in the summer. We are home to hundreds of ducks, swans, and geese in winter. We are enthusiastic about connecting children with nature and the outdoors at Old Moor. That is why we have everything you need to help your family get firsthand with nature.

There is an adventure playground, a discovery zone with heritage games, a family hide, and events and activities at weekends and school holidays. Discovery backpacks and activity sheets are available to hire every day. Our Activity Zone is open during the holidays with various free craft activities. Old Moor's swaying reedbeds and muddy water scrapes are home to some of the UK's rarest birds, such as avocets, bitterns, and marsh harriers. Elsewhere, you can explore lakes, ponds, wildflower meadows and wet grasslands divided by hedgerows brimming with life. 

Locke Park

Locke Park, a fine example of a Victorian park, is recognised in Historic England's Register of 'Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest' as Grade II. Locke Park is named after the eminent railway engineer and Barnsley local lad, Joseph Locke (1805-60). Regarding his final wishes, on April 24, 1861, Joseph Locke's widow, Phoebe, bequeathed High Stile Field to the town as a park in remembrance of her husband. 

Joseph Locke is regarded as a prominent pioneer of railway development alongside Robert Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Joseph Locke, an apprentice to George Stephenson, drove the 'The Rocket' steam engine during the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opening in September 1830. He was actively involved in developing and constructing several railways in England, Scotland, and Europe, including the Sheffield-Manchester line via the Woodhead tunnel, just 10 miles from Locke Park.

A listed bronze statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti commemorates Joseph Locke in Locke Park. Lord Alfred Paget unveiled it on January 18, 1866. The layout of the early park, which amounted to 17 acres of land, about 7 hectares, was organised by Joseph Locke's former partner, John Edward Errington and set out by Mr. Edwards of the office of Locke & Errington in London. The North Lodge at the entrance to Locke Park was built in sandstone by John Moxon, stonemason and architect of Barnsley. 

Mr. Tattersall of Silkstone built the gateway and walls along Park Road. Up from the gateway near the pavilion café is an ornamental drinking fountain. It was moved to the park in 1866 from Peel Square in Barnsley. A significant feature of the park from this time is the planted 'serpentine walk' through the valley left from a former sandstone quarry, from which a set of stone steps lead up to the Joseph Locke statue. 

Locke Park, Barnsley

Extending the park in Victorian times

Sarah McCreery, Phoebe Locke's sister, contributed another 21 acres (approximately 8.5 hectares) of property to remember her sister, who died in 1866. This effectively doubled the park's size. When Phoebe Locke died in 1866, a magnificent Observation Tower was erected on the highest point in the park in her memory. It opened to the public on October 20, 1877, giving visitors 360-degree panoramic views from its two platforms. The tower, approximately 70ft (21m) high, making it 605 ft (184m) above sea level, had, until recently, a weather vane with Sarah McCreery's monogram at its pinnacle. 

Locke Park Tower, listed II* by Historic England, was designed by Richard Phené Spiers in memory of the widow of Joseph Locke, the donor of Locke Park. The impressive, iconic Locke Park Tower is both a memorial and an observation tower; in its design, Richard Phené Spiers incorporated some of the features from his study of temples in Egypt. The tower is supported by a circular row of classic columns on a stepped podium and has two observation balconies accessed by a spiral stone staircase.

At the same time, F W T Vernon Wentworth of Wentworth Castle donated 1.5 acres (about 0.5 hectares) of land at the intersection of Keresforth Hall Road and Racecommon Lane. A second primary entrance with stone gate piers, gates, and railings runs off Keresforth Hall Road through this park section. Before this addition to the park, visitors could access the park through a walled trail near South Lodge. 

Sarah McCreery commissioned Richard Phené Spiers, the Paris-trained architect of 12 Regent Street in London, to create the entire park's setting with a tower combining a monument and a 'pleasure observatory,' the land and tower costing more than £11,000. Spiers was a well-known architect and Master of Architecture at the Royal Academy Schools. Spiers' sketch design, dated February 8, 1875, illustrates an outline of curving roads joining the park's leading parts and finishing as a terrace that sits below the planned tower, at the park's tallest point, in its south-east corner, some 535 feet (163 metres) above sea level. The memorial sketch was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1898' Memorial Fountain, Locke Park, Barnsley' no. 1799).

 The landscaping was undertaken by William Barron and Son, well-respected landscape gardeners of Elvaston Nurseries near Derby. They were well known for adventurous planting with deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. These were used significantly in broadleaved and conifer trees' avenues, individually distinctive, planted roundels at the junctions of the main paths, and the woodland areas along the park's south and east boundaries. Its style is appropriately 'southern,' contrasting with the Yorkshire stone North Lodge. Behind South Lodge, just outside the park, already there when South Lodge was built, is a listed building, one of the first of shuttered concrete in 1873. Near South Lodge is a stone marking the old borough boundary between Barnsley and Worsborough. This followed the old walled footpath before crossing the park, west to east, below where the tower was built. It is a rare example of a structure in a C19 public park dedicated to a woman other than Queen Victoria and commissioned by a woman.

Excavating the tower foundations began in 1875; the contractors were Messrs Robinson and Son of Barnsley. A contemporary account describes the foundations as 9ft deep and 41 ft in diameter, solid concrete interlaced with rows of strong pit wire.

Further additions to Locke Park

Ornamental Fountain
The ornamental fountain in the valley, opposite Locke's statue and today filled with plants, was presented to Miss McCreery in 1877 by the workers of Barnsley as a testimonial for her kindness in extending the park. 

Four columns
Four classical columns, added in 1879, were moved from the bank and former post office building in Barnsley, at the corner of Church Street and Royal Street, before its demolition and replacement.

Erratic boulder
At the foot of the ABC steps (a flight of stone steps -with A to Z carved on each step- up to the columns above the valley) is a large boulder of Shap granite. It was found in Royston, taken by glacial ice in the great ice age 400,000 years ago. In the 1890s, Mr. F.W.T Vernon Wentworth gave this erratic boulder into the care of Barnsley Naturalist Society, and they placed it in Locke Park.

Lions in the park
A Lion was placed at the end of the valley in 1937. It came from Dillington Hall on nearby Worsborough Common in 1937 when it was demolished. It was later moved to the plinth at the entrance to the valley. In 2019, Friends of Locke Park brought lions back to the park, placed in both positions.

The bandstand (listed as grade II) was opened in June 1908. It has eight cast-iron ornamental columns on a low brick base with stone coping. 

We are extending the park further
In December 1914, about 7 acres (about 3 hectares) of land off Keresforth Hall Road were purchased from the estate of Samuel Joshua Cooper, completing the outline of the present park and taking it up to 47 acres, 19 hectares. A line of trees still marks the boundary with the older park. This new area now includes the car park, games, and events field.

Still today, Locke Park is a popular venue for many attractions. Locke Park is still as famous as it was all those years ago. Sometimes, many extraordinary events, such as Locke Park, are still as famous as they were years ago. It hosts various fantastic events, such as the opening of the Locke Park Tower to the general public, concerts, classic car rallies, charity runs, and a funfair.

The park's bandstand, manufactured by the Loan Foundry Company, Kirkintilloch, was added in 1908. 

Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre

Discover stories of the town and borough told by the people of Barnsley, from learning about its humble textile industry to 'The Barnsley Wall' exhibiting rare archaeological artefacts, object and archive displays, films, and interactives which all trace the known history of Barnsley from pre-historical times to the 21st century. As a town and borough known by many for its coal industry, creating a museum that told the many stories tucked away over the centuries was essential.

Barnsley Metrodome Leisure Complex

It has it all! Swimming, bowling, private function rooms, and live entertainment venues. The Metrodome Arena is the perfect space for conferences, exhibitions, and shows with its versatile and functional space and many optional extras. With a range of Conference & meeting rooms, food and drink packages and a state-of-the-art bowling alley, the Barnsley Metrodome is perfect for your corporate hospitality days, Christmas party venue and team-building events.

Food and Drink in Barnsley

Rigby Lounge is located on the upper concourse in the Barnsley Metrodome. We offer a range of delicious meals, including classic pub favourites, flame-grilled burgers, pasta and jacket potatoes and a selection of starters, sides, and desserts. You will be spoilt for choice with our licensed bar and hot and cold drinks! We also offer a children's menu with tasty mix-and-match choices to suit even the fussiest eaters. 

The Glass Works shopping centre

The Glass Works, situated in Barnsley town centre, is more than an indoor shopping area with popular retail stores; The Glass Works is an exciting entertainment hub for all-round family entertainment, hosting fun days with live music, ten-pin bowling, and delicious gastronomical places to dine. The trendy Cineworld complex is new to the Glass Works as of September 2022. They feature 13 state-of-the-art screens, including an IMAX® with Laser auditorium, a multi-sensory 4DX extreme cinema experience and ScreenX, a 270-degree wrap-around screen that surrounds you in your seat.


Property Prices in Monk Bretton, Barnsley

According to Rightmove...

  • The average property price in Monk Bretton over the last year was 182,272 pounds.
  • Most sales in Monk Bretton over the last year were semi-detached homes, which sold for an average of £164,739.
  • Terraced properties sold for an average of £150,231.
  • Detached properties sold for an average of £254,345.
  • Overall, sold prices in Monk Bretton over the last year were 5% up on the previous year and 20% on the 2018 peak of £152,232. 

Property For Sale in Monk Bretton, Barnsley

Butcher Residential estate agents covers Monk Bretton and specialise in selling and letting residential and commercial properties throughout Barnsley. From our estate agent offices in Penistone and Denby Dale, our friendly expert team specialises in the local property market, including towns and villages from Mapplewell to Crow Edge. We cover places such as Barugh Green, Redbrook, Millhouse Green, Gawber, Darton, Higham, Staincross, Cawthorne, Howbrook, Wortley, Inbirchworth, Oxspring, Barnsley, Stocksbridge, Silkstone, Penistone, and Silkstone Common.

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If you live in Monk Bretton, you may be thinking "how much is my property worth?" If you're considering selling your Monk Bretton home, you can find out the value of your property with our Free Instant Property Valuation Tool. This will instantly provide you with a rough estimate. Alternatively, we can visit your property to provide you with an accurate valuation and market appraisal.

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Monk Bretton has lovely areas, excellent schools, transportation links and has plenty to do. The village is experiencing various new housing developments and has some beautiful local businesses on its high street. All in all, Monk Bretton ranks highly amongst the "area of choice" for buyers to move to when deciding on where to relocate to in Barnsley.


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