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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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

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

Fulwood gets its own Railway Station – nearly!

The idea was raised by William John Lindley C.E. of Sharrow Lane Sheffield in May 1899. His aims were mostly social, replacing many of the worst slum areas of the city with a brand-new railway, pleasure gardens and land for development of better housing for “reasonable and just conditions of life of the working classes of all degrees.”

The Sheffield Independent carried several letters about the project including one from the proposer indicating his estimated cost to be a little over £1,000,000 and a scheme whereby the capital and interest costs of construction could be recovered.

Graphic map of the proposed route

The scheme never received any official support but would have enabled those living in the city to enjoy a trip out to the Porter or Rivelin valleys and return home the same day. Below is shown the proposed route.

A rather grand new central station was to be built in Fitzallan Square in addition to the Midland and Victoria stations that were already established in Sheffield. The following illustration gives an indication of how it might have appeared:

Ideas for the city centre station

The circuitous route would have involved the construction of several new stations as well as the above. From the new Central Station the line would travel to stops at Bramall Lane, Endcliffe and Fulwood before leaving the Porter Valley to pass through an underground tunnel below Redmires Road, at a point a little way past Lodge Moor Hospital to re-emerge in the Rivelin Valley where it would stop at Stannington so passengers could explore the delights of Rivelin Rocks before passing on to Walkley and Malin Bridge Station. The train would then enter another tunnel before emerging at Neepsend station. It would next call at Victoria Station at the Wicker, which would be the connection to the wider rail network, before returning to the Central Station. No doubt it would have been a pleasant day out on a fine summer’s day.

What would the effects have been on Fulwood if the proposal had been adopted? Probably very little as the tram network was, by 1899, already bringing visitors as close as Nethergreen where they could travel by foot to enjoy an afternoon boating at Forge Dam or one of the other entertainments offered by Herbert Maxfield who owned the Dam site.. Afterwards visitors might enjoy a slice of cake while waiting for the tram at the establishment next to the terminus owned by the Oates family of Fullwood Hall. The only advantage the proposed railway might have had is that the proposed Fulwood station was nearer the Porter. This might have been good for the area of the various dams but Fulwood itself was some way off and up a very steep hill and it is doubtful how many visitors would want, or have time to, explore the delights of Fulwood itself. The site of the proposed station would also have been inconvenient for Fulwood residents at the beginning of the 20th century. If it had been built and was a success though maybe Fulwood would have extended down to the Porter Valley where there would now be shops and housing developments of all times.

The idea perhaps came a little too late. By 1899 railways had certainly lost any novelty value and Fulwood developed along the existing roads rather than around any new railway station.

Alan Crutch
23rd April 2023

Ringinglow – Early Years

The roadside hamlet of Ringinglowe began life after the 1757 Road Act established a road from Sharrow, Psalter and High Lanes to Ringinglow before dividing. One section went along Houndkirk (Ankirk) to Fox House. The other went to Upper Burbage Bridges and Hathersage.

There were sporadic attempts to develop industry which with the exception of quarrying were not successful.

This post, covering the early years will be followed by posts covering the significant buildings, some ‘people’ stories and industry


In the 50th anniversary booklet of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers, published in 1950, G H B Ward. recorded conversations with the late Herbert Trotter in 1921 when Herbert was 62. The article in the booklet is the basis for this brief history of Ringinglow

Herbert Trotter was born at Fernfield Farm located on the south side of the Sheffield to Fox House Road near Dore. He spent his youth and early adulthood in Ringinglow. He was a stonemason who could quarry, hew, dress and fix his own work. He wore the old-fashioned trade-sign of white woollen cord trousers cleaned with bath brick.

Newspaper reports, plans held in the Sheffield Archives and Muriel Hall’s ‘Mayfield Valley’ also provided information.

Early Years

‘Ringinglawe’ was mentioned in both 1574 and 1637. On 6th August 1574 it was viewed to confirm the boundaries between Hallamshire and those of Ecclesall and Hathersage. The relevant section was ‘from the great stone called Stomperstocke to the great heap of stones called Ringinglowe’ (from which Robert Lee had taken many of the stones being ‘by one sick or brook that parts Derbyshire and Hallamshire’. The brook is likely to be the infant Whirlow Brook, known in the region as ‘Fenny Brook’. This places the stones as being a little way along Houndkirk Road, between the Norfolk Arms and Moorcot. Harrison’s survey of that 1637 both mentioned ‘Ringing Lawe’ and ‘Stowperstorke’

Modern facilities were slow in arriving in Ringinglowe. The octagonal toll house ‘The Round House’ was probably built in around 1760. The old Weigh House, opposite the Round House was pulled down before 1922. Herbert Trotter says that the tolls were let on an annual basis and the old toll-keeper moved into the Weigh House until the next toll-keeper lost his job. In Herbert Trotter’s youth the Weigh House was used to house a Dame School kept by Mrs Lawson assisted by Billy Winterbottom who was ‘the big lad and chucker-out’.

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

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.