I stated in my previous blog the actual history of convicts tunnel in Barnsley is extremely vague.
The blog can be seen here:
Since I wrote the blog, a gentleman named Mick Bate contacted me after seeing my blog on Google about the tunnel to shed some light on its history and I can’t thank him enough he’s been brillant.
Mick grew up around the Wombwell area and would use the tunnel regularly when he was a lad to play. With being a local lad and extremely interested in Railways and his history he has researched the area very well.
Mick states the tunnel was first built in 1856 by Midland railways. Evidence suggests Midland railways used stonemasons to build the tunnel rather than convicts and the marks we see in the tunnel today is more than likely to be that of a mason (every mason had a mark, therefore this could very well be the mason mark ) every arrow in the tunnel is slightly different and they point in varies ways, this would be typical of a stone mason to do this to make the tunnel unique to him.
Maps from the area doesn’t show any camps in the fields suggesting convicts built it and the trains never actually ran through it!!
Trains did, however, run over it and over the years features have been added to strengthen the structure, that’s why today if you visit there is a steel piece laid over the original feature.
The area underneath would have been used for the local farm and more important would have been used as a major path for miners working in the nearby Colliery named swaith main.
A massive explosion took place at the Colliery killing over a 100 men and boys aged between 10 and 59.
This could certainly warrant a reason the path may be haunted and could indicate the hauntings of miners rather than monks haunting this spot, that isn’t to say monks don’t it’s just something to maybe bare in mind.
I personally have experienced from investigating this area myself earlier last year in May, something appearing to be presenting itself swearing at me and previous to that the only known investigator to me who had visited experienced the same. Miners were a community who did swear a lot and miners was extremely superstitious and cautious of paranormal (And that is a known fact, anyone who knows an ex miner or whose family comes from a mining background will know that) …So my thoughts are if it haunted by the miners who may be retracing their steps to the Colliery what we as investigators may be experiencing is simply the fact they may not be agreeing with what we are doing!
The bridge over head…
The bridge overhead was the site of a Runaway train that crashed in 13th December 1911. This is extremely interesting as many people have reported feeling as though a train passes through them at 12am. I am unsure if the reports are from the bottom area of the tunnel or the line over the top. If it was to be the line over the top then that would completely make sense and are these people experiencing a Ghost Train?
The train was meant to go from Sheffield at 12.35am and head towards its main destination, that being Wath Yard it took this route via the Chapeltown Branch but it was delayed and finally ran at 2.33am . Back then, trains had a driver at the front and a guard man at the back. The guard’s man at the back noticed that the train along this track was picking up speed and was not slowing down where it needed to. He sent a signal to the signal box at Darfield to inform the driver but it never reached and he proceeded to put the chains on the breaks (which was the normal procedure) and jumped off the train.
He survived the crash but where he landed (which we don’t know) and how he may have felt after the crash may warrant the track to have a haunting when he passed maybe? it would have been between convicts tunnel and another tunnel located within the area.
The train crashed at Darfield Signal Box at Wombell. This area is now nickname compass round- about and if you google map it, it appears to look like a compass from a bird’s eye view.
If you look at the map below it shows Dovecliff and Wombwell, convicts tunnel is halfway on this. The crash happened roughly about a mile away from the tunnel.
Here is a link showing the history of this crash and the map:
It also states that this line has been the site of several runaway trains but history doesn’t show any other fatalities that we can see.
Below is two maps of convicts tunnel and the track from 1885 to 1900
Mick bate tells me he’s had two strange occurrences along this track. He says in the 1980s he was on the track and heard footsteps, he was supposed to be in school and thought if someone caught he would be in trouble so he hid in the bushes and peeked through. He heard the footsteps coming up heavier, he then heard them pass but couldn’t see anyone, he then heard them in the distance. Something or someone had passed him but he nobody was there.
He later experienced the exactly the same thing in 2008 when out on a hunt, he had got up early and had reached the track for about 4am. He states he heard footsteps again in a different area but still along the track, but this time due to him hunting he had night vision so he took a 360 scan around him, the footsteps passed and become more distance but again couldn’t see anyone or anything.
What did we find….
On the original track we had a lot of names come through on the afterlight box. We also had replies that seem to want us to leave the area also. Alot of viewers watching reported sensing something with us and could see faces around us and alot picked up on the name Daniel.
Simon also caught this picture, but this could have numerous explanations such as a scratch on the lens or fibers but the strange thing is, he did take a series of pictures all at the same time and it didn’t appear on them.
On the lower tunnel we had replies which seem to indicate that something wanted us to be quiet and whisper and be silent and at this point the tablet we was using to do this session went really quiet.
Dave and Chrissie both seen a dark shadowy person pass.
On the newer track we found a cross but was unsure who this was for, there is reported suicides in this specific area and i am tracking down a name to see of the names we got on the itc tallies up with the newspaper report on it we have found on it. The Itc device seem to indicate a fall had happened there and we did seem to get some intelligence in this area.
Chrissie and Aimee both heard footsteps up in this area also.
We also got a interesting heat source on the path below that I am to study to see what the different temperatures was within that spot. It appeared to look like a body on the floor (nobody was there ) but that is what the heat source shape was showing.