Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield – Part 2.   David Templeman 13th January 2020

David is a historian and a volunteer at Manor Lodge.

He began his talk about areas in the southwest of Sheffield, starting with


The name derives from “Hecksel” which meant “witches’ hill/slope”.

Other names in the area, such as “Endcliffe” and “Dobbin Hill” follow a similar theme.

Endcliffe is derived from “elf cliff” and Dobbin from “dobby” (meaning goblin).

Ecclesall was not a village, just an area, but monks built a chapel, later followed by a parish church, built in 1788, on the chapel site.

Wilson’s Snuff Mill became a major employer in those early days.

The last remnants of Eccles Hall was Eccles Hall Farm, which was demolished in 1935.

Many other areas, well-known to the audience, were mentioned next.

Hunters Bar – was a Toll House where tolls were collected from travellers coming into Sheffield from the Derbyshire area.  The Toll house was closed in 1884.

Ecclesall Woods – The land was owned by Earl Fitzwilliam.  The main occupation was making charcoal, which was sold to the steel industry, but besoms (brooms) were manufactured there and there were several other woodland crafts.

Whiteley Woods – the name derived from “Hwit-Leah-Wudu”, meaning “a bright fair clearing”.  In the woods by the river is the Shepherd’s Wheel (still in existence) – one of the many cutlers’ wheels, that were driven by water power, on several of Sheffield’s rivers.  These wheels, and the men who worked them, made Sheffield famous for its cutlery industry.

Banner Cross Hall – This was the home of the Bright family until 1748 and much later became the offices of Henry Boot company.  It is now apartments?

David also mentioned Charlie Peace, the infamous Banner Cross Murderer, who was hanged in Armley Prison in 1879.

Millhouses – Ralph de Eccles gave a bequest of a corn mill to Beauchief, known as Miln Houses.  In mid-1880s it was only23 houses, a few cutlers’ shops and 7 small pits.

Dore. – in Anglo-Saxon “Dor” means “door or entrance or pass”.

Dore is a very ancient village and was the place of a famous treaty.

In 829AD Dore formed the boundary between Mercia (conquered by King Ecgbert of Wessex) and Northumbria (ruled by King Earnred). At a meeting at Kings Croft, Dore Earnred offered “obedience and concord” to Ecgbert.  Through this treaty Ecgbert became Overlord, or King, of England.

In ancient times the only road through Dore was a packhorse trail.  Most people were employed in agriculture but there were other trades, such as button maker, saw maker, anvil maker, file cutter and boot and shoe maker.  Dore parish church was at Dronfield but a chapel-of-ease was built at Dore.  This was a nave chapel and a bell.  A new church was built in 1829.

Probably the best know resident of Dore was Richard Furness, the schoolmaster.

He was also overseer, architect, scribe, lawyer, doctor, singer, poet and surveyor as he describes (brags?) in his poem…..

I, R.F., schoolmaster of Dore

Keep parish books and pay the poor

Draw plans for buildings and indite

Letters for those who cannot write

Make wills and recommend a proctor

Cure wounds, let blood with any doctor

Draw teeth, sing psalms, the hautboy play

At Chapel on each holy day

Paint signboards, cart names at command

Survey and plot estates of land

Collect at Easter, one in ten

And on Sunday say….Amen!!!

He had a salary of £18 but in 1841 was criticised by school inspectors who found his school in chaos, and the children fighting and squabbling amongst themselves.

He eventually resigned but was granted a pension of £15 annually!

(If his poem is correct, I don’t know how he found time to teach!)

David’s story then moved across the city to:

Gleadless which was so close to several boundaries.  The Shirebrook stream marked the boundary between Derbyshire and the West Riding.  The name Gleadless was derived from “Glida Leah” which meant “a kite clearing in the wood”.  The main occupation was farming, but this changed to mining and drift mines in the area produced over 2000 tons of coal in one year.  Not many people had clocks and they guessed the time by the sound of the miners’ clogs as they went on shift.

Hollinsend was a straggling hamlet of small farms and cottages.  Two of the oldest cottages existed until 1970 when they were demolished because they were “unfit for human occupation”.

Wadsley Bridge – “Waddes Leah” meaning a “forest clearing”.  Wadsley Hall dated back to the 15th century and nearby was a ford across the River Don which was used by cattle and carts.  There was a row of stepping stones for pedestrians.  Later a wooden bridge was built and in the 19th century this was replaced by a stone bridge.

Owlerton – “Alor-tun” meaning “a farmstead by the elder”.

At Owlerton there was a well of holy water that was said to have wonderful medicinal properties.   The Manor Courts were held there too.

Both Wadsley Bridge and Owlerton were seriously damaged by the Sheffield Flood.

This was an enlightening talk, with lots of information, delivered with great enthusiasm by a dedicated historian.