Barnsley Archives’ Conservation Programme

7th July 2023

Samuel Coward’s Penistone Estate Plans

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies have an ongoing conservation programme to ensure that the 4000 collections in their custody can still be safely used by researchers many years, decades and centuries from now. This programme is a crucial part of the work we do and is supported by Barnsley MBC, the Friends of Barnsley Archives and the Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust. 

A further item conserved during 2022-3 was a series of rolled and bound plans detailing the estates of one Samuel Coward Esquire in the Penistone area. It was donated to us in 2022, but years of wear and constant unrolling had caused the plans to tear quite badly. This meant that it was impossible for researchers to use them safely without causing further damage. The roll contained 7 plans in total, as well as 3 accompanying reference sheets. The plans date back to 1853 and were drawn by P.O. Graves, a Surveyor of Wakefield. They cover land at Penistone, Langsett and Thurlstone, and detail plots, occupiers and the extent of landholding. When unrolled, each plan measures approximately 62 x 49cm.

The conservator who worked on the plans found that each sheet had been torn and had discoloured quite badly. Each plan was therefore cleaned, repaired and repackaged. Despite the condition of the plans when they arrived with us, none of the historical information they contain has been lost, and they can now be safely handled and used by researchers. Without our conservation programme, such items would likely deteriorate further, putting their long-term survival in jeopardy.