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The meaning of Penistone is Old English tun “farm, village” with an uncertain first element, possibly Celtic penn = “head”, “hill”, similar to Penn in the West Midlands. Records of the name as Penstun (1143) and Penstone (n.d.) prove the second element is Old English tūn = “farm, village” (not Old English stān =”stone” as might be suggested)

The history of Penistone can be dated back to 1066 when it was known to be owned by Ailric. However, following the Norman Conquest it was razed to the ground in 1069 in what became known as the Harrying of the North; the Domesday Book described the settlement in 1089 as ‘wasted’.

The town remained small until the coming of the railway in 1845, although several pre-19th Century buildings survive. The oldest still standing is ‘Penistone Church’. This is the Grade I listed mediaeval parish church, Saint John the Baptist Church. The White Hart pub in the town dates from 1377. Penistone has had a market for a long time before its royal charter was granted in 1699, although its historic livestock market was closed recently to make way for town centre re-development.

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Penistone was formerly a major railway junction, including a depot for engineering trains. Much of the former railway infrastructure has since been removed. The town’s station is still open, but is now only served by HuddersfieldSheffield trains on the “Penistone Line“. Penistone station was once a well-used interchange with the reputation of being one of the coldest in the country.

The town was formerly served by the Woodhead Line which ran between Manchester (Piccadilly), Hadfield and Sheffield (Victoria) via the Woodhead Tunnel. Penistone station was served by express passenger trains on the line. Following major investment (started in 1935 but delayed by World War II), the electrification of the railway was completed in 1954; the line’s power control centre was built adjacent to Penistone station. This building still stands, but has been converted to alternative commercial use.

The Woodhead Line through Penistone was the first main line railway in the UK to be electrified, but its once-pioneering 1500 V dc system was ultimately to become non-standard. Penistone station lost its Woodhead Line passenger trains on 5 January 1970, but freight trains (mainly coal trains) continued for a further eleven years. The line was finally (and controversially) closed in 1981 and the track lifted several years later. The route of the old track is now being used as part of the Trans-Pennine Trail.

Penistone grammar school was founded in 1392. Famous former pupils include mathematician Nicholas Saunderson – a close friend of Isaac Newton and Anne Campbell – MP for Cambridge (to May 2005).

The town’s railway station serves the Penistone Line which runs between Huddersfield and Sheffield. The trackbed of closed main line to Manchester via Woodhead now forms the Trans-Pennine Trail. There are occasional suggestions of reopening the line, but without success so far.

The Penistone Show is an annual agricultural show which draws in crowds from across the county. It is always held on the second Saturday in September. As well as ordinary agricultural categories for sheep, cows, goats, and chickens entries are also received in horticulture, handicraft, show jumping, pigeons, dogs, photography and many more categories.

Penistone Farmers’ Market is a monthly farmers’ market on the second Saturday of every month. Local farmers and producers of foods and crafts bring local produce direct to the public. The market is open to all traders selling more than 50% of their own produce and based within a fifty mile radius of Penistone. The Farmers’ Market is held in the market place.

On Yorkshire Day, August 1 2006 , Penistone played host to the now annual gathering of Lord Mayors, Mayors and other civic heads from across Yorkshire. The day was marked with a service at St John’s Church, a parade around the town and a meal for invited guests at Penistone Grammar School. Other events included free films and an evening of music at the Paramount Cinema, an exhibition at St John’s Community Centre and Hartcliff Tower was open to the public again. There were also Morris dancers, a farmers market, a shop window competition and an historic organ concert at St. Andrew’s Church. The day was taken very seriously by the organisers and some of the roads on the procession route were resurfaced in time for the event.

On 27th February 2007 the Town was officially declared as a Fairtrade Town. To become a Fairtrade Town a number of goals had to be met.

Penistone is twinned with Grindavik in Iceland, and it gets just as bloody cold here as it does there!

Other websites of interest:

Visit Pensitone

A Pictoral Tour of Penistone

Penistone Community Radio

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Lyttle permalink
    25 November, 2008 7:00 AM

    Hello love how are you these days? :o)

  2. teabelly permalink
    10 April, 2008 3:58 PM

    This was such a nice idea. Although I am not sure I will do one for Wombwell…

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