Wortley Top Forge, Forge Lane, Thurgoland, S35 7DN

Who we are

Historical places of interest to visit and volunteer.


The South Yorkshire Trades Historical Trust develops, looks after and welcomes the public to three of Barnsley's historical industrial sites; Wortley Top Forge, Hoylandswaine Nail Forge, Rockley Furnace and Engine House.

Wortley Top Forge is a water powered heavy iron forge whose history can be traced back to at least 1640 and is best known for the wrought iron railway axles that were hammer-welded between 1840 and the closing of the forge around 1910. Restoration of the site started in the 1950's and is still ongoing today by our group of volunteers.

Hoylandswaine Nail Forge is a row of three forges at the side of the former main road. Only one room retains the hearth, chimney and bellows of the forge. This site is open to the public on occasions and to pre-booked parties. The Trust is working towards its goal of returning one forge to near working condition and using a second as an information/interpretation area dedicated to the iron nail forging industry in South Yorkshire.

Rockley Blast Furnace was built between 1698 and 1704. The furnace formed part of a trade syndicate in Yorkshire centred on the Spencers of Cannon Hall. It operated until 1741 with charcoal as fuel. It is then thought that the furnace operated again around 1790, using coke fuel, to produce gun castings. It is also known that Rockley Furnace made Cast Iron in the eighteenth century, using ores mined in the same valley and charcoal from the surrounding woodlands. The Furnace site was purchased from the Wentworth Estate in 1957, but has never been developed. We organise regular 'clean up days' to keep the site accessible to visitors.

We are based at Wortley Top Forge and are always looking for more, interested, volunteers to come and join us and we need all sorts of people to further our work,including guides, gardeners, painters and decorators, builders, engineers, researchers, caterers and anyone is happy to come along and muck in with our projects.

Anyone is welcome to come along and volunteer, no specific skills are necessary and training and support will be provided as needed but everyone can contribute in one way or another.

Please contact us for more information.

Opening Times

Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter until the Early November.

Contact Details

Contact name: Ted Young

Email address:

Role: Site Coordinator

Phone number: 01226 763896

Mobile number:


Address details:

Wortley Top Forge, Forge Lane, Thurgoland, S35 7DN

Other Details

Cost: Visitor Admission £3.00 Adults, £2.00 Concessions and 50p Children (under 16yrs) This includes parking and a guided tour

Published: 09 August 2019