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CarlPeters

Wadsley/loxley Common

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CarlPeters

I love this place and even more so after reading this:

http://www.robinhoodloxley.net/mycustompage0018.htm

CAVE HOUSE

Mr Halliday, who built the fire resistant houses on Rural Lane and Ben Lane also built the fire resistant "Cave House" on Loxley Common. The house was built over the entrance of a cave, which became part of the living quarters. As he owned a quarry on the common he had plenty of stone to build the front and sides of the house. The roof was made of stone slate and a large table was chipped out from the rock face, as was the living room mantelpiece. The house was built for the local gamekeeper who was employed by Mr Haliday. The ownership of Cave House then passed to Dr Payne who employed Mr Hannah as his Game Keeper and Cave House became his home. Water was obtained from a well and there was a stone trough near the house. Vegetables were grown on a small piece of land just up the hill from the house and they may have kept a few hens. There was said to be a living room and a small kitchen and from the front it looked like any other regular house. It is said to have been built around 1740 and was continually occupied till the late 1920's when it was decided to demolish it, but it was so solid it had to be blown up with dynamite. There is little to be seen today.

A LEGEND OF LOXLEY COMMON

Cave House possibly plays a part in the next story, for on a bitterly cold day in 1812, when the sun set early, and low storm clouds hung over Loxley Common. In a lonely cottage on the bleak moorland, a mother sang over her sleeping baby. Lomas Revill, gamekeeper to the lord of the Manor, was late, and for his wife it was a weary vigil, relieved only by the visit of a woman friend from one of the cottages on the hillside. When she had gone Mary Revill watched the flickering uncanny shadows cast by the log fire, until eventually, weariness overtaking her, she nodded off to sleep.

Struggling fitfully the moon sought to pierce the heavy snow clouds, but with little success and the wind howled across the common. As the hours passed the storm mounted in intensity and blinding snow swept across the landscape until it was shrouded in a thick mantle of white. The following day was New Years Eve, and as morning broke, cold but fine, an acquaintance from the adjacent hamlet of Wadsley called to exchange the compliments of the day with the dwellers in the lonely cottage. The visitor knocked and knocked again, but getting no response she tried the latch and finding the door would open, she entered the room. A horrible sight met her eyes! Poor Mary Revill lay on the floor in a pool of blood-murdered! Whilst in the cradle near the body the baby lay fast asleep.

Outside the cottage the world was clad in white. During the night the snow had drifted all along the heath and piled itself upon the crags, which formed a rough boundary between Loxley Common and Wadsley Common. Leading from the cottage and right across the ridge and over the open common were large footprints, some partly obliterated by the drifting snow, but all leading in one direction, to a cave like well, on the crown of the hill overlooking the valley. The footprints went distinctly to the cave, into it and disappeared. Strangest of all, as far as can be discerned, there were no footprints leading out of the cave. When the news of this terrible crime spread around the neighbouring hamlets there was much weird speculation. Who was the murderer? What was the mystery of the footprints to the cave?

Meanwhile, Lomas Revill had been found in the gamekeeper's cabin far out into the woods. When told of the tragic death of his wife he accepted the news with little show of surprise or emotion. Though he had been seen in the village inn, much the worse for drink, on the night of the tragedy, no one could swear that the gamekeeper hadn't spent the night in his cabin. The moorland murder remained a mystery and for years the good folk of the area gave the cave a wide berth after night had fallen. As time went by, Lomas Revill became a strange man, prematurely aged with white hair, even though he was only forty-two years old.

Another New Year's Eve came and once more the common was deep in snow. At the local inn someone remarked that he hadn't seen the gamekeeper for a number of day's so deciding to investigate, a number of men made up a party and went along to the cabin in the woods. No trace could be found of Lomas until they tramped over the common to the old cottage, and there in an outbuilding, they found his body hanging from a rafter. Later a search of the cabin in the woods revealed a hunter's knife, rusted in gore, and a pair of blood stained gaiters. Folk who had known Lomas Revill well said that he had always acted strangely when New Year's Eve came round and that he had often been heard to mutter that he couldn't stand life any longer.

Wanderers over the common and the lanes about, thought of Frank Fearn's gibbet**** see below, creaking in the wind on the Edge only a stones throw away and all but the stout hearted feared to pass at night lest they should hear the clanking of Frank Fearn's chains or encounter the ghost of that poor unfortunate mother. For many years afterward a number of cottages stood empty, falling into ruin, because of the common's association with the murder of Mary Revill, and were demolished in the clearances in the early 1900's.

The ghost of Mary Revill is said to roam the common, and is known as the White Lady. In THE SHEFFIELD INDEPENDENT of February 5th 1920 several people reported they had seen a woman in white, moaning, with her hands in the air gliding silently over the heath near the Worrall to Loxley Road near to the old pit workings, and again during the mid 1980's

**** Frank Fearn killed someone or another and:

His fully clothed body was placed in an iron framework, mostly of chains and returned to Sheffield, after which it was taken onto Loxley Common where the gibbet cage was hung. Thomas Holdsworth who had been commissioned to erect the gibbet post was paid fifteen shillings. It remained there from 1782, as a deterrent to would be criminals, till Christmas Day 1797 when his skeleton fell from its cage, the post remained there for several more years a grim reminder to all who passed that crime does not pay

Now I think i've found the site where this house used to sit, on the edge of Wadsley and Loxley commons, a path runs not far from what I assume to be the site. I found remnants of a stone brick wall and large slabs, I'm sure I read somewhere you can see the doorstep still - I found a large flat stone that could have been. I have certainly located a deep well like structure as my dog dropped her ball down it on Saturday!

Does anyone else have any information on the house, or loxley.Wadsley commons as a whole?

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RichardB

**** Frank Fearn killed someone or another and:

Nathan Andrews, watchmaker.

Kirkedge Murder In March 1782 Francis Fearn planned to entice a Sheffield Clockmaker Nathan Andrews to High Bradfield an the pretext of starting a club to purchase clocks. It subsequently transpired that Fearn attacked and murdered Andrews on the road at Kirk Edge. Following his trial and execution in York four months later, his body was returned in chains and hung from a Gibbet on Loxley Common, Fearn's last bones were said to have fallen on Christmas day 1797.

Source

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Bayleaf

According to her family, an ancestor of my wife lived in the cave house at one time. Unfortunately all the older generations have now passed away, and try as we could we've never been able to pin down the place for certain.

There's this on Picture Sheffield though.

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vox

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CarlPeters

Hey thats what I've found too I think. I'll take some snaps this weekend when I'm up there.

I'd love to know where on the common Frank Fearns gibbet used to hang too, can't any reference of a location on the common.

p.s found a badgers set up there the other day I felt like Bod :)

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vox

I had this email contribution from Ron Clayton.

Interested to see the above piece on the Forum. Halliday's most famous buildings were the Robin Hood at Little Matlock[which is now being converted into apartments]Chapman's House, which stood below it in the valley and was destroyed in the Great Flood and Loxley House[again now private apartments].There is no historical truth in the Mary Revell legend that I am aware of but it would be interesting to follow the story up.Your correspondent may be interested in joining the Loxley and Wadsley Commoners who take a great pride in the Commons.

Ron

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CarlPeters

Just got directions to this mysterious stone on the common from Robin from the Loxley Commoners

http://www.wadsley-loxley.org/history.html

Fascinating.

I also found the infamous "money tree" in which people have left coin over the decades, the other day.

Good old history eh?

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miked

According to her family, an ancestor of my wife lived in the cave house at one time. Unfortunately all the older generations have now passed away, and try as we could we've never been able to pin down the place for certain.

There's this on Picture Sheffield though.

I am struggling with a similar problem. I have a Patrick Dyson of Wadsley Common in 1835, perhaps for sometime before.

There are not that many possibilities as far as I can see.

He was a servant for Thomas Payne in 1850 but living and working at Philadelphia from 1841 (census)

I know this because he was done for not paying the correct toll at Owlerton Bar.

Interesting cases preceeding. They say Wadsley was a bit rough!

Mike

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RichardB
Loxley and Wadsley Common

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RichardB
Sheffield from Wadsley Common

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RichardB

http://postcodegazette.com/news/9000441645/graffiti-on-wadsley-common-AT-wadsley-common

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RichardB

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%22wadsley+common%22

(97 images)

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miked

Just had an event celebrating the centenary of the Loxley common land being given to the public by the Paines

Does anyone know if there are any descendants of the Paines of Loxley House?

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miked

Hey thats what I've found too I think. I'll take some snaps this weekend when I'm up there.

I'd love to know where on the common Frank Fearns gibbet used to hang too, can't any reference of a location on the common.

p.s found a badgers set up there the other day I felt like Bod :)

Recently discovered a Fairbank map in the book about the family. On one map there is marked a stone where the murder took place. There is also a mention that on another map the gibbet is marked. I am afraid though I have difficulty deciphering their maps.

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Bayleaf

Recently discovered a Fairbank map in the book about the family. On one map there is marked a stone where the murder took place. There is also a mention that on another map the gibbet is marked. I am afraid though I have difficulty deciphering their maps.

The custom was to place the gibbet at the site of the crime, so they may be one and the same.

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Bayleaf

Recently discovered a Fairbank map in the book about the family. On one map there is marked a stone where the murder took place. There is also a mention that on another map the gibbet is marked. I am afraid though I have difficulty deciphering their maps.

Would it be possible to post the relevant bits of the maps Mike?

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miked

 

 

post-8009-0-60372900-1392928364_thumb.jp

 

 

 

 

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Bayleaf

I see what you mean Mike. Fieldbook sketches are really difficult to interpret. And it does imply that the scene of the murder and the placing of the gibbet were two different places.

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miked

It is sometimes mistakenly said that the murder took place on the Common.

I have spent hours looking for the Fairbanks map with the gibbet but without success, possibly just missed it. It would be nice to find it as it has always been a debated subject.

I need to get up there to see where the kink in the road is or was.Note the mention of several mileposts?

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Edmund

A brief mention in the Independent in January 1875 stated that the gibbet post was still in place on the crest of Loxley at that time. As there weren't many landmarks in the area I thought it might feature on maps of the era, but not so far as I can see.

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miked

It has also been said that it was used as a bridge before being swept away in the flood.

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Edmund

A little more on the Francis Fearn case, here the post was taken down in 1807:

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RichardB

Possible that Mr. Payne was Thomas Aldham Payne, Gentry & Clergy. SRO - 1828-9. Might narrow down the search area ... ?

A little more on the Francis Fearn case, here the post was taken down in 1807:

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