Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York/Chapter I
|←Preface||Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York by
Chapter I: Introductory Matter.—General Description
In every part of an old country like England are found some traces of its former inhabitants: for men who have lived in a state of social union do not all pass away without leaving behind them some token of their existence. When these remains betray a state of splendour now no longer existing, men are naturally disposed to inquire into the causes and process of a change so remarkable; and to ask for the names, characters, and histories of the distinguished dead of whose former power and consequence those remains are still speaking. In works of the highest antiquity the parish of Sheffield is not rich; but though now principally known as a commercial district, and as possessing a monopoly of one great article of our national manufactures, we shall have to consider it under quite a different character, when it was the seat and favourite residence of a race of ancient nobility by whose history it becomes connected with the general history of this great kingdom,—men who were called to the councils of princes, or displayed their prowes in the tented field, while they exercised an almost unlimited authority among a tenantry whose habitations surrounded their castle-walls. The traces of those times are now few, and fast obliterating. Buildings for commercial purposes occupy the site of the baronial hall: the parks and chases are inclosed; the summer-mansion is become a gray and mouldering ruin; and even their very monuments, erected to bear their memories and their effigies to a remote posterity, threaten that ere long they will
- '—bowe and kneel, and fall down flat
- To kisse those heaps which now they have in trust.'
Only their charity is still green, and promises to preserve the memory of the TALBOT race, when all other tokens of their residence at Sheffield shall have passed away.
The parish of Sheffield is of great extent. It stretches above ten miles in length, and its average breadth may be taken at three miles. Its area is rather more than twenty-two thousand acres. It contains many populous villages and hamlets, and one large market-town, where stands the church, and which gives its name to the parish. In 1811, the number of its inhabitants exceeded fifty-three thousand. This was more than the whole population of Rutland, Westmorland, or Huntingdonshire. It far exceeded the number of inhabitants in many of the Swiss cantons, and of itself would form a sovereignty which many a foreign prince might envy. It was about 1/180 of the whole return for England and Wales.
The distance of the parish of Sheffield from the eastern and western seas is nearly equal; and although it is further from the most northern point of Scotland than from the southern coast of England, yet an line which might be drawn nearly straight from Liverpool to Hull passing through Sheffield would divide the island into two nearly equal portions. It lies on the eastern side of that high and mountainous tract which Dodsworth, who rarely hazards such a remark, says may be called the English Apennines; 'because of the rain-water which there falleth sheddeth from sea to sea.' The ridge of this tract lies nearly in the direction from north to south. The mountains of Westmorland, Craven, and the Peak belong to it, and it is finally lost to the south in the moorlands of Staffordshire. Sheffield lies rather at the foot of these hills than among them:
- '—qua se subducere colles
- Incipiunt, mollique jugum demittere clivo
- Usque ad aquam.'
The town at least stands at the point of union of many streams then become not inconsiderable, which have their rise amongst those hills, and where the hills are fast subsiding into that fine level champaign country which extends to Doncaster and beyond it.
It is in a country like this that we look for the beautiful in landscape. The grander and more august features of nature are to be sought in regions decidedly mountainous; and are contemplated with more complete satisfaction, where the artificial creations of man have not intruded to break the harmony of the scene. But the softer graces of landscape are to be chiefly found in a district uneven but not mountainous, and may be contemplated with not less pleasure because among them are to be found some of the works of human hands. Close and well-wooded valleys, with streams glittering along them, and the bare scar occasionally peeping through the foliage: hills appearing from behind other hills of nearly equal altitude, some bearing fine masses of wood, and others studded with cheerful villas: views of wonderful extent embracing variety of objects, some of which are associated with events of historical importance:—these are what the vicinity of Sheffield presents to the livers of picturesque beauty, and which never fail to arrest the attention of the passing traveller. It need not however be concealed, as it cannot be denied, that the great increase of its population and the extension of its commerce have done too much in injuring the beauty of the near, and the effect of the distant landscape. Still, however, there are many parts where the country retains much of its primæval character, and where the few low and picturesque buildings erected for commercial purposes rather harmonize with than deform the scene. This is well known to those lovers of nature who have traced to their sources those two mountain-streams the Porter and the Riveling, the banks of which in many places present some of the rarer and more beautiful picturesque combinations. The Don, the most considerable of the Sheffield rivers, flows along the most populous parts of the Parish. But few of the streams which run among these hills can bear away the palm for picturesque beauty from this river, and in that part of its course immediately before it enters the parish of Sheffield; I mean in the neighbourhood of Wharncliffe Chase, where the hills are finely clothed with native woods, and rise boldly, though not abruptly, from its banks, till they place the visitor on an elevation from which he may command a prospect rich, varied, extensive, and beautiful as eye can behold. On one of the highest peaks of these hills is a lodge built in the time of King Henry VIII. by Sir Thomas Wortley, for his pleasure to hear the harts bell, as an inscription perfectly unique in its kind, cut on the face of the solid rock, informs us. In this house Lady Mary Wortley Montague spent much of the first two or three years of her married life, the earliest and happiest. Here was born that singular and romantic character her son. She is therefore, perhaps, not a wholly unexceptionable witness: but when she had seen with the eye of a poet and enthusiast, most of the fine landscape of Europe, writing from Avignon, she speaks of a little belvedere which she had constructed in the neighbourhood of that city, as commanding the finest land-prospect she had ever seen, except Wharncliffe.
The forms into which large masses of building are accidentally thrown, sometimes are picturesque when contemplated at such a distance as to exclude observation of their component parts. The town of Sheffield occupies a piece of rising ground between its two principal rivers. Dirty and comparatively mean within, it presents a striking object from many points on the surrounding hills, and especially from Meersbrook, whence it is seen backed by the dark masses of wood which rest on Pits-Moor and Wincobank. To this effect the domes of two of the churches much contribute, and the spire of the parish-church rising above them both with protecting maternity.
Such a district as that in which Sheffield stands must abound in water. Where there are hills there will be streams. Beside the Carbrook, the Limb-Dyke, and the Meersbrook, rivulets which mark the eastern, westerm, and southern limits of the parish, there are five streams which flow through it, and the waters of all are united at the town: the Porter, Riveling, Loxley, Sheaf, and Don. The first of these rises near Fullwood-head, and after a short but beautiful course adds its waters embrowned by passing through the roots of the mountain-heath to those of the Sheaf, a little before that river pays its tribute to the Don. The Riveling rises in the high ground about two miles to the south of Ughill in a wild and open country; and affording in its course a boundary-line for the adjacent parishes of Sheffield and Ecclesfield, joins the Loxley near Mousehole Forge, and is conveyed by it to the Don. But a small portion of the course of the Loxley is within the parish of Sheffield. It rises near the village of Bradfield, and flows along a thinly-peopled country, which in the memory of man was wholly unenclosed and uncultivated, called Loxley-Chase; a district which seems to have the fairest pretensions to be the Locksley of our old ballads, where was born that redoubtable hero Robin Hood. The remains of a house in which it was pretended he was born were formerly pointed out in a small wood in Loxley called Bar-wood, and a well of fine clear water rising near the bed of the river has been called from time immemorial Robin Hood's Well. This well is included within the grounds at Cliff-Rocher, a place not inaptly named by its late proprietor Little-Matlock, as it bears no mean resemblance to some parts of the beautiful valley of Matlock in Derbyshire. The walks which that gentleman cut in the boldest part of the cliff, and along a natural terrace extending to that part of Stannington in which are the chapel and minister's house, were thrown open to the public, and much frequented during several summers by the people of Sheffield. Such places afford a cheap, healthful, and innocent amusement, and it is desirable that every town, but especially every manufacturing town, should possess them. The name of this public benefactor is inscribed on the wall of a house of refreshment which he erected near these grounds.
- Anno Christi M. DCC. XC. IX.
- Thomas er Martha Halliday
- sine liberis, ætate provecti, necon jam nunc morituri,
- has construxerunt ædes.
- Sic vos non vorbis mellificatis apes.
He also placed over the door of a substantial mansion these lines of our English Virgil, strictly applicable to the scenery, and which may now call forth a sigh of regret from the gratified and grateful visitant, who recollects that the votive prayer has not been answered.
- '—Nec vos dulcissima mundi
- Nomina, vos montes, calaractæ, pascua, sylvæ,
- Rupes atque cavernæ, anima remanente relinquam.'
The three already mentioned are precipitous, shallow, rapid, noisy streams. The Sheaf on the contrary steals silently along its low channel, approaching the town to which it has given name by a less perceptible fall. It comes from that close and woody valley in which stood the Abbey of Beauchief, a religious house which we shall soon find to have had an important interest in the parish of Sheffield; and to its contemplative inhabitants has doubtless many times afforded opportunities of indulging in the favourite amusement of monastic life, angling. It can however assume a different character. When swoln by rains, or by a sudden melting of the snow on the moors to the west of the town, (a much more frequent occasion of floods in the Sheffield rivers,) it has been known not only to fill its dep channel, but to overflow its banks, and lay waste to the works of man. In the year 1768 it carried down the houses which form the north side of Talbot's Hospital, when five of the pensioners lost their lives. Branches of hazel, a tree with which the vale of Beauchief abounds, are sometimes found deeply embedded in the earth near the course of this river, which seem to have been brought down ages ago, at the time of some extraordinary flood. Harrison, who writes with the impression of the event fresh upon his memory, speaks of the sudden rising of the Don at the time of Aske's rebellion, which prevented the two armies from coming to an engagement, as if it were less than something miraculous, as no rain had fallen in the neighbourhood of Doncaster. This flood evidently had its rise in this and the other tributary streams above Sheffield. The uncertain character of the Sheaf is even noticed in an instrument of as early a date as the time of Edward I. In the charter by which Sir Ralph de Ecclesall gave his mill and other possessions to the monks of Beauchief, who covenant in return to find him a priest for his chapel at Ecclesall, it is stipulated on the part of the monks, that in the case of high floods or snow they should be excused from sending a canon to Ecclesall, and allowed to celebrate the due masses in their own church at Beauchief. In the angle which the Sheaf makes with the Don at their junction, stood the ancient castle of Sheffield.
The Don is the most considerable of the rivers which enter the parish of Sheffield; and as of right its due, the name is continued to their united waters in their progress towards the ocean. The name of this river is said by the learned Camden to be formed out of an old British word signifying a low deep channel; but Whitaker, with more probability, brings it from the British D-Avon, the water. Milton, who had perhaps never seen it, describes it not very appropriately by the epithet gulphy, 'gulphie Dun.' More accurately Harrison, 'the swift Done,' who praises it for the fertility of its banks: 'The fine grasse which groweth upon the banks thereof is so fine and batable, that there goeth a proverb upon the same, so oft as a man will commend his pasture, to say that there is no better feed on Done banke.' That accurate old topographer then describes its rise in Yorkshire among the Peak hills, a name not then confined to that part of the mountainous chain which is within the county of Derby. The head of the principal brooklet which forms this river is about four miles above Peniston, and near the springs of thee Mersey. Taking a southeastern direction, and serving for several miles to mark the boundary of the wapentake of Strafford and Tickhill, and receiving as it passes along many little currents from the west, it enters the parish of Sheffield at Wardsend, after a course of about fifteen miles. 'Then goeth it,' says Harrison, 'by Waddeslaie-wood to Waddeslaie-bridge, and at Alverton [Owlerton] receiveth the Badfield [Bradfield] water. Then passeth it to Crokes, and so to Sheffeld castell (by east whereof it receiveth a brooke from by south that commeth through Sheffeld parke.) Then proceedeth it to Westford-bridge, Briksie [Brightside] bridge, and south-west of Tinslie receiveth the Cowley stream,' &c. Harrison is more minute than Dodsworth, who half a century later drew up similar accounts of the courses of Yorkshire rivers. But I shall not follow him further, and only observe, that when it has received the waters of the Sheaf at the town of Sheffield, it suddenly changes direction, turning to the north-east, and proceeds towards Rotherham and Doncaster: but neither 'yielding plenti of salmon all the waie as it passes,' as in the time of Harrison, nor shaded with alders and yew-trees as it is described by Camden. The waters of the Don no longer find their way to Aire by the old channel, but are conveyed along an artificial cut called the Dutch river, made by Sir Cornelius Vermuyden and other Flemings in the time of Charles I. to the Ouse, which pours them into the Humber, the great æstuary which receives all of the waters that flow down the eastern side of the hills which compose the English Apennines.
The river Don is we have seen not unknown to song. Drayton thus describes it:—
- 'Thou first of all my floods, whose banks doe bound my south
- And offrest up thy streame to mightie Humber's mouth,
- Of ewe and climing elme, that crown'd with many a spray,
- From they cleare fountaine first through many a mead dost play,
- Till Rother, whence the name of Rotheram first begun,
- At that her christened towne doth loose her in my Don,
- Which proud of her recourse, tow'rds Doncaster doth drive
- Her great'st and chiefest towne, the name that doth derive
- From Don's ueere bordering banks, when holding on her race,
- She dancing in and out, indenteth Hatfield Chase,
- Whose bravery hourly adds new honors to her banke:
- When Sherwood sends her in slow Iddle, that made ranke
- With her profuse excesse, shee largely it bestowes
- On Marshland, whose swolne wombe with such abundance flowes,
- As that her batning brest, her fatlings sooner feeds,
- And with more lavish waste, then oft the grasier needs:
- Whose soil, as some report, that be her Borderers nore,
- With th' water under earth undoubtedly doth flote:
- For when the waters rise, it risen doth remaine
- High whilst floods are high, and when they fall againe,
- It falleth: but at last when as my lively Don
- Along by Marshland's side, her lusty course hath runne,
- The little wandering Went, wonne by the loud report
- Of magnifique state and height of Humber's Court,
- Drawes on to meet with Don, at her approach to Aire.'
Another tribute from the Muses is paid to this river in a Latin poem entitled 'Reliquiæ Eboracenses.' The author of this work was Dr. Heneage Dering, dean of Ripon. What is published is only part of what the ingenious author designed, which was nothing less than to present the principal events in the history of Yorkshire, and to celebrate the principal places within its circuit, in Latin hexmeters. He desisted from his undertaking when he had completed three books which relate to Roman affairs. The Don is made to relate the great war which the Brigantes waged with the invaders, and, in conformity with Camden's description, he is depicted
- 'Cincius arundinibus crinem, et frondibus alni.'
Sheffield is feigned with due regard to historic probability to be the place from which the Brigantes were supplied with arms: and her industrious artisans are represented hanging up before them armour taken from the foe, as patterns by which to fabricate their own.
- 'Mille ardet Sophilæa fosis… Fornace liquescit
- Montibus effossi vicinis massa metalli;
- Et longe resonat glomeratis icibus incus:
- Nec limæ aut cotis cessat labor. Insuper arma
- Ante oculos fabri ponunt Romana; notantque
- Mutandum siquid; seu sint exempla sequenda.'
When father Don has concluded his narrative, he invites the hero of the poem and his companion to an entertainment hewas about to give in his hall to his brother rivers: and much of a poetic imagination is discovered in the description of the hall and its icy ornaments. What principally engaged the attention of the visitors were certain cases of crystal, each containing the perfect image of some celebrated personage who had been born or had lived upon this river's banks. They recognise the founders of the nobility of Wentworth and Osborne, and a more eminent character of earlier times
- '—Gallorum terror, Sephilæius heros'
the great John Talbot first earl of Shrewsbury. This work is little known. The classical reader will find much that he needs not the aid of local attachment to receive much pleasure from its perusal.
Salmon, which was formerly plentiful in the Don, is now rarely found there. Sometimes a solitary fish is caught, and in the month of August 1756, a very fine one was taken at Broomhead-mill, on one of the tributary streams nine or ten miles above Sheffield. They seek waters where they are less disturbed by works, and weirs, and barges. The Don about Sheffield is now chiefly noted for chub, and the Riveling for trout.
None of the Sheffield streams are navigable within the parish. The navigation of the river Don commences at Tinsley. But these streams are og more importance to the commerce of Sheffield in another way than they could possibly have been had their waters been so deep and their course unobstructed as to have been fitted for the purposes of navigation. It is to one striking peculiarity in them that Sheffield in a great measure owes its present consequence as a manufacturing place, the frequent occurrence of their falls. These falls are the very life of its manufacturers, presenting an easily available strong motive power to works where the demand of power is necessarily large. The falls occur upon these streams about twice in each mile, and there is scarcely an instance of their not being made available to move the ponderous hammer, or to turn the quick revolving grindstone. The works erected on the rivers are however exposed to the inconvenience of having an unequal supply of water, and the attention of ingenious men has been often directed to the possibility of equalizing the supply by the construction of reservoirs near the sources of the streams. Nothing has, however, yet been done. This circumstance, combined with the great increase in the manufactures of Sheffield in the last thirty years, has led to the introduction of the more uniform powers of the steam-engine. But still the mills erected on the rivers keep their ground; and it is the opinion of experienced men, that no advantage which the steam-engine may possess in the uniformity of its operations can counterbalance the greater expense which is required in their application, when the demand for power is so extensive as in many branches of the Sheffield manufactures. The philanthropist who has witnessed the wretched accommodations which the mills erected on the rivers in general afforded to the workmen employed in them, and the ill effect both upon their comfort and morals which is the consequence of their many unemployed hours, will excuse the large addition which the introduction of the steam-engine has made to the ancient smoke of Sheffield, and wish that the use of them might become more general. It is due to the worthy proprietors of the water-mills th state that considerable improvement has of late taken place in the accommodation of the persons employed in them; but their low, damp condition admits no remedy.
Sheffield possesses the advantage of having many copious springs of pure water rising in the midst of the town. Some of these are less abundant than formerly, the consequence it is supposed of the excavations of the coal-miners under the town. Indeed, since the construction of the reservoirs on Crooks-moor, and the regular supply which has been received from thence, the private springs have been too much neglected: an evil which at no very distant period mey be felt more sensibly than at present, when the demand is every day increasing, and the means of answering it growing less. As might be expected where the ore of iron is abundant, some of these springs are slightly chalybeate.
The postion of towns generally depends upon accidental circumstances. But had it been forseen to what extent the town of Sheffield would reach, and what would hereafter be the peculiar employment of its inhabitants, throughout the whole vicinage it is hard to say what more suitable situation could have been chosen for it. Placed at the junction of the two principal streams, it is very central to the various works erected on the rivers. A situation comparatively low gives it the advantage of a regular supply of water for domestic purposes from the neighbouring hills. Occupying a piece of rising ground sloping to the rivers, peculiar advantages are afforded, of which it is to be wished that the inhabitants had more availed themselves, for the cleanliness of the streets and passages. In such a situation there can be few parts of the town that are not visited by fresh breezes from the country. There is no street in Sheffield from which the country may not be seen. But the town is not now confined to the rising ground between the Sheaf and the Don. It ahs climbed the opposite hills; it has stretched itself along their banks; and it accompanies them in their united progress towards Rotherham.
The air is unquestionably salubrious. Epidemical diseases are rare: nor has it been found that effects injurious tothe health of the inhabitants have proceeded from those sooty vapours, the product of the manufactories, with which the air is but too commonly loaded. The climate is cold, but there appears to be something extravagant in this passage of a courtier's letter to the earl of Shrewsbury, written in the reign of James I. 'I trust by this time your Lo. is safe and well arrived at Sheffield, and yet that yow finde it had bin as good to have followed your frend's perswasions, and not have undertaken a walke this time of the yeare half way to the North Pole, &c.' A few facts on this subject may serve for comparison in times hereafter, in the absence of more accurate meteorological observations. It is thought an unusually early harvest if the corn is brought home before the cutler's feast, which is held in the first week of September. About once in three years the river Don, above the town, is sufficiently frozen to admit for a day at least of the dicersion of skaiting, and sometiems for a longer period. Snow falls as late as the months of April and May, and even in considerable quantities. It is not unusual to see it lying undissolved and universally diffused for the space of a fortnight or three weeks: and in remote parts of the parish, where they were sheltered from the beams of the sun, patches of the snow are sometimes to be found in the month of May, which had fallen in the November preceding.
There seems to be every reason to believe that the average of health in this kingdom, and consequently of life, has greatly advanced in the last two centuries. We find in 1554 the inhabitants of Sheffield representing to the queen that the fourteen hamlets within the parish were never void of plagues and other evil diseases, which they attribute to the great number of poor and impotent persons inhabiting them. What these diseases were is not very clear, for by plagues we need not understand that dreadful epidemic known by the name of the plague. Of this disorder, the reproach of medicine and the scourge of our ancestors, the parish of Sheffield has been kept remarkably free. I shall here throw together a few notes respecting it, to avoid recurring the the subject in a future page of this work. In 1563 the garrison of New Haven (now called Havre deGrace) introduced the infection anew into this kingdom. In London the disorder raged for many weeks with great violence. It was conveyed into Yorkshire: and what melancholy spectacles it occasioned may be collected from this sad entry in the parish register if Almonbury, a village near Huddersfield. '1563 Sep. Henricus Beamount de Lockwodde sep. erat VII˚, sub occasu solis. Peste seu plaga mortuus est, ideoque per uxorem et puellulam spultus erat, quæ eum ad tumulum super equi dorsum adferebant.' It does not appear that the infection at this time extended itself to Sheffield: but in the next year, when the plague was stayed, and a day of public thanksgiving was appointed, the church-burgesses of Sheffield paid XXd for 'a boke called Thankesgevyn for the plage, and the salter in Englysche.' Five years after it made its appearance at Sheffield, and we have these entries concerning it isn the same accompts:
- Paid for the kepinge of Hawle wyffe, suspected for the plage........ IIII. s.
- To Anthonie Hibbert towards his losse in the plage tyme......... IIII. s.
- Paid to Edward Pavye for serving Hibbert during the tyme he kept in his house . II. s.
Pavye was the parish-clerk; and he was employed to carry provisions to the poor infected Hibbert, who it appears received a compensation out of the Burgesses' Fund, for the restraint to which for the general good he had been forced to submit. We find mention of this man again in some public accompts in reference to this disorder. 'Delivered to Anthony Hibbert the VIII day of May 1570, because he had been at Colts of Rotheram, where they dyed of the plagge XIId.' In 1585 the plague was at Doncaster. For three weeks the town of Sheffield was watched to prevent any communication with the infected place; and we find no trace to the appearance of the disorder at Sheffield. Even in the years 1586 and 1587, when London was so terribly afflicted, and the neighbouring town of Chesterfield was so fatally attacked by it, Sheffield seems to have escaped. So also in 1603, when it was at Brimmington: and in 1609, when William Townsend the curate of Holmesfield in the adjoining parish of Dronfield died of it. In 1633 the complaint again visited Yorkshire, and a contribution was made at Sheffield 'for the reliefe of the poor in the infected townes of Thorne, Hatefield, and Birstall.' Thus in those times of peculiar distress, the parishes bore one anothers burdens. In the summer of 1666, when the attention of the whole neighbourhood was directed towards the little village of Eyam in the Peak, then rapidly depopulating through the prevalence of this dreadful distemper, the alarm extended itself into the parish of Sheffield. In the constables' accompts of that period occur these entries: 'Charges about keeping people from Fullwood Spaw in the tyme that the sickness was att Eam.' 'For watching one that fell sick.' The vigilance of the earl of Devonshire and the care of Mr. Mompesson the rector of Eyam, aided by Mr. Thomas Stanley a nonconformist minister, who continued to reside among his friends, accompanied by the the divine blessing succeeded in preventing the spread of the contagion. This was the last appearance of the plague properly so called amongst us.
There have been few instances of extraordinary longevity at Sheffield. The most remarkable is that of William Congreve, who is stated on his grave in the parish church-yard to have been a hundred and eleven years eight months old at the time of his death in 1754. This has an appearance of particularity, one characteristic of truth. But there is always ground for much reasonable scepticism in accounts of such uncommon longevity. They generally depend upon the testimony of an interesed party: and they always pertain to persons in that class of society in which it is most difficult to obtain authentic and indisputable records of birth or baptism. Nothing sets the credulity of the country in a more stiking point of view than the credit which seems to be universally given to the fables of Parr and Jenkins, to prove whose incredible number of days we have not even the evidence we should reasonably require to establish a fact little removed from the common experience. But on this point we are perhaps glad to be decieved: as Louis XIV. found no flattery more acceptable than when his courtiers related instances of longevity much greater than his own. Mr. Wilson took some pains to investigate the case of Congreve, but could not find that it rested on any thing but the vague reports of the people at Bolsover where he was born. In the year 1810 when a society was established at Sheffield for the express purpose of relieving the aged female poor, out of 341 who applied, thirty-nine were eighty years old and upwards, and only one had passed the age of ninety. In the parish register we find,
1708, Mar. 7. buried William Hunt, aged 102 years.
1739, Jan. 3. ———Mary Bradberry, widow, aged 105.
1794, ———Aaron Rodger, aged 101.
There is one very numerous class of workmen at Sheffield which it is feared can furnish no names to any lists of the aged. There is no grinder of cutlery who has been constantly employed at his business, and has numbered sixty years. The melancholy of fact demands immediate attention to its cause.
Nearly the whole of the parish of Sheffield is now inclosed and cultivated. There is much old inclosure. The Park, which contains above 2000 acres, was divided into farms about the commencement of the eighteenth century. Previously to that period this fine tract of land surrounding their summer mansion, called the Manour, and reaching to the castle of Sheffield, had been reserved for the pleasure of the lord. There is also much land, especially in the western parts of the parish, which is newly inclosed. The soil upon coal strata is said to be not very fabourable to the views of the agriculturist. But the peculiar manufacture of the town and neighbourhood affords him an excellent manure not easily to be procured in other parts of the kingdom, in the shavings and useless fragments of the bones and horns. Lime is also within his reach at a small expense. Less attention seems to have been paid to the modern improvements in agriculture here than in other parts of the kingdom. This will commonly be the case where the farms are not large, and where few gentlemen are found cultivating estates of their own. The farms rarely exceed two hundred acres, and for the most part held on leases for term of years. They are mostly in tillage. There is comparatively little meadow land. No cheese is made. The town is principally supplied with that necessary article milk, from the farms in Derbyshire. It is brought in barrels on horseback by boys, whose irregular and boisterous behaviour upon the roads became such a public annoyance, that a clause has been lately introduced into an act of parliament for their restraint and summary punishment. Much of the land in the immediate vicinity of the town is let to the manufacturers for gardens. These afford the proprietors some profit, together with an amusement the most varied, innocent and cheerful, and no doubt contribute much to the general health of the town.
The neighbourhood of Sheffield abounds in wood: within the parish are three woods of considerable extent, the Old or Shiercliffe Park, Wincobank-wood, and Ecclesall-wood, the last of which is the property of earl Fitzwilliam. The other two are on the great estate of his grace the duke of Norfolk, whose woodward is said to have the oversight of about twenty-five hundred acres of wood in the immediate neighbourhood of Sheffield. In 1719 an exact survey was taken of the woods belonging to the duke of Norfolk, when it was found there were
- 25 woods in Ecclesfield . 1380 acres.
- 7 in Bradfield . . . . 240
- 2 in Hansworth . . . 200
- 2 in Treeton . . . . 96
- 2 in Whiston . . . 240
- 14 in Sheffield . . . . 429
making a total of 2585 acres. The Wortley family had about the same extent in Wharncliffe and its neighbourhood.
The woods now remaining are but small remnants of our ancient forest-vesture. The whole of Fullwood and Upper-Hallam was once a pasturable forest, sylva pascua; and the Park, which owing to its present want of foliage presents from many points a bare and unpleasing appearance, once abounded in forest-trees of the noblest growth. Mr. John Harrison, a person who in 1637 made a minute survey of the Manors of Sheffield, Cowley, and Ecclesfield, for the earl of Arundel, speaks of the stately timber which was then growing in Sheffield Park; but his admiration was the most excited by what he observed in Riveling-Chase. 'The Haugh-Park is full of excellent timber of very great length, and very straight, and many of them of great bigness, being about sixty foot in length before you come to a knott, insomuch that it hath been said by travellers, that they have not seen such timber in Christendome.' In another place he describes them as 'growing out of such a rocher of stone, that you would hardly think there were earth enough to nourish the roots.' In this there is nothing extraordinary. Some of the largest trees in Europe are found in parts of the Alps where there is very little soil, which have struck their roots in fissures of the rock. We have also in Evelyn accounts of the noble timber with which the hills about Sheffield were once graced. He was informed by the duke of Norfolk's auditor, Mr. John Halton, that in the Park alone there were not fewer than a thousand trees, worth at least six thousand pounds, another thousand worth four thousand pounds, and so on in proportion. In these were probably included the trees which formed the stately avenue of walnuts which led from the gate of the Park next the town to the principal entrance of the Manour, 'a living gallery of aged trees.' Uniting their branches aloft, they formed an arched roof through which neither sun nor shower could penetrate. So at least I have heard them described, for their memory is still fragrant. Four generations have passed away since this avenue was destroyed: but still it is remembered as the sylvan pride of the neughbourhood, and its fall is mentioned with regret by the people whose ancestors walked under its shade. The changed appearance of the Park must excite the regret of all: except the few trees about the farm-houses just sufficient to give them the character of so many 'elmy granges,' and two or three small copses where the unevenness of the ground forbade the approach of the plough, a tree is scarcely to be found throughout this once well-wooded part of the parish. The close of the seventeenth century saw the work of destruction completed.
To the botanist or the naturalist the parish of Sheffield appears to present few features of peculiar attraction. Its hedges are adorned with great variety of plants and flowers; but few it is supposed of much rarity. The ivy-leafed bell-flower (Campanula hederacea) and the rose-bay willow-herb (Epilobium angustifolium), Ray, the naturalist, says he found in the rocks and meadows near Sheffield. He became well acquainted with the neighbourhood by visiting his friend and fellow-student in natural history Mr. Francis Jessop of Broomhall. Mr. Jessop communicated to Willughby, for his Ornithologica, accounts of some rare birds which he had observed in his own neighbourhood. In the western parts of the parish, the sportsman, if not prevented by the recent inclosures, may meet with the partridge, pheasant, and red moorgame; and sometimes, but very rarely, with the black species.
The parish of Sheffield is rich in its mineral productions, and especially in the three mineral bodies most important to man,—iron, coal, and stone.
The iron ore is found in many parts of the parish at the depth of about fifty or sixty feet. It was doubtless the presence of the raw material which first led the inhabitants of this district to manufactures of iron. But these mines are now comparatively of small importance to the staple branches of the Sheffield manufactures: for steel is what is principally wanted; and whether from an inferiority in the ore itself, or from any difference in the original smelting and preparation, the native iron of this neighbourhood is not found to bear the process of conversion into steel so well as the iron imported from abroad. The use of charcoal for the smelting of iron ore was one great cause of the destruction of so many of our ancient forests. Evelyn has beautifully observed that 'Nature has thought fit to produce this wasting ore more plentifully in woodlands than any other ground, and to enrich our forests to their own destruction.' Nor can he with hold his 'Diræ, a deep execration of iron-mills, and iron-masters also, quos ego—' How would he have rejoiced to have witnessed the day when coke of pit-coal became substituted for the charcoal in this consuming process! Of the iron used at Sheffield in the state of iron, a large proportion is now brought from a distance.
Below the iron lies the bed of coal. The mean depth is about 120 yards, and the thickness of the bed from three to five feet. This bed is the principal source of that large supply of fuel which the manufactures of Sheffield demand: and has been so from as early period. Leland writing in the time of Henry VIII. says, 'Hallamshire hath plenti of woodde, yet ther is burnid much se-cole,' by which he means the native coal of the neighbourhood, such as was brought to London, his native place, by sea. The pits were lately in the hands of the duke of Norfolk, the great land-owner of the neighbourhood, but are now under lease to a private company. The mouth of the principal excavation is within the town of Sheffield, in the Ponds near the Sheaf. In that part of the bed which lies under Darnall, layers of pure and perfect charcoal are found so intermixed with the bright coal, as to render it almost certain that they are parts of the same original substance, which by some accident have escaped a part of the process by which coal was produced. It is supposed that the appearances in these pits must decide the much controverted question, and prove coal to have a vegetable origin.
The town of Sheffield is described by writers of the seventeenth century as built entirely of stone. A few of the old stone buildings remain: but brick, as being the much cheaper material, is now chiefly in use for dwelling-houses and manufactories. It seems ot have been introduced at the beginning of the last century. The Upper-chapel in Norfolk-street was the first public building of brick; and this, as if the architect was suspicious of the durability of his material, has its corners of stone. The parish had, however, one fine specimen of brick masonry of two centuries earlier date. This was the turreted gateway at the Manour; erected at the same period, and probably by the same architect, with the archbishop's brick-college at Rotherham, the red appearance of which among buildings of stone gave occasion to a well-known Yorkshire proverb. The stone was got from quarries within the parish, which still yield it of a hard and durable nature for superior dwelling-houses and public buildings. The beautiful stone of which the Infirmary is built came from quarries in Loxley. The parish also possesses within itself good stone for common slating, so that the use of thatch is little known. Quarries at Brincliffe-edge formerly furnished the manufacturers with grinding-stones; but for this necessary article they are now chiefly indebted to the quarries at Wickersley, nine miles from the town.
Thus has nature been bountiful to the parish of Sheffield: not by bestowing upon it the most delicious fruits, double harvests, or perpetual summer, but the means and materials of all durable and substantial comforts, so placed that they serve as stimulants to labour. And accordingly her sons an active, acute, and hardy race, patient of toil, unwillingly submitting to unnecessary restraints, aware of the advantages of their situation, proud of the reputation they have obtained for her, attached to their birth-place, and where-ever they go remembering with more than common affection the tall graceful spire that surmounts the town, the woodland heights around it, and the streams which glitter along its devious valleys. Even the very sound of its waters poured over their broken weirs or the slow-moving wheel, the hiss of the grinding-stone, and the noise of the forge are grateful in recollection on the ear of the genuine son of what is fondly called 'Old Sheffield.'
The parish of Sheffield is in the diocese of York, the archdeaconry of the west-riding, and the deanery of Doncaster. It makes part of that noble English province, the county of York, but it is so situated that its southern boundary coincides with the southern boundary of the county. The adjoining parishes of Norton and Dronfield are in the county of Derby. It is in the west-riding. This riding, or as the word was anciently written tri-hing, bespeaking at once its etymology, is subdivided into none wapentakes. The origin of this word, which corresponds to the hundred of the more southern counties, is not quite so evident; but Thoresby, after the old glossarist to Matthew Paris, who himself quotes from Hoveden, has given the following account. 'When a person received the government of a wapentake, at the appointed time and usual place, the elder sort met him; and when he was got off his horse rose up to him: then he held up his spear and took security of all present, according to custom: whoever came touched his spear with theirs, and by this touching of armour were confirmed in one common interest: and thus from pæpnu (weapons) and τac (a touch), or τaccape (to confirm), they were called Wapentakes.' Sheffield stands in what is now the wapentake of Strafford and Tickhill, but in times before the Conquest, of Stratford or Strafford only. Whence arose the change in its appellation does not clearly appear. But possibly when the castle of Tickhill became annexed to the crown, certain-townships owing service there might be relieved from the ordinary burthans of the hundred. Accordingly in the Nomina Villarum of the 9th of Edward II. the manors in the wapentake of Strafford are enumerated apart from a list of about an equal number which are said to be in libertate de Tykhill. When these became again united, Tickhill might be joined with Strafford in the designation of the wapentake. Sheffield is among the places in Strafford. This name is derived from Strafford-Sands, near Mexborough, on the Don, about eleven miles from Sheffield. There doubtless, nearly in the central point, and where the ford over the river gave facilities for the meeting of persons from every part of the district, the public assemblies of the hundred were anciently held. When Thomas lord Wentworth was about to be made and earl, he chose to take his title from this wapentake, in which his ancestors had resided for many centuries in a state of high respectability. The upper and lower divisions of the wapentake are those north and south of the Don.
The parish of Sheffield is unknown as one of the ecclesiastical subdivisions of the diocese of York before the Norman conquest. In which of the great Saxon oarishes it was included, it may not be easy satisfactorily to explain. But as there was a church at Treeton before the time of the Domesday survey, it is not improbable that the south-eastern parts, together with Hansworth, might acknowledge a dependance upon that place; while the western parts, with Ecclesfield and Bradfield, might pertain to the Saxon churches of Hope and Tankersley.
It was not till after the Normans began to find themselves secure in the possession of their newly acquired English property, that the owners of this district erected in these parts four churches, assigning to each of them for its parish, a suitable portion of the estate. They seem to have been judiciously placed: one at the vill of Ecclesfield, to which was assigned the manor of Ecclesfield, which had been in the hands of six Saxon proprietors, or rather the six independent manors which are mentioned in the Domesday survey under the general name of Ecclesfelt. Another they placed at Bradfield, near some ancient military earth-works, to which they assigned that part of a very spacious manor called the Manor of Hallun, or Hallam, which lay north of the Riveling, together with Haldworth, and some other places which lay included in the manor of Hallam, but had obtained a certain degree of independence upon it. A third they placed in the old Saxon manor of Handsworth; and a fourth at the vill of Sheffield, near their own castle, assigning as its parish the three small manors of Grimesthorpe, Attercliffe and Sheffield, together with all that part of the vast manor of Hallam, which lay to the south of the Riveling.
The parish of Sheffield thus comprises three entire Saxon manors, together with a very material portion of a fourth: and it appears that Attercliffe and Sheffield had in times not long before the Conquest been regarded as integral portions of the rich, populous, and extensive manor of Hallam. The townships which now bear these names are probably correct representatives of what those manors anciently consisted: while in the part of the parish which lies north of the Don we have the Saxon manor of Grimesthorpe. All the remainder of the parish belonged to Hallam. After the Conquest, these four manors, together with many other large estates in the counties of York and Nottingham, came into the hands of one proprietor, and from thenceforth they were regarded as forming but one entire manor, which was called the Manor of Sheffield, there being the castle, the mansion of the lord. But within two centuries after the Conquest, large tracts of this territory were granted out to individual proprietors, who claimed to exercise certain privileges which are supposed to be manorial, a practice which was restrained by the act of 13 Edw. I. known by the name of Quia emptores: and hence arose those smaller manors which are now acknowledged within the parish of Sheffield. The most considerable of these is that fertile and populous district called Ecclesall-Byerlow, which was held by an ancient knightly family bearing the name of de Ecclesall, and their successors the barons Scrope, of the castle and manor of Sheffield by knight-service; and in the Feodary's accopmts of the estate of John earl of Shrewsbury, 30 Henry VI., it is estimated at two knight's fees, value Xl. This manor passed through the families of Strelley and Bright (in a manner which will fully be shown hereafter) to its present noble owner, the right honerable Earl Fitz-William. The estate of Shiercliffe, a part of the old manor of Grimesthorpe, was also held of the castle and manor of Sheffield by the family of Mounteney, descended of the blood of the Lovetots, who had a hall and park there, claiming and enjoying certain manorial privileges. This is now unknown as a separate manor, being extinguished, or rather absorbed into the greater manor out of which it originally proceeded, when purchased of the heirs of Mounteney, in the time of Elizabeth, by George earl of Shrewsbury. The little manor of Darnall, now the property of General Spencer, seemd to have been a part of the old manor of Attercliffe; and the manor of Owlerton belonging to Lady Burgoyne extends over a small portion of the parish of Sheffield. None of these manors are noticed in the Nomina Villarum of the 9th of Edward II. That record speaks only of the manor of Sheffield, then held by Thomas de Fournyvayle, to whom it had descended from his ancestors the Lovetots. Of this feudal chieftain, his grace BERNARD-EDWARD DUKE OF NORFOLK and EARL-MARSHAL OF ENGLAND is the lineal descendant and representative. He enjoys the manor of Sheffield, and with it an immense estate, through an unbroken line of splendid ancestry, Lovetots, Furnivals, Nevils, Talbots, and Howards, reaching to the first century after the Conquest. The chiefs of this proud line had during four or five centuries their principal residence at the castle of Sheffield.
To an inquisition after the death of Thomas lord Furnival, 39 Edward III., is appended a list of forty-three places, which are said to be 'Membra Castri de Sheffield.' It presents a curious Nomina Villarum of the neighbourhood.
Sheffield is the little capital of adistrict familiarly known by the name of Hallamshire. Shire is share: a portion of territory shared or appropriated so some city, town, or castle. It does not always imply that there is any peculiar jurisdiction prevailing: for we find many instances in the northern parts of England in which the term is loosely applied to tracts of country merely, as it seems, because lying near some place of ancient note. This in the county of York we have North-Allertonshire, and Sowerbyshire; and the country about Massam, and old seat of the barons Scrope, is familiarly called Massamshire. But in the term Hallamshire we have this peculiarity, that for the last seven centuries at least there has been no considerable vill of the name of Hallam; nor indeed any distinct knot of houses to which that name belonged; the Hallum in the preceding list, like its neighbour Fullwode, describing probably (as at present) not a village but a wide-extended and thinly-peopled district. It is as if the name of Yorkshire existed, while there was no remain of the ancient and famous city of York.
In this we have a proof of the ancient consequence of the Saxon manor of Hallam, of which a large portion was assigned to the parish-church of Sheffield. Though as a distinct manor it passed away soon after the Conquest; though the vill from which it derived its name, and the aula which gave dignity to it perished at a very remote æra, still the name survived, and even became extended to districts which never made a part of the manor. But the hall of a Saxon thane of the very first rank would naturally command respect, which would perpetuate the name of the place in which it had stood, when that place and the aula itself had passed away.
The extent of territory to which the term Hallamshire is properly applicable has been frequently the subject of discussion. In this undefined and uncertain state will the limits of all districts be found to be, which depend more on popular opinion, than on any peculiar jurisdiction or authority prevailing throughout them. In the most restricted sense it would seem proper to confine it to what constituted the Saxon manor of Hallam; and in this case it would comprehend only the three western townships of th eparish of Sheffield, together with that part of the parish of Bradfield which is within the present manor of Sheffield. In a sense rather less restricted, it would comprehend together with the manor of Hallam the two smaller Saxon manors of Attercliffe and Sheffield, which by the Norman surveyors are said to have been inland in Hallun, portions of the manor of Hallam. It would then include all that part of the parish of Sheffield which lies on the right bank of the Don, with Bradfield. And the first use of the term, which is in a charter of Richard de Lovetot in the reign of Henry II., seems to be in one of these restricted senses. But in the hundred-rolls of the time of Edward I., North-Ecclesfield is mentioned as being included within Hallamshire: and in a confirmation by Edward III. of a grant to Nicholas a younger son of Thomas lord Furnival, of 10/. rent issuing out of Hallamshire, it is expressly noted that Sheffield, Bradfield, Ecclesfield, and Handsworth are included under the term. Our next authority is Leland, who says 'Halamshire beginneth a ii. mile from Rotheram. Sheffield iii. miles from Rotheram, wher the lord of Shreusbyre's castle is, the chefe market town of Halamshire. And Halamshire goith one way vi. or vii. miles above Sheffilde by the west, yet as I here say, another way the next village to Sheffilde is in Derbyshire. Al Halamshire go to the sessions of York and is counted as a membre of Yorkshire. Æglesfild and Bradfeld ii townelettes or villages long to one paroche chirche. So by this meanes (as I was enstructed) ther be but iii. paroches in Halamshire that is of name, and a great chapelle.' The three parishes of which he speaks are evidently Sheffield Ecclesfield, and Handsworth; with the chapelry of Bradfield. The bailiff of Hallamshire now executes his office in all the manors near Sheffield which belong to the lord.
There is also a jurisdiction now prevailing throughout Hallamshire created by an act of the 21 James I. incorporating the cutlers and other workers in iron who resided in the neighbourhood. The framers of that act, aware of the difficulty of settling precisely the limits of Hallamshire, gave power to the officers of the company not only throughout that district, but every where within six miles compass of the same, that no persons inhabiting this neighbourhood might escape the wholesome regulations of the statute.
The parishes which adjoin to Sheffield are on the north Ecclesfield, and especially that part of it which forms the township of Stannington, a part of the great chapelry of Bradfield: on the west the chapelry of Dore in the parish of Dronfield: on the south Beauchief, Norton, and Hansworth: and on the east the chapelry of Tinsley, supposed to be a member of the parish of Rotherham.
From this is is separated by the Carbrook, one of its minor streams; except that near the junction of this brooklet with the Don, the parish of Sheffield is supposed to extend itself a little beyond. On the west it is bounded by the Limb-dyke, and on the north by the Riveling. For part of its southern boundary it has the Sheaf, and the Meersbrook or boundary-brook now separating the counties of York and Derby, but heretofore performing a much more important office, marking the separation between Northumbria and Mercia, and doubtless also between Maxima and Flavia Cæsarienses. Where natural boundaries like these can be obtained, it is desirable that men should avail themselves of them, to mark out the artificial divisions they have created. These remain unchanged amidst all the changes which war or commerce may occasion. But in a cultivated and populous country, and where the residents have a personal interest in keeping parochial and manorial claims within their just limits, it seldom happens that the true line of boundary is forgotten. Not so in an uninclosed and thinly-peopled country. There is perpetual danger lest the ancient land-marks should cease to discharge their useful office. To this inconvenience the lords of the manor of Sheffield have been always peculiarly exposed on the side towards Hathersage in Derbyshire, where their manorial rights extend beyond the limits of the parish of Sheffield. In that extreme part, the process of cultivation is now but just commencing. To preserve the recollection of the extent of their rights in that direction, the old lords of Sheffield were accustomed to summon their tenantry and neighbours to periodical perambulations, at which the principal gentry of the vicinage, and sometimes the lord himself, were present. The party usually set out from Whiteley-wood, and passing by Ringing-law and Stanedge, finished their tour ar the North-Wain-stones. Notes were made of the state of the different land-marks, and of the more material parts of the evidence given by the aged inhabitants. Records of their perambulations for the years 1574, 1656, 1705, 1719, and 1722, still exist. That of 1574, as the earliest and most minute, may not improperly be introduced in this place. It carries us back, by the recollections of the men who were then the patriarchs of the neighbourhood, into the olden tyme, the days of our Edwards and Henries.
'Vizt. Anthony Blythe of Birchett, gent. James Turner, bealife of Sheffield, William Bickinson, William Upton, Thurstone Kirke, William Harrise, George Skargell, Adam Gill, Ralphe Morton, Gregorie Revell, William Fox, William Greaves, Robert Mitchell, Thomas Smith, John Barnsley, John Shemeld, Robert Burrowes, Robert Morton, Robert Greaves, Robert Waynwright, Robert Rawson, Robert Hawkesworth, Henry Hawksworth, John Mariott, Thomas Fisher, John Ramskarr, Robert Hawkesworth junior, Thomas Hawkesworth, Richard Awsecliffe, and Richard Roberts, the writer hereof, wth other more wch men did meete the right honble George the earle of Shrewsburie the day and year abovesaid.
'Whiteley-wood.—First one ewe-tree standing upon my lordes land called the Benett-field is thought to bee a meere between may lord and the lord of Ecclessall, and soe upward to a place called Stowperstocke. This evidence given and shewed by one John Stone of Whiteley-wood aforesaid, beeing of the age of sixty yeared and above; as hee hath heard his elders say the same.
'Stowperstocke.—Alsoe from the said ewe-tree to a stone called Stowperstocke, wch the aforesaid John Stone tooke away, and thereof made a pig-trough; and hee hath promised to sett it there againe; for hee once before about sixteene years agoe took it away, and one ould Roger Barnsley who was of the age of 80 yeares and above, did complaine upon him, and said hee had not done well in takeing it away, because it was a meere between my lord and the lord of Ecclesall: and the said John Stone upon Barnsley's complaint did bring it againe, and there it remained tenn yeares; and att the said tenn yeares end, he tooke it againe, but now hee hath or will sett it there againe as it ought to bee.
'Ringinglawe.—Also from the said stone called Stowperstocke to a great heape of stones called Ringinglawe; from wch one Thomas Lee had taken and led away a greate sort of stones: being by one sicke or brook which parts Derbyshire and Hallamshire.
'Burbadge.—Also the said sicke or ditch leading or goeing from Ringinglawe to a place called Burbadge heade, wch is a meere between my lord of Hallamshire and the heires of Padley lord of Hathersedge.
'Hurklingedge.—Also from the said Burbadge heade to a certeine place called Hurklingedge, being a meere between my lord and the lordship of Hathersedge.
'Stanage.—Also from the said Hurklingedge soe forward after the rocke to Stanage wch is a meere between the said lordshipps.
'Broderacke.—Alsoe from Stanage after the same rocke to a place called the Broade Rake, wch is also a meere betweene the said lordshipps of Hallamshire and Hathersedge.
'Seavenstones.—Also from the Broade Rake straight downwards to a place where certeine stones are sett upon the ends and haveing markes upon them called the Seavenstones; wch ould and antient men say that the same is the meere betweene my lord and the lord of Hathersedge
'Wainstones.—Also from the Seavenstones straight over the brooke or sicke there, to a place called the Wainstones, being distant, by estimation, three quarters of a mile.
'North-wainstones.—Also from the said Wainstones straight on after the banke or edge to a place or certeine stones called North-wainstones. John Mariott of Ugghill being of the age of 70 yeares and above doth say that a certeine contraversie betweene my lords father and Mr. Fitchherbert about the common or pasture called Mosker, in soe much that both their councells did meete there upon a day appointed wth diverse ould and antient men on both partyes; in soe much that the men of Derbyshire brought there wth them and ould man of the age of fyve score yeares of thereabouts called Beetson, dwelling in Darwend, to declare and speake what hee did knowe thereing: and beeing further charged by my lordes councell to speake the truth and nothing but the truth as hee would take it upon his contience, did say that there was in his time a cottage house builded in Maskarr and a man dwelling in it named _________, who was behind wth his rent; and that then the said lord of Hallamshire did send his officers to distreane for the said rent; and the same officer tooke att the same time a black horse a distresse, untill the rent was paid. Richard Bacon and Henry Hawkesworth and diverse others doe affirm this to bee true.—Robert Hawkesworth being of the age of 60 yeares of thereabouts saith, that hee hath heard his father say that the lord of Hathersedge had inclosed certeine closes in Moskarr, and these the tenants and free houlders of Hawkesworth-head did pull upp and cast downe the same, for my lord of Hallamshire: and since the same was never inclosed.'
To this may be subjoined the tracing of another boundary line of the manor of Sheffield, through a tract of country formerly little more populous.
'The boundarys or mears between the lordshipps of Sheffield and Wadesley; as the same was agreed, upon the division, beginneth at a certain place called Ashen Carr in Locksley, and goeth from thence to an oak called Mear Oak, and so along to a place called Rough Edge: and from the said Rough Edge to a stone called the Landed Stone. From thence to Wonsmore-cross, and so in to two stones called Dun Cow and Calf upon the plain there. From thence to a place called Cockwell hill, and so forward to a ditch called Rumbling Clough; and from thence straight to a well called Oak-well, and by the water issuing and running from the said well to a place called Otabridge into the water there.'
The parish of Sheffield is divided into six townships or constabularies, each providing for its own poor. The Park, the greater part of the town of Sheffield, and a small piece of ground lying north of the town form the township of Sheffield. The part of the parish which lies on the left bank of the Don is the township of Brightside-Byerlow. The triangular piece of land of which the river Don and the line of the park-wall are two sides, and the eastern boundary of the parish the third, forms the township of Attercliffe-cum-Darnall. The rest of the parish was anciently but one township, known by the name of Hallam-cum-Ecclesall; but that was subdivided about the latter end of the seventeenth century into the three townships of Ecclesall, Hallam-upper, and Hallam-nether.—These three townships form the chapelry of Ecclesall, and the township of Attercliffe-cum-Darnall the chapelry of Attercliffe. The rest of the parish is under the immediate spiritual superintendency of one clergyman, the vicar: but his duties are eased by an institution peculiar as far was appears to the parish of Sheffield. There are attached to the parish church three clergymen, under the description of assistant ministers, and whose office is to be helpers of the vicar in the performance of all sacerdotal offices throughout the parish. One of these is nominated by the vicar to each of the rural chapelries. There are also two chapels of ease within the town, St. Paul's and St. James's, and a chapel attached to Talbot's hospital. The parliamentary commissioners who in 1650 made an ecclesiastical survey of the whole kingdom, recommended that Attercliffe and Ecclesall should be detached from Sheffield, and form two new independent parishes.
In the old county-rate books, these townships are assessed according to the following proportions:
In 1623 when an assessment was laid on the west riding, in lieu of that ancient tax in kind, the furnishing cattle for the king's household, the assessment was,
At the funeral of one James Rawson on Holy-Thursday, 1603, a dole of four pounds to the poor of the parish of Sheffield was distributed thus, by his son Hugh Rawson of Norwood. One half was given equally between Hallam and Attercliffe, Brightside had a mark and Sheffield what remained. These serve to show the relative population and wealth of the four old divisions of the parish. What follows will show their comparative extent, and their population at three recent periods. The first table is the return made to the deputy-clerk of the peace for the information of the Board of Agriculture about the year 1797. The second exhibits the number of inhabitants male and female according to the parliamentary census of 1801 and 1811.
|Sheffield Town and Park||15,483||15,831||31,314|
|Sheffield Town and Park||17,387||18,453||35,840|
In reference to the last table it is to be observed, that there was so much jealousy prevailing lest the census of 1801 was made in view of some projected military arrangement, that it is supposed many names of males were purposely withheld. This was a feeling by no means confined to Sheffield, and may serve in part to account for the prodigious excess which appears in the census of 1811. Such has been the increase of building in all parts of the parish of Sheffield, that it requires no power of divination to predict that if an enumaration be made in 1821, as it is hoped htere will, an excess still more extraordinary will be discovered.
It is also to be observed, that in the above table the population of the township is not to be taken as representing the population of the town of Sheffield. It includes the inhabitants of several homesteads in the Park, some of which are at the distance of two or three miles from the town: while all those persons are excluded from it whose houses stand on the left bank of the Don, or to the west of Coal-pit-lane in Ecclesall-Byerlow: but these houses are obviously integral parts of the town. On the whole, in the enumeration of 1811, we may perhaps regard 40,000 as being inhabitants of the town of Sheffield, and the remaining 13,231 as being residents of the out-hamlets.
An enumaration of the parish was made in 1736 by order of the town-burgesses, preparatory to presenting a petition to parliament to make Saint Paul's church parochial; when it appeared that there were in
|The township of Sheffield||2152||9695|
|Ecclesall and the two Hallams||503||2352|
I shall subjoin from the parish-register a table showing the number of marriages, baptisms, and burials at the parish-church and the chapels under it, for each ten years from the commencement of the register in 1561. During the last century there have been many baptisms and burials at the different places of worship for dissenters, which have not come into the parish-register. From 1801 to 1810 inclusive the number of marriages among the Quakers was 19; of baptisms among various descriptions of dissidents, and births among the Quakers 1179; of burials among all descriptions of dissidents 306. Few, if any of them, were entered in the parish-register.
|1561 to 1570 inclusive||234||1085||712|
|1571 — 1580||275||955||721|
|1581 — 1590||340||1245||959|
|1591 — 1600||459||1364||1323|
|1601 — 1610||417||1475||1049|
|1611 — 1620||469||1699||1359|
|1621 — 1630||532||1884||1606|
|1631 — 1640||564||2130||2194|
|1641 — 1650||410||2126||2276|
|1651 — 1660||475||1698||1888|
|1661 — 1670||585||2086||2266|
|1671 — 1680||537||2240||2387|
|1681 — 1690||540||2595||2856|
|1701 — 1710||942||3033||2613|
|1711 — 1720||991||3304||2765|
|1721 — 1730||1212||3874||3828|
|1731 — 1740||1361||4635||3878|
|1741 — 1750||1584||5904||5232|
|1751 — 1760||1833||7036||6270|
|1761 — 1770||2551||8885||7547|
|1771 — 1780||2962||10697||9898|
|1781 — 1790||3863||13851||11849|
|1791 — 1800||4277||16152||13139|
|1801 — 1810||5031||17760||13384|
- Description of the course of the Don. Dods. MSS. in Bibl. Bodl. vol. CLX. f. 19 b. So Camdeu: and so long before his time, in the 7th Iter of Richard of Cirencester, Alpes Peninos.
- See her correspondence published by Mr. Dallaway, vol. iii. p. 277. Wharncliffe is five miles from the town of Sheffield to the north. It is partly a forest, and partly a deer-park. It is still a member of the great estate of the Wortley family, and is now the property of James Archibald Stuart Wortley, esquire. Its sea of wood, and its command of a prospect of almost unrivalled extent and magnificence render it one of the most grand and imposing scenes imaginable. If in the midst of such truly magnificent scenery the mind can turn to objects so insignificant, three seats may be discovered cut in the solid rock, vivoque sedila saxo, and probably intended to accommodate those who sought to enjoy this enchanting scenery. Near to them, and also cut on the living rock, or on what is technically called a ground-fast stone, is the inscription noticed in the text. For more than two centuries it was exposed to every blast that blew; but having been originally cut in a fine bold character, it is still legible, and it has long been protected from any further injury from the weather by a small shed built over it by the late Mr. Edward Wortley-Montague. Little case was taken by any previous preparation of the stone itself to fit it to receive the inscription, and it is quite consistent with the romantic character of the inscription itself, to suppose that Sir Thomas was content with such a superficies as nature presented to him. Some of the letters have nearly perished, but the following may probably be taken as the true reading. The lines are of unequal length, accommodated to the irregular form of the stone.
- [NB. the transcription of this inscription is barely legible in the text of the book, I have copied it as accurately as I can with no attempt to interpret it.]
- Pray for the faule of
- Thomas Wryttelay knyght
- for the hyngys bode to Edward
- the forthe Rychard therd hare the vii. & hare viii.
- bows faules God perdon wyche
- Thomas cawfyd a loge to be made
- hon this crag ne mydys of
- Wancliffe for his plefor to her the
- hartes bei in the pere of owr
- Lord a thoufand ccccc r.
Sir Thomas Wortley was high-sheriff of the county of York in the 6th and 17th years of Henry VII. and a man of principal power and consequence in his neighbourhood. In the pedigrees of this great family he is said to have allied himself in marriage with two of the principal houses in the North of England, the Fitz Williams and the Pilkingtons: but some curious particulars of the old knight's domestic history are to be found in the Bodleian. He did not long enjoy his pleasure in this lodge, for his will was proved on the 12th of March 1514-5, in which he gives directions that his body should be interred at Hemsworth. This was for some time the usual burying-place of the family, but some of them were buried in the chapel at Wortley. In that chapel was an old monumental stone, the inscription of which has not been preserved by any of our earlier collectors of church notes, and of which Mr. Wilson could read only these words Prai for the undaunted spirit of … a departure from the usual simplicity of such inscriptions, bespeaking, if I am not mistaken, the hand which inscribed the rock in Wharncliffe.
The amusing account which Taylor the Water-Poet has given of his visit to this place, I the rather transcribe because it is contained in one of his rarest tracts, published after the collection of his works in a folio volume. Its title is 'Part of the Summer's Travels, or News from Hell, Hull, and Hallifax, from York, Linne, Leicester, Chester, &c. with many pleasant passages worthy your observation and reading' By John Taylor. Imprinted by J.O. 12mo. It appears that he returned from his tour on the 20th of September 1639.
'From Leeds I went to Wakefield, where, if the valiant Pinder had been living, I would have play'd Don Quixot's part and challenged him; but being it was so happy that he was dead, I passed the towne in peace to Barnsley and so to Wortley, to Sir Francis Worteleyes ancient house. The entertainment which himselfe, his good lady, and his most faire and hopefull daughter gave mee there, as I never did or can deserve, so I never shall be able to requite. To talke of meat, drinke, money, and free welcoem for horse and man, it were but a meer fooling for me to begin, because then I should hardly finde the way. Therefore, to his worship my humble thanks remembered, and everlasting happinesse wished both to him and all that is his; yet I cannot forbeare to write a little of the further favour of this noble knight. Upon the 14th of September afternoon, he took horse with mee, and his lady and daughter in their coach, with some other servants on horseback: where three miles we rode over rocks and cloud-kissing mountains, one of them so high that in a cleere day a man may from the top thereof see both the minsters or cathedral churches, York and Lincolne, neere 60 miles off us; and as it is to be supposed that when the Devil did looke over Lincolne as the proverb is, that he stood upon that mountain or neere it; Sir Francis brought me to a lodge, the place is called Wharncliffe, where the keeper dwells who is his man, and keeps all this woody, rocky, stony, vast wilderness under him, for there are many deere there, and the keeper were an asse if he would want venison, having so good a master.
'Close to the said lodge is a stone, in burthen at least a hundred cart loads, the top of it is four square by nature and about 12 yards compasse. It hath three seats in the fourme of chaires, made by art as it were in the front of the rocke, wherein three persons may easily sit, and have a view and goodly prospect over large woods, towns, cornfields, fruitfull and pleasant pastures, valleyes, rivers, deares, neat, sheep, and all things needful for the life of man; contayned in thousands of acres, and all for the better part belonging to that noble knight's ancestors and himself. Behinde the stone is a large inscription engraven, where in an old character is described the ancient memory of the Wortleys, (the progenitors of Sir Francis now living) for some hundreds of years, wh0 were lords and owners of the said lands and demaynes, which hee now holds as their right heire. About a bow-shoot from thence (by the descent of as many rings of a ladder) his worship brought mee to a cave or vault in a rocke; wherein was a table with seats and turfe cushions round, and in a hole in the same rock was three barrels of nappy liquor. Thither the keeper brought a good red deere pye, cold roast mutton, and an excellent shcoing-horn of hanged Martinmas biefe: which cheer no man living would think such a place could afford: o after some merry passages and repast, we returned home.'—pp. 24, 25, 26.
Wharncliffe is the scene of the old ballad of 'The Dragon of Wantley,'—and a clift in the rocks is now called the Dragon's Den. The age and subject-matter of this puzzling old ballad have much perplexed the investigators of our popular antiquities, and collectors of our national poetry. Its date is fixed to a period before the Reformation by the mention of More of More-hall, who cuts to conspicuous a figure in it; that family becoming extinct in the time of Edward VI.: and the true key to its subject I have no doubt is to be found in the tradition of the neighbourhood respecting Sir Thomas Wortley, which I shall present to the reader as it was committed to writing by a Yorkshire clergyman, Mr. Oliver Heywood of Coley, near Halifax, a hundred and fifty years ago. 'Sir Francis Wortley's great grandfather being a man of a great estate was owner of a towne near unto him, onely there were some freeholders in it, with whom he wrangled and sued untill he had beggared them and cast them out of their inheritance, and so the town was wholly his, which he pulled quite downe and laid the buildings and town-fields even as a common; wherein his main design was to keep deer: and made a lodge to which he came at the time of the year and lay there, taking great delight to hear the deer bell. But it came to passe that before he dyed he belled like a deer and was distracted. Some rubbish there may be seen of the town: it is upon a great moore betwixt Peniston and Sheffield.'
- Description of Britain, prefixed to Holinshead's Chronicle, vol. i. p. 166. 4to edition.
- Dr. Pegge's Historical Account of Beauchief Abbey, p.149.
- History of Manchester, vol. i. p. 220.
- Description of Britain, before quoted.
- Poly-Olbion, p. 140.
- Lodge's Illustrations of British History, &c, vol. iii. p. 309.
- This is one of many curious entries in the register of Almonbury, which for the first century and a half is enriched with historical and biographical notices.
- The name of this gentleman has been too much disjoined from the history of the plague at Eyam. 'When he could not serve his people publickly, some (yet alive) will testifie, how helpful he was to 'em in private, especially when the Sickness (by way of eminency so called, I mean the pestilence) prevailed in that town, he continuing with 'em, when as it is written, 259 persons of ripe age and 58 children were cut off thereby. When some who might have been better employed, moved the then noble earl of Devonshire, lord lieutenant, to remove him out of the town, I am told by the credible that he said, It was more reasonable that the whole country should in more than words testifie their thankfulness to him, who, together with his care of the town, had taken such care, as no one else did, to prevent the infection of towns adjacent.' De Spiritualibus Pecci, by W. Bagshaw, minister of the Gospel, P. 64: a small volume, but interesting from the air of simplicity and truth which pervades it, printed in 1702, for Nevill Simmons, bookseller in Sheffield. Mr. Bagshaw had been one of the assistant-ministers of Sheffield, and curate of Attercliffe. Mr. Stanley was born at Duckmanton, educated at Staveley and Chesterfield; was for some time curate to the elder Cart, rector of Handsworth; then curate of Dore; afterwards of Ashfors, and settled at Eyam in 1644. Here he gave way to the old incumbent after the Restoration. He died in 1670. See more of his character in the work above cited, and in Calamy's Account of the ejected and silenced Ministers, p. 179. I hope I may be excused for departing in a note so far from the immediate subject of this work as to introduce an unpublished monumental inscription for one of the family of Mr. Mompesson, the rector of Eyam, who continued in the faithful discharge of his pastoral duties to his much suffering people through the whole of so trying a season. It is to be found in the church of Barnborough, twelve miles from Sheffield.
H. S. E.ac conjugii 27: Dni 1716.
uxor charissima Georgii Mompesson
rectoris hujus ecclesiæ:
prudens plane foemina
juxta ac pia;
luctum istius dici memorabilem,
quo, procedente funere,
longævus parens octogenario major,
maritus, undecim liberi
(omnes quos pepererat) certatim plangebant
Obiit 16 Octob. Anno æt. 47
- Sylva, edited by Dr. Hunter, 1801, 4to. vol. ii. pp. 206, 211, 212.
- Clay-wood occupied a piece of ground very unfavourable to the views of the agriculturist. For a long time it was spared. Reasons were however at length found for its destruction, and some ingenuity was shown in the means used to reconcile the inhabitants of Sheffield to the loss of one of their fairest ornaments. 'I have often congratulated myself,' says a friend of the author to whom he has been indebted for some most valuable hints, 'that I recollect the Clay-wood. Those only who do can form a just idea of its amphitheatrical pride, stretching down to the very brink of the Sheaf that flowed at its base, and rising upwards to the lofty summit that overhangs the eastern side of the town: the long line of hill on which the Manour stood just intervening between the topmost boughs and the horizon. When rising in all its consummate pomp, and robed in its leafy honours, well might the vale deserve the lovely comparison which Miss Seward's classic muse appropriates:
- 'And Sheffield, smoke-involved; dim where she stands
- Circled by lofty mountains, which condense
- Her dark and spiral wreaths to drizzling rains
- Frequent and sullied; as the neighbouring hills
- Ope their deep veins, and feed her cavern'd flames.
- No aerial forms on Sheffield's arid moor
- E'er wove the floral crowns, or smiling stretch'd
- The shelly sceptre;—there no poet roved
- To catch bright inspirations. Blush, ah blush,
- Thou venal genius of these outraged groves,
- And thy apostate head with thy soil'd wings
- Veil! who hast thus thy beauteous charge resign'd
- To habitants ill-suited; hast allow'd
- Their rattling forges, and their hammers' din,
- And hoarse rude throats, to fright the gentle train
- Dryads and fair hair'd Naiades;—the song
- Once loud as sweet of the wild woodland choir
- To silence;—disenchant the Poet's spell,
- And to a gloomy Erebus transform
- The destined rival of Tempean vales.'—Works, ii. 318.
About the same period Sheffield was despoiled of another sylvan ornament, Broomhall Spring. It was a grove of oaks without underwood, and stood on the spot now occupied by Wilkinson Street.
- Gibson's Camden,—Rare plants in Yorkshire.
- Foreign iron was in use at Sheffield more than two centuries and a half ago. In the accompts of the Church Burgesses occur these entries under the year 1557.
- Paid to Robt More for one stone and q'ter of Danske yron.....XXIId.
- Paid to ye same Robt for x lib. of Spanysche yron.................. XV
- Itin, vol. v. f. 94. Yet he sometimes uses the phrase earth coal: 'though betwixt Carwood and Rotheram be good plenti of wood, yet the people burne much yerth cole, by cawse hit is plentifully found there, and sold good chepe.' Itin. vol. v. f. 102. Sea-coal was the common term for fossil coal, especially in those parts of England which are not on the coal-strata. So Dame Quickly to Falstaff, 'Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun week, when the prince broke thy head for likening his father to a singing man of Windsor.'—2 Hea. IV. ii. I.
- See also Wapentachium in Kennet's Glossary, and Yæpen-γeτace [NB. glyphs reproduced as close as possible but not accurate] in Lye's Saxon Dictionary.
- Ducatus Leodiensis, p. 84. Thoresby corrects in this place the learned editor of the laws of Edward the Confessor for supposing Ewer-wick-shire to be Warwickshire, when speaking on the subject of wapentakes. It is remarkable that Sir Henry Savile, himself a Yorkshireman, in his edition of Hoveden, and in the section De Wapentagio, f. 346. b. has printed Warewichsire where it is plain that Yorkshire was the county intended.
- Harl. MS. 6281 is a copy of this Nomina Villarum
- Preserved in a volume of Topographical Collections made by a topographer of whom little is known, named Jakes. It was once the property of Burton the historian of Leicestershire, whose hand occasionally appears in it; and afterwards of his relations the Burtons of Hallowes in the parish of Dronfield. It is now in the library of my venerable friend, the reverend Edward Goodwin of Sheffield.—So it was when this note was written; but its worthy possessor has since closed a life of eighty-five years.
- Rotuli Hundredorum, f. 109.
- Evidences, Norfolk-house. Yorkshire Bundle, L. No. 2.
- Itin. vol. v. f. 94.
- The improvements in the art of surveying render these perambulations less necessary then heretofore. An excellent map of the parish of Sheffield (on the scale of three inches and a quarter to a mile) was engraved by Carey, from the surveys of the Fairbanks, in 1795. The elder Fairbank had previously, namely in 1771, published a plan of the town, and the two younger in 1809 favoured the public with a two-sheet map of the town and environs, on the noble scale of and inch to every hundred yards. The oldest engraved plan of the town is supposed to be that published in 1732, by Ralph Gosling, who made some small collections for the history of Sheffield. The Bucks engraved a view of the town, taken from the Park-hill, about 1740; and Oughtibridge another, taken from Pye-bank, about ten years before. Thomas Oughtibridge was a Yorkshire artist of no extraordinary merit, but his engravings are valuable as giving representations of objects no longer existing. He was nephew to the reverend Abraham de la Pryme, F.R.S. and friend of Thoresby, of the benefit of whose scientific and topographical inquiries the world was deprived by his death at an early age. The de la Prymes came from Ypres at the time of the great drainage of the Level, and settled themselves at or near Hatfield. Outibridge died there in 1753, and is buried in the church of Hatfield. David Martin, a draughtsman of some merit, engraved in a hard style six views of scenery in the environs; and a prot-folio might be filled with the engravings which from time to time have appeared if scenery and public buildings in and near Sheffield.
- From the Appendix to Brown's General View of the Agriculture of the West Riding, 8vo. 1799, pp. 118, 119.
- 700 of these are said to be occupied by the town of Sheffield
- In this number the uninhabited houses were not included.
- From the MSS. of the late Thomas Short, M.D., to whom the reader is indebted for the earlier part of the register accounts.