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Rockley Abbey

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Rockley Hall; Falthwaite

In the civil parish of Barnsley.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Barnsley.
1974 county of South Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE33630198
Latitude 53.51349° Longitude -1.49425°

Rockley Abbey has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


"... Rockley Abbey ... has no claim to its modern appellation of 'abbey', and was never in any way identified with any religious community. The second Lord Strafford {died 1695} ... had some parts of the old building so altered as to give them an ecclesiastical appearance, and from this is to be traced the change in name. The place was at one period designated Falthwaite, but for a much longer period Rockley Hall; and here was seated for four or five centuries (until 1724), a younger branch of the family of Rockley, the seat of the elder branch {being at} Rockley Old Hall ...... Nearly the whole of the old buildings {of Rockley Hall (Rockley Abbey)}, which had become dilapidated, were removed some years ago, and a modern and substantial farm-house built on their site. In digging the foundations, some finely-worked pieces of ashlar-stone, some Roman and other coins, and human remains were found, and traces were discovered of an edifice of more ample dimensions having previously existed." (Wilkinson 1872).
Rockley Abbey - {Short historical account, no dates given.} ... "In digging the foundations {of the modern} ... building some large pieces of finely worked ashlar stone which were evidently the foundations of a previous structure of no ordinary character; some ancient coins and human bones were found. Mr. Firth, the present occupier, says, that human bones and coins have been found on previous occasions, he remembers one time in particular, when the ground was being dug for some stables, and in the bowling green, finely wrought ashlar stone has frequently been found." (Anon 1853).
The foundations of a tower, at SE 33620196, and part of the outbuildings are the only visible remains of the former Rockley Abbey. Nothing has been found by the tenant of the present farmhouse, and no further information was obtained concerning the 19th. c. find of 'ancient coins'. (F1 RWE 08-OCT-64). (PastScape)

Rockely Hall medieval seat of Rockleys, renamed "Rockley Abbey" in 17th century , no monastic connections. Foundations of tower survive. (Pevsner mentions "tower" which held a beam engine - but this probably refers to the crenellated Newcomen Engine house near Rockley Furnace PIN 02805/01).
Rockley recorded from the 12th century and its lord, Robert Rockley mentioned in 13th century sources. Renamed Rockley Abbey in mid 18th century after exterior decorated in ecclesiatical style. By mid 19th century was ruinous and th esite was largely cleared and new buildings constructed by 1853. (South Yorkshire SMR)

The form of the tower, of which foundations are mentioned and is marked as an antiquity on the 6" Os map of 1907, is unclear. It seems unlikely it was a fortified tower, more probably some form of banqueting house.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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