A virtual pin in a virtual map

In my previous post, I randomly chose the place Dinnington, it was a virtual pin in a virtual map and I knew nothing at all about ti and was only using it as a random example of somewhere I had never been and wouldn’t know how to get there. My pin in the map location was Dinnington in South Yorkshire, close to the town of Rotherham. I have been to Rotherham, many, many years ago but had no idea there was a place called Dinnington. Although it’s part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham it is just as close to Sheffield, and only about five miles – nowt but a cock’s stride as my Rotherham friend used to say, from Worksop.

Dinnington in South Yorkshire had a population of about nine thousand ten years ago, so I guess like most places it has grown a bit since then. Maybe it got his name from a chieftan or local leader who lived there in early times, but maybe it didn’t, or maybe it got its name from a local barrow, but on the other hand maybe it didn’t either. As with many place names, there are many theories and no-one can really know but it certainly is a place which has a long history with people having lived there since Neolithic times. Originally the Dinnington people were farmers, but then a quarry was dug and that became the main employer – until in the early twentieth century coal was discovered and Dinnington Main Colliery was sunk in 1905. This was halfway between two censuses (or maybe censi?) which showed the population in 1901 was about 250 souls, and in 1911 5000 people lived there. The colliery closed in 1992 and you can imagine the impact on the town, it was devastating. Like many villages near bigger towns, housing spread so the gap between them shrunk as commuters to those bigger places found places to live. It’s not a place I have ever been, but we have a projected visit north when we are able, so we may well drive through or past it.

Now it so happens there is another Dinnington, also unknown to me until the pin found the South Yorks location, and on looking it up I found there was another place with the same name further north in Tyne and Wear. It is north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, about five miles from the airport and although previously in Northumberland, it is now within Newcastle’s civil parish. This Dinnington is also ancient, with inhabitants settling there since before the Iron Age. Its population may have changed now from what it was at the last census in 2011, when it was over one and a half thousand. Like Dinnington in South Yorkshire there was coal beneath the village, but it was discovered and mined somewhat earlier in the early eighteenth century. The death of mining meant this place is now described as a dormitory village, and nearly a quarter of it’s residents are above retirement age. I don’t think I have ever been there but I might have unwittingly driven through it when in the Newcastle area.

I was mighty surprised by my virtual pin the map effort to discover there wasn’t just one, nor two, but three Dinningtons and what surprised me most was that there is a Dinnington in my present county of Somerset. This Dinnington – its name means the place/settlement of Dynne’s people, is tiny, probably less than a hundred people. It may be small but it has history (yes, I know everywhere has) and during Roman times the Fosse Way ran through it. The Fosse Way ran from Exeter to Lincoln, and it’s route is still used by modern roads. I haven’t been there but I must have seen film of it as Time Team, that wonderful archaeological programme dug there to excavate a Roman villa. There doesn’t seem much of interest there apart form an early thirteenth century church and a nice pub, but if we are ever in the area – in the future when travel is a possibility, then maybe we will deviate and visit!

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