There is weeping and wailing in many a dwelling,
Where happiness reigned but a short time ago.
For friends and relations, there's numbers left mourning,
In accents of sadness, in accents of woe.
Oh, who can console now bereaved and afflicted,
Or comfort the orphans, who silent deplore,
O'er the cheeks of the widow the tear is fast falling,
Her son, her support, he alas is no more.
To the Oaks Pit near Barnsley on the 12th of December
About four hundred colliers to work they did go,
In health and in strength upon that fatal morning,
Not thinking of danger they descended below.
But that afternoon without one moment's warning,
That coal pit exploded with a terrific roar.
Three hundred and forty eight by that fearful explosion,
Their lives they have lost, which we deeply deplore.
Of this dreadful disaster the news spread like lightning.
And the people came running from both far and near,
And the widows and orphans their cries were heartrending.
As they called on their husbands and fathers so dear,
While brothers and sisters in groups were seen mourning,
And old aged parents their grey locks they tore
And maidens lamented the fate of their lovers,
By that fatal explosion they'll ne'er see them more.
Of those brave volunteers who so boldly did venture,
Down that ill fated pit the poor sufferers to save,
They did all lose their lives by the second explosion,
Except Samuel Brown, that young hero so brave.
After twenty long hours in that gloomy sepulchre,
He got to the shaft and for help did implore.
Mr Embelton and Mammott went down and they found him,
And brave Brown in life to the surface they bore.
That direful explosion at the Oaks Pit near Barnsley,
O'er the mining districts has cast a sad gloom.
Of four hundred colliers in the Oaks Pit that morning,
Now three-hundred-and-forty-eight do lie in the tomb.
They have left aged parents with none to befriend them,
Whose pleasure on earth it forever has fled,
And who now will comfort the widows and orphans
Who mourns for their friends that now sleep with the dead?
This is a contemporary song about Yorkshire.
The Oaks Pit Explosion occurred on December 12th 1866
See the Heritage site showing information about this and the site of the Ardsley Oaks monument, “at the top of Stairfoot hill” which is in place to the remembrance of the miners who lost their lives.
Oaks Disaster Memorial, Ardsley, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
“On 12 December 1866, 340 men and boys were working the Old Oaks Colliery when an under-ventilated shaft exploded. At 9am the following morning the shaft exploded for a second time, killing 27 of the 198 rescuers. A total of 361 people died before the rescue was completed”.
National Mining Museum, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
A large rusty bucket is an exhibit there. It is said to be the one in which Embelton and Mammott were lowered down the shaft to find Samuel Brown.