The Seffield Independent carried an article by John Austin relating the links between John Wesley, early Methodism and Sheffield. The somewhat racy headline to the article was perhaps the work of a sub editor rather than Austin. The text is below is transcribed, but keeps the paragrah as they are in the article which was printed in somewhat narrow columns of 5 or 6 words.
Austin was certainly not the last and probably not the first to perhaps over emphasise the association of Wesley to Sheffield when he writes that “there is but little doubt that Wesley visited Booth Farm whenever in the Sheffield district but these visits are not always recorded in his journal.”
It is interesting that Austin encourages his readers to visit the farm at Goole Green which by this time had become rundown. It was demolished in the 1950s (I think)

Shoreham is in Sussex!
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Extract from papers relating to the Fulwood Society


The Fulwood Society came into existence in the 1970s with the object of acting as a voice for conservation in the Fulwood area. Fulwood History Group has recently acquired the Society’s archive and members have been working through the material. This is a transcript of one of the items. I have added the notes.

The item

J H Hewlett writing to his parishioners on April 1st1895 after a terrible winter when 10 parishioners died between 1st January and 31st March praises them for how they put aside their differences and prejudices to support each other through the worst of the weather when the temperature rarely rose above freezing for several weeks in February. He goes on to say: –

I often hear news from Pendeen and some have passed away from among our friends there since we left in December. I should like to include the Pendeen Families in sending this message of sympathy and remembrance from all at Fulwood Vicarage and I shall post copies of our Quarterly Messenger not only to Cornwall but also to South Africa to some of the good, brave fellows who have had to go from their loved homes in Pendeen to seek a livelihood in that far country.

Being Chairman of the Committee of the “Fulwood Coffee House and Inn” I have much pleasure in announcing that our seven year effort will now be carried forward by Miss Fanny Bower who, as Mr Dixon’s Tenant has become the Landlady of the Coffee House. I desire to express the hope that great success will attend her on her return to the parish and I trust that every well-wisher will try to do something to help bring about the success.

I desire also to express my gratitude for all the help given in the past years by all the Members of the Committee, more especially to my valued Friend Mr. W. W. Harrison without whose unfailing interest and unfaltering judgment the whole effort could not have prospered as it has done.


  1. Fanny (Emma) Bower had been a parlour maid at Stumperlowe Hall, the home of Henry Isaac Dixon. She was keen to develop the Café, announcing in April 1895 that

“Miss BOWER begs to inform the public that she has taken the above old-established house, and will provide TEAS, &c on the shortest notice. Special arrangements for large Parties. First-class Sitting and Bed Rooms. Also large Clubroom. N.B.—Open on Sundays”

Emma had left the Coffee Shop by 1901. No further records of Emma have been found

  1. Arthur and Ann Wostenholm had taken on the Coffee Shop according to the 1901 census. The Wostenholms stayed at the Coffee Shop until about 1936. Anne died at the Coffee House in 1936 and Arthur moved to Frickley Road where he died in 1952.
  2. William Wheatcroft Harrison (born 1830) was a manufacturer of silver and elctro-plate according to the 1891 census. He and his family – his wife Eliza and daughters Ellen and Lucy – lived on Belgrave Road. By 1901 they had moved to Park Avenue. William died in 1904.

Gleanings from the Court Rolls

Back in the late 1990s, Robert Hallam who lived in British Columbia contacted me. He had been researching the knotty problem of Waltheof’s Aula. Some writers had suggested it was located at Burnt Stones, others that it was on the site of the Castle by the river Don. Hallam thought he had found eveidence that the location was on the site of the present day Hallam School.

Our conversations, including at a restuarant when he visited Sheffield, got me intrigued and I spent a few hours at the Local Studies Library looking through printed transcripts of the Court Rolls. From these I wrote up my findings which were duly filed in the attic where they lay for about a quarter of a century.

A few weeks ago, I came across the paper and research notes which were all paper based. I have scanned the document and corrected any OCR errors I’ve found. I have not carried out further research apart from looking at the registers of Sheffield Cathedral which are online and adding dates of birth, marriage and death for the few people in the trees that I am reasonably confident are the same as those named in the register.

I hope that those who know far more about the period (approximately 1550 – 1650) will post comments adding further details and, of course, highlight errors in the original paper.

The paper does confirm that Stumperlowe has been inhabited and farmed for many centuries and the names of the families living in the Tudor and Jacobean periods are still existent today.

The paper is here: Tudor Stumpelowe

Richardson’s Story of Fulwood

This is a small booklet written by Henry Richardson and published in 1931. We don’t know why he wrote it. In its 8 pages, he recounts how some of the older buildings came into existence.

John Henry Richardson was an accountant.He was born in 1862 in Sheffield to Henry, a coal merchant, and Eliza. As a young man he found employment with a firm of Drapers, likely to be J R Robert Ltd with premises at Townhead Street. He married Lavinia Case at the Weston Street Chapel on March 20th 1889 and their first child was born  in 1891. at the turm of the century, Richarson had ceased using his first name and was a cashier at the Dreapery store. The family, now with 3 children was living on Crookesmoor Road.

Ten years later, the family was and Nethergreen and in 1912 they moved into No 139 Crimicar Lane. After Henry’s death in 1932, Lavinia continued to lived in  the house, along with her daughter who was a teacher.

It is possible that writing the pamplet was a retirement project for Henry

I have scanned the document and reproduced it, using different images where approriate but keeping much of the original wording.

The booklet is here

The Ladies School

This was a small private school run by Sarah and Mary Rhodes who were the daughters of Hugh Rhodes, the minister of the Independent Chapel on Chapel Lane. Sarah had been born in Buxton and Mary who was eight years younger than her sister was born in Sheffield. By 1865, and probably earlier (in 1861 the sisters described themselves as ‘school mistress’), they had established the school at the ‘Chapel House’. The Chapel did not function as a place of worship between 1873 when Hugh Rhodes died and 1899 so the school might have provided an alternative use. Although named as the Ladies School in the 1881 census, the Rhodes sisters did not use this title when they advised readers of the Independent in January that they would ‘re-open their school’ on Tuesday 18th of that month and that they had a vacancy for two boarders[1]. They used this phrase in their announcements that were published just before the start of each term.

The census of 1871 recorded 6 girls between the ages of 10 and 14

The House and Chapel

The chapel had a school room and a house for the minister and his family but neither are large, so the house, at least, must have been quite crowded on census night 1881 when eight scholars slept there, along with the two sisters, their nephew Sydney and a 14 year old servant.

There is a gap in the newspaper announcements between September 1889 and September 1893 although Mary and Sarah continued to live in the Chapel House. The last entry is year later, in 1899 when Sarah was approaching 75 years of age and Mary was 60, so perhaps managing 6 vivacious girls was getting too much for them.

Perhaps the development of State Education (e.g. the Fulwood Board School) had reduced the demand for schools like this. In their notice in the Telegraph in January 1899 they said that they “Do not object to take Delicate Children” which suggests the sisters were not recruiting as many pupils as previously. This may explain why they began to let rooms in the Chapel House. Their notice in the paper in 1897 offering to accommodate bicycles suggests short stay lets, perhaps an early form of Airbnb! By 1904, they were looking for long term lets, offering 2 bedrooms and a sitting room in the house which was only 15 minutes’ walk from the terminus at Nethergreen!

Sarah and Mary Rodes disappear from the records from the middle years of the decade by which time the Chapel had become a home to a vibrant congregation. It was the location for ‘Pleasant Sunday Afternoons’ but that another story!

[1] Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 January 1881

The Tip at Fulwood (1908)

Signs of Fulwood becoming a suburb were evident by 1908. Crimicar Lane and Brookhouse Hill had new housing and Silver Birch was being developed. The photograph shows the junction in the early C20th, the foothpath that would be superceded by Brooklands Avenue is on the left and the houses, also on the left of the picture, are at the bottom of Crimicar Lane. The land  for these houses had been purchased by Samuel Hancock from Henry Isaac Dixon of Stumperlowe Hall in 1905. The land in the west of Crimicar Lane drops away from Brookhouse Hill.

The plans to create Brooklands Avenue were in existence at least from the early years of the new century: a plan of land being sold by Henry Isaac Dixon’s executors in 1913 shows the proposed road and the ramp is clearly shown on the picture of 1912 to the right.

But the new residents of Fulwood valued its rural nature and the sight of rubbish being tipped did not go down well. The independent reported on the 18th March that ‘there is some protest which is growing’ over the use of refuse ‘of an objectionable kind’ being used for road building. Charles Needham, newly established in a villa opposite the church initiated the flurry of letters to the editor of the Daily Telegraph (the Idependent and the Telegraph were not averse to printing articles as direct copies of that found in their rival’s newspaper) . Needham’s letter was written soon after the tipping began and takes a swipe at Dixon as the landowner who had permitted and was being paid for allowing the tipping. T D Nichol was quick to support Needham, writing as soon as he read Needham’s letter. The rubbish being tipped was from households as the reference to ‘tined meat cans’ shows.

An Election Issue

October that year was a time of elections to the City Corporation and the candidates claimed and counter claimed as to who had ‘stopped the tipping of night soil’ with the Telegraph reporting that despite the claims of Coucillor Ashmore to this, it was in fact the landowner, Dixon, who had stopped the tipping. The independent, more supportive of Ashmore reported at length on his rebuttal of the earlier claims. There had been correspondence between Ashmore and the Town Clerk with the Clerk confirming that he had instructed.

The Telegraph investigated the matter, rather than relying on letters received and reports of hustings meetings, and on 29th October. Its report confirmed that James Dixon (son of Henry Isaac Dixon) had requested the tipping as he wanted the land raised to the level of the road. John Smith, living opposite at 84 Brookhouse Hill, was ‘indignant’ and complained the Health Committee, which had agreed to Dixon’s request, The Lord Mayor and the Town Clerk. In the end it was Dixon who stopped the tipping, probably because what was being tipped was more than he expected.

The barbs continued to be exchanged through the campaign. The election took place early in November and both Nowill and Ashmore were elected.

Brooklands Avenue Today

As to the ‘ramp’ that Dixon had initially instigated, it was eventually completed and became Brooklands Avenue. I suspect that most people who visit the shops at Fulwood are not aware that the Avenue is built up. However, the next time you visit the hardware shop (or any others on the same side) take a look a the paved area. There is a void underneath which can be seen between the vacant shop and the house. On the other side, the access to the garage drops away from the road.

And finally, T D Nichol whose letter to the Telegraph was featured in a Facebook page seems to be ficticious. I cannot find him an any census or street directories of the period. Neither can I find a reference to a house named Lynwood on Crimicar Lane.

But both Charles Needham and John Henry Smith definitely were ‘real’ and feature in the records

Ariel Photos of Fulwood

These ariel pictures were taken by the RAF about 1948. The aircraft was flying south so the Hallamshire Golf Course is at the bottom of the picture. The road to the right of the picture is Crimicar Lane with the Isolation Hospital in the centre. The unfinished road is Barncliffe Road with Barncliffe Crescent curving away behind the hospital.

On the left edge of the photo in the midlle is the curve of the top of Hallam Grange Road with the Crescent just visible towards the top. The conduit is across the upper part of the photo

This second photo has Hallam Grange Road just left of centre and appproximately on a north-west to south east axis. At the junction with slayleigh Lane (therew is no Hallamshire Road at thgis point) is the original site of the Hallam Grange Tenis & Bowls club. The Hallam Grange EstATE WAS BEGUN IN THE Late 1920s but interupted by WW2. The order of building suggests that different builders were involved.

Some of the footpaths visible in these photos still exist

A Pen Portrait of Stumperlowe (Circa 1990s)

The article appeared in the Sheffield Spectator. It was found by a member of the Group and it’s been re-formatted from its original 4 column format.

A Kind of Hush – Clare Jenkins explores the distant past of a tranquil Sheffield Suburb

A friend recently found herself in Stumperlowe one Saturday, looking for the Soroptomists’ jumble sale. It was an unsettling experience. `”What a weird place.” she whispered nervously next time we met. “Very Stepford Wives…”

Wander round Stumperlowe even on a weekday, with the sun shining, and you can see what she means. Large houses – the semis are substantial, while the detacheds are HUGE – set back from thickly moss-covered pavements, hidden behind laurels and variegated conifers. standing unblinking and remote at the top of neat lawns.

The first thing you notice is that it’s very quiet in this, one of the city’s most ancient districts. There’s muted bird song, the rustling of leaves, the whoosh of the odd squirrel leapfrogging over wrought iron gateposts, plus the purr of the occasional car. But there are very few people. Not on foot. anyway- Why should there be? There are no shops here, no community centre, no bus stops. no church – it’s halfway between St John’s. Ranmoor and Christ Church, Fulwood. Nothing. that is. to walk to. So the inhabitants either stay indoors behind the Austrian blinds, or glide out of their driveway in their indispensable cars.

In a morning of zig-zagging up and down steep Stumperlowe Streets, the only human beings I saw were three workmen renovating a perfectly decent looking house. a postman, an elderly man raking up leaves in his garden and an elderly woman returning from the postbox. The latter two both said “Good morning” in posh Stumperlowe voices. Presumably their neighbours were inside cloning.

If Stumperlowe is weird, it’s quite possibly as much to do with its distant past as with its isolated present. The name is old English for ‘Stump’s burial ground’. The Stump in question was one of Lord of the Manor Waltheof’s chieftains back in Saxon times. A sort of Stump of the Dig. And historians reckon he’s buried somewhere in the grounds of what is now – and has been since the 16th Century – Stumperlowe Hall.

Waltheof had his own hall here, in the old village of Hallam. It’s certainly an impressive site for a Saxon village, halfway up a hillside looking one way out to Ringinglow and Hallam Moors, another across the valley which now houses the city to Rotherham, a third over to Stannington and Loxley.

Up until the last century, it must have been predominantly rural, boasting just the odd mansion and farmhouse, like Stumperlowe Grange Farm, a slate-roofed low stone building now reduced to a small-holding complete with crowing cockerel. Around it is quite a collection of 1930s angles, 1950s eaves, 1960s boxed flats and the odd oak-beamed rustic refugee from Hamelin.

The Grange itself is very impressive. In 1883, it belonged to W E Layeock, Esq. JP, ex- Mayor of Sheffield. (Stumperlowe has always had more than its fair share of JPs and OBEs. Majors and Colonels. PhDs and, for some reason, haematologists.) Originally owned by General Murray ‘of the lordly Scottish house of Athol’, Colonel of the Black Watch, the Grange passed into the hands of the merchant Wilsons. By Laycock’s time, it was being described in gushing terms: “quite in the country and yet conveniently near to the town. it would be hard to imagine a more desirable place in which to spend the evening of an active and honourable life.” As you wandered around its 50 acres. you could see “the graceful spire of Laughton en le Morthen when the western heavens are aglow with the glories of autumn sunsets.” Neighbouring the Grange is a cluster of old stone houses, one of which, Stumperlowe House, boasts two splendid windows. One is engraved with the Latin Fide Non Minis and Dum Vivo Canebo. Which may or may not translate as ‘I trust not weapons’ and ‘While I live I shall sing’. The other window bears a beautiful red, gold and green stained glass design.

Just across the road, up a long sweeping drive and surrounded on three sides by thick laurel bushes, is Stumperlowe Hall itself, one of the oldest inhabited residences in the city. Although there are references to such a hall in the time of Richard II, this particular house dates back to 1657, and could serve as a model for Manderlay, Daphne Du Maurier’s haunting home of Rebecca.

In Queen Elizabeth I’s time. Robert Mitchell and his two daughters lived in Stumperlowe. The elder, Margaret, married Henry Hall of Edale, and their son Robert built the hall proper. He also became Lord of the Manor of Midhope. Unfortunately, one of his sons, Henry II, dissipated his wealth in the dissolute company of ‘Fox of Fulwood and Bright of Whirlow’. As a result, his widow and children lost the hall in 1716 to an apothecary and lead merchant. Stumperlowe Hall was rebuilt in the 1850s and, in 1947, became the home of the chairman of the Kennings business. It incorporated not only the usual library, drawing room and study but also a ‘sitting room for servants’ and a service cottage and barn, believed to be the oldest buildings in Fulwood.

In the pre-war years, the grand houses were joined by Stumperlowe Mansions, 35 service flats whose brochure talks of them being finished in a ‘quiet, dignified way. Residents had access to a lift and restaurant, while ‘dinner parties are catered for on request’ The flats themselves were furnished with sturdy 1930s chairs, drinks tables and round-edged fridges. Although, while some of the garages had central heating. this I didn’t extend to the flats. There was also a tradesman’s entrance ‘in order to mitigate the noise and number of individual daily deliveries.

Other features of Stumperlowe include white wrought iron garden furniture and fox weather vanes, caravans and double garages, rhododendrons and pampas grass. holly- and ivy-covered walls. house names like The Gables, Birch Lodge, The Croft, Hawthorns- plus one or two Eldorado monstrosities. If you find yourself up there, look out for Manx gates,  the wall with a quarry wheel embedded in it, the tree house and rope ladder. Oh, and the Stumperlowe Wives.

Skating at Forge Dam

Recently, there were two posts on FaceBook that included newspaper photographs of skaters on the ice at Forge Dam. The pictures show people ‘of mature years’ demonstrating considerable skill on the ice and this attracted a large number of onlookers.

Pictures printed in the Daily Telegraph in January 1909

The original post elicited a few responses including one which pointed readers to film on the Yorkshire Film Archive. Lasting nearly 30 minutes, this silent film . Like the photographs in the newspaper at the start of the century, the participants are mainly adults though a few children are on the ice. From 5 minutes in, the footage is in colour.

The skating was clearly organised and managed. At one point there is a gentleman in a dark suit and wearing a bowler hat. He is stationary in the middle of the ice and appears to be ensuring safety an suitabble behaviour. There are also men clearing away the loose ice created by the blades as the skaters twist and turn

Later the film shows skiers – possibly at Jacob’s Ladder – and also skating on Wire Mill Dam.

The photographer was Kenneth Tofield (1906-1983) who was educated at Pannal Ash College in Harrogate. As a child, he lived on Chorley Road. He married Joan Stringfellow in 1947 and they had one child, John. A keen gardener, in the 1930s Kenneth won the Brighter Sheffield competition five times for the garden at his parent’s house (the category of the competition that he entered was ‘with help’ suggestion he did not do all the ‘spadework’!). Kenneth continued his passion for gardening at the house on Brooklands Crescent (No. 47?) Joan and he moved into after their marriage, creating colourful borders that can be seen on another of his movies “In My Garden”. This film also depicts John waiting for his father on his return from work at the Midland Bank.

Links to the 1st post  and the 2nd post

Kenneth Tofield’s film is here. Other films by Kenneth held at the Yorkshire Film Archive can be found by searching the archive using ‘Tofield’.

Thanks to the original FaceBook poster and the person who shared Tofield’s film

A Sharing Meeting

At our second meeting last Thursday, members shared something about their research that intrigued, frustrated or surprised them.

Where does Griffin Sick flow?

Jane is studying old maps and the landscape to find out which stream flowing down to the Porter from the hillside rising to Hallam Head is the one called the Griffin Sick or Syke. There’s a reference to Griffin Sick Lane on the maps that Schofield recreated from Harrison’s C17th surveys.

Family mementos

David shared some funeral documents that have been in his family starting in the 1880s through to the 1960s. The star amongst the sexton’s and undertakers’ bills was a beautiful ‘in memoriam’ card with decorated edges.

The First Burial

Judith told us about the first burial in Fulwood churchyard. This was of Henry Dawes who died in January 1839 aged 16 months. Judith then told us about Henry’s family.

A Soldier’s Medals

Ray talked about his efforts to find out about his house that had been built in the 1920s. Frustratingly the 1939 register only recorded the house-keeper so he had not discovered anything of the occupants at the outbreak of war. He showed us a commercially produced house history. He has access to the plans of the house next door.
Ray also showed a set of WW2 medals that had been awarded to a soldier [name required] and then given to a local Royal British Legion branch. The medals traced the history of the war from el Alamein through the Italian campaign to the D-Day landings. Ray now hopes to discover something of the soldier’s life.

A Fatal Accident

Alan brought a story he’d found in the Telegraph published in 1853. The story was an account of the inquest. and told of an accident that befell Mrs and Mrs Marsh of Lydgate Hall. They had gone for a drive one evening in a Phaeton carriage. Going down Harrison Lane, something spooked the horse which started to go faster resulting in the carriage overturning. Mrs Marsh was thrown from the carriage incurring fatal injuries.

A Political Woman

Keith shared a story about Ada Moore, a Fulwood inhabitant in the period of WW1. He described how an article in the Telegraph contained some facts that seemed to be implausible. Using census data and Wikipedia he found an explanation for the inaccuracy and a link to John Maynard Keynes.

All these stories elicited many questions and comments and showed a wide range of interests.

Our next meetingThis is on 15th December when we will look at some online resources including Find My Past and
Ancestry along with probate records, We will look at records of births and deaths and associated religious ceremonies. We will also look at Military records such as the CWGC site and personnel records.