Wentworth Castle College of Education

Wentworth Castle, originally known as Stainborough Hall, is a Grade I listed country house in Stainborough, South Yorkshire, which is presently occupied by the Northern College for residential and community education. Much of the current building dates back to the 18th century, although there have been houses on the site for centuries. The estate was purchased by Thomas Wentworth (1st Earl of Strafford) in 1708. The Wentworths owned vast swathes of land across Yorkshire, with Thomas’s cousin owning Wentworth Woodhouse.

The last Wentworth to reside in the Castle was Captain Bruce Vernon Wentworth who died in 1951. Around that time, Barnsley Corporation purchased the building and converted it into a teacher training college for women. In later years it also admitted men. The college opened in 1948 and was administered by The University of Sheffield Institute of Education. After 30 years of providing teacher training at Wentworth, the College moved to Sheffield Polytechnic in 1978 and Wentworth Castle became home to Northern College. 

The project

The collection was originally in the custody of the South Yorkshire County Record Office. After the abolition of South Yorkshire County Council the collection passed to Sheffield Archives, before being transferred to Barnsley Archives and Local Studies in the early 2010s. The collection was uncatalogued and had been identified as an important collection to make available. Fortunately, in 2022 as a result of a partnership with the National Trust funding was made available to enable a project cataloguer to sort through all the boxes of records and arrange them for people to view. The completed catalogue includes many aspects of daily life such as student and staff records, meeting minutes, prospectuses, photographs and Students' Union records. The project has enabled the records to be accessed, used and enjoyed by those who attended the College; their relatives; historians interested in the history of further education and by those interested in the rich history of the wider Wentworth Castle estate for the first time.

Wentworth Castle - private house to place of change

This fascinating video was created by our partners the National Trust, looking at the history of the house and estate from its creation by Thomas Wentworth to tranformation into educational use from teacher training college to providing learning opportunities as Northern College.

Copyright: National Trust


Find out more

The full collection catalogue can be explored on our online catalogue via the link below. If you find a document you are interested in viewing, make a note of the reference number and contact us for further information. We have also created an illustrated blog which charts the history of the college and highlights some of the interesting documents from the collection. The blog is also linked below.