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.

Ringinglow – People

This is the third of four posts giving a brief history of Ringinglow

Henry Kelly

A little away from Ringinglow along the road to Burbage Bridge and at the junction with Oxstone Dale Road there stood an old two-up two-down cottage. Mr Preston built the cottage and had a business processing locally dug peat that was pressed to form potash manure with the aid of an engine and small boiler. He sold the potash manure from his premises.

Preston employed an Irishman, Henry Kelly and his wife, Bridget, who moved into the house when Mr Preston left the country after the business failed. Kelly was supposed to pay rent but never did. Preston returned briefly but soon left again after taking a watch from Henry Trotter’s sister, Mrs Flint of Bower Hill (and several others) which he promised to repair but never returned.

Kelly kept chickens and goats and cleared a patch of moorland where he attempted to grow oats, which ever grew to more than 6 inches high according to Henry Trotter, and potatoes. It seems that if you were a mate of Kelly, you could ‘send for a drop of good watter fro’ Kelly’s’. The excise men never did discover the illicit still.

Kelly also worked at Brown Edge quarry and carried slates on his back in a saddle padded with straw to a spot where they would be exposed to frost and would ‘weather’ before ‘scabbing and striking’ (scaling and splitting) into the required sizes.

Kelly’s house seems to have been a popular place with the local quarrymen . There were several ‘sprees and beanos’ at the house or at the quarry. When at Kelly’s there were ‘usually several fetchings of beer’ presumably from the Norfolk Arms.

There was a tradition amongst the Brown Edge quarrymen concerning the first bumblebee of the summer. When the first bee of the year was seen, the owner of the quarry, Henry Hancock, put five shillings to the men’s two shillings and somebody was detailed to take an empty barrow to the Norfolk Arms and return with several gallons of beer.

Kelly’s son, Barney, played the concertina with a ‘band’ made up of a fife, tin whistle, and a Jew’s harp. There was plenty of singing, shouting, and clapping by the 40-50 quarrymen. Kelly sometimes felt that they had overstayed their welcome and they would play Irish songs to try to ‘bring him round’. When that failed the party would be ended by Kelly fetching his old carbine gun! The quarrymen could get rowdy and once flew a black flag from Kelly’s chimney and then hid in the heather to watch the bemused occupant’s reaction.

One year the men were at Kelly’s, larking with Kelly’s two buxom daughters, Catherine and Mary Ann, and his two sons, Pat and Barney when Kelly returned home and tried to turn them all out by brandishing a steel bar. Two men were saved from physical injury by the intervention of Henry Hancock the owner of Brown Edge Quarry, who held Kelly’s head up the chimney, over the peat fire, ‘until he cried for mercy.’ Once released, Kelly did eventually drive them all out with the aid of his steel bar and his trusty carbine.

Eventually, the freehold owner of the land (the Duke of Norfolk) was demanding payment due to him as the freeholder which was much in arrears. At this time Kelly was seen taking brass and scrap parts of the old peat engine and boiler away for sale in a cart pulled by his old donkey. The police followed him to the Hammer and Pincers once but could not succeed in a prosecution because the whereabouts of the owner of the machine, Mr Preston, was unknown and Kelly maintained that he had been ‘dead these twenty years’. Eventually the Kelly’s were evicted in 1876/7 and the property fell into disrepair.

Trotter retold story that Kelly tried to get rid of his old donkey by trying to get it to back itself into an old Moss Coal pit. The donkey refused to co-operate. Its subsequent fate is unknown.

Kelly’s son, Barney, was not averse to a little poaching. A gamekeeper, William Fox, of Far Bassett Farm off Andrew Lane (now Andwell Lane) had long suspected him and hid in the heather and waited for Barney to appear.  Barney duly shot and picked up the dead bird. The gamekeeper stood up and Barney not only fled the scene but went straight into the army where he remained for the next twelve years!

Robert Trotter and Moorcock Hall

Robert Trotter was Herbert Trotter’s great-grandfather. He was born in Berwick in c 1784 and he and his parents moved south to Durham to work a corn mill. The story goes that young Robert was kidnapped by coalminers and taken to Barnsley to work in the mines there. He escaped and found work with a Sheffield farmer. He helped to sink his first coal pit in Ecclesall. Trotter spent some time developing a coal mine at Ringinglow. This story will be picked up in the next post.

Community Spirit

In 1872, Charles Staley, a quarryman, of Ringinglow was charged with a serious assault on a prominent industrialist, the manager of Bessemer & Co in Sheffield. Charles Staley was arrested for the assault because his sister had been dismissed as a cook at the industrialist’s home in Endcliffe Crescent only a few days before. His alibi was that he was at the Norfolk Arms at the relevant time. Ten witnesses went to Court to testify on his behalf and it seems the men made a collection to help the recently widowed mother of the accused who was totally financially dependent on her son who was living with her but unable to earn anything while he was being remanded in custody. Thanks to their support Charles Staley was found Not Guilty.

Lightning Strike

On July 1912 Sarah Helen Silcock was aged 23 and helping on her uncle’s farm at Yarncliffe when she was struck by a sudden bolt of lightning that killed her instantly. The others present felt the blast and were thrown to the ground but all survived. Most of her clothing was burned and one stocking was reported to be still smoking when the survivors went to her body. The field where this happened was never mowed again during the Silcocks’ occupation.

Forge Dam Café

This is an excerpt from my History of Fulwood – a book in the making!

Forge Dam Café

An alternative source of amusement  and refreshment was the café established by the Maxfield family at the Old Forge which offered boating on a large lake, swings, boats and in December 1890 readers of the Telegraph learnt that there was splendid skating to be enjoyed at Forge House which was 10 minutes from the Ranmoor Bus! One would have had to sprint from the bus but fortunately there was accommodation for tea. A further advertisement in January 1891 informed readers that Illumination of the ice by torchlight was in place.

Herbert Maxfield had been a file cutter for much of his adult life but around 1886 he and his family had moved from Brightside to Forge House. In 1891 he was described as a farmer, so it is likely that Mary was running the café. Maxfield’s farming activities were located at Redmires rather than near the old Forge. In 1888 he was advertising ‘Good Pasturing’ there. In 1890 he was able to offer Grouse Shooting at Fair Thorne Farm and indeed on the census night a year later, three of the Maxfield children were at the farm.

The café was proving popular, Mrs Maxfield advertised in 1886 that ‘School parties and visitors [would be] supplied with hot water for tea’ and in yje same year Maxfield applied for a licence to sell beer. In September when the application was considered by the magistrates, amongst whom was Alderman Gainsford of Whiteley Wood Hall, he said that he estimated the value of the property was £20. This proved fatal to his application as the opposing solicitors pointed out that the minimum requirement was property valued at £30. A few days later a letter from James Wing, the solicitor acting for Maxfield, appeared in the Telegraph that stated the rateable value of the property to be £22 and so the value for licencing was £50. A year passed before the application was made again and the question of value was the main contention. The overseers had set the rateable value at just under £35 for the property but this included the dam which covered half the land. The magistrates again refused the licence. Maxfield was certainly tenacious. In 1906 and 1907 he applied for a billiard licence which was refused on both occasions.

An article in the Independent in 1933 about the Sharrow Wesleyan Church noted that the original ‘Tin Cathedral’ was sold in 1900and became the tea room at Forge Dam.

In 1915 Maxfield was accused of poisoning a hen in a field on Brookhouse Hill. The case was that two men who were working on 181 Brookhouse Hill which is at the junction with Whiteley Lane saw Maxfield drop a parcel over a wall into the field. When examined by the public analyst, the parcel was found to have a sufficient quantity of arsenic to kill 50 people. Some of the parcel’s contents were eaten by the hen belonging to Mrs Fox. Maxfield denied the charge and Mrs Fox said she had been on friendly terms with Maxfield for many years and could not offer any reason as to why he should wish act in this way. The defence solicitor pointed out that there was no motive and suggested that the parcel had been on the wall and Maxfield had flicked the parcel with his walking stick. The magistrates said it was serious case and fined him £10. This must have been felt grievously by Maxfield who had an ‘unblemished character.’

Maxfield had tried to sell the business in 1913 without success but was successful in 1917. The advertisement for the sale described a successful venture covering six acres. There was extensive catering facilities and the dam had 13 boats including a motor launch along with fishing. There were also gardens with 1500 rose trees. This sale, caused by Maxfield’s ill health was successful and he and his wife moved to Eastwood Road. His retirement was short-lived as he died a year later ‘in his 80th year’. He was buried in Fulwood graveyard

William Knight was the proprietor in 1919. The café has continued to prosper down to the present time.

Samuel Danks – School master

Samuel Danks – a man who was integral part of the community for nearly 70 years, knowing everybody and known by everybody.


Born in Dudley in September 1841, Danks was the son of Joseph and Harriet who took the infant Samuel to the town church a week before Christmas to be baptised. Life was tough for the family as around the time of Samuel’s birth, his elder brother had died, aged three. By the time Samuel was nine his mother was involved with education in some way as she is recorded on the census of 1851 as a School Mistress. She may well have been keeping a ’dame school’ in the family house and as Samuel grew up, he began to help his mother.  By 1861, Samuel was an assistant School master at Kingswinford, five miles from Dudley. Joseph died in 1856, so Samuel was supporting his mother and two sisters. Their accommodation in Kingswinford was not salubrious as it was sandwiched between two inns and there was a couple living in the same house.

Fulwood School

In 1865, Samuel moved to Fulwood, probably in the summer ready for the autumn term. As the master of the National School, he would be expected to attend the church regularly. He was evidently homesick as he described to reporter when he retired some 45 years later sending a letter back to his friends saying that he would be back within a month. Having travelled from his home to Sheffield by railway, he got a horse omnibus to Brooomhill, then another to Ranmoor and then walked to Fulwood. To post that letter, he would have needed to get to Broomhill.


When he first moved to Fulwood, Danks may well have lodged with the family of George and Harriet Mills who were living at Stumperlowe, a term that includes the area either side of Fulwood Road, just east of the church. Henry was a table blade forger and father of four children, the two eldest being Eliza, a dress maker, and Joseph who was working alongside his father also a table blade forger. Now Eliza was the same age as Samuel so it was no surprise to the Mills that Samuel proposed to her and they were married on New Year’s Eve in 1867. Their child, George Arthur was born in June 1869 but tragically Eliza died two months later. Samuel was able to afford a plot in the churchyard for Eliza that became the final resting place for his family and descendants.

Samuel and George were living next door to the Mills family on Goole Green. On visits to his family back in Staffordshire, Samuel met Anna Hughes whom he married in the summer of 1871 and they returned to the Fulwood. Over the next years, five children were born to Samuel and Anna.

A Community Man

Samuel became well-known figure in the local community with much of his involvement being centred on the parish church. He was also in the background of local politics. In 1876 Samuel Danks and Alfred Dearman were appointed as Pinders at the Court Leet of the Duke of Norfolk. There is something incongruous about the local school master and a banker (as Dearman was described in the marriage register for 1865) being responsible for dealing with stray animals. But this time, Courts Leet originally a medieval court were waning so perhaps these posts were mainly nominal.

In the summer of 1881, Danks won first prize for his cottage flower garden at the Hallamshire Floral and Horticultural Society. He was at the annual dinner early in September alongside his neighbour Daniel Coupe who occupied the chair and Captain J W Dixon of the Hallamshire Rifles.

Danks was a regular attendee at meetings of the Upper Hallam Conservative Association and his name is amongst the landowners and industrialists who lived in the area. He was at the committee dinner in September 1883 when John Bingham, later Colonel Sir John occupied the chair along with the recently promoted Major J W Dixon and Daniel Coupe.

In the 1890s the perceived threat to National Schools which were run by the Church of England from the newly created School Boards exercised the minds of Danks and his fellow conservatives. They held meetings to support sympathetic candidates to the Board, one of which took place in November 1894. Chaired by Col John Bingham, those at the meeting bemoaned the potential cost if Board schools took on the pupils of National Schools but more significantly the secular nature of these schools. Henry Ashington, a Fulwood resident and one of the candidates, pointed to ‘the absurdity of talking about teaching religion without doctrine’ commenting that ‘they might as well try to make apple dumplings without apples.’ These views have echoed down the years and are still raised regularly today.

Danks was elected a churchwarden, a position from which he retired in 1899 when he was appointed a sidesman.


Samuel Danks on his Retirement

When Danks retired as headmaster in 1909, the Telegraph printed a ‘Special’ article This began by stating that during 44 years at the school he had taught the young how to shoot! Danks, wrote the journalist, had seen mischievous boys and angelic girls grow to be men and women and had taught their children the same lessons. He had also taught ‘less useful lessons imposed by the whim of educational authorities and fads of inspectors.’ One example of the latter type was ‘lectures given by peripatetic scientists to a mixed class on their insides and how to feed and dress a baby’ which had the boys grinning up their sleeves and afterwards laughing and talking about it to the girls. Danks dismissed such teaching as ‘a shear waste of time’ and would be, no doubt, be turning in his grave if he heard about sex and relationship education of today. He bemoaned the change in examinations from individual to collective which he claimed destroyed the competitive rivalry among children and made a teacher’s life more difficult.

The Special ended by Danks was compared to Goldsmith’s Schoolmaster – the man who is an integral part of the community who knows everybody and who is known by everybody. His retirement home would be that which he and Mrs Danks had occupied since their marriage where he tended his numerous roses when not traversing the Derbyshire Hills.

He was, thought the reporter, ‘good for a century’ a thought that was not far off the mark as he celebrated his 90th birthday, still living at Goole Green Cottage.

Reading the article prompted Urban Swift to write to the paper. Swift was an old pupil, along with William Parnell, W Brightmore and William Wall.

Thomas Wilson of the snuff mill family and son in Law of Henry Dixon of Stumperlowe Hall, alerted readers of the Telegraph to the desire of the school managers to mark Dank’s retirement with a testimonial. Was this the result of Sift’s letter? Wilson invited people to attend a meeting to appoint a committee to carry out the idea. However the event was organised, it was a great success. A ‘great many old scholars, some past the prime of life’ were present along with the ‘leading members of the community’ (my emphasis) such as Laycock, Dixon, Wynn and Wilson. The speakers took a ‘pop’ at the unreasonableness of requiring a man of 67 years to retire and Danks himself expressed again his views on the state of education.

Danks was clearly held in great esteem. He was presented with a cheque for a substantial amount which had been collected by the committee. The evening concluded with a concert programme.

After retiring, perhaps not surprisingly, Samuel Danks almost disappears from the records. He maintained a connection with education through his role a trustee of the Fulwood Education Endowment. He represented the ratepayers of the district, a role he relinquished in 1930.

The final two mentions in the Telegraph were on his diamond wedding anniversary 1931 and on his death just under a year later. Both articles rely heavily on the one published back in 1909. Towards the end of the article in 1932, there is mention of Samuel’s children and a brief survey of the records shows their history.

The Next Generation

George Arthur, whose mother was Elizabeth, was a blade forger in 1891 but 20 years later he was an engine driver with the Grand Central railway. He married Clara Fletcher in 1909 and there were four children of the marriage. All the other children were the offspring of Samuel’s second marriage. Charles Edward was a cutlery works manager when he married Edith Clarke at Woodhouse in 1908 and there were three children. Their home was in Nethergreen Road. Laura married Arthur Schofield, a ‘car conductor,’ of Crookes in August 1906 and there were five boys, two being born before the first world war and two afterwards.

The other children were all married at Fulwood in 1920. Helena was 36 when she married Ernest Horatio Jones, a widower, on 5th April, followed three days later by her brother John Ashton who married Annie Mason of South Grove Farm. Then, in early September, Thomas Reginald (born 1883) married Hilda Lee who was 15 years his junior. Thomas was the only child of Samuel to stay in Fulwood. In 1939, he and Hilda were living in ‘White Cottage’ on Brookhouse Hill.