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The Hall of Waltheof

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XIII. The Hand-Mill

Querns or hand-mills are occasionally discovered in this neighbourhood, and Mr. Thomas Winder has given an exact account of one which was found on the Howden Moors near Bradfield in 1887. Mr. Winder's description was printed in Hardwicke's Science Gossip,[1] and I am indebted to Messrs. Chatto and Windus the publishers of that periodical and to Dr. Taylor the editor for leave to reproduce it. Mr. Winder says:

"When gathering 'day-stone' on the moors, adjoining the river Derwent, at Coldside, Howden, near Sheffield, the workmen found an almost perfect specimen of the upper stone of a quern, or hand-mill, which narrowly escaped being broken up for road metalling. Fortunately, it was seen by Mr. Henry Weetman, F.Z.S., of Howden House, and is now safely deposited in the Museum at Sheffield. [it was presented to the museum by M. J. Ellison, Esq., of Sheffield.]

"Coldside is situate at the foot of the 'Castle Rocks,' on the talus of the escarpment formed by the outcrop of the Kinder Scout Millstone Grit. The quern is made of stone probably obtained from the above-named bed; and is of so coarse a texture as to approach very nearly to a conglomerate; some of the included quartz pebbles (the 'suet lumps' of local masons) being half an inch long.

"I enclose a section drawn to scale—two inches to a foot—taken in such a position as to show the inverted conical 'feeding-hole,' and the two holes, situate on opposite edges of the stone, into which sticks, or possibly pieces of horn, were inserted to be used as handles in working the mill.

"The stone is very neatly worked, and does not show any chisel marks; the upper surface and edges are stained black, from exposure amongst the heather. The under or grinding surface is unstained and polished, as if from long service. The whole stone appears as if it had been unequally worked, or had ground down on one side rather faster than on the other.

"The plan of the stone is almost a circle; right-angle measurements being one foot one-and-seven-twelfths inches by one foot one-and-one-third inches. The feeding hole is five inches diameter at the top, and narrows to one inch at a point three inches down, continuing at that dimension throughout. The handle holes are three-and-one-third inches deep and taper inwardly from one-and-a-half inches to one-quarter inch ; the lower edge of one of these is only half an inch from the under surface of the stone, that of the opposite hole two-and-a-half inches. The under surface of the stone is not flat, but is beautifully worked out, so as to give the least resistance when in use compatible with sufficient grinding surface; this will be better seen by a reference to the section.

"Similar finds are not unknown on these and the neighbouring moors, which are sprinkled over with camps, entrenchments, barrows, and at least one length of Roman Road. Two or three flint arrow heads have been picked up at the spring-heads in the immediate neighbourhood; and at the last conversazione of the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society, the Rev. Mr. Gatty showed a very fine collection of flints from the Bradfield moors, which are three or four miles to the east of Coldside. A bronze spearhead, encrusted with gravel, was found a few years ago under the Derwent Edge Rocks.[2] I have been unable to ascertain its present whereabouts."

The quern, which is represented in the drawing below, is still in the Weston Park Museum. Mr. Winder has pointed out to me that the rock or millstone grit of which the quern was made is still, or rather was until the recent introduction of rollers, used for millstones. And he also tells me that a quern was broken and built into a wall some years ago in the same district. I have an old document relating to the making of millstones on Millstone Edge more than two centuries ago, and the discovery of querns on these South Yorkshire moors appears to show that they too were manufactured on the moors.

Amongst the Norsemen, says Vigfusson, "bondswomen used to turn the handmills, and the turning of the quern was, as it still is in Iceland, where every farm has its handmill, accompanied by singing a song."[3] In the famous palace of Alcinous described in the Odyssey[4] there are fifty handmaids, some of whom "grind the yellow corn on the millstone, and others weave webs and turn the yarn as they sit, restless as the leaves of the tall poplar tree." In the Old Testament we read of "the maid-servant that is behind the mill,"[5]and in the New Testament we are told that at the Lord's coming judgment "two women shall be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken, and the other left."[6] The handmills of the Romans were often turned by slaves.

The rough texture of the stone figured in the drawing would present many cutting surfaces as it gradually wore away. To grind wheat into flour it was placed upon a conical under stone, so that as the wheat flowed through the aperture at the top it fell upon the rough surface of the cone and was ground into flour by the turning of the upper stone.

The quern, says Wright, "appears to have remained in constant use since the time of the Romans, and has fallen into disuse only very recently in some parts of the country."[7] The quern stone described in this chapter is probably of great age. No doubt the wind-mill and the water-mill supplanted the quern at an early date, and windmills are mentioned in English documents of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Walking through the village street of Crookes one day I was directed to go through "Mule-hus Lane," an old lane which branches off from the street towards the west, and is parallel to the lane in which the burial urn described in the first chapter was found. I made enquiry from several of the old inhabitants of the village who agreed in calling it "Mule-us Lane." They also agreed in saying that it meant "mill-house lane." I think they were right. On the six-inch Ordnance Map it appears as "Mule House Lane," the pronunciation of the word meaning "mill" being correctly represented. There is no connection between this local name and the offspring of the horse and ass. Mulle is Old English for mill, and windmulle for windmill. In this case the mill may have been a windmill, Crookes being on the summit of a hill, and without water power.


[1] July, 1887.

[2] It is described at p. 26 ante.

[3] s. v. Kvern.

[4] vii, 104.

[5] Exod. xi, 5.

[6] Matt, xxiv, 41.

[7] Wright-Wülcker Vocab. 330.

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XIV. Folkland and Bookland

There are excellent reasons, both philological and historical, for believing that Fulwood[1] means folk-wood; I think, indeed, that the conclusion may be regarded as certain. Förstemann, in a long list of German place-names compounded with fulc, Old English folc, gives Folmaresdorf and Volkmarstorf, where, as will be seen, fol is equivalent to volk, or folk. He also mentions Folmudestede (folk-moot place ?) when fol also stands for folc, and other similar examples. Again, Mr. Sweet has shown that "final c in unstrest syllables often becomes h in Northumbrian,"[2] so that the Old English folc might be folh, and he has also shown that medial h is dropped before w as it would be before "wood" in Fulwood.[3] Further, Mr. Sweet says that the Germanic o becomes u in Old English before a lip consonant, as in full, which is the Old High German vol.[4] Here, then, we have exactly what we want, namely the English ful in Fulwood as the equivalent of Forstemann's fol, which, as we have seen, in certain compound place-names stands for folk.

But this conclusion would not be certain if it stood on philological evidence alone. Fortunately it is supported by clear historical evidence. By a charter without date the Thomas lord Furnival, who, as we shall see further on, in 1297 compounded with the Sheffield Burgesses for a fixed sum in payment of certain dues granted to "all the men of Stannington, Morewood, Hallam, and Fulwood, herbage and foliage throughout the whole of his forest of Riveling."[5] The forest of Riveling, says Pegge[6] is "plainly a part of Fulwood." This Furnival is said to have granted similar privileges to the inhabitants of many places near Sheffield,[7] and Hunter speaks of him as "Thomas lord Furnival the great grantor." But what privileges did he grant, and what privileges had he the power to grant? He no more granted privileges to the inhabitants of all these places than, as we shall presently see, he granted lands to the Burgesses of Sheffield. The inhabitants possessed those rights already, and what the manorial lord did was merely to declare to the inhabitants that they should not be molested by him in the exercise of rights which they and their forefathers had enjoyed long before, these so-called grants being little more than ratifications of ancient rights. The men of Stannington, Morewood, Hallam and Fulwood had to pay to the lord £4 a year, but for what purpose it does not appear, unless, as is most likely, that sum was remitted by the lord to the Crown as taxes in like manner as the rent paid by the Sheffield Burgesses was remitted.[8] Furnival also granted to the canons of Beauchief "common of pasture in his free chaces of Folewode and Ryvelingdene everywhere, sufficient for all their cattle, except goats,"[9] and many other privileges therein. This grant to the monastery was nothing more than a declaration that the monks of a neighbouring religious house should also enjoy the privileges of the forest, the declaration being made by the lord on behalf of the freeholders. Fulwood then was the folk wood, the folk forest; it was the common forest in which the inhabitants of the district had long been accustomed to turn their swine or other cattle, and to get heath, stone, turf, and rushes for the covering of their houses. "The charters of the Norman sovereigns," says Mr. Gomme, "did little more than cover with official or regal authority privileges which already existed; Mr. Peacock has urged the same view; and I myself have more than once brought forward proof of what is now admitted as a feature of charter-sanctions."[10] And in like manner the charters of the feudal lord in Sheffield did little more than confirm ancient privileges and customs. How common folk-land was in Germany may be seen from the numerous "folk-fields" and other similar place-names which Förstemann gives. I might mention, as an illustration of our subject, his Folcharteswilare, meaning folk-wood-town, taken from a charter of A.D. 904—a name which might very appropriately have been given to the village of Fulwood in Hallamshire.

We must not regard folkland as property which belonged to the nation, or to the entire inhabitants of a particular manor or district. Only the freeman or freeholder was entitled to an undivided part thereof, just as he was entitled, upon the passing of Enclosure Acts, to an undivided part of the commons and waste lands of a manor. Grimm refers to an authority which shows that the land of freemen, known as terra salica to the French, and arimannia to the Langobardians, was known as folcland to the Saxons. Only the freeman could possess real property; it could not be held by the slave or bondman.[11] The folkland then belonged to the body of freeholders, or freemen, holding lands within a township or manor, and it belonged to them in undivided shares, or in other words as a community.

There is a field called Boke Field in Ecclesfield, and some fields in Norton, at a little distance from Beauchief Abbey, are known as Bocking Fields. In a deed of the year 1816 I have noticed "Bocking holme" and "Bocking hole close" in Bradfield. It seems probable that Boke Field is book field, that is land granted by bóc or written charter to a private owner, as opposed to the folkland or land held in common by the freeholders, and possibly I shall be able to show that Bocking Field has the same meaning. In Scotch law "booking" was "a tenure peculiar to the burgh of Paisley, whereby the proprietors held their lands under, the magistrates, the conveyance being entered or 'booked' in the Burgh Register." This tenure was abolished by the Conveyancing (Scotland) Act, 1874.[12] In Old Frisian law men were said to "book" land by their wills, and Richthofen in his dictionary, under the word bokinge,[13] has a good deal to say on this subject. The Bocking Fields at Norton formerly belonged to the overseers of the poor. They have lately been sold, and I am told that there was great difficulty in making out a title. There is a tradition that these fields once belonged to a Norton man who was hanged at Derby, and whose property reverted to the Crown. Thereupon it is said that the Crown presented the land to the poor. As it stands the tradition may be corrupt, but it is a remarkable one, and it seems to me to be capable of the following explanation. In the eye of the populace, though not of course in the contemplation of law, the landowner who was hanged had done wrong in becoming absolute owner of the land at all, for folkland ought not, according to popular notions, to have been taken away from the folk or freeholders holding land in common. But ill-gotten wealth may bring its owner to a bad end, and so the man who had robbed his neighbours by turning folkland into bookland was hanged. The tradition may thus amount to an expression of popular dislike to several ownership in land. We must, however, remember that in former times land was forfeited to the Crown for felony.

The recorded history of these Bocking Fields is very obscure. In the Reports of the Charity Commissioners it is said that the title to them is contained in an indenture dated 1658, whereby William Bullock, who was lord of the manor of Norton, in consideration of £45 paid to him by the overseers of the poor granted to Francis Barker and others a close in Beauchief called Johnset Wood[14] Field for the use of the poor of Norton parish. The rent, we are told, "appears to have been always carried to the account of the poor's rate." It is certain that William Bullock, the grantor, was not "hanged at Derby," for he died at Norton Hall. The tradition cannot be connected with him at all. And it would appear that Johnset Wood Field still retained the popular and earlier name of Bocking Field.

It is quite possible that in some cases Bocking is a personal name, or the name of a family, such as the Bocingas. Förstemann mentions such places as Bochinafeld, and Bokinavurdi, and refers them to boc, the beech. But I doubt whether the beech grew in Bradfield.

The Norsemen appear to have held "purchased land" in this neighbourhood. Thus there is a place in Bradfield called Cooper Carr, which in the supplement to the Sheffield Glossary I have ventured to explain as kaupa-kjarr, purchased carr, by analogy with the Old Norse kaupa-land, and kaupa-jörd, purchased land. By way of illustration I may mention the surnames Coopland and Copeland, both of which are found in Sheffield, and which seem to be the Old Norse kaupa-land, Old Frisian cáplond, purchased land.


[1] It is important to notice the spellings Folwode, Fulood, in early documents.—Pegge's Beauchief Abbey, 155, 157.

[2] Hist, of English Sounds, p. 144.

[3] Ibid, p. 135.

[4] Ibid, p. 118.

[5] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 40.

[6] Beauchief Abbey, p. 156.

[7] Hunter, ut supra.

[8] I have not seen the original documents, which may amount to grants "in fee ferm," nor have I any documentary proof that the lord remitted the actual sum paid. But the object seems to have been to raise a sum of money from the freeholders for the payment of imperial taxes. As to the rent paid by the Sheffield Burgesses see Chapter XVI.

[9] Pegge's Beauchief Abbey, p. 155. I have not the original document before me, but "free chaces" is noteworthy.

[10] Village Community, p. 249.

[11] Rechtsalterthiimer, 1854, p. 290.

[12] New Eng. Dict., p. 991, s. v. booking.

[13] O. E. bocung, inscriptio.

[14] I find "Johnsett Wood" in 1586 and "Johnsett Noll" (i.e. Knowle) in 1591. It appears to be the surname John with the termination "head" in the sense of "hill." Thus Birchett in Dronfield is known from old spellings to be "birch hill." Förstemann gives many old German place-names, some as old as the seventh century, compounded with the surname Johan.

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XV. Mushroom Hall—Given Land

By the side of the road now called "Western Bank" is a modern house which bears the singular name of Mushroom Hall. "So," says Hunter, "a cottage was called which was built upon the waste or common called Crookes Moor when uninclosed. The story was that it was built, covered in, and a pot boiled between sunset and sunrise, and this it was alleged gave a right to the ground on which it stood, according to the custom of the Manor. It stood for many years, and with additions and improvements afforded what they thought a sufficient habitation for the family by whom it was at first erected, and I believe occasioned some trouble to the commissioners when these commons came to be inclosed."[1]

The name of the house was intended to express in a jocular way the haste in which it was built, for a crop of mushrooms will spring up in the course of a single night. A squatter, if I may so call him, had built hastily by the road which crossed the waste, the word westen being Old English for a waste or desert, and "Western Bank" being merely a popular and erroneous way of explaining a forgotten word.

But why did the squatter build his cottage so hastily? The tradition reported by Hunter gives the reason. If the house could be "covered in, and a pot boiled between sunset and sunrise" he had then acquired an indefeasible right to remain, and, strange though it may appear, this was in fact the ancient custom. In Hampshire there was an old tenure of land called "keyhole tenure," by which if a squatter could build a house or hut in one night, and get his fire lighted before the morning he could not be disturbed.[2] It was the lighting of the fire, and not, as Hunter puts it, the boiling of the pot, which gave the squatter the right to hold his tenement, for the house-fire was regarded as sacred and inviolate, and as derived from the ever-burning village fire. It was the custom amongst the Norsemen to hallow waste lands by carrying fire upon them, and this hallowing by fire gave a title to such lands.[3] "The kindling and maintaining of the fire," says Grimm, "upon real estate was proof of its lawful occupation and possession."[4]

The place-name Unthank which occurs in Holmesfield near Dronfield, and elsewhere, means "without leave," and it implies the settlement of a person upon the waste without the leave of the lord or of the community of freeholders which had, or claimed, the ownership of such waste.

There is a place near Clough Houses, Rotherham, called Given Land, and a place called Lord's Gift at Ranmoor, now included within Sir F. T. Mappin's grounds, or lying just above his residence. Taking these words in their present meaning one would suppose that, in old times, these pieces of land were given by the lord, or by the freeholders, to some person or persons, or else that the lord or the community had acquiesced in a trespass. But this was not the case, for the words "gift" and "given" had acquired a technical meaning. In Swedish, says Ihre, the word gift, otherwise bolgift, is "specially applied to the pledge (pignus) whereby we receive the lands of others to be cultivated."[5] And he says that giþtabol is "hired land." Elsewhere he explains gift as "earnest money, (arrha) given in proof of hiring or leasing, and for a certain number of years." And then he mentions a word giftostämma which he defines as :the term agreed upon between the lord and his tenant, which is commonly said to be six years." If then we may apply the Swedish custom to England we shall see that Given Land near Rotherham means "leased land," and Lord's Gift at Ranmoor means "land leased by the lord" to a tenant for a term of years, a pledge, or, as we should now call it, a premium, being first given by the tenant.

We thus get some interesting glimpses of the way in which waste lands were anciently brought into cultivation, and of the practices of early squatters.


[1] Hunter's MS. in The Sheffield Glossary, p. 154.

[2] Gomme's Village Community, p. 128.

[3] See instances colledled in Morris and Magnusson's Saga Library, vol. i, p. xliv.

[4] R. A. p. 194.

[5] I translate from his Lexicon Suiogothicum, i, pp. 671, 672. Compare O. E. gift "the amount to be given by a suitor in consideration of receiving a woman to wife."—Toller's Bosworth.

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XVI. The Burgery or Corporation of Sheffield

Unter sich standen die freien, ausser dem familienband, in einer festen gemeindeverbindung, in gesammtbtirgschaft und rechtsgenossenschaft. Nur in der gemeinde hatte der freie recht und frieden, zu welcher er als genosse gehorte.—Grimm's R. A. 1854, p. 291.

In the Duke of Norfolk's office in Sheffield are various plans made in the last century which delineate property in Sheffield. In examining them I was struck with the way in which pieces of land called "town lands" are intermixed with other property in the old parts of the town, for example in and near Waingate, Broad lane, Carver street, Balm green, and King street.[1] And I noticed that a piece of land called "the Isle," at the foot of Lady's Bridge, is described as the property of "The Burgesses and Free Tenants of Sheffield." To one possessing an acquaintance with the origin and development of village communities an inspection of these plans would at once suggest that these "town lands" are pieces of land which were set apart in very early times by a community of freeholders for the public benefit of the "town," meaning the whole body of freeholders.[2]

The "town lands" of Sheffield are now vested in a body known by the modern name of "Town Trustees," and it will be the object of this chapter to exhibit the true origin of their "trust," and the purposes to which the lands of the "trust" were originally applied.

It will be best to trace the history of the "Town Trust" backwards, as one would trace a pedigree.

Soon after the Civil Wars doubts were entertained by the then lessees of the "town lands" as to the title of the persons who granted their leases. The leases, it appears, had been granted by a number of persons who called themselves "The Burghers or major part of the Burghers of Sheffield," and sometimes by the name of "The Burghers or major part of the Burghers and Free Tenants of Sheffield," and "by various names and descriptions."[3] These doubts at length culminated in the refusal of the tenants, seventy-nine in number, to pay rent, and in an attempt to retain the lands leased or demised by the Burghers as their own estates in fee simple. But this attempt was hardly serious, and both tenants and lessors became in the end willing that the demised lands should be made subject to a declaration of trust for various public uses. They saw no doubt that it was just that the rents should be applied, as in past times, to the public service of the town. The real and only difficulty was that the estates seemed to have no definite legal owners, and, as they belonged to the whole body of freeholders or burgesses,[4] it was desirable that a vesting order should be made, so that a given number of freeholders might act in the name of the whole, and be duly appointed for that purpose by the freeholders.[5] Accordingly an application was made to the Court of Chancery, and, notice having been served upon all parties interested, a decree was made in the year 1681, which for the first time appeared to bring these lands within the description of a charity. "The property," says Hunter, "has been accumulated by the benefactions of various individuals, amongst whom it is probable were the Furnivals, and particularly that Thomas Furnival who gave the town its charter. The gifts were made by them not exactly for the purposes to which we apply the term charitable, but rather for public uses." Hunter does not, however, give a single instance of any grant or donation to the Burgesses. As I shall presently show the "town lands" were never treated as a charity until the Court of Chancery in 1681 impressed them with the appearance of a charity. I say impressed them with the appearance of a charity because, notwithstanding the decree of charitable uses, the "town lands" are not held on charitable uses now, though recent gifts, such as the Bailey bequest, may be regarded as such. It may well have been that in 1681 the origin and nature of these "town lands" had been utterly forgotten. Nor had the history and development of village communities and municipal corporations been investigated in Hunter's time. It was almost inevitable therefore that he should treat the property as a charity, though he does so with caution and diffidence. Mr. Leader who had copied large portions of the accounts and minutes of this ancient guild was the first to draw public attention to its true nature and objects.[6]

I have failed to discover that any evidence exists which shows that the Burgery, now known as the "Town Trustees," acquired their lands in Sheffield by private grant or by testamentary disposition. By the courtesy of C. E. Vickers, Esq., Law Clerk[7] to the "Town Trustees," I have been permitted to examine the ancient muniments and documents in the possession of that body. I did not find any instance of a grant or testamentary gift of land to the "Town Trustees," or to their predecessors, except purchases of land in Sheffield or in the neighbourhood made out of the income of the "Town Trustees" during the last century. Such grants or gifts may nevertheless have been made.[8]

The Furnival Charter indeed appears at first sight to be a grant or release in fee to the whole body of Free Tenants or Burgesses of lands which they held of the grantor, their lord. But it will be presently seen that this charter was not a grant in fee simple but in fee ferm, and that it was a composition by the Burgesses with the manorial lord for the payment by the Burgesses to the lord at a fixed rate of certain taxes or dues.[9]

This statement must be considered in detail.

The growth of the English borough has been examined with much care by Bishop Stubbs,[10] and Sheffield was, as I am about to show, a borough in the thirteenth century.[11] Documents have been preserved dating from the year 1566[12] in which the holders of the "town lands" in Sheffield are called "the burgesses," and in which the whole company of freeholders or burgesses is described as "the Burgery."

In 1566 and for many years afterwards we find "the Burgery" receiving the rents of the "town lands" through their Collector, and occasionally by the hands of "Master Bailiff," who was in fact the Mayor or chief officer of the borough, from a considerable body of tenants.[13] These rents, as the old record shows, were to be employed "at the discretion of the said burgesses," and we find that such rents were expended in making or repairing bridges and highways, in relieving the necessitous, in dealing with criminals, in providing and repairing the public armour, in providing a watch for the safety of the borough, and in doing many useful public services. Here, then, we have, to all intents and purposes, a corporation—though not, until 1554, a chartered corporation—possessed of freehold estates in the town and performing the services usually performed by a Mayor and Corporation. The "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses" of the nineteenth century are the municipal descendants of the Master Bailiff and Burgesses of the sixteenth century. The corporation of 1297 did not so far as is known derive its authority from a royal charter.[14] It existed by force of the common law, which gave the implied consent of the Sovereign, or by prescription, as in the case of the city of London.[15] It grew up, as many old corporations have grown up, with the tacit consent of the Crown, from a body of men who once held their lands in common, and of their own free will devoted a portion of those lands to the public service. It is one of the most curious things in the modern history of Sheffield that its inhabitants should regard their municipal history as dating no further back than the year 1843, when they became vested with the powers of an Act passed in 1835 for the regulation of Municipal Corporations in England and Wales, and that some of their body should have celebrated in 1893 the "jubilee" of an institution of which they had been possessed for so many centuries before. It is abundantly clear from the documents in the possession of the "Town Trustees" that the Burgesses therein mentioned were an ancient corporation, and that it was they who provided local government for the borough. This may be shown from the opening sentences of a book of accounts and memoranda beginning in 1707 which I here quote:

"A Booke of accounts of the estate, stock, and revenues belonging to the Freeholders, Burgasses, or Freetenants of the Towne of Sheffeild in the county of Yorke, begun in the yeare one thousand seven hundred and seven, in the time of Mr. John Fox, Towne Collector.

"4th Aprill 1707.

"Memorandum that according to custome within the said town, whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary, at a public meeting appointed for that purpose, whereof public notice was gave by the bellman, the said Mr. John Fox was choose Town Collector by the Freeholders then present, there being then present five and forty Freeholders, to continue in the said office for one yeare, according to the said custom.

"And whereas alsoe, according to immemoriall custome within the said Towne, there has been ust to be a Townes Clerke for entring the townes accounts and other affaires belonging to the said towne, and the Freeholders so often as such place has become vacant by the death of such Townes Clerke or misdeameanour in him have ust to elect another person in the said place (the said place being now vacant by the death of Mr. John Styreing and no other yet chose in his stead according to custome) now there being this thirteenth day of May 1707 ninety Freeholders pwsent at a public meeting at the townes hall, the majority of the said Freeholders have elected Mr. Thomas Wright into the said office of Townes Clerke."[16]

In the accounts of the "Town Trustees" under the year 1566 a payment to William Dycker is recorded for "storinge[17] at the newe halle." This seems to have been the Guild-hall, if I may so call it, or Town Hall, of the Burgesses. The mention of a "new hall" in 1566 implies the previous existence of an older Town Hall. William Harrison in 1637 mentions the "towne hall," and the eleven shops lying beneath it, or forming its basement story, which were let at rents varying from 6s. 8d. to £2 each.[18] The "new hall" therefore seems to have been a large building. In it no doubt "Master Bailiff" and the Burgesses transacted their public business. The accounts of the Burgery show that in 1560 one Robert Lewes paid a fee ferm rent of 7d. "for the new halle." But, like all the other tenants, he merely paid the fee ferm "rent" as occupant, this being a mere tax payable by the occupant. Proof of this will appear below.

That the Burgesses or Free Tenants held their freehold estates previous to 1297—the date of Furnival's charter—is evident from the charter itself, for the grantor therein speaks of "my Free-tenants (Liberi tenentes) of the town of Sheffield," and of "the tofts, lands, and tenements which they hold of me in the said town."[19] What the grantor really does by the charter is to give the fee ferm (feudi firmam) of these lands to the Burgesses or Free Tenants in return for a fixed annual payment, the sum so paid being remitted to the manorial lord as talliage or taxes. As Bishop Stubbs has shown the internal condition of the boroughs at the time of the Doomsday survey, and for some time afterwards, was "but that of any manor in the country; the reeve and his companions, the leet jury as it was afterwards called, being the magistracy, and the constitution strengthened further only by the voluntary association of the local guild, whose members would naturally furnish the counsellors of the leet. The towns so administered were liable to be called on for talliage at the will of the lord, and the townsmen were, in every respect, except wealth and closeness of organization, in the same condition as the villeins of an ordinary demesne. The. first step taken in the direction of emancipation was the purchase, by the tenants, of the firma burgi, that is, the ferm of the dues payable to the lord, or the king, within the borough: instead of being collected severally by the reeve or the sheriff, these were compounded for by a fixed sum, which was paid by the burghers and reapportioned amongst themselves. The grant of the ferm was accompanied by, or implied, an act of emancipation from villein services; and the recipient of the grant was either the leet or the guild, or the same individuals in both capacities."[20] At Sheffield the amount agreed upon by the lord and the burghers was £3 8s. 9¼d., payable half-yearly. We shall be able to form a good idea of the actual value of this sum when we consider that the whole town was rated to the Poll Tax in 1379, or nearly a century afterwards, at £6 11s. 2d. "In 1294," says Bishop Stubbs, "the towns were asked for their contributions by distinct commissions; in 1295 they were summoned regularly to parliament; and althoughthe series of writs is not so complete in the case of the towns as in that of the counties, their right was then recognized, their presence was seen to be indispensable, and the representation has been continuous, or nearly continuous, ever since."[21] Now we have seen that the date of the Furnival charter is 1297, or two years later. It does not appear that Sheffield was direclly represented in Parliament, but it seems that the charter of 1297 was the instrument by which the amount of dues or taxes to be paid by the Burgesses was settled, such amount being probably remitted to the Crown by the lord who represented them in Parliament, or was answerable for the amount. Besides compounding the dues or taxes, Furnival's charter makes provision for the administration of justice within the borough, for the infliction of punishments by a jury composed of the Burgesses themselves, and for exemption from market tolls.

Proof that corporate towns and boroughs were paying taxes in the sixteenth century under the name of "fee fermes" may be obtained from the fact that in 2 Edw. VI. "an act was made for the remitting for iii. yeres of fee fermes payd by any corporate towne or corporacion with diuers clauses concerning that matter." In the following year this remission was altered to one year.[22] This "rent" was often known as "rent of assize."[23] Modern law books give little light on this subject, the definition of "fee-farm-rent" in such books as Wharton's Law Lexicon being obviously wrong. If, then, the guild of Burgesses, now surviving as the "Town Trustees," was not originally and if it is not now a charity, if its lands were not, so far as is known, acquired by testamentary gift or by private grant, and if such lands were not acquired through Furnival's charter, how did the Burgesses acquire them?

There can only be one answer to this question. There are many boroughs in Great Britain which, time out of mind, have held, and yet hold, freehold estates. I might mention, as a famous example, the burghal community of Lauder in Berwickshire, in which there are, or lately were, 105 separate portions of land called Burgess Acres.[24] Doncaster is also a case in point. I might also mention the burgess-community at Malmesbury, in which blood relationship was the basis of membership.[25] In all such cases modern research has proved that the burgess lands have come straight down from a group of men who in remote antiquity held their lands in common, and devoted a portion of such lands to the public service of their community. Instead of levying rates they set apart certain pieces of the lands which they held in common for this purpose.

Hunter has recorded the fact that in 1662 a jury made a return that about 400 dwellings[26] in Sheffield were "of the old burgery." This body of freeholders known as the Burgery was once a well-defined proprietory group of men, holding its lands in common, acting in concert, and united at a remote period by the ties of blood-relationship, and by descent, in theory at least if not in fact, from a common ancestor. It was this close bond of union which made the Burgesses act; together as one man, and which led to the formation by them of rules and ordinances for their common good. And these rules and ordinances, unnoticed and unremembered in literature or in the records of law courts, but surviving in full vigour in the sixteenth century, were as binding on the Burgesses as the decrees of kings or parliaments. The Burgesses were a little democracy of ancient origin, the descendants of a family or families of colonists who before the dawn of our recorded local history had settled by the waters of the Don.

But although the rules and ordinances of the Burgesses—handed down perhaps by tradition instead of being committed to writing—were in full vigour in the sixteenth century, the community had then for the most part lost its primitive character, and, except in theory, the common ownership of its lands then survived only as regards those portions which were required for municipal administration. By a process of change and development which had gone on for a long period the bulk of the land once held in common was then held in several ownership, though nominally, as we shall presently see, the whole of the freehold land belonged to the "town." At an early period the son of a Burgess inherited by inalienable right his father's share in the lands of the burghal community, and in Sheffield, as in other places, lands were appropriated to village servants or officers in return for services rendered by them to the community. At Bradfield there was, as we have seen,[27] a "sowter acre," a name which implies that a shoemaker or tanner once held that acre in return for services rendered to the freeholders or body of freemen. And it is a well-known historical fact that lands were appropriated in this way to various village servants.[28] But with the advance of knowledge and with the development of sounder economic relations it was inevitable that such inconvenient arrangements should slowly die out, and in Sheffield we can now only trace the remains of them in such names as Smith-field and Bailey-field,[29] names which are possibly derived from the public smith, and the chief magistrate or prœpositus of the burghal community, each of whom held land in return for his services. Hence it happened that, as time went on, the village servant ceased to exist, and his estate became in the end absolute. But some services must be rendered to the community as a whole; bridges and roads must be built and repaired, the poor must be cared for, the watchman, or "wait"[30] as he was called in Sheffield, must look after the town by night. And so it came to pass that some lands continued to remain in the hands of the Burgesses or freemen in their common or corporate capacity, whilst alienation was permitted, or could not in the end be prevented, with respect to those lands which, being no longer required for the public use of the Burgesses, became at last unfettered estates in severally. And although alienation from the family was in the end permitted we shall see in the next paragraph that, in theory at least, the town still held the land, and that a freehold estate could only be alienated by the permission of a jury of freeholders. In other words admission to the ancient order of freemen or burgesses could only be obtained by permission of the order itself.

So late as the last century freehold lands in Sheffield were conveyed by the direction of a "jury for the town of Sheffield," and they were expressed to be held "in free and common socage"[31] by fealty and suit of court. The court is, according to the custom, nominally described as the court of the feudal lord, but it was the whole body of Free Tenants or Burgesses which really owned the land, and it was only by the consent of that body that such land could be alienated, the lord being merely the ornamental figure-head, or primus inter pares amongst the freeholders. The following is a copy of an assurance of freehold land passed by "the jury for the town of Sheffield" in the middle of the last century[32]:

"Mannor of Sheffield: The Great Court Baron of the most Noble Edward Duke of Norfolke Lord of the said Mannor held there in and for his said Mannor on the Tenth Day of April in the Thirteenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King defender of the Faith &c. And in the Year of our Lord 1740 Before John Battie, Gent.—Steward there. The Jury there for the Town of Sheffield within the Mannor aforesaid upon their Oath say and Present that John Green of Sheffield aforesaid Mason since the last Great Court hath purchased to him and his Heirs of John Jennings a certain peice or parcell of Land part of a certain Close called lyeing near Levy Greave within the Mannor aforesaid now in the possession of the said John Green to be held of the Lord of the said Mannor in free and Common Soccage by fealty and Suit of Court And thereupon the said John Green did fealty for the same. Wm BATTIE, Under Steward."

The freeholders of Bradfield, like those of Sheffield, set apart portions of their land for the public service, and these were known as "parish lands." "The people of Bradfield," says Hunter, "have certain lands which were given at a remote period by various benefactors, for public uses, the revenues of which are managed by a body of feoffees, who act under a decree of Lord Chancellor Egerton, in the time of James I."[33]

Other villages in the neighbourhood of Sheffield had their "town lands," or lands appropriated by the whole body of freeholders for the public service. The following is a very interesting

"Rental of the cottages and lands belonging to the Town and Hamlett of Handsworth Woodhouse, due Lady Day, 1730.

£ s. d.

John Jones, for a house and garden 0 1 0

Eliz. Jones, widdow, for her house 0 0 9

John Newbould, a croft adjoining the poor houses 0 1 0

Tho. Rodgers, his field and croft 0 2 6

The Poor Houses 0 1 0

John and Thomas Heyworth for house and tanyard 0 2 6

Tho. Keyworth, for his yard to his house 0 0 6

Item for France house 0 2 6

Tho. Swinnerton, his garden 0 0 6

Eliz. Revell, her house and garden 0 1 6

John Newbold, tanner, for the house, &c. late Tho. Swinnerton, Sen. 0 2 6

Joseph Greenwood, his house, garden, &c. 0 1 6

Jonathan Lee, his house and backside 0 1 0

John Burgess, for his house and garden 0 1 6

Widd. Keypher, house and garden 0 1 6

Hannah Yelland, for her house and croft 0 1 6

Thomas Taylor, for his fold and garden 0 1 6

Matthew Little, for his house and garden 0 1 6

Wm. Hutchinson, his house 0 0 6

Joseph Fowler, his house and garden 0 1 0

Joseph Newbold, for a fold and yard, late John Firth's 0 1 0

Item for part of his own fold 0 0 6

Item for a barn, late Fowler's 0 1 0

John Swinnerson, his house and garden 0 1 0

Wm. Lemmons, barn and garden 0 0 4

John Gratton, for his garden 0 0 4

Joshua Birks, for half an acre in Church rein[34] 0 1 6

Item for Smithy and Tuffeld in S. Spenser's possession 0 0 3

Sam Spenser, for Hob rein 0 0 4

Peter Birks for Fustin Well rein[35] 0 1 6

Wm. Simons and Matt. Rodger for 4a Town lands 0 1 0

___ ___ ___

1 16 0

We whose names are hereunder written have agreed that the persons above written shall pay the rent above mencioned."[36]

The names of the persons who fixed the amount of rent to be paid by the tenants at Handsworth Woodhouse are not given, but without doubt they were the freeholders or freemen who at a former period held their lands in common, and composed the village community. It is interesting to compare these lands, which are expressly stated to belong to the "town," with the "town lands" of Sheffield. In both cases their origin and purpose were the same, but in Sheffield, as from a much wealthier and more important place, there grew up a body or guild which was in fact a Mayor and Corporation. In 1730 the names of the village officers or servants no longer appear amongst the portions of "town lands" in Handsworth Woodhouse. But in the "church rein," or church strip, we may see a piece of land once set apart for the use of the church, just as, according to Mr. Gomme, in India "church lands" were appropriated by the village community for the temples.[37]

It follows from what has been said in this chapter that the freehold estates of the Burgery, now vested in the "Town Trustees," belong to the freeholders of Sheffield as tenants in common, except, perhaps, such portions of those estates as can be proved by documentary evidence to have been private bequests or grants.[38] The relationship between the "Town Trustees" and the freeholders of Sheffield is that of trustee and cestui que trust, and, except as aforesaid, those freeholders who elect the "Town Trustees" are the owners in undivided shares of all the original freehold estates now vested in, or administered by, the "Town Trustees." And, as fructus scquitur ventrem, the same freeholders are the owners of all other estates, whether real or personal, which the "Town Trustees" have at any time purchased out of income arising from property belonging to them as trustees. How far this relationship between the freeholders and their trustees may have been affected by recent Acts of Parliament I do not pretend to say.


[1] Formerly Pudding lane.

[2] Some of the lands were purchased out of income in the last century, and these cannot of course be regarded as "town lands," or as ancient estates of the "Town Trustees."

[3] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 178. "Burgher" is equivalent to the German bürger, citizen or freeman of a fortified town.

[4] In this chapter I treat the words "burgess" and "freeholder" as identical in meaning for reasons which will appear below. A deed of the year 1498 speaks of the "freeholders of Sheffield called the burgesses"—(Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 138). This deed refers to the mending of bridges, causeys, and highways by the burgesses—a sure proof of the existence of the Corporation in 1498. And a deed dated 1417 speaks of "tenements held in burgage" in Sheffield—Hunter's Hallamshire. p. 138.

[5] The freeholders elect the "Town Trustees" at the present day, and all the accounts of the "Town Trustees" show that the freeholders formed the governing body.

[6] See his "Extracts from the Earliest Books of Accounts belonging to the Town Trustees of Sheffield, dating from 1566 to 1707," Sheffield, 1879, and a paper in the Associated Architectural Societies' Reports, &c., 1876, vol. xiii., p. 281.

[7] As will appear below Mr. Vickers's predecessors in office were known as Town Clerks at the beginning of the last century, and much earlier. A change in title became necessary when the new Corporation was established in 1843.

[8] See a will bequeathing land in 1488 to the townsmen (villati) of Eye.—Hist. MSS. Commission, 10th Report. Appendix, Part IV. p. 525.

[9] I have seen no proof of direct payment to the Crown of these dues. If that were not actually done, the lord was, at all events, responsible to the Crown for the good government of the borough. He stood between the Burgesses and the Crown.

[10] Select Charters, 1870, p. 41.

[11] According to the Poll Tax Returns of 1379 Sheffield ranks third in point of wealth amongst the towns of the West Riding, the order being (1) Pontefract (2) Doncaster (3) Sheffield. It is rated considerably higher than Wakefield and Leeds.

[12] Partly printed by Mr. Leader, ut supra.

[13] The Bailiff of Sheffield is mentioned in a deed of 1434 (Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 42). In the accounts of the Burgery under the year 1574 I find mention of "William Deckenson, Bayliffe, and the rest of the burgesses" (Leader, ut supra, p. 47) and in 1581 an order is made "by the appointment of Mr. Bayliff and other the Burgesses" (p. 56). The Bailiff is here the Burgomaster, chief magistrate, or mayor of the borough, and not a mere officer of the manorial lord. Subsequently the chief officer was known by the title of Collector, and he was elected yearly. Fuller in his "Worthies," ii, 129, speaks of the "Governour or Baly of the Town." In the index to Rastell's Statutes, 1557, I find mention of "maires, bayliffes, and head officers of cities, boroughes, and townes." In the accounts of the Corporation of Wenlock the chief officer is described in 1604 as "Mr. Bailliff"—(Hist. MSS. ut infra, p. 432). In the Corporation of Eye he bore the same designation. In 1613 the Corporation of Bishop's Castle made an order that "every person or persons of inferior place and condicion lyveing within this borough shall from hensfourth geve cyvile reverence to the baylif and 15 head burgesses for the tyme being, and shall not presume to converse or talk with them in any publick assemblie or otherwise having their heades covered without license." And the same civility had to be extended to the wives of the Head Burgesses.—Hist. MSS. Commission (ut infra), p. 401. The opinion here expressed as to the Bailiff being the chief officer of the borough has been doubted. Although the title has long been discontinued I am bound on the evidence afforded by the published accounts of other old corporations to entertain this view. Soon after the division of the corporation into two sections by the letters Patent of 1554 the title Bailiff was altered to Collector or Town Collector, and this person, like the Bailiff, was elected annually by the Burgesses, as will appear from the extract from their accounts given below.

[14] It will be maintained below that under the name of the "Commonalty" the Common Burgesses received royal incorporation along with the Capital Burgesses in 1554.

[15] Stephen's Blackstone, 1880, iii, p. 8.

[16] In 1705 the Town Clerk received a salary of £5 a. year.—Leader's Extracts, p. 151.

[17] Furnishing?

[18] The manorial courts were held in the Town Hall built in 1700 at the corner of the Church yard and Church street, the lord of the manor contributing £700 towards the cost of building (Leader's Extracts, 139, 148). In 1637 the lord seems to have been the owner of the shops beneath the hall, and the Burgesses of the hall itself. However this may have been, the "towne hall" of 1637 must have been the guild hall of the Burgesses, for the words will bear no other meaning. In Maigne D'Arnis Lexicon Manuale gildhalla is defined as "locus in quo exponunter merces nundinariæ vulgo halla . . . . halle, marché convert." It would appear therefore that the Sheffield Town Hall of 1637 was a building of this kind. There were shops, or market stalls, like those under the hôtel de ville at Bruges, beneath the hall. In the accounts of the corporation of Bridgenorth a payment is recorded in 1645 "for taking down the propps and standerdes upon which the Town Hall did stand."—Hist. MSS. Commission, 10th Rep. Appendix, Part IV., p. 436.

[19] Original in Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 39. The operative words of the charter are "Noueritis me dimiisse (sic) concessisse et ad feudi firmam tradidisse omnibus Liberis tenentibus meis de villa de Schefeld." I transcribe from Mr. Leader's facsimile of the Charter, the copy in Hunter's Hallamshire being full of errors. For instance Hunter reads "et feudi firmam dedisse," leaving out the preposition, and giving a wrong verb.

[20] Select Charters, p. 41. The recipients of the grant at Sheffield were the Free Tenants or Burgesses who in 1297 formed the local guild or corporation. In 1566 the "rent" had fallen to £2 15s. 2½d.—Leader's Town Trustees' Accounts, p. 33.

[21] Seled Charters, p. 43.

[22] Rastell's Statutes, 1557, fo. 150, b.

[23] "Also it is to be enquered, who be fre tenauntes . . . . and what they yelde by the yere of rent of Assise."—Fitzherbert's Surveyor, 1523, II b. cited in New Eng Dict.

[24] Gomme's Village Community, p. 148.

[25] Ibid. p. 187.

[26] Hallamshire, p. 39. It must be remembered that "the possession of a homestead was the source of all other rights in the community."—Gomme, ut supra, p. 253.

[27] Ante, p. 45. On the property of John Carr Fletcher, Esq., at Birley Edge, Ecclesfield, are two fields called Nether Wright lands and Lower Wright lands, containing together about four acres. In a map of 1761 they are detached from the rest of the estate. Mr. Fletcher has in his possession a deed dated 1361 affecting this portion of his property in which it is described as "le Wrighteland" lying between a certain field called "le Valefeld" and a field called Alewinfelde. In a subsequent deed, dated 1424, the field is described as "Wryghteland," and as lying between "Walefeld" and "Allewynfeld."

[28] At Aston these lands were known as "town-hams," and bore such names in 1657 as Hayward's Ham, Water Steward's Ham, Smith's Ham, etc.—Gomme's Village Community. p. 163.

[29] Research amongst old documents might of course reveal others.

[30] This person answers to our modern policeman. At Ripon he was known as a "wakeman."

[31] "Tenure in burgage is described by Glanvil, and is expressly said by Littleton to be but tenure in socage: and it is when the King or other person is lord of an antient borough, in which the tenements are held by a rent certain. It is indeed only a kind of town socage." (Stephen's Blackstone, 1863, p. 215.) We may thus learn that "Free Tenants" and "Burghers" or "Burgesses" are in Sheffield equivalent terms, the burgesses holding their lands in "free and common socage." In "free socage," according to Bracton, "the services are not only certain but "honourable." (Ibid. p. 211.) Mr. Seebohm has shown from the Doomsday Survey "that throughout those counties of England most completely under Danish influence there were plenty of liberi homines and of the allied class of sochmanni, but nowhere else." (Village Community, p. 86.) Here then we have evidence of the Danish origin of the Sheffield Free Tenants.

[32] From an original in the custody of Arthur Wightman, Esq.

[33] South Yorkshire, ii, 192. Hunter gives a good deal of information about these "parish lands."

[34] O. N. rein, a strip of land. Mr. Leader tells me that at Eyara acres or strips surviving from the old common-field system of husbandry are known as "streaks."

[35] This means "Thurstan field strip." There was a common field called Thurston Well in Sheffield (Sheffield Glossary, p. 259). Thorsteinn in O. N. was spelt and sounded Thosteinn, and th becomes f in the dialect. "Well" is O. N völlr, a field. This was, therefore, a strip in one of the common fields called Thurstan Field.

[36] From the Local Notes and Queries of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent.

[37] Village Community, p 33. There was no church at Handsworth Woodhouse, and therefore the "church rein" cannot have been a piece of land adjoining a church. It was a piece of land devoted by the freeholders to the service of the church. Hunter relates that land called St. Mary Croft and Lady Doles at Dungworth were "given" to the use of Bradfield Church.—South Yorkshire, ii, 192.

[38] Query whether such bequests or grants, either ancient or modern, are not gifts to the freeholders as a whole.

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XVII. The Burgery or Corporation of Sheffield (Continued)

We have seen in the last chapter that a piece of land called "church rein," meaning church strip, or church portion, formed part of the "town lands" of Handsworth Woodhouse. It is well known that modern scholars, such as Sir Henry Maine, have drawn parallels between the Indian and the English village community. These parallels are very close, and they furnish presumptive evidence of the origin of English "church lands." Mr. Gomme[1] thus details the lands in an Indian village community which were "devoted to special purposes by custom or by grant. The lands held by grant from the village amounted to eleven and five-sixteenths cánis, or fifteen acres, and were in possession of a priest and ten other Brahmins. The lands appropriated by custom amounted to twenty-six and six-sixteenths cánis, or thirty-five acres. They were held as follows:

By the temples, i.e., church lands 3 acres (about)

For the benefit of the villagers generally 1¼ acres

For the village officers:—

The accountant 14½ acres

The village watchman 13¾ acres

The village carpenter 1¼ acres

The village blacksmith 1¼ acres


35 acres"

Now let us compare this Indian village community with the village community, or, as I have called it, the burghal community, of Sheffield. In Sheffield we have, or had,

Church lands (lands used in connection with the temple or church)

Town lands (lands held "for the benefit of the villagers generally")

Lands for the village officers:—

The accountant (the town collector or the bailiff)

The village watchman (the "waits" or watchmen so often mentioned in the accounts of the "Town Trustees")

The village carpenter (not found)

The village blacksmith (as appears in Smithfield)

With the exception of the "village carpenter"[2] it will thus be seen that the Indian and the English example are exactly parallel. And even the carpenter is found as a village official in the Boldon Book.

It appears from plans in the Duke of Norfolk's office made in the last century that certain "church lands" in Sheffield are intermixed with the "burgess lands," and I have heard a surveyor remark that in one or two cases which he has come across in practice it was very difficult to draw the exact line of demarcation between the "church lands" and "burgess lands," now known as lands belonging to the "Town Trust." In the same office is a plan, dated 1758, which delineates, amongst other things, a piece of ground at Heeley Town Gate[3] and near Heeley Green called "Semary (alias St. Mary) Walls Ch. Land." Here, as the surveyor correctly explains, Semary stands for St. Mary. And as "walls" means fields, Semary Walls means St. Mary Fields. Now the Patent dated 1554 which incorporated the Capital Burgesses and Commonalty of Sheffield, mentions, amongst other property affected thereby, "two crofts called Malkin Crofts in Heeley." Malkin means "little maid," and, as the Capital Burgesses had no other property in Heeley, it follows that Malkin Crofts and Semary Walls are alternative names of the same closes. The word "malkin" savoured of heathenism, and it was supplanted by the Christian "St. Mary."

In the "church rein" at Handsworth, in the intermixture of "burgess lands" and "church lands" in Sheffield, in the "church land" at Heeley, and in certain "church lands" at Dungworth included amongst the "parish lands" of Bradfield we have presumptive evidence that, in this district, communities of freeholders set apart portions of land for the use of their priests or their churches. The Indian parallel, remote as it seems, holds throughout.

On this presumptive evidence it will be assumed in this chapter that the Free Tenants of Sheffield, otherwise known as the Burgesses, set apart portions of the land which they held in common for the maintenance of their church and their priests, the priest being as much a village servant or official as the bailiff or the miller.[4]

In addition to the lands set apart by the community of freeholders, certain persons, previous to the Reformation, gave land to "the four church-masters of Sheffield and their successors," and also to "the Bailiff (Mayor) of Sheffield and others"[5] for the service of the Blessed Mary, for the priest of St. Catherine to say mass, for obits, or anniversary services, for the buying of crucifixes and other ornaments, and for sustaining the "light or gild" of the Blessed Mary.[6] Inasmuch as a portion of the common lands of the community was already devoted to the church, and remained under the control of the Burgesses, it was probably found convenient that the lands given to the church by private donors should be administered along with the original church lands already under the control of the Burgesses. And indirect proof that the Burgesses managed the whole of the property, including the private gifts, may be found in a deed, already referred to, of the year 1498, which declares that in case the masses thereby provided for should not be said the income of the property bequeathed should be disposed of by the Burgesses in mending bridges, or in deeds of charity.[7] By means of private donations or otherwise that portion of the income of the Burgesses which was devoted to church purposes had, if we may believe the statements of the petition hereafter referred to, increased to such an extent in 1540 that out of a total income of £27 the Burgesses were devoting no less than £17 9s. 4d. "to superstitious uses." Accordingly the Commissioners acting under the Statute of Chantries[8] forfeited this annual income of £17 9s. 4d. arising from property in Sheffield as being money applied to "superstitious uses," and the lands producing that income, as well as certain property in London belonging to the Burgesses, remained in court till 1554. When Queen Mary ascended the throne in 1553 a retrograde movement began, and her advisers were ready and willing to restore to the Burgesses so much of what they had lost as could by any ingenuity be restored. Accordingly the Burgesses, led or instigated by Robert Swift of Broomhall, lost no time in getting up a petition to the Crown asking for the restoration of their sequestrated lands. But there was a difficulty in the way. If these lands had really been given and applied to and for the "superstitious uses" defined in the Statute of Chantries there was no hope of getting them back again except by a repeal of the statute, but if it could be shown that they were given for an entirely different purpose there was a good chance of proving to a not reluctant sovereign that the statute in this case had been wrongly applied. And so Robert Swift of Broomhall and William Taylor, aided no doubt by the ingenuity of churchmen and lawyers, made out the following story.[9] They said:

1. That they and others were seised[10] of certain lands in Sheffield worth £27 per year, and of lands in Old Change, London, which had long ago been given by divers persons for the repair of bridges and roads in Sheffield, for the repair of the church, and for the relief of the poor.

2. That the rents of the said lands were so applied until the year 1539 when the alms of the people by which three priests had been supported fell off and ceased to be given.

3. That in consequence of this discontinuance of popular alms or gifts the burgesses and inhabitants of the town took it upon themselves in the year 1540 to apply £17 9s. 4d. of the total rents (£27) of the Burgery in supporting three priests, and in maintaining an obit and a lamp.

4. That under the above-mentioned circumstances the rent of £17 9s. 4d. became forfeited to the Crown under the Statute of Chantries.

Upon this fictitious claim the Crown was asked to restore the forfeited lands. The request was granted, and Letters Patent followed whereby a body called the Twelve Capital Burgesses and Commonalty of Sheffield was incorporated and the forfeited lands restored to them. The facts show that the Letters Patent were obtained by misrepresentation. To give a single instance in proof of this statement the property in Old Change, London, was not given for the repair of the church, or for mending roads and bridges, or for the relief of the poor. As the deed of grant, dated 1501, shows, it was given for buying a cross and other ornaments, and to the intent that the donor and her relations "might be the better remembered and prayed for in the said church."[11] And there are various other grants of land,[12] all of which are included in the vesting clauses of the Letters Patent, which show clearly that such land was given for the "superstitious uses" contemplated by the Statute of Chantries, and rightly forfeited by that statute. Again the Letters Patent say that in the year 1539 the Burgesses were obliged to devote £17 9s. 4d., or nearly two-thirds of their whole income, to church purposes because the alms of the people which supported the priests had entirely fallen off and been discontinued.[13] But the petition which led to the granting of the Patent says nothing about this discontinuance of alms. It gives an entirely different reason, namely, the great increase of the population of Sheffield. Again, the petition states that the affairs of the Burgesses and their income of £27 were managed by the church-greaves, or churchwardens; the Letters Patent say nothing about this, but on the contrary declare that "the Burgesses and inhabitants" had been seised of the sequestrated lands from time immemorial. Before the Letters Patent could be granted some sort of a case had to be made out, and some sort of evidence, as lawyers say, "put in." The truth is that long before the Reformation, and long before the forfeiture caused by the Statute of Chantries, the Burgery had been possessed of estates held by them as a civic corporation, and applied both to municipal and ecclesiastical purposes. Some of these estates had descended to the Burgery from immemorial antiquity as portions of the common lands of a village community; the rest had been derived from the donations of various benefactors. Before the forfeiture of two-thirds of their income by the Statute of Chantries the Burgesses were possessed not only of the lands of which we find them possessed in 1566, but of the estates which in 1554 were transferred to the Capital Burgery. That civic corporations in ancient times held lands to be applied to ecclesiastical uses is well known.[14]

As the Letters Patent of 1554 diverted an income of £17 9s. 4d. out of a total income of £27 arising from lands in Sheffield to the use of the Capital Burgesses it follows that an income of £9 10s. 8d. remained unforfeited by the Commissioners under the Statute of Chantries, and available for municipal purposes only.

It appears from the accounts of the Common Burgery that in 1566 the total yearly rent received from a considerable number of tenants amounted to £7 11s. 4d.[15] The difference of £1 19s. 4d. may, perhaps, be accounted for by a fall in rents. After the year 1554, when the Patent was granted, the Burgesses were no longer one body or Burgery performing the work of a municipal corporation, but were divided into two sections, which may be here described as the Capital Burgesses and the Common Burgesses. The Capital Burgesses soon began to regard themselves as an ecclesiastical corporation. They forgot for the most part their civic duties, and the fact that they formed an integral part of an ancient municipal corporation.

It has been usual of late years to speak of the Twelve Capital Burgesses[16] created and incorporated by the Letters Patent as the "Church Burgesses," as though they were an ecclesiastical corporation. But this is not the fact. So far is this from being the case that, on the contrary, the Letters Patent show that the Capital Burgesses are not an ecclesiastical corporation. They and the Commonalty are a "body corporate and politic,"[17] or in other words a civic or secular corporation. They are not, and never legally were, the "Church Burgesses." By the use of the word "politic" the draftsman or conveyancer intended to create, and did create, a civic corporation. Moreover, the seal of the Capital Burgesses and Commonalty bore the legend "Sigillum villa[e] de Sheflfelde anno 1554." It was the seal of the borough of Sheffield, not the seal of the Capital Burgesses. And there is evidence that the same seal was used by the Common Burgery, for on Gosling's Plan of Sheffield, 1736, of which a facsimile is given below, it is engraved as the "Town Arms" with the words "Free Tenants Sheffield." These Letters Patent incorporated not only the Twelve Capital Burgesses, but the communitas or Commonalty,[18] meaning the Common Burgesses. The Twelve Capital Burgesses are in effect a self-elective Court of Aldermen of the old borough. What the Aldermen of the new municipal corporation are to the Councillors that the Capital Burgesses were to the Common Burgesses. In addition to restoring the forfeited lands and incorporating the Common Burgesses the Letters Patent of 1554 created and incorporated a civic court of aldermen or head burgesses known as Capital Burgesses, who held office for life and were self-elective. The duties of the Capital Burgesses, as defined by the Letters Patent and as shown by their old accounts, are identical with the duties of the Common Burgesses, with two exceptions; it was the duty of the Capital Burgesses to provide in the first instance a sufficient stipend for three priests or assistant ministers of the Parish Church, and to repair the church. When they had done that they were to spend the rest of their income in repairing bridges and roads, in relieving the poor, or in doing those very services which were performed by the Common Burgery. When we consider the practical identity, as exhibited by their old accounts, of the public services done by the Capital Burgesses and those performed by the Common Burgesses; when we find the old freehold estates of the Capital Burgesses closely intermixed with those of the Common Burgesses; when we see the Capital Burgesses and Commonalty (Common Burgesses) described in the deed which incorporated them as a "body politic," and as identifying themselves on their common seal with the borough of Sheffield; when we see that the Capital Burgesses and the Common Burgesses used the same seal; and when we know that it was the custom of village communities to set apart portions of land for their priests as well as for other village servants, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the Capital Burgesses and the Common Burgesses of Sheffield once formed together a guild or civic authority divided into two sections, just as modern corporations are divided into Aldermen and Common Councillors. Though they were divided by an accident of law, and though, after the division, they kept separate accounts, yet the Capital Burgesses and the Common Burgesses formed, as it were, an upper and lower chamber, each body performing, or having power to perform, the same or similar functions, and the two chambers forming together one body corporate or municipal authority.

That the Common Burgesses regarded themselves in the sixteenth century as equipollent with the Capital Burgesses may be seen from the fact that in 1572 and subsequently they were engaged in a law suit at York.[19] Unless they sued or were sued as a body corporate it would have been necessary to join all the freeholders of Sheffield as plaintiffs or defendants in the suit. We may perhaps infer from the Furnival Charter[20] itself that the Burgery or Corporation of Sheffield existed and possessed a corporate seal in 1297. That deed is expressed to be a chirograph, or a deed executed along with a counterpart, the lord retaining one part and the Free Tenants the other part. The deed is indented and scribbled on near the place where the indented line is cut, so that, the counterpart having been treated in the same manner, the two parts of the chirograph would tally in case they had to be produced in a court of law. The testimonium clause of the deed reads "In witness whereof the seals of the parties are to this present writing, made in the form of a chirograph, alternately affixed."[21] That part of the chirograph which was executed by the lord remained, and still remains, in the proper custody of the Free Tenants or the Burgery, and bears the lord's seal. The other part, which was executed by the Free Tenants, was kept by the lord, and may still exist amongst the Duke of Norfolk's archives. The Free Tenants, who covenanted by the deed to pay a yearly sum of money, must either therefore have executed it by means of a corporate seal, or every Free Tenant or Burgess in the borough must have affixed his own seal. It is hardly likely that all the Free Tenants of Sheffield affixed their seals to a document which measures nine-and-a-half inches in breadth, and moreover, if that had been the case, their names would have appeared at the beginning of the deed as parties thereto. The fact that the names of the Free Tenants do not appear in the deed seems to me to be evidence that they executed it as a corporation by means of a common seal.

The seals used by the Twelve Capital Burgesses and Commonalty and also an old seal occasionally used by the "Town Trustees" are here represented in their actual size.[22] Both the seals are of silver. That which belongs to the Capital Burgesses bears the date 1554, and was probably cut in that year. Attached to the back is a small folding handle of silver perforated by a rude Gothic design. The seal of the "Town Trustees" is of somewhat rude workmanship, and is probably not later in date than the year 1700.[23] It is attached to a large handle of turned ivory, which is a good deal worn. I am told that deeds are never executed by means of this seal, but that it is used in granting licenses to assign leases, and on some other formal occasions. Notwithstanding some slight difference between these two seals, and also between them and that engraved on Gosling's plan, they are substantially identical. The one is, as we have seen, inscribed in Latin as "the seal of the town of Sheffield;" the other as the seal of the "Free Tenants" or Burgesses. The other points of difference are that the seal of the Capital Burgesses contains fifteen arrows, whilst that of the "Town Trustees" has only eight, these arrows being surmounted by a cherub. In the sketch on Gosling's plan the cherub is absent.

The seal of 1554 may have been copied from an older seal of the same or similar design. The arrows are fastened together in the centre by means of a band so as to resemble a sheaf. Here we may see one of those punning rebuses, so common in former times, on the word Sheffield. An allusion may also be intended to the craft of the arrowsmith, and the fifteen arrows may remind us of the "fifteen head burgesses"[24] of some old corporations, or even of the "fourteen justices and one bailiff, mayor, or staff-holder"[25] of some old German courts. Accordingly the number of arrows on the older seal is not necessarily arbitrary.

That the Free Tenants mentioned in the Furnival Charter of 1297 are identical with the Burgesses of 1566 may be shown by the fact that the "burgesses" of Sheffield are mentioned in a deed of the year 1498,[26] and by the fact that a deed dated 1417 mentions the "tenements held in burgage in Sheffield,"[27] this being little more than a century later than the Furnival Charter. Proof of this identity is also found in the fact that the Furnival Charter has long been, and still is, as lawyers say, "in the right custody," and by the care which the Burgesses took of that document.[28] Further proof may be found in the mention of the Bailiff of Sheffield in 1434,[29] and in the mention of that officer in the Furnival Charter itself. And then we have the strongest negative evidence in the fact that we find the Burgesses performing the usual work of a corporation in 1566, for it cannot be supposed that they started into being in that year. Indeed the accounts themselves show that they were acting as a municipal authority before that year, for they had already built the public shambles, and were receiving rent for that building.[30]

It has been shown in this and the preceding chapter that the borough of Sheffield has possessed a guild of burgesses having and exercising the usual powers of a corporation or municipal authority since the year 1297, and we know not for how long before that time. It has also been shown that this body which before the year 1554 acted as the municipal authority with the tacit or implied consent of the Crown was actually incorporated in that year. The knowledge of these facts gives a new complexion to the history of Sheffield. The town no longer appears as a mere village under the domination of a feudal lord, but as an organized borough or community of burgesses or freemen whose guild had been established, and was doing the work of a municipal corporation, not later than the thirteenth century.


[1] Village Community, p. 33.

[2] I have, however, already (p. 120) mentioned "Wright land" in Ecclesfield in an early charter.

[3] Meaning "town street."

[4] Mr. Seebohm has shown that the place of the priest in the village community often went with his yard-land. And he has shown from documentary evidence of the eighth century that the priest was a recognized village official like the prœpositus (bailiff) or the faber (blacksmith). — Village Community, 90 — in, 115. '*

[5] See a release dated 1508 to Robert Hudson, Bailiff of Sheffield, and others.—Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 138.

[6] Deeds beginning in 1320 in Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 138.

[7] Ibid., p. 138.

[8] I Edw. VI., cap. 14. And see 37 Hen. VIII., cap. 4.

[9] I summarize from the Petition and Letters Patent in Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 133, seq.

[10] It was right to say that they "were seised," for the legal estate of the forfeited lands still remained in the Burgesses, the income of a portion only, viz., £17 9s. 4d., being sequestrated.

[11] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 139.

[12] Ibid., p. 138.

[13] Hunter's Hallamshire. p. 134, foot of col. 2.

[14] A document which purports to be an agreement dated 1485 between the Vicar of Sheffield and a master mason for rebuilding Lady's Bridge (Hunter's H., p. 193) has been said to furnish proof that the affairs of the Burgery were managed by the church at that time. But in this case the Vicar was probably the agent of the Archbishop of York who had power to direct money to be raised and paid for the making or repairing of bridges, and to institute enquiries and make directions as to money left in wills for the repair of bridges. (See Fowler's Memorials of Ripon, Surtees Soc. ii., 77, 90.) Moreover the document itself, though apparently genuine, is not free from suspicion. For instance I notice the word "has" for "hath" in two places.

[15] Leader's Extracts, p. 8.

[16] "Duodecim Capitales Burgenses et Communitas"

[17] "Unum corpus corporatum et politicum"

[18] In the accounts of the Capital Burgesses under the year 1557 I find mention of the "Capital Burgery."—Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 139. It is important to bear distinctly in mind that the communitas is the community of burgesses, not the whole body of the inhabitants. In mediaeval Latin the words commune and communitas meant a community of freeholders or of burgesses, and Maigne D'Arnis defines them both as "corps des bourgeois d'une ville, d'un bourg, constitute avec l'autorisation du roi ou du seigneur de la commune."—Lexicon Manuale, Paris, 1866.

[19] Leader's Extracts, pp. 41, 42.

[20] This document should be called the Town Charter. I speak of "Furnival Charter" out of deference to earlier writers.

[21] "In cuius rei testimonium presenti scripto ad modum sirographi confecto sigilla partium alternatim sunt apposita."

[22] I am indebted to J. B. Wheat, Esq., M.A., solicitor, for an impression of the larger seal.

[23] Proof of its age may be obtained from the spelling "Sheffeild" in the inscription "Free Tenants Sheffeild"

[24] Ante, p. 113 n.

[25] "Vierzehen schöffen und ein schultheist oder stabhalter."—Grimm's R. A., 1854, p. 2l8.

[26] Hunter's H., p. 138.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Under the year 1593 a payment is recorded in the accounts of the Burgery "for a box a locke and a cheyne for the Towne Charter."—Leader's Extracts, p. 69.

[29] Ante, p. 113 n.

[30] "The Shamelde house buyldyd by the burgesses and let yerly for the rent of v s."—Leader's Extracts, p. 8

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XVIII. The Unfree—The Irish Element—"Scotland"

In the last two chapters we discussed the history of the Burgesses, or, as they were first called, the Free Tenants of Sheffield. It was they who formed the ruling caste. They held their land in "free" socage, and we may infer from the negative evidence afforded by the Furnival Charter and the books of the "Town Trustees" that at an early period they had attained a high state of social development, the evidence contained in these books being little more than echoes or scanty survivals from a long and unremembered past.

The very mention of a "free" class of men necessarily implies the existence of a class which was not free, and which, if not in actual serfdom, had not, at all events, the same social rights as the Burgesses. We have seen[1] that the Burgesses held their land in free socage, and that the "sokemen" of the Doomsday Book are only found in the Danish parts of England. There is some reason therefore for believing that the Burgesses of Sheffield were originally a band or colony of Danish settlers.

We have seen that this ruling or higher caste has left traces of its early existence amongst us, and we have also seen that its system of local government survives to this very day in the bodies known as the "Town Trustees" and the Twelve Capital Burgesses.

Although, as I have said, the existence of a free class necessarily implies the existence of an unfree class, yet the traces or remains of such a class are not now to be found, except, indeed, in the copyholder or tenant in pure villenage, who, in the manor of Sheffield, holds his land "by the straw," and "at the will" of the lord, the freeman only being capable of holding real estate in fee simple.[2] But there is evidence that in early times a body of men known as "Irish," or perhaps as "Scots," settled in Sheffield by the side of the Teutonic colonists, and occupied a quarter of their own. I have no evidence to show that these "Irish" were ever in a state of serfdom under the dominant inhabitants, but it is clear that they formed a separate class or caste.

At the bottom of Prior Gate, otherwise High street, stood a cross which in Gosling's plan is called Market Cross. On the same plan the street below is called Market Place, now Angel street, and it extends to the Irish Cross, which stood at the junction of Snig hill, Water lane, and Castle Green head, Bank street not having been made at the date of the plan. Both these crosses are figured in the plan, and the Irish Cross is mentioned in a deed of the year 1499.[3] We may infer from this that, at a remote period, the inhabitants of Sheffield were divided into at least two distinct races, each having its own market. If, for the sake of argument, we call the Market Cross the English Cross, to distinguish it from the Irish Cross, we shall get an idea of what the distinction was. These two market crosses imply nothing less than the division of Sheffield into two distinct races. "If," says Mr. Gomme, "we only possessed early maps of all our towns it would be seen how the formation of the village was almost invariably based upon the aggregation of different clans."[4] Further on he says "the mode of settlement in some of our great towns exhibits clear traces of tribal divisions. At Nottingham, until so recently as 1715, the market place was divided lengthwise by an ancient wall breast-high, supposed to have been erected to provide separate market-places for the irreconcilable Saxons and Normans. This wall was taken down about this date, and the market-place for the first time was paved. This division is most probably much older than the Norman era, as at Nottingham we have that remarkable instance of a difference between the two parts of the town in the modes of descent of property, one part following the rule of primogeniture, the other that of junior right, or borough English, and junior right is, at all events, older than political history."[5] Mr. Gomme quotes the "Statistical Survey of Roscommon" thus: "In many of the ancient corporate towns and boroughs in Ireland, certain quarters are known under the appellation of Irish Town,[6] and were occupied by the so-called 'mere Irish,' in contradistinction to the more favoured inhabitants of a different caste. In walled towns the quarters very commonly stood outside."[7] In Sheffield the lower caste seems to have been settled under the castle walls, and to have extended thence in a northerly and westerly direction towards Shales Moor, or Shale Moor, and towards Scotland street.

In Fairbank's plan, 1771, Scotland street is described simply as "Scotland," and I have noticed in the indexes to the Duke of Norfolk's maps that the place is referred to simply as "Scotland." The street, then, appears to have taken its name from a portion of ground which was called Scotland.[8] This field-name is found in many other places; for instance there are places called Scotland and Scots Bank at Wedmore in Somersetshire. I might even mention Scotland Yard in London, which is a very ancient name. I think it is likely that "Scotland" here means "Irish land," especially as Scotland street and the neighbourhood of West-bar are at this very day the quarters of the so-called "Irish." The Scots, as is well known, were an Irish sept, and the old Germans regarded a "Scot" as a roving trader from Ireland.[9] It is possible that these roving traders established at an early period a settlement in Sheffield, forming a distinct class or caste. It is however possible that Scotland means "conveyed land," or land conveyed by a symbolical act. The old laws of Norway and Sweden mention a way of conveying land by throwing a handful of earth, or a straw, into the lap (O. N. skaut, Swed. sköt) of the purchaser, the witnesses holding up his lap. From this process there arose an Old Norse verb skeyta, Swedish sköta, to convey, and an Old Norse skeyting, Swedish skötning, Low Latin scotatio, a conveyance.[10] Now we have seen that in the manor of Sheffield copyhold land is still held "by the straw," a straw being still twisted into the purchaser's conveyance, or copy of court roll, technically known as a surrender and admittance. It was not the land of the freemen, but the land of a lower class of men, holding at the will of the lord, which was conveyed in this way. The freeman usually acquired his estate by inheritance; it did not pass, at all events in early times, by conveyance. But the copyholder required "admission"to his land, whenever a change took place by death or otherwise, and this "admission" was performed by the symbolical act of throwing a handful of earth or a straw into his lap in the name of the whole estate. Hence land acquired in this way may have acquired a distinctive name; it may have been regarded as land conveyed by a symbolical act, as distinguished from land which in early times was not usually conveyed at all.

And then we have the Old English sceot, meaning payment, and also a furlong or division in a field. But "portion land," "furlong land," "payment land" would not make sense.

It seems to me therefore that the choice probably lies between "conveyed land" and "Irish land." Now Scotland meaning Irish land is a known word; as meaning "conveyed land" it does not appear to be known. It is most likely then that the word here means Irish land, more especially as we have distinct proof of an ancient Irish element in the population, and as the part once called "Scotland" is now occupied by "Irish."

Another proof of the different origin of the inhabitants of the "Irish" quarter is to be found in the fact that their dialect differs in some respects from the dialect of their neighbours. Thus they speak of a shilling as a deenar, a word which is plainly derived from the Latin denarius.[11] This word, however, is found in Old English as dinar.

A curious custom kept up upon this very place once called "Scotland" seems to afford evidence that it was formerly inhabited by a race of men differing in nationality from the Burgesses or freemen, and possibly from other inhabitants of Sheffield. A feast formerly held in the neighbourhood of West-bar was called, as old inhabitants have told me, "Scotland feast," and not, as a late writer has described it, "Scotland Street feast." In 1827 a writer in Hone's Every-Day Book gave an account of a Sheffield feast which he called "Scotland feast." After a brief mention of other feasts in the town he says:

"Scotland feast, however, in point of interest, bears away the bell from all the other district revels of Sheffield. It is so called from Scotland-street, already mentioned; a long, hilly, and very populous one, situated in the northern part of the town. On the eve of the feast, which is yearly held on the 29th of May, the anniversary of the restoration of our second Charles, parties of the inhabitants repair into the neighbouring country; whence, chiefly however from Walkley-bank, celebrated as Sheffield schoolboys too well know for birch trees, they bring home, at dead of night, or morning's earliest dawn, from sixteen to twenty well-sized trees, besides a profusion of branches. The trees they instantly plant in two rows; one on each side of the street, just within the curbstone of the flagged pavement. With the branches, they decorate the doors and windows of the houses, the sign-boards of the drinking-shops, and so on. By five or six in the morning, Scotland-street, which is not very wide, has the appearance of a grove. And soon, from ropes stretched across it, three, four, or five superb garlands delight the eyes, and dance over the heads of the feast-folk. These garlands are composed of hoops, wreathed round with foliage and flowers, fluttering with variously coloured ribands, rustling with asidew, and gay with silver tankards, pints, watches, &c. Before the door of the principal alehouse, the largest tree is always planted. The sign of this house is, if my memory do not deceive me, the royal oak.[12] Be this as it may, certain it is that, duly ensconced among the branches of the said tree, may always be seen the effigy, in small, of king Charles the Second: to commemorate indeed the happy concealment and remarkable escape of the merry monarch, at Boscobel, should seem to be the object of creating a sylvan scene at 'Scotland feast;' while that of holding the feast itself on the anniversary of his restoration is, there can be little doubt, to celebrate with honour the principal event in the life of him, after whose ancient and peculiar kingdom the street itself is named. To the particulars already given, it needs scarcely be added, that dancing, drinking, and other merry-making are, as a Scotsman would say, rife at the annual commemoration thus briefly described."[13]

I am told that the feast lasted about a week. It was kept up not only in Scotland street, but in the streets adjoining. The trees planted in the streets were young birch trees, which were brought, without their roots, from Walkley and Upperthorpe, and planted on each side of the street. We may ask why the people in the Irish quarter of Sheffield, to the exclusion of the rest of the inhabitants, were so interested in the restoration of Charles II. that they kept up a feast for a week, and, as I have been told, drank up all the ale in the district? Were the other inhabitants of the town less loyal to the English Crown than these "Irish," or these inhabitants of the "Irish" quarter? It cannot have been so. It is true that "Scotland feast," in its later days at all events, was kept up on the 29th day of May, and during the week following. It is also true, I believe, that an innkeeper in the street used to plant an oak tree in front of his house, and hang up an effigy of Charles II. This "Scotland Feast" was really an ancient ceremony which had been observed in the district from a remote antiquity. In its last days the feast got mixed with the restoration of Charles II., and such mixings of old things and new are well known to students of custom and folklore. If this feast was first instituted in memory of the king's restoration why were birch poles and not oak poles eredled in the street? "In Germany," says Aubrey, "almost every where at Easter, and especially at Whitsunday, they set in their houses, parlors, and chambers young birch trees which they keep a fortnight or longer green in keeping the same in tubs with fresh water, and in some places the churches are also full."[14] He also says that "at Westchester[15] on St. Johns Baptist Eve [June 24th or Midsummer Day] they bring a multitude of young birch trees and plant before their dores to wither." In Brand's "Popular Antiquities" some old churchwardens' accounts are given showing payments for birch treqs for Midsummer Eve, and "agenst Midsummer."[16] Gerard, in his "Herbal," says that the birch "serueth well to the decking up of houses, and banquetting roomes, for places of pleasure, and beautifying of streets in the crosse or gang weeke, and such like." In the "cross or gang week," a day or two before Holy Thursday, the cross was carried and the bounds of townships were beaten. It appears from these accounts that the birch was used at various summer festivals, or ancient ceremonies. The 29th of May comes nearest in point of time to the Whitsun Ale, but whether "Scotland Feast" represents the Whitsun Ale or not it is clear that it is far older than the restoration of Charles II., and is a survival of an old pagan festival.

At the village of St. German's in East Cornwall a mock mayor was chosen on the 29th of May—the same day, be it noted, as "Scotland Feast" in Sheffield—and the election was followed by drinking and rude festivities. This is one of the examples from which Mr. Gomme draws a parallel between the festivals of races which settled in Britain and those of India. "All the vagaries and nonsense practised at these festivals in India are so many symbolical expressions of the power of the non-Aryan tribes during the admitted period of license. There is no reason why in Britain they should not express, in survival, the same village festival with all its significant ethnic symbolism."[17]

I think we may lay some stress on the Cornish parallel here advanced, the day of celebration being identical with that of "Scotland Feast." The inferior race, whether non-Aryan or not, clung to its old customs, such customs being tolerated by the Teutonic overlords. We have no record of the election of a "mock mayor" in Sheffield on the 29th of May, but the "Scotland feast" which began upon that day is evidence of a racial and social difference between the free men and the unfree, between the burgesses and the lower caste belonging in part at least to another nationality. The distinction of races is still maintained in the clannish habits of the people who bear the name of Irish. It must not be supposed that these people are all recent emigrants from Ireland. The mention of the Irish Cross in 1499 is alone enough to prove that they existed as a separate race in that year. The Irish of 1499, and of a much earlier time, are identical as a nationality with the people who inhabit the Irish quarter of Sheffield in 1893, though their numbers may have been increased by recent emigration from Ireland, and though the race may have been modified by the introduction of new blood.


[1] Ante, p. 122 n.

[2] Grimm's R. A., p. 290.

[3] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 138. The Irish Cross was an erection of considerable size, and upon its summit was a weather cock. Amongst the accounts of the "Town Trustees" not yet printed I find, under the year 1715, the following

"Charges Reparing Irish Crosse

Paid Hesketh work there ut per receipt 0 2 6

Luke Ratclifle ut per bill and receipt 0 6 1

Thomas Rhodes ut per receipt 0 10 0

Thomas Nowe ut per bill and receipt 0 6 0

R. Wilson ut per Do. 0 3 0

Mending the weather Cock 0 2 0"

[4] Village Community, p. 240.

[5] Ibid., p. 246.

[6] There is a field called Irish Close at Tickhill near Rotherham.

[7] Village Community, p. 252.

[8] Gosling does not mention Scotland street by name. The street existed in 1736, but he calls it Lambert Knoll, which was evidently the name of the hill. Fifty years ago, I am told, many of the houses in the street were thatched.

[9] Wackernagel's Altdeutsches Handworterbuch. p. 256.

[10] Vigfusson, s. v. skeyta; Grimm's R. A., pp. 116, 124; Ihre's Glossarium, s. v. sköta.

[11] See more on this subject; in the Supplement to my Sheffield Glossary, 1891, p. vii.

[12] "In my boyish days, one Ludlam kept it. Was it he to whom belonged the dog which gave occasion to the proverbial saying, 'As idle as Ludlam's dog, that lay down to bark'?" [No such public house as the " Royal Oak " occurs in a Sheffield Directory dated 1822 (Baines, Leeds), in Scotland street, but two other "Royal Oaks" are mentioned. Nor does it occur in a Directory of 1849. The Directory of 1787 has "Ludlam George, victualler, Scotland Street."—S. O. A.]"

[13] Hone's Every-Day Book, 1827, ii., 1261. The article is dated from Paisley, Sep: 21, 1826, and is signed "Gulielmus."

[14] Remaines of Gentilisme, p. 119.

[15] Chester.

[16] Ed. 1849, i., 307.

[17] Village Community, p. 110.

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Gosling's 1736 plan of Sheffield is included in this chapter. It is useful to refer to when reading and can be viewed here (there is also an 1823 reprint that is slightly easier to read here).

XIX. Some Sheffield Street-Names

The names of some of the streets will throw light upon the early history of Sheffield, and for the sake of easy reference I deal with them under separate headings.

Fargate.—The word "gate" here means road, as in Waingate, Hallam-gate, Prior-gate. At first sight one would suppose that "far" was the common word which means remote.[1] But what could a "remote road" be, and from what is the road remote? It is in the heart of the old part of the town. Curiously enough the Old English fear or fearr (pronounced far) means both a sow[2] and a bullock. Here it means sow, for "a passage leading from Fargate to new Church Street . . . boasted the name of 'Sow Mouth.'"[3] Fargate then means sow gate, sow road, and it was the way by which the swine were driven into the common pastures, the "sow mouth" being the passage through which they went. There is a place at Norton, near Sheffield, called Cow-mouth, which means the entrance through which cows went into the pastures.

Brelsforth Orchards.—If you will look at the facsimile of Gosling's plan opposite the beginning of this chapter you will see a triangular space which in 1736 was enclosed by buildings on all sides, and had for its boundaries Fargate, Balm Green, Blind Lane, and Church Lane. This triangular space is not named in Gosling's plan, but in Fairbank's plan of 1771 it is described as Brelsforth Orchards, and I have seen the place so described in old plans in the Duke of Norfolk's office. And if you will look at the plan again you will see that the entrance to these orchards was a narrow opening nearly opposite Pinson Lane. I shall try to show that this narrow opening was the entrance or "mouth" of an enclosure or stockade—which afterwards became orchards—into which the cattle of the community were driven for safety by night. An old English-Latin dictionary[4] gives the word prayel or praysel, meaning little field. Now if the triangular enclosure were the stockade or little field into which swine and other cattle were driven, the entrance to that meadow might be called "praysel-forth," meaning little field entrance—the word being found in the surnames Brelsforth and Brailsford. The "praysel" then would be the little field or triangular space described in Gosling's plan. If you will look at the plan again you will see that this passage or entrance opens into Fargate, meaning sow gate, and is exactly opposite Sow Mouth. We may infer therefore that the swine or other cattle of the community were driven through this "praysel-forth," or field-way. This word prayel or praysel appears to be akin to the Middle High German brüel, brül, a word whose meaning, says Forstemann, "hovers between a wood, a thicket, and a meadow." As the only entrance to the little field was the narrow opening or "praysel-forth," it is possible that the name Brelsforth Orchards arose in this way, an orchard having taken the place of the little meadow. An alternative derivation would be from the surname Brelsforth, which was found in Sheffield. But I think that the suggestion first made is more likely.

Jehu Lane or Jew Lane.—This lane which, I am told, was so narrow that a householder on one side of it could almost have shaken hands with his neighbour on the other, was on the south side of "Fitzalan Square." The making of the square has wiped this old street off the local map, but it led, according to Fairbank's plan, from Baker's Hill into "the Swine Market." I have conversed with many old people who spoke of this street as Jew Lane, and they were quite right in doing so. It occurs, however, as "Jehu" in Gosling's plan, and as Jehu lane in a list of Sheffield street-names, made early in the last century, given by Hunter.[5] We must remember that every considerable town, both in England and on the Continent, had its Jewish quarter. Winchester, York, Norwich, and other towns had their Jewry, or place where the Jews lived. There was a Jewry, according to Stow, in London. "There was," he says, "a place within the liberties of the Tower called the Jewry because it was inhabited by Jews." These merchants and money-lenders were found everywhere. It is perhaps significant that the street above Jehu Lane should be called Change Alley.[6] I notice the surname Jehu in the London Directory for 1890, as though it were Jew written in two syllables. In London vestiges of the quarter once occupied by the Jews have remained to our time in the names Old Jewry and Jewin Street, gywen being the old plural of giu or giw, a Jew. Our "Jehu" represents the old spelling, though the word was pronounced as a monosyllable. Perhaps it was in a spirit of conscious irony that the old inhabitants of Sheffield put their swine market at the mouth of Jehu or Jew Lane.

I need hardly say that the existence of an ancient street in Sheffield bearing this name throws considerable light upon the early condition of the borough. It shows that the borough had enough commerce in early times to need the services of the Jewish money-lender, for all early centres of commerce had their Jewish quarters. As all Jews were banished from England in 1280 a small Jewish settlement may have been established in Sheffield before that time.

Pinson Lane.—We have few "lanes" in Sheffield now. The popular idea seems to be that there is something mean and insignificant in a lane, and hence Pinson Lane now bears the grander name of "Pinstone Street." Old inhabitants of Sheffield speak of "Pinson Lane." Gosling writes it Pinson Lane in 1736, and I find a croft called Pincencroft Len in a document dated 1554.[7] "Pincen" is probably the surname Pinson, so that Pincencroft is exactly analogous to Colson Crofts, Sims Croft, Scargill Croft, and Hawley Croft, which are derived from surnames. The word "len" in Pincencroft Len is not our "lane" but the Old Norse lén, a. fief, or fee, a piece of freehold, or land held in fee simple.[8] Thus the meaning is Pinson Croft freehold. The croft acquired the name of the person or the family—the Pinsons—who once held it, and then it afterwards became known as the Pinsoncroft "len" or fee.

Campo Lane: Camper Lane.—In a lease dated 1658, which I have seen, this place is called "the Campo Lane." In another lease, dated 1725, to which Elizabeth and James Hawley are parties, I find mention of "a place there comonly called Campo Lane, being the overend[9] of the said croft, as the same is now meared and staked out," etc. Hunter speaks of Campo Lane, or "in full the Camper field lane." He also says that "the Campa field" occurs several times in a document written in the early part of the last century.[10] In Gosling's plan it is called "Camper Lane." From this evidence it appears that there was formerly a "camper field," i.e. a football-players' field, in the neighbourhood. According to Tusser the sport of the "camper," or football-player, was not only good exercise, but it was useful to the meadow, for it made the grass "grow the more fine." He has also these two lines:

Get campers a ball

To play therewithall.[11]

The word "campo" is given in the New English Dictionary as a piece of obsolete school slang, meaning a playground. Two instances only are quoted, and they are both from Brinsley's "Grammar Schoole," 1612. Brinsley speaks of boys "running out to the Campo (as they tearme it) at schoole times." It is possible that Brinsley's "Campo" is equivalent to "camper field," for the Sheffield Grammar School, which was founded in 1603, was within a few yards of this place. Owing to the position of the lane on the crest of a hill I once thought that the most likely derivation was from the Old Norse kambr, a ridge.[12] But the evidence given by Hunter makes it more probable that Campo Lane means "football-players' lane." I do not know of any earlier mention of this street than "the Campo Lane" of 1658, but it may go much further back. Mr. Gomme has given an interesting account of old football contests, as for example that at Derby, as evidence of clan feuds or tribal rivalries.[13] He shows that the contest was between one part of a town and another. He says "at Asborne[14] the struggle was between the up'ards and down'ards." He says nothing more about the Ashbourne contest, but it was a very remarkable one, and I believe it is yet carried on. On Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday a football was thrown into the Bull Ring of that village, and the contest was between the upper and the lower part, or between the north and the south side, of the town, which is divided by a river. There are two mills on the stream, Clifton mill and Sturston mill, which are about three miles apart, and are about equidistant from the town. The two goals were these two mills, and the object was to put the ball on the axle of the opponent's water-wheel. The shops were closed and the contest was carried on with the utmost vigour, if not fury, the combatants rushing through gardens or any ground which lay between them and their goal, and often committing considerable damage. The ball was said to be galled on the middle of the mill wheel. At Sheffield there were also two mills, the Town mill or Soke mill at Millsands near the Don, and the mill in the Ponds. At Ashbourne it is clear that the football contest points to an old feud or rivalry between two opposing clans or races of settlers. I have failed to find any evidence of a football contest in Sheffield resembling that at Derby or Ashbourne. Yet there can be no doubt that tribal rivalry existed in Sheffield as elsewhere, and in a previous chapter I have referred to divisions of race.[15] We may fairly conclude then that Camper field and Campo Lane arose from the sport of football playing, and that this may point back to a custom like that at Ashbourne. I am told that it was formerly a common thing for the boys in Sheffield to form themselves into sets and attack each other. Thus there was "the Pond Street set," "the Allen Street set," etc. A weak set used to be called "a peeny set," i.e. a puny set. It has often been observed that children carry on the games which their forefathers once played as men.

Baker's Hill: Shude Hill.—The miller, who was always an important man in any town, probably lived down by the Ponds where the mill was. If you will look at Gosling's map you will see the ground-plan of the old half-timber house known as "the hall in the Ponds," with its garden in front. Here the miller himself may have lived. The map will also show you that Baker's Hill and Shude Hill are adjacent to the water mill which ground the corn. Shude Hill means "husk hill," and we may compare it with the Scotch "shealing hill," which, according to Jamieson, is "the eminence near a mill, where the kernels of grain were separated, by the wind, from the husks." An old rental in the Sheffield Free Library, dated 1624, tells us that a Mr. Mosley had a lease of the bakehouse in Sheffield at a rent of £20. We see, therefore, that the machinery for winnowing and grinding the corn, as well as the public bakehouse on Baker's Hill, lay all together, and we thus get an interesting glimpse of the time when a portion of the community ground their corn at the public mill in the Ponds, and when their bread was baked at the public bakery. In Sheffield, as I have already said, there were two mills, the Town mill or Soke mill at Millsands, and the mill in the Ponds.

Blind Lane.—Blind here means dark, obscure. Chaucer speaks of "blind lanes."[16] There is a Dark Lane between Crookes and Walkley. It was once overshadowed by trees.

The Hartshead.—A narrow street near the east side of the churchyard is known as "the Hartshead." By an indenture, in my possession, dated the 20th August, 1662, John Askewe of Southwarke, in the county of Middlesex, cutler, in consideration of £40 paid to him by Parker Barnard of Attercliffe, yeoman, conveyed to the said Parker "All that cottage or tenement wherein Thomas Cauthorne doth now inhabit and dwell, scituate lying and being in Sheffield aforesaid in a certaine street there coinmonly called the Hartshead." I take "the Hartshead" as having originally been the name of the piece of land which lay to the east of the parish church, and as pointing back to the old religious practice of suspending the heads of animals,[17] such as goats or horses, on trees, or on the gable ends of houses. We may compare the O. N. dyrshöfuðs-dyrr a door over which a hart's head is placed. It seems strange to find this narrow passage, not more than five feet wide, described as "a certain street," for its only title to that name is its stone pavement. It is one of the oldest and quaintest "streets" in Sheffield, and resembles a "wynd" in Edinburgh, with houses on both sides irregularly disposed and huddled together. One of the houses, built of stone, and with old timber and plaster work over the "street," is not later in date than the early part of the seventeenth century. The curious thing about it is that it goes right over the "street" like a little "Bridge of Sighs." This bridging over of narrow alleys or lanes was not uncommon in the old parts of Sheffield, and there are two of these "bridges" in the Hartshead. These alleys were very snug and quaint places to live in, but the want of proper air and light must have been distressing. Some of the rooms on the ground floors of the houses have been paved with boulders.

The Wicker.—This word has been a stumbling-block to all who have been interested in the antiquities of Sheffield. Originally it was the name not of a street but of a piece of flat land, afterwards forming a sort of village green, lying in a bend or angle formed by the winding of the Don. This will be readily seen by a reference to Gosling's plan. I formerly suggested that it might be derived from the Old English wíc, a creek, or angle, and ker, Old Norse kiarr, a car or marshy place. But the Old Norse vík, genitive víkr, cognate with the Old English wíc, a creek or inlet, would make the best sense, if we may believe that the oblique case víkr is the older form of the word and remains here. If that were so the word simply means inlet or creek. Vík and Víkr are frequent amongst Icelandic local names. The Old Norse vík is derived from the verb víkja, to turn or recede. We may compare víkr-hvarf, a creek. It is less likely that the word means marshland, though in Old English nomenclature wic appears occasionally to have that meaning.[18]

Pepper Alley.—This is the name of a narrow lane or alley which ran between Fargate and Norfolk Street. I had always thought that these Pepper Alleys were in towns only, but I find a Pepper Alley close to the southern boundary of Wentworth Park and to the north of Kimberworth. A writer in Notes and Queries said that Pepper Alley and Pepper Street as names of low parts of towns and villages are quite common all over England[19] According to Halliwell there is a Cheshire proverb, "When the daughter is stolen shut the pepper-gate." I do not know the meaning or derivation of the word.

Ratten Row.—A small block of buildings surrounded by streets on all sides and lying between Broad Lane End and Westbar Green appears on Fairbank's plan as Ratten Row. The reader will be familiar with Rotten Row in London. I find in Sisson's "Historic Sketch of the Parish Church, Wakefield," 1824, that there was a street in that town "called Bread Booths now Ratten Row." The buildings comprising Ratten Row are marked on Gosling's plan, but the name is not given. Förstemann under the word raud, red, gives such names as Roten-bach, and Roten-burg. It would appear that "ratten" or "rotten" in these names means "red," and refers probably to houses built of red brick. If this be the meaning it is strange that the word has not been preserved in the dialect. I have seen "Wratten" as an alias of the surname Ratcliffe, as though it were Ratten-cliffe, Red-cliffe. I find Rotten Close in a plan of land in Ecclesfield dated 1764.

Paradise Square.—Paradise was an old name for a garden, and it is sometimes found amongst English place- names, as at Wedmore in Somersetshire. "In some Icelandic farms," says Vigfusson, "a grassy hollow or valley close by a dwelling-house is called Paradis." It is also applied to a grassy slope, as would be the case in Sheffield where the square is on the slope of a hill. Oughtibridge's view of Sheffield shows that the square was a grassy slope.

Lambert Knoll: Lambert Street.—According to Gosling's plan Lambert Knoll is the name of a piece of land at the top of the street now called Scotland Street. A "barth," as Dr. Murray shows, is "a warm sheltered place for cattle and sheep," and he quotes Tusser's Husbandry, 1573; "warme barth giue lams." The meaning of our local name, then, is "lamb shelter." We may compare Lamb Hill at Handsworth near Sheffield, and the Old Norse lamb-hús, lamb sheds.

Sale Hill.—This is now the name of a modern suburban street in Sheffield, but it seems to have been originally applied to the hill on which the street is formed. If so, it is the Old Norse sel[20] a shed. Vigfusson defines sel as "a shed on a mountain pasture, but within the landmarks of each farm, where the milch-kine are kept in the summer months." There is a place called Sail Hill in the parish of Drax, near Selby.

Water Lane.—This was also called Watering Lane, as I have seen in a plan, made in the last century, in the Duke of Norfolk's office. There were formerly troughs in this lane.[21]

Snig Hill.—In the neighbourhood of Bradford and elsewhere in Yorkshire there is a word snicket, meaning a narrow passage or entrance, or, as we should say in Sheffield, a "jennel." The word "snug" meaning comfortable, or lying close and warm, is identical with the word "snig" used in this street-name. It is the Old Norse snöggr, Swedish snygg, smooth, short, close, with a secondary or derived meaning. It is not the hill, in this case, which is "snug," but the narrow old street, and had it been "snicket hill" the meaning would have been clear. In the Supplement to my Sheffield Glossary I have mentioned the phrase "a snig place to catch a poacher" where the meaning is quiet, secret, or retired. Snig Hill, then, is "snug hill," snug street, with the meaning close, retired, narrow. In the chapter on "The House" a drawing of this street will be found showing some old houses, with projecting upper stories, and possibly all the houses in the street were once of this kind. In a street already narrow upper stories projecting a long way would give an appearance of still greater narrowness, so that such a street might on that account be called "snig" or "snug." How snug some of the streets in Sheffield once were I have already shown when speaking of the Hartshead.

Winter Street.—In a plan of property in Sheffield made about the middle of the last century I find "Winter Crofts." This is analogous to the Old Norse vetr-beit, or vetr-hagi, winter pasture, as distinguished from sumar-hagi, summer pasture.


[1] If this had been the case the word would rather have been Fergate, far being rare in Middle English.

[2] "Suilli, uel porcelli, uel nefrendes, fearas."—Alfric's Vocab. (10th century) in Wright-Wülcker, 119, 26.

[3] Leader's Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, 1875, p. 264.

[4] Prompt. Parv. p. 411. The Latin rendering of the word is pratellus.

[5] Hallamshire, p. 122.

[6] A view of an old house, with projecting upper stories, at the corner of Change Alley and High Street is introduced on the following page as a specimen of the old street architecture of Sheffield. This house will shortly be removed in widening High Street, the house on the other side of Change Alley being, as will be seen, already demolished.

[7] "Uno crofto vocato Pincencroft Len." Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 134.

[8] Thus in Fornmanna Sögur, i. 22, taka land i lén, to take land in fee, and iv., 232, halda lönd ok lén af konungi, to hold land and tee of the king.

[9] Upper end.

[10] In my Sheffield Glossary, p. 37.

[11] Brand's Popular Antiquities, 1849, ii., 405.

[12] Sheffield Glossary.

[13] Village Community, p. 241.

[14] Ashbourne in Derbyshire

[15] Chapter xviii.

[16] There is a field called Blind Wells (sunless fields) in Brinsworth near Rotherham.

[17] The head of the male animal was impaled, and the hart is the male deer, On this subject see Grimm's Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 659, seq.

[18] "Mariscus, quod dicitur Biscopes-wic."—Leo's Anglo-Saxon Names of Places, London, 1852, pp. 61, 98.

[19] 7th S. iv. 373.

[20] Sel, says Vigfusson, stands for an obsolete sali, and the word is akin to salr." The e in sel was therefore pronounced like the a in same.

[21] Leader's Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, 1875, p. 263.

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XX. The Bull Stake—Bull Week

The street now called Haymarket was formerly called the Bullstake. A Sheffield gentleman once told me that his father remembered the time when a bull was tied to a stake in this place and baited by dogs, the owner of each dog paying a small sum to the keeper of the bull. He further told me that a bull was baited in Sheffield in order that poor people might know that there was bull beef in the town, which beef was disliked on account of its toughness!

At Ashbourne in Derbyshire a bull was baited annually on the Monday or Tuesday of the village feast, which was held on the first Sunday after the 16th of August. After the animal had been baited in the usual manner by dogs, it was killed, cut up, and, as I have been told, divided amongst the poor. I cannot ascertain that in Sheffield it was customary to divide the carcase amongst the poor. But the following curious account given to me by an old inhabitant of Sheffield is very significant.

"At the end of the last century," he said, "a master, who had a large order for knives on hand, told his workmen that if they got their work done before Christmas they should have a bull cut up amongst them. The bull accordingly was fetched from Tideswell."

[1] Imperfect: as these traditions are we are enabled by their help to see the origin and meaning of the Sheffield "bull week."

It was the practice at Tutbury in Staffordshire to cut up and divide the bull, for Dr. Plot, in concluding a long account of the bull-running in that town tells us that :

"the minstrels had him for their own, and might sell, kill, and divide him amongst themselves as they thought fit."

[2] Bull-baiting seems to be a survival of sacrifices of that animal formerly made in England.

At Bury St. Edmunds a white bull used to be brought in procession to the bier of St. Edmund,

"curiously adorned with garlands of flowers between his horns, ribbons, etc."

This bull had to be found every year by a tenant of the monastery by way of rent, and the custom was kept up down to the dissolution of the monastery.[3]

The ancient ceremony at Tutbury was most remarkable. It seems that certain "minstrels" came to matins there on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (Aug. 15) and after the service was done a bull was turned out by the Prior, and given to the "minstrels" if they could take him on this side the river Dove nearest to the town. The custom was kept up long after the Reformation, and a service, according to the rites of the Church of England, was read down to 1778.[4]

On the 25th of August, 1678, bulls were sacrificed on the little island of Innis Maree in Scotland. The 25th of August is the feast day of St. Malruba, now called Mourie or Maree, the patron saint of the district, and called by the people of the district the god Maree.[5] The bull was sacrificed by the ancient Norsemen.[6] By eating a part of the viclim the people became partakers in the sacrifice.

"These sacrifices," says Grimm, "appear to be also banquets; an appointed portion of the slaughtered beast is placed before the god, the rest is cut up, distributed, and consumed in the assembly."

Let me compare this evidence. In Scotland the bull was sacrificed on the 25th of August, the feast day of the god Maree.

At Ashbourne the bull was baited on the Sunday next after the 16th of August—that being exactly parallel in point of time—and its body cut up and given to the poor.

At Tutbury the "bull running" was on the 15th of August, and its body was divided amongst the "minstrels."

Is it too much to infer from all this that bull-runnings or bull-baitings are the survivals of pagan sacrifices.

At Ashover in Derbyshire the bull-baiting was held at the village feast (the first Sunday in July) in the Market Place, where, I am told, the bull ring still remains a few inches beneath the surface.

In Sheffield the scene of the bull-baiting seems to have been changed, for in Harrison's Survey, 1637, it is said that a

"croft called Skinner Croft, alias Bulstake Croft, lyeth next new lane west and Church lane north, and divers gardens east,"

whereas the place which is described as "Bull Stake" on Fairbank's plan appears as "Beast Market" on Gosling's plan. It was near Church lane then and under the very shadow of the old church that the bull was formerly tied to the stake.

In Sheffield the week before Christmas is known as "bull week." Throughout that week the cutler works with all his might so that he may earn enough wages to maintain himself and his family during the holiday which follows. When the work is over the men say that they have

"getten t' bull by t' tail."

The question

"has ta getten t' bull down?"

is also asked.

It would appear that these questions were not originally connected with the making of cutlery, but that they point back to the existence in Sheffield of a public bull-running held at Christmas or about that time. And the whole evidence taken together also points to the former existence in this city of a ceremony similar to the one which was observed at Tutbury. At Tutbury the bull's tail was covered with soap to make him harder to catch, and the Sheffield phrase "getten t' bull by t' tail" shows that a similar custom once obtained here.


[1] Supplement to Sheffield Glossary, 1891, p. 8. As I have often noticed, such expressions as "the end of the last century" are equivalent to "once upon a time."

[2] Plot's Staffordshire quoted in a History of Ashbourne, 1839, p. 94.

[3] Antiquarian Repertory, 1808, iii, 338.

[4] Brand's Popular Antiq., 1849, ii, 65; Plot's Staffordshire, p. 439; Pegge in Archaeologia, ii, 86; Antiquarian Repertory, 1808, iii, 282.

[5] Henderson's Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties, 1879, p. 148.

[6] Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Borcale, ii. 68.

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XXI. Holly Rents

There was a curious way of feeding sheep in Hallamshire during the winter which has been recorded by De la Pryme, the Yorkshire antiquary. In his diary, under the year 1696, he says:

"In the south-west of Yorkshire, at and about Bradfield, and in Darbishire, they feed all their sheep in winter with holly leaves and bark, which they eat more greedily than any grass. To every farm there is so many holly trees; and the more there is the farm is dearer; but care is taken to plant great numbers of them in all farms thereabouts. And all these holly trees are smooth leaved, and not prickly. As soon as the sheep sees the sheppard come with an ax in his hand they follow him to the first tree he comes at, and stands all in a round about the tree, expecting impatiently the fall of a bow, which, when it is fallen, all as many as can eats thereof, and the sheppard going further to another tree, all those that could not come in unto the eating of the first follow him to this, and so on. As soon as they have eaten all the leaves they begin of the bark and pairs it all of."[1]

"A hag of hollin," says Hunter,[2] "was the holly trees growing upon a certain portion of ground in the commons of the manor of Sheffield. The lord was accustomed to let or sell them by the hag." "Hag" means pasture, being the Old Norse hagi. When, therefore, Harrison in his survey speaks of a "hagg of hollin in the wood bank and under the toft ends" at Stannington[3] he means such a piece of ground containing hollies as could be let out to a tenant for feeding his sheep during the winter. In his survey of the manor of Sheffield Harrison gives a list of twenty-five persons who paid "hollin rents" for "hags" in various places, the first entry being that of Thomas Revill who paid £1 2s. 2½d. "for a hagg in Rivelin." It seems that goats, as well as sheep, were fed in this way, for in the middle of Harrison's list is the entry "three hags next the old lands reserv'd for the goates."

In Notes and Queries[4] I expressed the opinion that "probably the tree in question was the holm oak, or ilex, whose leaves resemble the leaves of the holly," but I was corrected by Sir Herbert Maxwell who said:

"The holm oak (Quercus ilicifolius) is not a native species, and if it were so would form very unsuitable food for sheep. Indeed it is doubtful whether any but the very young shoots could be eaten by them. It is these only that bear spiny leaves (whence the name holm = hollin, i.e. holly oak). Unlike the holly, the foliage of the holm oak becomes harsh and dry with maturity, whereas the leaves of an old holly are as succulent as those of the young plant. No matter what the age of a holly, so long as the twigs are within reach of being cropped by cattle so long will the leaves on them remain armed with protective spines, but as soon as they attain a safe height the leaves become as smooth as those of a camellia."[5]

This being the case, it was necessary that the shepherd should cut off the upper branches of the holly for the sheep and goats, and De la Pryme's account of the sheep following the shepherd to the nearest tree and waiting impatiently for the fall of the boughs is a very interesting relic of ancient custom.

A tract of land on Bradfield moors goes by the name of Hollin-dale or Holling-dale. Here probably some of the Bradfield men fed their sheep during the snows of winter.

Hunter, deriving his information from Wilson of Broomhead Hall, whose notes were written in 1741, says that Loxley was formerly "overgrown with holly trees, which were rented by several persons who had every one a hagge for their sheep to feed on in winter. There were a few of these trees then standing, but he supposed that they had been lately planted, or had sprung up from the old roots which had remained in the ground, for the whole were sold to Mr. Copley, a great iron master, about the year 1670, who stubbed all up. This general desolation has much injured the appearance of the hill side. When seen from Mr. Halliday's walks, it is a complete blank—fields divided from each other by straight stone walls, and on the summit a considerable tract yet unridded of the masses of stone, such as, though in a less degree, covered the whole of it formerly. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood have preserved the memory of Mr. Copley's devastation in these rude rhymes:

If Mr. Copley had never been born,

Or in his cradle had died,

Loxley Chace had never been torn,

Nor many a brave wood beside."[6]

I append an old list of the persons who paid "hollin rents" in 1624.[7] It will be observed that one of the tenants had a lease of the holly growing upon a particular portion of ground.


Rent Thomas Smith & Webster v s

Wiliam Revell for hollen in lease xxvj s viij d

Hughe Sponner for hollen ij s vj d

Richard Morton & John: Sponne for hollen at will xxvj s viij d

34 s 2 d

LOXLEY William Grene, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Nicholas Bramoe, one hagge xiij s iiij d

William Ibbotson, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Richard Eyre, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Vidna Bramoe, one hagge xiij s iiij d

John Bacon, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Mr. Geo. Eyre, one hagge xiij s iiij d

John Littlewood, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Mountney Sheffeld, one hagge xiij s iiij d

Walter Hurt, one hagge xx s

Nicholas Birley, one hagge xx s

Francis Barber, one hagge xx s


Richard Revell & his sonnes one hagge iij li vj s viij d

Ulisses Fox, one hagge xxxiij s iiij d

Henry Shawe, one hagge xviij s

John Shawe, one hagge x s

Frannc's Ronksley, one hagge xx s

Edward Ibbottson, one hagge xx s

Henry Shawe, one hagge xv s

17 li 9s 8d

Tot. 19 li 3s. 10d.

The names Revill, Ibbotson, Eyre, Shaw, Ronksley, Morton, and others show that it was in and about Bradfield, and in no other part of Hallamshire, that holly rents were taken. I can hardly imagine a more striking picture of old country life, I might almost say of patriarchal life, than that of the shepherds feeding their sheep in winter on the evergreen trees with which the steep and rocky sides of the Loxley valley were clothed.

The philologist may be interested to see the surname Spooner written Sponner, just as it is often pronounced now in this neighbourhood. I have often heard it pronounced spunner, as though it meant a spinner, rather than a maker of spoons.


[1] Diary of Abraham de la Pryme (Surtees Society), p. 165.

[2] Hallamshire Glossary.

[3] Sheffield Glossary, p. 99.

[4] 8th s. i, 431.

[5] Ibid p. 462.

[6] In the Local Notes and Queries of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent.

[7] From a MS. Rental in the Sheffield Free Library.

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XXII. The House

There may still be seen in Hallamshire a few survivals, more or less interesting and complete, of the old way of building; survivals which unmistakeably suggest the house built from forest trees, and with roofs and walls made watertight by wattle and daub. One of these was first brought to my notice by Mr. William Furness of Whirlow Hall. He told me of several old barns or other farm buildings near Sheffield, which were originally built of wood, and which still retained their old wooden framework. In these examples the wattle and daub are only occasionally seen, but the great oak timbers remain. They are massive and strong, and fastened together by big wooden pins. It will be seen from the sketch of the interior of a barn or farm building at Hagg Green, between Stephen Hill and Bell Hagg, that not only are the timbers old and big, but that all the interstices between the great beams were originally filled up with stakes and wattles. This wooden framework which fills up the interstices is locally known as "studding" or "stoothing."[1] "Stud and stud-breadth," says Kennett,[2] "is in Yorkshire the way of building the walls of a house in small frames or pannels of timber filld up with brick or stones or plaistering." Such panels may be seen in the wall at the end of the barn at Hagg Green. Laths were fitted, Mr. Winder tells me, into the panels or spaces horizontally by means of a notch; they were not nailed upon the wooden framework. Over the laths a mixture of clay and straw was daubed so as to form a plaster. At Hagg Green the stoothing at the end of the barn divides that building from an old part of the house, as is apparent by the windows, now blocked up, in the continuous wall. It was evident on inspection of this example that the wood-work of the building figured in the drawing is much older than the outer stone-work, and from this we may infer that, as the wattle and daub which completed the building decayed, stone-work was afterwards substituted as being more durable. As will be seen in the drawing, the "studs" on which the laths were laid still remain at the end of the building, and it is most likely that the whole building was originally framed of massive rough-hewn oak timbers, without any stone-work, and completed by wooden stakes and laths and a daubing of clay.

The big timbers which form, as it were, the arches of these buildings are locally known as "crucks."[3] I have mentioned these "crucks" in the supplement to my Sheffield Glossary, and as the description there given was an exact copy of what Mr. Furness was good enough to write out for me, I will repeat what he said, because the evidence is valuable. "Strong oak trees," he said, "with a considerable bend towards the top were selected. They were fastened together at the ridge, and then the side trees were laid upon them for the support of a thatched roof. The outer walls, often low, were generally formed of boards, or plaster and lath, so that with a small stone foundation for each cruk little masonry was necessary." Mr. Furness then drew my attention to fine specimens of this kind of timber-work at High Storrs, Ecclesall, and at the farm of Mr. W. Fox, of Lightwood in Norton. The "crucks" at High Storrs are shown in the plate which faces the beginning of this chapter, and, apart from their antiquarian interest, they form, with their surroundings, a beautiful picture. The outside of the building at High Storrs is also shown in the drawing below.

Let me compare Mr. Furness's description of these buildings with a description which Mr. Seebohm, relying on documentary authority, has given of the Welsh tribal house. "It is built," he says, "like the house observed by Giraldus Cambrensis, of trees newly cut from the forest. A long straight pole is selected for the roof-tree. Six well-grown trees, with suitable branches apparently reaching to meet one another, and of about the same size as the roof-tree, are stuck upright in the ground at even distances in two parallel rows—three in each row. Their extremities bending over make a Gothic arch, and crossing one another at the top, each pair makes a fork, upon which the roof-tree is fixed. These trees supporting the roof-tree are called gavaels, forks, or columns, and they form the nave of the tribal house. Then, at some distance back from these rows of columns or forks, low walls of stakes and wattle shut in the aisles of the house, and over all is the roof of branches and rough thatch, while at the ends are the wattle doors of entrance."[4] Mr. Seebohm then goes on to describe the internal arrangement of the house, with its beds, fire, chieftain's bed or seat, and so on. And he remarks that "the chieftain's hall is twice the size and value of the free tribesman's, and the free tribesman's is twice that of the taeog. But the plan is the same. They are all built with similar green timber forks and roof-trees and wattle, with the fireplace in the nave, and the rush beds in the aisles."

There are no aisles in the buildings which I have just described, and I have no evidence to show that they were ever intended for anything but mere barns. The prototype of the Gothic arch, and of the church, is quite apparent in them; and the two windows, one above the other, at the end of the building at High Storrs, shown in the plate, suggest the east end of an old church. Buildings of this kind must once have formed the dwelling-places of man in this district, for they preserve the shape of the old tribal house. In some parts of Sweden, says Ihre, so late as the last century, men and women used to sleep promiscuously together on a sort of platform suspended beneath the roof of a cowhouse, "and, to the glory of this nation be it remembered, not only without the least loss of virtue, but without any suspicion of such a thing, for if any man should herein impute vice to a girl he would forthwith be kicked out of the parish as a blackguard."[5]

That family groups or tribesmen lived together in England in houses similar to the one which Mr. Seebohm has described is an inference which, I think, is certain. For the Norsemen, as well as the ancient Welsh, occupied large houses of this kind, and we may safely assume that such houses were built by all the men of Teutonic blood. "So long," says Mr. Seebohm, "as the head of the family lived, all his descendants lived with him, apparently in the same homestead, unless new ones had already been built for them on the family land. In any case, they still formed part of the joint household of which he was the head."[6] "But," he observes, "all the inhabitants of Wales were not members of the tribes. Besides the households of tribesmen of blood relations and pure descent, there were hanging on to the tribes or their chiefs, and under the overlordship of the latter, or sometimes of tribesmen, strangers in blood who were not free Welshmen; also Welshmen illegitimately born, or degraded for crime. And these classes, being without tribal or family rights, were placed in groups of households and homesteads by themselves."[7] Now there is a place near Sheffield—not in Hallamshire, but close to its borders—which seems to have once been a homestead of the "illegitimately born." The hamlet of Bassingthorpe near Rotherham, is, I believe, to be derived from the Old Norse bæsingr,[8] the child of an outlawed mother, and þorp, a word which, according to Vigfusson, "was originally applied to the cottages of the poorer peasantry crowded together in a hamlet, instead of each house standing in its own enclosure." The bæsingr was not entitled to inherit, he was an outcast from the family or tribe, and it would seem that such persons did not live in the tribal homesteads, but, as Mr. Seebohm puts it, "were placed in groups of households and homesteads by themselves." If this derivation be correct it follows that in the district of which I am writing there once was a time when the tribal group of blood relations lived in homesteads like those which I have mentioned, rejecting from those homesteads the illegitimately born and strangers in blood.

There is a place between Sheffield and Ecclesfield known as Raisin Hall, which is mentioned as "Reason Haule" in 1624.[9] This is the Old English ræsn, a covering, shingle, plank, roof, ceiling, Gothic razn, a house—a word which we may see in Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. Assuming that the word hall is here used in its old sense, we may infer, I think, that Raisin Hall was originally a wooden house of considerable size. I take it that the original name was simply ræsn, used in the sense of a roofed hall, and that the word "hall" was attached at a later time when ræsn had been forgotten. The word "Woodhouse" too, occurring in such old place-names as Handsworth Woodhouse, or Dronfield Woodhouse, implies that a house built of wood formerly stood in each of those places, of sufficient size to give its name to a village or hamlet. The village of Treeton near Handsworth Woodhouse seems also to have obtained its name from a wood house built there before the Norman conquest, being apparently derived from the Old Norse tré, wood, and tún, a homestead or house.

It appears from Harrison's Survey and other evidence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that country houses in this neighbourhood were frequently built in "bays." Thus in describing a tenement at Fox Hill in Ecclesfield he tells us that it consisted of "a dwelling-house of 4 bayes, a stable being an out shutt and other out houses are 7 little bayes, besides a barne of 4 bayes." In describing a tenement which still bears the curious name of Corker Walls he tells us that it had "a dwelling-house of 2 bayes." And elsewhere throughout his Survey these "bays" are often mentioned.[10] In Gwilt's "Architecture" a "bay" is defined as "the division of a barn or other building, generally from fifteen to twenty feet in breadth." Dr. Murray says that "when the word is applied to a house, it appears to be the space lying under one gable, or included between two party-walls." The earliest quotation in the dictionary goes no further back than 1557.[11] What the "bay" really is will be seen in the plate prefixed to this chapter. It is the space included between any two pairs of "crucks." In dwelling-houses, or in such buildings as were not halls or barns, the internal "crucks" were covered by timber and plaster-work, and so the spaces between them formed separate rooms. Examples of houses built in this way still survive in Hallamshire, though they are steadily disappearing. For instance Stubbing House in Ecclesfield is built with "crucks" like those in the barn or large building at High Storrs. A portion of the kitchen of this house is shown in the drawing. Here the "crucks" reach almost to the ground, and are continued up to the roof-tree. On the right of this drawing will be seen one of these timbers with a porch, all made of wood and plaster, beneath. This kitchen, which is very quaint and interesting, must at one time have been a parlour or better kind of living room. Upon a little cupboard which stands in the recess on the other side of the fire-place is a carving of a man in an Elizabethan dress standing by the side of a saddled horse, with the date 1569 carved in one corner. This cupboard measures one foot two inches on each side, and I am sure that it is genuine and in its original place. By this date we are enabled to see that the house is at least 324 years old, and it may, of course, be much older. The beams or cross-trees which hold the "crucks" of Stubbing House together form the supports of the bedroom floors, and the single storey above is shaped like a wigwam, or an inverted V. It will be readily seen that when an upper room of this kind did not stand at the gable end, but formed the upper portion of an internal "bay," it would be impossible, according to the knowledge of former days, to admit light without the assistance of some such contrivance as the dormer window. And consequently we shall find dormer windows in many houses built in this way, as for instance in some old whitewashed houses in the village street at Crookes, now pulled down, but represented in the drawing on the preceding page.

In this neighbourhood the kitchen of a cottage is known as "the house." Now a cottage of the smaller sort is usually entered through the kitchen, where a fire is kept burning. The entrance room or entrance passage of the modern house is now spoken of as the entrance hall, and it would appear that in former times there was one room, known either as the "hall," the "house," or even as the "fire-house,"[12] which formed a nucleus and centre for the rest of the building. In the typical manor house of the seventeenth century there is a great hall which forms the entrance, containing a large fire-place on one side and a staircase at the back. There are no passages or corridors, and from this hall entrance is obtained to the rest of the house by going out of one room into another. This principal room has degenerated into a mere passage now; it was once par excellence the "hall" or "house."

In this neighbourhood, as in many other places, there are traditions about underground passages between one big house and another, between a castle and a church, a church and an abbey, and so on. For example it is said that there is an underground passage between Fulwood Hall and Bennett Grange. One is accustomed to laugh at such things, and to treat them as mere nursery tales. But they merely afford proof of the value of tradition. A tradition about an underground passage leading out of Sheffield Castle has been verified by the discovery, a few years ago, on Castle Hill, of "a subterranean passage excavated out of the solid rock, and running in the direction of the Market Hall. . . . It was partially obstructed with debris; but was still some four feet in height, and perfect as to its roof. It was never explored."[13] About 280 yards to the north of the Manor House at Kimberworth near Rotherham is a very large oval mound with a few trees growing upon its north side. The mound stands in a field called Hilly Chapel, and near the ridge-way called Barber Balk, the adjoining field being known as Garden Chapel.[14] There is a legend in the village that there is a chapel under this mound, and also that an underground passage runs between it and the Manor House. So convinced are the occupants of the Manor House of the existence of this underground passage that they have lately caused a considerable excavation to be made in the side of the mound, in the expectation of finding it. I have examined this cutting, and, so far as I was able to form an opinion, the mound is artificial and not, as one might have supposed, natural. It is composed of soft earth, whereas the ground on which it stands is rocky at a short depth. The present Manor House, built at the end of the seventeenth century, stands upon the site of a much older building, which appears to have been partly surrounded by a moat. The occupants have attempted to find the underground passage by digging in the mound of this moat. Such passages really existed, for the "earth-house" or underground passage was a common appendage to the dwellings of the old Northmen. It is frequently mentioned in their Sagas, and "was used for hiding or as a means of escape."[15]

At a place called Under Tofts situate on the north bank of Rivelin Water and nearly opposite to Bell Hagg, I notice on the Ordnance map Hitching Cabin. This is an interesting local name, for it means moveable hut, or moveable little house.[16] In the chapter dealing with "Mushroom Hall" I have said something about the rights of squatters on the waste, and an examination of the field-names will disclose the fact that, besides the towns or fixed homesteads, there were shifting homesteads in this district. Hitching Cabin was merely a squatter's hut, which very appropriately stood upon a piece of rough and untilled ground. There is a tradition that a sheep-stealer's hut once stood on this piece of ground, and that if you looked down the chimney you could see the stolen sheep within.

Some old houses in Snig Hill, Sheffield, appear to be built entirely of wood and plaster, and they are a survival from the time when all the houses in the town were of that kind. The wooden framework of these buildings is covered with lath and plaster, which might as well be called wattle and daub. Mr. Keeling has sketched the whole street, and these old houses, with their projecting upper stories, will be seen on the left of his interesting picture. The houses are in a state of great decay; the upper stories are quite uninhabitable, and, as will be seen in the drawing, the wooden laths are here and there exposed to view where the plaster has fallen off. Snig Hill was formerly much narrower; the old houses on the west side having been taken down during the present century. These houses were approached by steps.

The old street in Sheffield known as Waingate, meaning wagon road, and leading over Lady's Bridge, seems to imply that there were other streets in the borough which were not wagon roads, or which did not admit horses and carriages, and Snig Hill may have been one of these. Snig, as I have already shown, is here the same word as snug, and means narrow, close. In this respect there is a curious resemblance between the old English and the Roman provincial town. The streets in the Roman provincial town were narrow, and the upper stories of the houses, as may be seen in some of the Pompeian houses, often projected. "The street-traffic of the ordinary Roman provincial town seems to have resembled that of the Tangier or Tetuan of to-day. Heavy burdens were carried on the backs of horses, mules, or cattle. Walking was the rule, riding on horseback or in a litter was the exception, driving was almost unknown."[17]

An extremely interesting house in Sheffield, originally built of wood and plaster, and mentioned in an old inventory as "the hawle at the Poandes."[18] has lately been sold, and in the hands of its new owner has undergone severe treatment. A few details are, however, here preserved by the artist's pencil.

This building, with a garden on the north side, stood alone, and separated from other houses, in 1736. It was one of those houses which the Romans called insulæ, or isles, because they stood apart from other houses.[19] It is, or rather was, built of massive oak timbers, and at one time contained much rich and beautiful carving. The exterior of the house has been so much altered, and so much of the old work has been destroyed of late years, that I have not thought it necessary to introduce a general view of it, especially as Hunter has published a drawing.[20] The massive oak pillars or standards upon which the upper stories of the house are supported were decorated by carved capitals which projected from the walls of the building like corbels, and the horizontal spaces between the corbels were occupied by carved "tables" of oak in the style of the fourteenth century. Four of the capitals or corbels are here represented. Interesting and beautiful as some of this old work still is it has suffered much from the profane brush of the house-painter, who has daubed it without mercy. Figures 1 and 2 are the capitals of wooden pillars supporting the house, and are outside the building. All the heads are under canopies, and they were carved about the middle of the fourteenth century, if not earlier. Figure 2 is crowned, and another crowned head, said to be a king, has lately been taken from the interior of the house, and fixed on the highest part of the roof as a finial, so that it was impossible to make a drawing. So hard was the wooden pillar to which the last-named crowned head was attached that the workmen could not saw it asunder, so they took it to a steam saw mill where the workmen were told that it was "as hard as iron." Figure 1, which represents either a man or a woman coming out of a fish's mouth, is of ruder execution than the other carving, and is grotesque. The neighbours call it Jonah. Figures 3 and 4 are inside the house, forming the tops of wooden pillars, but alterations in the structure make it hard to say whether these pillars were originally inside, or whether they once formed supports of the exterior walls. Figure 4 is a fine relic of the old wood-carver's art, though it has suffered from coats of paint, and the graceful folds of the cowl or hood which surrounds the woman's head will be noticed in the drawing. It is the work of an accomplished artist. "The hall in the Ponds," or whatever its name was, has been a splendid specimen of an English house, standing alone in the fields, and close by the waters of the Sheath, yet within the precincts of the ancient borough.

We may infer from the wooden houses at the corner of Change Alley and those in Snig Hill, which have been already described, that the houses in Sheffield were mostly built of wood in early times. The streets were narrow, and were made still narrower by the projecting upper stories of the houses. What havoc a fire would make in such a place may be easily guessed, and it is on record that in 1265, or thirty-two years before the date of the Town Charter, the town was burnt by Hugh de Lassey and others, and damage done to the value of £3,000[21]—an enormous sum in those days.


[1] See the word in my Sheffield Glossary, p. 241, where it is applied to the lath and plaster work under the ceiling. And see also crock (5) in New Engl. Dict.

[2] In Halliwell s. v. stud.

[3] Compare the O. N. krók-raptr, crook-rafters in a house.

[4] Village Community, p. 239.

[5] Glossarium Suiogothicum, Upsala, 1769, i, p. 886.

[6] Village Community, p. 193.

[7] Ibid. p. 191.

[8] It is said to have originally meant a child born in a báss, our "boose," a stall in a cowhouse. Is it possible that Basinghall (pronounced Bazinghall) in London is to be read as basinga-höll, bastards' hall, a sort of foundling hospital or place of refuge for illegitimate children? A similar word is Cottingham, meaning the home of churls, from O. N. kotungr, Swedish kotunge, a cottier, boor. Bassingthorpe is now merely the name of a farm-house near Rotherham. It is pronounced as it is spelt, and not like Basinghall in London. Either the meaning here suggested is the right one, or the name is to be derived from a clan-name Basing, or Bassing, which seems less probable.

[9] Old Survey in Sheffield Free Library.

[10] The word occurs in Shakespeare—

"I'll rent the fairest house in it after three pence a bay."

Measure for Measure, II., I, 255.

[11] At a court held for the manor of Cowley on the 30th Jan., 1617, a surrender of "vnum cotagium continentem duas baias structure ex se" was passed.

[12] In a deed dated 1632 relating to land in Norton, mention is made of "the Hall or Fierhouse of the now mansion house of the said John Parker the elder in Little Norton aforesaid with the entry leading into the same, the parlor on the south side of the said hall, &c."—Derb. Arch. Journal, iv. p. 45.

[13] Leader's Mary Queen of Scots, p. 146.

[14] Near Hadrian's wall are various place-names containing the word "chapel," as Chapel-hill, Chapel-house, Chapel-houses.—Brace's Roman Wall, 1851.

[15] Cleasby and Vigfusson, s. v. jarð-hús. Tacitus mentions the subterranean dwellings of the Germans, which were intended to mislead their enemies.—Germ. 16.

[16] "Hytchinge or remevynge," Prompt. Parv. p. 239. "Caban, lytylle house," ibid. p. 57. The word hitch, to move, is still found in the district.

[17] Articles on viae in Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiq. ii, 952 b, and on domus, i, 666, a.

[18] Hunter's H. p. 193.

[19] "House standing al alone in the brode strete, or wylde fieldes. no other house nere, insula."—Huloet's Abcedarium, 1552.

[20] Hallamshire, p. 193. The drawing is not a good one. but it gives more of the original appearance of the house than can now be seen.

[21] See Gatty's Hunter's H., pp. 48, 501.

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XXIII. "Ibi Habuit Wallef Comes Aulam"

In Hallun, says the Doomsday Book, "the earl Waltheof had a hall." The aula of the Doomsday Book translates the höll or hall of the Norseman—a word which was always applied to a king's, or an earl's, palace, and not to a private dwelling. The hall of the Norseman was always built of wood. As the word Hallun or Hallum may mean "hall," Hallamshire may be the "hall shire" or "hall district." The modern Hallam is a late spelling of Hallum, the old dative plural, for I have noticed Hallum and Hallumschire in many early documents. As Baden in Germany is the dative plural of the Old High German bad, a bath, so Hallum, Hallun, Hallen, or Hallam in this south corner of Yorkshire may be the dative plural of the Old Norse höll, or of the cognate Old English heall. Even though the derivation of the word were, on phonetic or philological grounds, uncertain, yet the mention of the aula in Doomsday Book points strongly to the conclusion that Hallum is simply the dative plural of heall or höll, hall. The hall may have existed long before the Doomsday Book was written, nor probably would the Norman scribe know that hallum meant hall.

Förstemann under the word hal, meaning "hall," mentions a place called Hallum in a German document of the year 889. In Old English the form would be æt heallum, which I would venture to translate "the pillared roof." Palsgrave in his dictionary, dated 1530, gives "hall a long tent in a felde, tente."

It is possible, of course, though not likely, that the aula of the Doomsday Book, instead of referring to a great wooden palace built either by Germanic or Scandinavian settlers, may refer to a Roman villa used or occupied by them. And if this be the case we must look for the villa on the opposite hill side in Stannington, a place-name which, as will be maintained in the sequel, means "stone villa," the g being a comparatively modern innovation.

Mr. William Morris, in his story called "A Tale of the House of the Wolfings," has described the great "roof" or hall of an old Gothic or German clan.

"As for the Roof of the Wolfings," says the tale, "it was a great hall and goodly, after the fashion of their folk and their day; not built of stone and lime, but framed of the goodliest trees of the wild-wood squared with the adze, and betwixt the framing filled with clay wattled with reeds As to the house within, two rows of pillars went down it endlong, fashioned of the mightiest trees that might be found, and each one fairly wrought with base and chapiter, and wreaths and knots, and fighting men and dragons; so that it was like a church of later days that has a nave and aisles: windows there were above the aisles, and a passage underneath the said windows in their roofs. In the aisles were the sleeping-places of the Folk, and down the nave under the crown of the roof were three hearths for the fires, and above each hearth a luffer or smoke-bearer to draw the smoke up when the fires were lighted. Forsooth on a bright winter afternoon it was strange to see the three columns of smoke going wavering up to the dimness of the mighty roof, and one maybe smitten athwart by the sunbeams. As for the timber of the roof itself and its framing, so exceeding great and high it was, that the tale tells how that none might see the fashion of it from the hall-floor unless he were to raise aloft a blazing faggot on a long pole: since no lack of timber there was among the men of the mark."[1]

Mr. Morris seems to have drawn this sketch of an old Germanic house from descriptions of halls and buildings in the Norse Sagas. These great buildings were of wood, and were splendidly carved and ornamented. A few specimens of the woodwork of the Norsemen have been preserved in the carved doorways of churches and in old furniture. How splendid the workmanship was may be seen from these examples, some of which contain runes and representations of mythological subjects.[2] It is interesting to compare the carved work of these old wooden doorways with what is called Norman architecture in England, such as, for example, the ornamentations at Steetley chapel in Derbyshire.

If ever such a hall as that described by Mr. Morris existed in Hallamshire there was timber enough to build it. "There are," says William Harrison, "within this mannor very stately tymber, especially in Haw parke, which for both straightnesse and bigness there is not the like in any place that I can heare of, beeinge of length aboute 60 foote before you come to a knott or bowe, and many of these are two fathomes and some two fathomes and a halfe about, and they growe out of such a rocher of stone that you would hardly thinke there were earth enoughe to nourish the roots of the said trees." He remarks that "it hath been said by travellers that they have not scene such tymber in Christendome."

As appears from a few survivors which remained within living memory the trees were pines, which love a rocky soil. They are all gone now, and the steep hill sides look green and bare, save that they are covered to the very top with a vast network of stone walls. Revel, Rivelin, Rivelin Firth, and Rivelin Water are the chief local names of the valley, and they well describe the place as it was long ago. Revel is the Swedish refvel, a sand-bank or piece of rocky ground, and from that word, once used amongst us, there must have been formed an adjective refvelen, revelen,—like gold-en from gold—meaning rocky or stony. So that Rivelin Firth is the rocky enclosed wood, or the rocky deer-park. Either Waltheof[3] lived in Hallamshire himself or had a great house there, where possibly his father, Sivard, or Sigeward, or Siwerd, the great Danish earl had lived before him. Waltheof had been put to death for misprision of treason by order of William the Conqueror, before the date of the Doomsday Book. Worsaae[4] describes him as the "innocent and murdered martyr of freedom;" and it is said that miracles were performed at his shrine in Croyland Abbey, to which his remains were removed. The charge against him was that he had aided his countrymen the Danish settlers in England against the attacks of the Normans. For this William took a terrible revenge. He harried and laid waste the Danish settlements in the north, and Hallamshire felt the weight of his hand. Hunter mentions "a tradition that the vill of Hallam was destroyed in an act of fury in the incensed conqueror," and he also quotes an old charter, dated 1161, of the monks of St. Wandrille, who had a settlement in Ecclesfield, which accidentally speaks of the hedges "as they were before the burning."[5]

The Doomsday Book speaks of Hallun with its sixteen berewicks, and the same authority informs us that the whole manor, including the berewicks, contained twenty-nine carcucates or plough-lands. The acreage of the carcucate varied according to the system of tillage; it may have been as much as 180, or as little as 80, acres. In round figures, therefore, there were at the date of the survey between 2,000 and 5,000 acres of land which was ploughed within this manor. The berewick was a demesne farm, and the large number of these dependencies speaks eloquently of the size and importance of the manorial house to which they were subject.

The precise situation of the great hall in Hallamshire is not known, but assuming that Hallam means "hall" it must have been in one of the places called Upper and Lower Hallam. And I think that it must have stood not far from the Roman road which will be described in the sequel, it being well known that the Teutonic settlers adopted and made use of such roads. The Roman road, known till lately as the Long Causey,[6] which just touches the south end of the village of Crookes, is known there as Hallam Gate, that is Hallam road, or road to Hallam. Following this road from the south end of Crookes through Lydgate and Sandygate we shall notice on the south or left hand side and nearly opposite Burnt Stones, Hallam Head, a place which on the smaller and earlier Ordnance maps is marked simply Hallam. If Hallam were the actual name of the place to the south of Burnt Stones there could be no doubt as to the site of the old hall of the lords of Hallamshire, if we assume that the word Hallam means "hall" and was not applied to a Roman villa. Quite near to Hallam Head is a house which on the Ordnance Map is marked as "Hall Carr House." A few old buildings, a pinfold, a triangular piece of ground surrounded by roads, give an appearance of age to this place, and we may, with some show of probability, take it to be the site of the old palace of the lords of Hallamshire. I thought that the title deeds of landowners might disclose some information of value on this point, and I accordingly applied to Mr. Duncan Gilmour, who has lately built a house at Hallam Head. Mr. Gilmour says: "Looking over the deeds referring to the field between me and Burnt Stones I find that in 1715 a close of land known as 'The Hallam Meadow' was part of it." Mr. Gilmour also tells me that his land, together with adjoining land, was bought from the Duke of Norfolk, whose predecessors have been lords of the manor for many centuries. I see no reason why The Hallam Meadow should not mean the hall meadow, just as the Roman road to Buxton is still known as Bathum gate, meaning Bath road, or road to Buxton.


[1] p. 4.

[2] See numerous engravings in Du Chaillu's "The Viking Age," c. 15.

[3] The name is found in Old Norse as Val-þjófr. It means foreign thief.

[4] The Danes and Norwegians in England, p. 132.

[5] Hallamshire, p. 20.

[6] Now altered into the meaningless "Lodge Moor Road." The word "causey" means paved road, via calciata.

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XXIV. Scandinavian Place-Names

Historians and others who have written about the Danes[1] in England have usually been content to rely on the names of well-known villages or townships as evidence of colonization by that people. But it would be more satisfactory to take the field-names of a parish, or of a township, as they occur in modern terriers and maps, or better still as they are found in old charters, wills, or title deeds, and try to learn from them to what extent this influence prevailed. In such a country as the United States of America, the language of American-Indian tribes is indelibly impressed upon the local names. In like manner we can still trace upon the face of English land evidence that Danish settlers established their language in many places amongst us. Although Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon are dialects of the same parent language, the American parallel which I have just drawn is applicable to the present case. Where the language of American-Indian tribes has ceased to be spoken their place-names yet adhere to the soil. And where the language of the Norsemen once spoken in some parts of England has been supplanted by the language, or rather by the dialect, more usually spoken, the Norse fieldnames have often remained. In process of time the Norse settler became, as it were, Anglicized, but he had spoken his own tongue or dialect[2] and established his own system of local government on our shores long before he adopted the more common speech. When names have been given to places, such names are not easily changed. The dialect may be supplanted by the universal speech, or, as in the case of Cornwall, the language of the dominant people may efface the language of the weaker people. But the names of places often remain unchanged, and they preserve a lasting record of the nationality of the former inhabitants or occupants of those places.

If we find an abundance of Old Norse field-names existing in any district; if such a word as "storth," not found in Anglo-Saxon or Old English, is common everywhere in that district; if the dialect of that district still retains a flavour of Danish influences; if traces of Scandinavian mythology can be found in the place-names, and in the folklore, of that district—if, I say, we find all these things existing together, the conclusion is inevitable that the language of the Norsemen was once spoken there. It is not at all necessary to suppose that the Norsemen occupied the whole district; on the contrary aboriginal races as well as other Germanic tribes may have dwelt there also and spoken their own dialects or languages. But we are bound to believe that the Norseman not only made good his footing in the district, but established his language and customs there. And that being so, the old Norse literature of which such splendid remains have come down to us is obviously the best of all guides to a right understanding of the early history of any Danish colony or district in England. That literature, with its tales of daring adventure, its poetry, its mythology, its lives of heroes, and with its striking details of domestic manners reveals to us the daily life and customs of the Northmen who settled amongst us. It is interesting to trace these settlements in field-names and town-names. By doing so an enduring charm is given to local history, for the inquirer soon becomes conscious that he is dealing with something nobler than a few quaint or forgotten words. He is led insensibly into that great literature which should have more interest for Englishmen than any other literature, and the district with which he is dealing becomes peopled with men and women with whose thoughts and ways he may make himself familiar in the pages of the Icelandic historian and Saga-writer.

I submit a few specimens of place-names found in this district which appear to me to be of Scandinavian origin. The first of these, Normandale, is interesting not only as direct evidence of Danish colonization, but also as being a name of the valley in which the mythical Robin Hood, alias Robert Loxley, is said to have been born. "Robert Locksley," says Dodsworth, "born in Bradfield parish, in Hallamshire, wounded his stepfather to death at plough; fled into the woods, and was relieved by his mother till he was discovered."[3]

Normandale.—In an old map without date, but made about 1720, I find, amongst other curious field-names in the Loxley valley, Normandale. This is now the name of a farm house opposite Wadsley House. Formerly it must have been applied to the whole valley which leads up to Bradfield. We may take it to have been Norðmanna-dalr, the dale of the Northmen or Norwegians. The name can hardly have been a modern invention; 1720 is too early for a fancy name in this district.

Butterthwaite—a place in Ecclesfield. Thwaite—Old Norse þveit—is one of the words which imply Danish colonization. Properly it is a "cut-off piece," a paddock. "It seems," says Vigfusson, "originally to have been used of an outlying cottage with its paddock." Possibly the word is búðar-þveit, booth paddock, like búðar-dalr, Booth-dale. The búð, like the skáli, was a temporary dwelling, and we may compare Fulwood Booth and Barber Booth near Edale in Derbyshire. These booths may have been the temporary huts of early settlers or merchants, or they may have been the shifting homesteads of nomadic tribes. We may compare Hebblethwaite, in which the first part of the word is the Swedish hybele, Old Norse híbýli, a homestead, house.

Eventree.—Harrison in his Survey, 1637, speaks of a piece of land which "lyeth in Haldworth called Timber field betweene the Eventree lane and Loxley common." This is the Old Norse efni-tré, a block, timber, and is itself a very interesting proof of Scandinavian settlement in the neighbourhood. Wilson, of Broomhead Hall, mentions a house in Bradfield which, in his time, was known as Heaven House.[4] It possibly meant timber house, the initial h being excrescent, or interpretative.

Roystymore.—I find this place mentioned in a deed dated 1684 affecting lands at Worrall in Bradfield. "Roysty" appears to be the Old Norse hrjóstugr, rough, barren, so that the meaning may be rough or barren moor.

Jeer Lane.—This is in Eckington, a few miles from the boundary of Hallamshire, but I introduce it here as being, apparently, an interesting Scandinavian word. Jeer Lane is one of those deep lanes which are found here and there in country parishes, and of which there are several in the parish of Dronfield. They appear in some cases to have been excavated down to the rock for the purpose of getting a hard stratum, but the combined action of the flow of water and the passage of the heavy vehicles once in use will account for the depth of some of them. Jeer Lane goes deeply below the surface of the ground in some places, and I take it to be the Old Norse gjá, a rift or chasm. This would very appropriately describe the lane. The phonology, however, is uncertain, as one would expect such a form as geo, geow, found in the north of Scotland.

Storth.—This field-name is common everywhere in Hallamshire, and is the Old Norse storð, a young wood or plantation. It affords certain evidence of Danish colonization. It is often found as the name of a cultivated field, which at a former period has been reclaimed from the forest or the waste. Thus I find Harry Stubbing and Broad Storth as two contiguous fields. The word mörk, mark, which originally meant a forest, came afterwards, when the forest was cleared, to mean a field. And a new meaning was given to storð in the same way, for, as found in this district, it means field. Duxter Wood in Ecclesfield is "Dukstorth" Wood in a deed of the fifteenth century, which I have seen. Possibly the first syllable is dökk, a pit, pool. It is interesting to see how storth has become ster, owing to the strong accent on the first syllable. I am told by Mr. Ronksley that Storrs in or near Bradfield appears as Storths in old deeds affecting lands in that place, and that he is sure of the identity of the names. Dukstorth, the modern Duxter, certainly bears out this view, except that in a word of two syllables the strong accent on the first would weaken the second, whereas in a monosyllable this would not occur.

Malin Bridge.—Malin may stand for Melum, as Hallin in old deeds stands for Hallum. At Melum in Old Norse is a sandhill, the letter e being sounded like the a in same. Possibly we have the same word in the surname Maleham, which I have seen written Malum in the sixteenth century. More probably Malin is the dative plural of möl, pebbles, worn stones in the bed of a river.

Redmires.—Rauða-myrr, red moor, is a local name in Iceland, and it, together with other local names in which rauðr is a prefix, has reference, says Vigfusson, to "the reddish colour of bogs and moorlands, which was supposed to be a sign that there was iron in the soil."

Worrall.—This word is the Old Norse hvirfill, top, summit, as in hvirfill fjallsins, the top of the hill. It is represented in English by "whorl" or "whirl," and we have the same word in the place-name Whirlow, or, as it was often written, Whorlow, near Sheffield, which means summit mound, hill top barrow. The strong trill with which the letter r was pronounced will account for the form Worrall. "Whorl" would become Worrall just as "worm" would be sounded something like "worrum." The hamlet of Worrall stands on the summit of a hill. I think it is not identical with the Wihala of the Doomsday Survey.

Bagshaw.—I find a "Bagshaw Field" in Ecclesall in 1807. Can it be the Old Norse bæki-skógr, beech-wood?

Steven Hill : Stephen Hill.—This place is near Cross Pool on the Manchester Road. The earliest mention of it with which I am acquainted is in Harrison's Survey, 1637, where it occurs as Steven Hill. There is also a Stephen Field at Dore. It may be the Old Norse stefna, a summons, meeting, as in nátt-stefna, a night meeting, Old English stefn. In that case Steven Hill would mean meeting hill, and possibly refer to an open-air court, such as a byrlaw court, held in this place.

Bell Hagg.—The name may be derived from the Old Norse bil, Swedish bil, bili, an open space, and hagi, a pasture, so that the meaning would be "the intervening pasture." This might be the open space between Stannington and Hallam. There is a field in Cold-Aston near Sheffield called Bilham Field which may be *at bilum, open space. Billey Wood in Ecclesfield is written Bilhagh Wode in a deed dated 1366.[5]

Reaps Wood : Lower Reaps.—These places are between Crookes village and Rivelin Water. The ground is rocky and precipitous, and there are crags. "Reap" is the Old Norse ripr, a crag, and the dialect must once have had a word "reep," "reap," having that meaning.

Copman Holes: Cogman Clough.—Just below Bailey Hill in Bradfield the six-inch Ordnance map mentions a place called Copman Holes.[6] The English form of the word would have been Chapman Holes. This word is the Old Norse kaup-maðr. Swedish köpman, a merchant, traveller, chapman. From this place-name, and from such place-names as Tinker Lane, Tinker Brook, which occur in the neighbourhood, we may learn that travelling merchants, chapmen, tinkers, and others went about the country selling their wares, and, not always finding an inn, squatted like gypsies in uncultivated places. The modern "Cheap Jack," whose wagon is his house, seems to be a survival of these itinerant chapmen and tinkers, some of whom, I dare say, were too poor to afford the accommodation of an inn, even if one existed in the neighbourhood.

The same Ordnance map gives a place on the wild moors to the west of Bradfield called Cogman Clough. Cogman appears to mean "shipman," and if that were so, the name would be equivalent to Shipman's Valley, and similar in meaning to Copman Holes. There is an Old English word cogge, in Old Norse kuggr, Swedish kogg, meaning a boat or ship, and Mr. Bardsley mentions a personal name Cogman as occurring in an old Norfolk Register.[7] It is possible therefore that the cogman was a shipman, the word being used in the sense of a trader or merchant.[8]

Sower Lands.—I find this field-name at Attercliffe in a map dated 1789, and it is of somewhat common occurence in the neighbourhood of Sheffield. It is the Old Norse saurr, mud, dirt, and in Icelandic local names it is applied to swampy tracts. Vigfusson says that seyra, starvation, famine, is derived from saurr in its oldest sense as applied to bogs and moorland.

Waddle Moor.—This is the name of a field which I have seen in a modern deed affecting land at Brinsworth near Templeborough. It is the Old Norse vaðill, shallow water, and has reference to a swampy moor.

Knaught's Bridge Close.—This is also near Templeborough, and reminds us of Knightsbridge in London. In spite of the gh and the s the word appears to mean "cattle bridge," from the Old Norse naut, Scotch nout, English neat, cattle, and the word may have been nauts-bryggia or nauta-bryggja.[9] I have seen Knouchbridge in a rental of land at Whiston in 1624. I have also seen Nightengale as a place-name in North Derbyshire, and the word also occurs as a surname. I think it means "cattle lane," and may have been nietena-gál, for the Old Norse geil, a narrow passage or lane, would make gál in Old English. The spelling seems to have been assimilated to that of the well-known bird which sings by night.

The Chaffer.—Harrison in 1637 mentions a meadow in Bradfield "called the Chaffer lying next Darwin water," or the Derwent. Thus "The Chaffer" is a meadow by the river side. The word seems to be connected with the Old Norse verb kefja, to put under water, and kaf, a plunge into water—a word which is also applied to "land covered with water or flooded."[10] Possibly the word kaf was originally kafr, which might make "chaffer."

Galland Royd.—This is the name of a field or place in Ecclesfield. "I see," says an old writer, "in some meddowes gaully places, where little or no grasse at al groweth, by reason (as I take it,) of the too long standing of the water."[11] And the same writer says that in underwoods there are "sundry void places and galles, wherein groweth little or no wood, or very thin."[12] In the south of England gauls are "spots where grass, corn, or trees have failed."[13] They are, in short, barren places. The word is the Old Norse galli, a fault, or flaw, and may be compared with the Swedish gall, barren. Galland then means barren land, and Royd is the Old Norse rjóðr, a clearing. Thus the word tells the history of the place; it is a tract of land reclaimed from a barren wilderness.

Fair Flat.—This is mentioned by Harrison as a place in Bradfield. The meaning is sheep plain, from the Old Norse fær, a sheep, and flöt, a plain.

Snaithing.—There is a Snaithing Lane at Upper Ranmoor, and a Snaithing Wood at Ecclesall. Harrison mentions "a close called Sneathing," which lay next to "Sneathing Lane."[14] Indeed Snaithing is a somewhat common field-name in the neighbourhood of Sheffield. It is connected with the Old Norse sneiða, to cut, and with sneið, a slice. A "snaithing" is a cutting, an intake, a piece sliced off the waste, in other words an enclosure. Some of the land at Upper Ranmoor is copyhold, and I have lately seen the title deeds of a long strip of land there which is partly of freehold and partly of copyhold tenure, the division being longitudinal. The copyhold portion is said to have been part of the New Ing, and in the last century the freehold portion was enclosed from the waste by an Inclosure Act. These names, Snaithing and New Ing, show how the area of the cultivated land was gradually widened by "intakes" or encroachments on the waste.


[1] I use the words Dane and Scandinavian indifferently, as meaning the same thing.

[2] Many months after I had written this sentence I was glad to find this statement by Mr. Sweet: "Danish and English were spoken side by side in England for many centuries."—Hist, of English Sounds, 1888, p. 153.

[3] MS. in Bibl. Bodl clx, p. 64b cited by Hunter in "Robin Hood," p. 59.

[4] Eastwood's Ecclesfield, p. 465.

[5] Penes J. Carr Fletcher, Esq.

[6] It is called Cogman hoile in a deed of 1533. See ante, p. 44 n. I find a Chapman Field in Bolsover, Derbyshire.

[7] English Surnames, 2nd Edit., p 409.

[8] Dr. Murray gives one example of "cogmen" from the Act 13 Rich. II, c. 10 (1389). He defines the word as "men to whom the cloth called cog ware was sold," and he says that some have conjectured that they were the crew of cogs, or traders who sailed in cogs.

[9] Vigfusson says that the English Naughton is from naut. Harrison in 1637 mentions "Night Field" in Ecclesfield. He means neat field, cattle field. Night is now pronounced neet in the Sheffield dialect The field-name Nouchley = cattle meadow?

[10] Vigf. s. v.

[11] Norden's Surveyor's Dialogue, 1607, p. 201.

[12] Ibid., p. 181.

[13] Halliwell's Dict.

[14] Sheffield Glossary, p. 224.

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XXV. Other Traces of the Norsemen

THE byrlaw, or town law, was common to the Danish districts of England, and it seems to have been adopted in places where Danish influence did not prevail. Everybody in Sheffield is familiar with the districts or divisions called Ecclesall Byrlaw and Brightside Byrlaw. As byrlaw is variously spelt and pronounced I give the form adopted by the New English Dictionary, which has the advantage of being in accordance with the etymology of the word. Old people in the neighbourhood of Sheffield pronounce the y of the first syllable like the ee in "beer," and make "law" into "low." The compound word býjar-lög, town law, is not actually found in Old Norse, but it is evidently the true derivation, for býjar is the genitive of bær or býr, a town, and its pronunciation accords with the bier or beer of the Sheffield words.

The byrlaw, as defined by Dr. Murray, was the "local custom or 'law' of a township, manor, or rural district, whereby disputes as to boundaries, trespass of cattle, etc., were settled without going into the law Courts; a law or custom established in such a district by common consent of all who held land therein, and having binding force within its limits."[1] The "Catholicon Anglicum" a dictionary which, as I have elsewhere maintained,[2] was probably compiled in this district, defines "byrelawe" as agraria, plebiscitum. In its earliest use the word bylaw is apparently the same as byrlaw, and the Danish bylag is an "association between all or some of the farmers in a rural township." The Swedish byalag, bylag, means a village community.[3]

Dr. Murray has quoted a document of the year 1303 which shows that in Kent disputes about boundaries were to be settled by the agents of the parties or "by official or specially deputed arbitrators."[4] They were to be "referred," as lawyers now say, "to arbitration."

In many places byrlawmen were appointed by the Court Leet, which was held once a year in most places, but twice in Sheffield.[5] Vigfusson quotes the word bæjar-lögmaðr (byrlaw man) from the Diplomatarium Norvagicum of the fourteenth century, and he renders it as "town justice." In the Court Leet this person was a public officer chosen by the jury for a year, and for a particular district. If chosen by the Court Leet he was, in a liberal sense of the phrase, a town justice, the "town" being a mere village or a little collection of houses. If chosen by the parties themselves he was a specially appointed arbitrator, and not a town justice at all.

In this district the word byrlaw has acquired a secondary meaning. It means a district having its own byrlaw or local law court. The borough of Sheffield appears to have had no such court, for "Sheffield Byrlaw" is unknown. As has been shown in the chapters on The Burgery the affairs of the borough were administered by the body of freeholders or freemen forming the burghal community. But outlying districts, such as Ecclesall and Brightside, also required some system of local government, and this was supplied by the byrlaw court, or by the byrlawmen.

According to the laws of Norway made previous to 1263, monster-shapen infants were to be exposed and left to die at the church door. Such infants were to receive the prima signatio—a religious act preliminary to christening, but not baptism.[6] Under the word "denial" I have made these remarks in the Sheffield Glossary: "I have heard on good authority that in the last century[7] a child was found one winter's morning in the porch of Norton Church. Its parentage was never ascertained, and it was baptized by the name of Daniel Denial. This surname is yet found in the district, and the story is that such is its origin." I have since made further enquiry about the tradition, and I find that the story is that the child was abandoned by a cruel and unnatural mother. The tradition seems to point back to a custom, similar to that which obtained in Norway, of exposing malformed children in the church porch to die. A few years ago Norton church underwent a process of "restoration," when the remains of a fine Norman[8] doorway with chevron ornamentation were found within the porch. The font, too, is of the same order of architecture, and is ornamented with some mythical or legendary subject in low relief. It has been noticed that traditions are often of long duration, and this tale of Daniel Denial would naturally cling to a Norman church[9] if the practice of exposing malformed infants ever obtained there.

Everybody in this neighbourhood must have noticed the frequent occurrence of the yellow gregarious weed called charlock or wild mustard in our arable fields. "When a man," said Lord Palmerston, "walks over a field of turnips and sees it full of charlock, he must say there is room for some improvement."[10] Now the monks of Beauchief were of the same opinion as Lord Palmerston. It was an established custom amongst their tenants at Norton and Alfreton to rid their lands of these noxious weeds, and tenants who refused or neglected to do so were punished and fined. These weeds, says a modern writer, "are so very detrimental to the husbandman that a law is in force in Denmark which obliges the inhabitants everywhere to eradicate them out of their grounds."[11] What we have to notice here is that an excellent agricultural rule which the men of this district made for their benefit more than 500 years ago should still be the law in Denmark. I have borrowed my last two examples from a parish which forms one of the boundaries of Hallamshire on the south, but they are near enough to be used as arguments in favour of the Scandinavian influence which prevailed in this district.

In the town and neighbourhood of Sheffield the student of dialect will sometimes meet with words of Scandinavian origin, as for example "wheelswarf." Every Sheffield man has heard of Jack Wheelswarf, the local alias of a grinder. Wheel-swarf means wheel-dust, or dust from a grinding wheel, svarf being the Old Norse word for file dust. But this is not the place to deal with matters of dialect, and I have already dealt with the still-existing traces of Scandinavian influence in the dialect of this district[12]


[1] New Eng. Dict. s. v.

[2] Sheffield Glossary, p. xxxiv.

[3] New Eng. Dict. s. v. bylaw.

[4] Ibid.

[5] "Within this mannor is kept a Court Barron once every three weekes and a Court Leet twice every yeare, whereof the chiefest court is kept upon Easter Tuesday (which is there called Sembly Tuesday)."—Harrison in Sheffield Glossary, p. 205.

[6] Vigfusson, s. v. prim-signa.

[7] In this neighbourhood "in the last century" means "once upon a time."

[8] When we speak of Norman architecture do we necessarily mean Norman-French architecture? Was it not also the architecture of the Northman, of the Scandinavian who settled, amongst other places, on the French coast? Only a portion of the chevron ornamentation remained, but from that it was easy to restore the whole.

[9] The Doomsday Book records a church at this place.

[10] In New Eng. Dict. s. v. charlock.

[11] My "Beauchief Abbey," p. 66. Lightfoot's Flora Scotica, i, 489.

[12] Sheffield Glossary (English Dialed Society)

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XXVI. Brightside

I deny the fact of 'corruption' in language except by way of forcible and intentional substitution, which only takes place when an attempt is made to give a thing a new sense.—Professor Skeat in Notes and Queries, 8th S. iii, 410.

If ever a place did not deserve its name one would say that Brightside did not deserve to be so called. But this smoke-clouded region, in which so much money is earned and so much squalor is found, wore a very different aspect once. The happy fields there sloped to the south, and because it lay on the sunny side of the hill the land was called "bright side." In common with others I once thought otherwise, but this is one of the many instances which prove that place-names are not "corrupt" in form. When we fail to understand a local name, or when we cannot enter into the thoughts of the men who gave it, it is an easy way out of the difficulty to say that the word is "corrupt," and that we cannot explain it unless we know how it was spelt in a charter more than a thousand years old. As Professor Skeat puts it "corruption" only arises from "forcible and intentional substitution," as when the ignorant make Salter lane into Psalter lane.

Owing to a mistake made by Hunter everybody seems to have gone wrong about this simple word. He identified Brightside with an adjacent place known in old documents as Brekesherth.[1] But this is not the same place as Brightside, for in 1574 "lands in Brekesherth, Sheffield, and Bryghtsyde"[2] are mentioned. Brightside then is not a "corruption" of something else; it is exactly what it pretends to be.

Our ancestors knew quite as well as we know what land got the most sunlight, and they knew that the bright side of a hill would produce earlier and better crops, and be a wholesomer place to live in, than the dark side. It is natural therefore that their field-names should here and there express this difference in the quality of the land. Let me take one or two examples of such names. I find a field called Sunning Wells at Bolsover in Derbyshire, and a field called Blind Wells at Brinsworth, near Rotherham. Now here the word "wells" is the Old Norse völlr, a field, so that Sunning Wells[3] are the fields to the south, and Blind[4] Wells are the dark or sunless fields, just as a "blind lane" formerly meant a dark lane. There is a field at Totley near Sheffield called Sunfield which slopes to the south, and a field in Holmesfield bore the same name.[5] That the Norsemen sometimes chose their local names with reference to the sunlight may be seen in such a name as Sól-heimar, Sun-ham, Sunnyside, which is frequently used in the Landnáma Bók.

I think the same idea is expressed in such local names as Gold Hill and Silver Hill. Silver Hill at Ecclesall is merely the name of a tract of ground which slopes to the south and gets plenty of sun; it is not the name of a mountainous elevation. And the same may be said of Gold Hill and Gold Green at Fulwood. These local names will be found in many parts of England; for instance there is a Gold Hill in Nottinghamshire. It will be found, I believe, that all these places slope to the south. In the vivid imagination of our forefathers lands which faced the sun may well have been compared to gold and silver, and what happier or more fitting description could there be? It has occasionally been wrongly guessed that these names have arisen from the discovery of gold or silver coins. This was the case at Halton Chesters, a station or camp on the Roman Wall. "The part of the station," says Dr. Bruce, "which is to the south of the road has a gentle slope and a fair exposure to the sun. It is known by the name of the Chesters; in Horsley's day it had the additional designation of Silverhill, no doubt from the discovery, on some occasion, of a number of denarii in it."[6] It was "exposure to the sun," and not the discovery of silver coins, which gave rise to the name.


[1] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 226, citing a document of the year 1328.

[2] Yorkshire Fines, vol ii, p. 47. The word cannot of course be derived from the surname Bright, though an opulent family of that name had land in the neighbourhood.

[3] O. N. sunnan-vellir. The g in Sunning is excrescent or interpretative.

[4] O. N. blind, dark.

[5] Holmesfield Court Rolls (Derbyshire): MS. in Sheffield Free Library I find Sunny Bank in Bradfield in a deed dated 1724.

[6] Handbook of the Roman Wall. 1885, p. 62.

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XXVII. The Itinerant Merchant

A close examination of the names of fields, lanes, etc., in Hallamshire and the surrounding districts will disclose some curious information as to the life and habits of the itinerant trader, whether native or foreign. Ages before the invention of stage-coaches and railways the commercial traveller and the travelling merchant were with us, being known as chapmen, packmen, pedders, etc. The villages were little oligarchies, providing for themselves nearly all the necessaries of life, and the roads were chiefly used by itinerant traders and pilgrims.

In 1637 there was a lane in Ecclesfield known as Packman's lane,[1] and a lane bearing the same name runs through Thorpe Salvin. And near the neighbouring village of Treeton the Ordnance map mentions a bridge called Packman's Bridge. There is a Chapman Field in Ecclesall, and a village called Copmanthorpe or Coupmanthorpe near York. Copman Holes—called Cogmanhoile in 1533—is the name of a valley below Bailey Hill in Bradfield and between Bailey Wood and the Agden dam. Cogman[2] a Clough is on Howden moor in Bradfield. Cowper Well, a well by the roadside in Ecclesfield, probably means chapman's well, or merchant's well. Harrison mentions "an intacke called Tinker" in Bradfield; the lane in which the urn described in the first chapter of this book was found is called Tinker lane, and there is a Tinker Brook in Bradfield. There is a Tinker Sick near Chesterfield, and a Pedlar Hagg[3] in Ashopton near Sheffield. In the will of a Sheffield man, dated 1725, I find mention of "two closes called the Hawker-Starrs lying near Crooks Moor," the same closes being described a few years later as "Hawkers Starrs."[4] In a list of fieldnames near Sheffield, dated 1784, I find a place called Hocker Storth, and the name Hockerstorths occurs in a plan of land at Ecclesfield dated 1732. Now the word "hawker," according to Professor Skeat, is equivalent to the Danish höker, a pedlar, and hokkerye, also spelt hukkerye, meaning the pedlar's trade, occurs in Piers Plowman. The old form of "hawker" seems, then, to have been hocker or hucker. On Masbrough common near Rotherham the six-inch Ordnance map gives a place called Huckacrow, which seems to contain the words hucker, a hawker, and the Old Norse krá, Danish kro, a nook, corner. At Oxcroft near Bolsover in Derbyshire is a field called Farman Close, which may be traveller's close.[5] Even the palmer or pilgrim had to tarry in desolate places on his way to the Holy Land, for a little valley near Eckington in Derbyshire still bears the name of Pomer Sick, pomer being the old or the dialedlal pronunciation of "palmer." With more or less distinctness and certainty the evidence still lingers upon the country side that the itinerant trader or merchant was a conspicuous element in old English society. He has left his mark upon the roads, the fields, and the valleys, and even, as it would seem, upon the roadside well.

An old road running across the moors in Ecclesfield was known as a "Pack and Prime Road."[6] The Norfolk term packway seems to be synonymous with Peddar Way in that county, a name by which an ancient line of Roman road is known.[7] "The greater part of this road," says Way, "across the champaign parts of Norfolk is still called the Peddar Way, doubtless because, like the Welshman's road in Warwickshire and the parts adjacent, the straight direction of its course caused it to be frequented by itinerant traders. The Peddar Way may be traced upon the Ordnance Survey through near its whole length."

Here then we have abundant evidence of roads and places which have derived their names from the itinerant trader, whether he be called chapman, cowper, packman, pedder, pedlar, hawker or tinker. These words have lost something of their original signification, for such persons were not in all cases the petty traders that the terms now denote. They were the only persons who carried merchandize from one country to another, and to the villagers who knew very little of the outside world they were not only the purveyors of news and tales but the providers of many of the comforts and decencies of life. It will be seen from some of the local names, such as Cogman or Copman Holes, Tinker Sick, Pedlar Hagg, and Hawker Starrs that these traders often "pitched their tents" not in the villages, where perhaps they could not always find room,[8] but on commons and pieces of unoccupied ground. And we may learn from such place-names as Copmanthorpe near York, Chippenham in Wiltshire, and Pedder's Winch in Norfolk[9] that they sometimes settled in places which they visited, and became in fact colonists. Coppingland in Ecclesfield may mark the site of an old market, like the Danish Kjöbing. "In old times," says Vigfusson, "trade was held in honour, and a kaupmaðr (merchant) and farmaðr (traveller) were almost synonymous; young men of rank and fortune used to set out on their travels which they continued for some years, until at last they settled for life; even the kings engaged in trade."[10]

We have just seen that an old trade road passing through Ecclesfield is known as the "Pack and Prime road," the word "road" being a modern substitution for "way." The word "prime" is hard to explain, and I can only hazard a guess. "The Danes," says Grimm, "became Christian in the tenth century, the Norwegians at the beginning of the eleventh, the Swedes not completely till the second half of the same century."[11] Now the Danish traders who travelled in England previous to the tenth and eleventh centuries, and possibly later, were not only chapmen or packmen; they were also "prime-signed" men. "During the heathen age," says Vigfusson, "the Scandinavian merchants and warriors who served among Christians abroad in England or Germany used to take the prima signatio, for it enabled them to live both among Christians and heathens without receiving baptism and forsaking their old faith." This ceremony was a mere signing of the cross, but it was a passport which enabled adult heathen to join in the social life of the Christians; they were also admitted to a special part of the mass, known as the mass for the prime-signed, "whereas all intercourse with heathens was forbidden."[12] "These 'prime-signed' men," says Vigfusson, "returning to their native land, brought with them the first notions of Christianity into the heathen Northern countries, having lived among Christians, and seen their daily life and worship, and they undoubtedly paved the way for the final acceptance of the Christian faith among their countrymen." The "prime-way" then seems to be an abbreviated form of a long phrase "prime-signed man's way," and the phrase "Pack and Prime Way," an abbreviation of "Packman and Prime-signed man's Way." The popular speech abhors long phrases, and seeks to express its thoughts in the fewest words. This explanation of "Pack and Prime Road" may seem to be far-fetched, and it does not pretend to be more than a mere guess. But to what else could the word "prime" refer, and what other meaning of the word, as used in old times, would make the least sense?

There was another travelling merchant whose name seems to be found in our lanes and valleys, and possibly elsewhere; I mean the salter or salt merchant. In Worcestershire there was a road called Salteraweg,[13] meaning salt merchants' road, or, to put the word in a more modern dress, Salter way, or Salter lane. The Romans, too, had their Via Salaria, or Salt Road, which was so called because the Sabines by it fetched salt from the sea. It led into Rome at the Porta Collina. Now I have just mentioned Tinker Lane and Tinker Sick as place-names in this neighbourhood, and these names seem to be analogous to Salter lane[14] on the west side of Sheffield and Salter Sitch[15]—i.e. Salter valley—in Holmesfield. As Tinker lane was the way on which the mender of kettles and pans travelled, and Tinker Sick was the unoccupied piece of ground on which in summer time he squatted like a gypsy, so, it is fair to suppose, the Salter lane was the way by which the salt-merchant approached the village, and the Salter Sitch was the valley in which he also tarried on his summer journey. We may carry the analogy a little further. We have seen that there is a Packman's bridge near Treeton; there is a Salterhebble, meaning salt-merchant's bridge,[16] in the parish of Halifax. And by way of matching Tinker Brook in Bradfield I may mention Salterbrook in the parish of Penistone, seven-and-a-half miles to the west of that village. There is a Salter lane in Ashover near Chesterfield, being the old southern entrance into that village, a Salter lane[17] leading from the railway station at Holmes near Rotherham up to the village of Kimberworth, a Salterforth (salt-merchant's road ?) in Barnoldswick near Skipton, and a Salter gate (salt-merchant's road) in Chesterfield. Harrison mentions a Salter Inge (salter's meadow) in Ecclesfield, with which we may compare Chapman Field and Pedlar Hagg just mentioned.

In the bilingual dialogue of Archbishop Alfric, attributed to the tenth century, a salt-merchant is introduced, amongst other persons, and the interlocutor puts the question to him: "O salter, of what profit to us is thine art?" He answers: "My art is of much profit to all; none of you enjoys his supper or his dinner unless my art befriend him." "In what way?" is the reply. The salter answers: "What man enjoys sweet food without the relish of salt? Who replenishes his cellars or his store-houses without my art? Behold, your butter and your cheese all perish unless I be their guardian, ye who do not even use vegetables without my art."[18] In a note on this passage, Wright says: "The importance of the salter is better understood when we consider that, as the produce of the land was in Middle Ages almost entirely consumed on the spot, and it was not easy to get supplies of provisions from a distance, immense quantities of victuals of all kinds were salted, in order that they might keep during the whole year round, and were preserved in vast larders and storehouses. This habit of eating so much salt meat would cause meats eaten without salt to be considered insipid. In fact the quantity of salt used in the Middle Ages must have been enormous; and to it, probably, we must ascribe the prevalence of those diseases which excited so much horror under the name of leprosy."

I think it will be found that the roads which bear the name of Salter lie between the village or town to which they lead and the nearest salt-producing district. Such at least is the case with Salter lane near Sheffield, and Salter lane near Rotherham, these roads leading towards Cheshire. Salter Sitch, too, lies to the west of Holmesfield, and Salterbrook[19] to the west of Penistone.

But it is not absolutely certain that "salter" means salt merchant in all these cases. There is an old French word sautoir, in Low Latin saltariium, which, as I have said elsewhere,[20] means a barrier of wood sustained at each end, and fixed in such a way that men could get over it but animals could not. The pieces of wood which supported the barrier were in shape like a Saint Andrew's Cross, thus X. The form may still be seen in the wooden stiles in hedges which are crossed by footpaths; and saltire, saltier, is used in English heraldry for a St. Andrew's Cross. But I am aware of no instance in which the word "salter" meaning a barrier across a road has been recorded in English literature, or in old documents, and unless the word can be found recorded the better opinion would appear to be that the word means "salt merchant." In this neighbourhood "lidgate," meaning a swing gate across a road, appears to have been the barrier used to stop the progress of wandering cattle, or even "bar," as in our Westbar.

Some of the old lanes are very beautiful, and the aquatint of Orms lane, Ecclesall, at the beginning of this represents a scene which does not last long in the neighbourhood of a large and increasing city.

It is probable that the knives for which Sheffield had become noted in the fourteenth century were largely distributed by pedlars and wandering friars who purchased them in going their, rounds. Chaucer says of the friar that

His typet was ay farsud ful of knyfes

And pynnes, for to give faire wyfes

Prologue, 223.


[1] Sheffield Glossary, p. 168.

[2] Shipman, from O. N, kuggr, a cog, a kind of ship

[3] "Pedlare, shapmann (chepman) Particus." Prompt. Parv.

[4] In this neighbourhood this word is now usually written Storrs, but I have noticed Starrs in several places.

[5] O. N. farmaðr.

[6] Sheffield Glossary.

[7] Prompt. Parv. p. 390.

[8] The somewhat common place-name Cold Harbour appears to be no more than an inn for such travellers—a shelter from cold.

[9] Now East Winch. Way's note in Prompt. Parv. p. 390.

[10] s. v. kaup-maðr.

[11] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 2.

[12] Vigfusson s. v. prim-signa.

[13] Lèo's Anglo-Saxon Names (London, 1852) p. 126.

[14] Vulgarly Psalter lane.

[15] Sheffield Glossary, p. 198.

[16] A hebble is a narrow, short, plank-bridge.—Halliwell. The word may, however, be O. N. hibýli, homestead, home.

[17] Vulgarly Psalter lane. This spelling arises from a popular attempt to explain the word. The people know the word "psalter," but the "salter" or salt-merchant is forgotten.

[18] Wright-Wülcker Vocab. p. 97.

[19] In Toller's Bosworth scalt-broc is quoted from the Codex Dipl., and queried as "a brook that runs from salt works." It cannot be so in this case. As we have seen, it is analogous to Tinker Brook, and the Codex Dipl. gives scaltera cumb, salter's valley, i.e., the place where these itinerant merchants tarried

[20] Supplement to Sheffield Glossary, p. 49.

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Three short chapters:

XXVIII. The Scenery

As a prophet has no honour in his own country, so, in these days of cheap and fashionable travel, the scenery of one's own neighbourhood is held in much less esteem than the beauties of Devonshire or the Italian lakes. Yet there are scenes in Hallamshire, if we may compare little things to great, or if, indeed, comparisons be admissible at all, which are not less worthy of honour and affection.

But we are only concerned here with the varied tints of the heath, or the glories of the landscape, so far as they illustrate and, as it were, form a background for the figures of the historical painter. Words can hardly convey such scenes to the reader's mental eye, and in attempting verbal descriptions the writer may wholly fail. For my part I shall be content with saying that Hallamshire, in spite of its smoky capital, contains some of the loveliest scenes in England. Such scenes give life and zest even to the "dry" studies of the antiquary.

There are wilder scenes in Hallamshire than that range of cone-shaped hills in Bradfield known as The Canyers or Kenyers. But I think the district contains few things more beautiful. What the name of these hills means I cannot even guess. I thought I had got it once in the Old Norse kengr, a. bend or crook, and I had the Derbyshire Crook Hill before my eyes. But the awful ghost of phonology rose up before me, and said that it might not be.

There are many such hills on the Bradfield moors, where they call them "chests" of hills, "chest" being an old English word for a series or row of things, like a chest of drawers, which does not mean a box of drawers.

The rounded shape of these hills seems to have been caused in primeval times by the grinding action of glaciers, as in North Wales and the English Lake District.[1]


[1] See an article on "The Ice Age and Its Work," by A. R. Wallace, F.R.S., in the Fortnightly Review, Nov., 1893, p. 616.

XXIX. The Bee-Keeper

There is one industry, if I may call it so, which has left its mark on our local maps and terriers; I mean the occupation of bee-keeping or bee-farming. The bee-keeper (beó-ceorl) was an important man when honey was used instead of sugar, and we may be sure that those hamlets in Hallamshire which lay near the moors had their bee-keepers, and their bee-farms. The bee was then of far more importance than the grouse, and the busy insect sucked the flowers of heather and wild thyme to the great profit and advantage of the people who lived on the edge of the moors. The fieldnames tell us all this, and they tell it in an interesting way. There are several Honey Fields in Ecclesall, and there was a Hive Yard in Ecclesfield in William Harrison's time. There are places called Honey Sick near Kiveton Park; Honey Spots,[1] a field of two acres between Hope and Pindale in Derbyshire; Ben Croft a field in Stannington, and Bean Yard at Ashover in Derbyshire, Honey Poke at Lydgate, Cross Pool, and the Honey Poke[2] in Bradfield. Just outside Dore and opposite "Abbeydale Park" I notice Poynton Wood. There is a place in Hucklow, Derbyshire, called Pointon Cross, and right in the middle of Bradfield moors, where no land is cultivated, I notice Pointon Bog at the end of Cogman Clough. And then we have the surnames Pointon, Boynton, and Benton. I think each of these words means bee-farm (*beóna-tún) The old plural of bee—Old English beó—was beón, with which the modern German biene may be compared.[3] Dr. Murray in the New English Dictionary refers the word to an Old Teutonic biôn, not found. If Pointon on Bradfield moors means, as I think it does, bee-farm, or as we moderns would say, bee-establishment, it is evident that the beócere or bee-master purposely squatted right in the middle of the moors in order that his bees might visit the bloom of the heather.[4] In addition to numerous place-names, we have historical proof that bee-keeping in Hallamshire was carried on upon a large scale so late as the seventeenth century, for Hunter observes that hives of bees are no infrequent subjects of bequest in Hallamshire wills, and he relates that one Nicholas Broomhead of Thornsett in Bradfield in 1638 "left one-sixth of his whole apparatus of beehives to each of his three nephews whom he names."[5] Förstemann gives Binegarden, Pindorf (but as a conjecture), from ancient documents, and with these we may compare our Pindale and Pointon.[6] I need not here enlarge upon the ancient value and importance of bee-keeping. It may be enough to remember that Virgil devoted the whole of one of his Georgics to the subject, and that a "land flowing with milk and honey" was the highest praise which a sacred writer could give to any country.

Roads in England appear occasionally to have derived their names from the traffic in honey, for Lèo mentions Hunigweg[7] (honey road) at Clere in Hampshire. "In olden times," says Vigfusson, "and throughout the Middle Ages, honey was one of the chief exports from England to Scandinavia." In the game called "honey pots," which is still played in this district, boys "roll themselves up and are pretended to be carried to market by others as honey."[8]

It is possible that some of the field-names in which the word "honey" occurs are to be explained by the fact that rents were sometimes paid in honey. It was a common practice to hold lands in consideration of the payment of so much honey to the lord, or to the village community.


[1] There is a place called Honey Pot, near Penrith, Cumberland. The Cath. Angl. has "an huny pot or hony wesselle, mellarium."

[2] Can this be an old name for a pouch-shaped beehive? See an article on "Honeycombs in Timber" in Chambers's Book of Days, i., 354.

[3] The long i as seen in the Old Norse bý, or the Dutch bij a bee, has become oi, just as fine in the diacted becomes foine. So that Boynton stands for Binton. The interchange of b and p seems rare in English. "In the main, b is stable; only rarely is there a change of final b to p, as in lamp."—Sievers's Old English Grammar, by Cook, Boston, 1887, s. 190, n i.

[4] It was lately usual in Hallamshire for bee-keepers to take their hives in summer to the edge of the moors. They were carried on hand-barrows, after it was dark. They remained on or at the edge of the moors until the autumn, when the heather ceased to be in bloom.

[5] South Yorkshire, ii, 183.

[6] There are several fields in Dore near Sheffield called Pitcher Croft. Is not this the Old High German pichar, blkar, a beehive? Or can it represent the O. E. beócere, a bee-farmer?

[7] Anglo-Saxon Names (London, 1852) p. 125.

[8] Halliwell

XXX. Old Ironworks—"Scowles"—Scholes

MOST of my local readers will have noticed one place at least in the neighbourhood of Sheffield called Bole Hill, and those who have studied or attended to the place-names of the district will be familiar with many places bearing this name. Each of these names implies that a furnace for smelting lead or iron formerly stood upon a hill top, so that the tewell or hole admitting air at the base of the furnace might, like a wind-mill, catch the prevailing breeze. The name Bole Hill itself has given rise to some doubt, but it seems to be derived from the Old Norse bál, a flame, applied in a secondary sense to a furnace. If that is so Bole Hill means no more than Furnace Hill.[1] Writing of Worsborough near Barnsley a local historian says:

"There is no doubt that at an early period, bloomeries or furnaces for smelting iron, existed here, as is evidenced by the many mounds of scoriæ which have been found in different parts of the township. These original bloomeries, or air furnaces, were of a primitive character. They were simply contrived, and comprised a low cupola of clay filled with alternate layers of charcoal and ore, fanned by the wind through apertures left for that purpose; they could only be worked when there was a strong breeze, and the fire was regulated by opening or shutting these apertures."[2]

The writer gives no authority for this statement, and I presume that he is relying either on personal knowledge or tradition. I see no reason, however, for doubting his accuracy. Now a contrivance of this kind was the very oldest way of smelting metals in this country. Dr. Bruce, in his account of the "Roman Wall," has shown from investigations in the neighbourhood of Epiacum (Lanchester) how the Romans produced the blast necessary to smelt iron. "Two tunnels," he said, "had been formed in the side of a hill; they were wide at one extremity, but tapered off to a narrow bore at the other, where they met in a point. The mouths of the channels opened towards the west, from which quarter a prevalent wind blows in this valley, and sometimes with great violence. The blast received by them would, when the wind was high, be poured with considerable force and effect upon the smelting furnace at the extremity of the tunnels."[3] The Romans are known to have had iron works in Sussex and elsewhere. The material used for these Sussex furnaces was the clay ironstone, for which they sank pits, and followed the vein of ironstone underground. "In the neighbourhood of Coleford," says Wright, "these ancient excavations are called Scowles—a term of which the derivation is not very evident."[4] Now the soil at Scholes (pronounced skoles) near Rotherham is covered with ancient cinder heaps and holes from which iron has been dug, and we shall see that Scholes means pits. In the Beauchief charter-book this place is called "le Scoles," and also Schales.[5] The word is therefore the Old Norse skál, Danish and Swedish skäl, German schale, meaning first a bowl, and then a hollow or pit.

Coal and ironstone appear to have been worked in early times at the foot of Wincobank wood, where there are pits known as "bell pits." At this place, and also at Scholes, the coal measures basset, or come to the surface. Here, as in Sussex, the ironstone is clay ironstone.


[1] We have a Furnace Hill in Sheffield.

[2] Wilkinson's History of Worsborough, 1872, p. 256.

[3] In Wright's The Celt, the Roman, and Saxon, 4th Edit. p. 293. Mr. Wright also shows that this primitive mode of smelting was common to the old Peruvians and others svho used the wind for a blast.

[4] Wright, ut supra, p. 292.

[5] Pegge's Beauchief Abbey, p. 178.

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XXXI. The Ridgeway

Traces of a military earthwork, now popularly called "the Roman Rig," have been observed on the north side of the "Occupation Road," otherwise "Grimesthorpe Road," and Mr. Leader mentions "the remarkable rampart which ran from the bank of the Don in the Nursery at Sheffield, and may still be traced from the Occupation Road near Burn Greave to the low-lying land beyond Mexborough."[1] I have not been able to find these traces in the Nursery or near the Occupation Road myself, for building operations and the cultivation of land seem to have removed them, but a well-preserved portion of the mound and ditch which formed the earthwork may still be seen at Grimesthorpe, in a wood, whose trees are nearly all now gone, called Wilkinson Spring. Here the mound and ditch have been preserved by the wood, for there are no traces of them in the adjacent cultivated land. At the end of the wood nearest to Wincobank the termination of this mound and ditch is so sharp and so clearly cut as to force upon the mind the conviction that the earthwork at Grimesthorpe is only a fragment of an embankment which at one end extended by the side of the "Grimesthorpe Road," running upon the crest of the hill, in a south-westerly direction, and at the other extended in a north-easterly direction across the brook at the bottom of the hill, where the village of Grimesthorpe stands, so as to be continuous with the ridgeway which goes up the hill and through Wincobank wood, as far as the camp on the top of the wood, and from thence to Kimberworth and Greasborough. This fragment of embankment and ditch at Grimesthorpe is about eighty yards in length. The ditch is on the southern side of the embankment, as it is all the way to Greasborough, except in a few places where a very steep natural ridge supplies the place of both embankment and ditch. The top of the embankment at Grimesthorpe is from five to six feet in breadth, and from its rounded shape I should say that there has been no path thereon for a long time, though a path runs near it. The sides of the ditch measured on their slopes are eleven feet in depth, and the width of the ditch measured from the centre of the embankment to the opposite margin of the ditch is twenty-eight feet, the width at the bottom of the ditch being six feet. The sides slope in such a way as to have formed, when the work was in its original state, fossa fastigata, a fastigate ditch, like an inverted roof. The ditch seems big enough to have supplied the necessary earth for the throwing up of the embankment. The cultivation of land has destroyed the continuity between this earthwork and the steep ridgeway which goes from the bottom of the hill to the top of Wincobank wood. But there is a footpath on the summit of the ridge which goes through the wood. There is a small water-worn gutter or gulley by the side of this footpath, but no sign of a ditch or of any kind of artificial work, the slopes of the natural ridge on both sides being so steep that a ditch would have been for defensive purposes unnecessary. The path on the ridge—I have called it a ridgeway[2]—continues up the hill till it enters a breach, shown in the drawing below, in the south-west side of the large oval entrenchment which forms the camp on the summit of Wincobank wood. In my boyhood this large enclosure was shown to me as a "Roman camp." Thirty years ago there was much less smoke from the forges beneath, and the thick foliage of the wood hid much of the embankments and ditches of the camp from sight. But now the trees—a few small oaks mingled with the mountain ash—are sparse and ill-thriven, and the whole camp, which occupies a commanding position, with a wide prospeft on all sides, is well exposed to view. The inner mound of the camp rises three feet above the level of the ground within the enclosure. The ditch between the two mounds is ample, and, in the three places where we[3] measured it, it has a perpendicular depth of nine feet, corresponding with the depth of the ditch at Grimesthorpe. The width of the ditch is practically the same as the width of the ditch at Grimesthorpe, for, in the places where we measured it, the tape recorded a width of thirty feet between the two mounds, the measurements being all taken from the centre of the inner mound to the centre of the smaller and outer mound. Perfect uniformity was not to be expected on the part of those who dug out the ditch, nor is perfect accuracy of measurement possible on the part of the surveyor. Consequently the measurements vary a little. But the variation is so small as to be a matter of no importance, and those who carefully examine these earthworks will not doubt that the embankment at Grimesthorpe and the camp on the top of Wincobank wood were made by the same people. They are uniform parts of one plan.

We shall not rightly understand this camp, or the ridgeway and contiguous ditch with which it is connected, unless we bear in mind the leading facct that all through the length of the ridgeway, extending from Grimesthorpe to Greasborough, and to some extent in the camp itself, the makers of the earthworks have supplemented or made use of the works of nature. This, as I have just said, is evident in the ridgeway which leads up the wood from Grimesthorpe, where there is no trace of either embankment or ditch.

Some years ago Mr. Leader measured this camp. He found that "from north-east to south-west the tape recorded 133 yards, and from north-west to south-east 103 yards, showing that the camp is oval, and not round." He also found "that the area enclosed is nearly three acres."[4] The inner mound is well marked through the whole circumference of the camp, but the outer mound, which is a little lower down the hill, is absent on the northern boundary. In order to show the shape and appearance of the two surrounding mounds as clearly as possible a section of them is here given, with the following measurements:

Width of ditch, A to B - - - - - 30 feet

Height of outer mound, C to D - - - - 3 feet

Height of inner mound, B to E - - - - 9 feet

Inside height of inner mound, B to F - - 3 feet

The plan or sketch on the following page will show the manner in which the outer mound surrounds the camp, except on its northern boundary and on a small portion of the eastern boundary where, along with the inner mound, it has been removed by the cultivation of the ground. This absence of the outer mound on the northern side should be noted, for the natural defence is quite as great on the southern side, and the absence of this portion of the fortification on the northern side is consistent with the never-varying presence of the ditch on the south side of the ridgeway, as though it had been intended for a defence against attack delivered from the south. The space within the camp has not been levelled; it is hilly, especially on the southern side, so that the mounds cannot be seen at one view. The mounds are as a whole well preserved, but the soft nature of the earth of which they are composed renders them an easy prey to the spade, and to the mischievous tricks of children who play upon them. Years ago the mounds were a favourite abode of ants, and the hills of those insedls were robbed of their eggs by men engaged in pheasant-breeding.

The path which goes through the breach in the mound, on the western side, is continued in an easterly direction along the diameter of the camp, and goes through the site of themounds on the eastern side, which is close to the eastern boundary of the wood. But this path is modern and not a continuation of the ridgeway which descends the hill in a north-easterly direction on the opposite side, and is shown in the aquatint at the beginning of this chapter. The ancient way did not pass through the camp, but touched or skirted it upon its south-eastern side.

With a little care the actual course of the ancient way can be traced from its point of contact with the camp to the plainly-marked ridgeway shown in the aquatint. It ran to the east, by the side of the hedgerows, for a distance of just one-third of a mile till it joined the more perfect and better-preserved ridgeway at a quarry or gravel pit. This discovery, made by Mr. Leader, the Rev. W. S. Sykes, and myself, is a matter of considerable interest, for we were satisfied that the ridgeway, which ascends the hill from Grimesthorpe and descends it in the direction of Meadow Hall, is connected with the camp, touching it at its south-east side, and entering it at the point of contact.

As we walk down the ridgeway from the gravel pit we shall notice that on the left or north-western side the ground slopes steeply down to a great depth. On this side nature has supplied the necessary fortification. But the opposite or south-east side of the ridge is not so steep, and here a ditch will be noticed. The ditch, which is best preserved towards the bottom of the hill, is about thirty feet[5] in width, and is on the south-east side of the ridgeway. It continues on this side, in the places where it is preserved, all the way to Greasborough—the furthest point to which I have examined it. The summit of the ridge is from six to eight feet in breadth, being wider at the top than at the bottom of the hill. It is still a public way, and there are stiles here and there where the wall of an adjacent field crosses the ridge. There are no signs of pavement, and one can hardly conceive that such a path could have been used for any kind of vehicle, or that it was originally used for any other purpose than that of a combined rampart and military way.[6]

The course of the ridgeway across the valley and over the Blackburn Brook can only now be guessed, but we may be confident that it went straight towards the ridge on the opposite side of the valley. It re-appears at the foot of the hill near Meadow Hall, and, keeping close to the left or north-west side of the turnpike leading to Kimberworth, it proceeds upon a natural ridge, like a huge railway bank, covered with brushwood and timber on the left, with steep ground sloping down towards Templeborough and the Don on the right. The way runs upon the top of this natural ridge as far as Kimberworth—though the raised bank is not again apparent until that village has been passed—and this running of the path upon a ridge is remarkable as constant through its course from Grimesthorpe to Kimberworth, being only broken by the flat piece of meadow land near the Blackburn Brook. Nature has in a great measure made the rampart, and the absence of a natural barrier has been supplied by human agency. In the village of Kimberworth the course of the ridgeway can only be traced by the footpath which goes along the east side of the churchyard[7] and leads to a conspicuous part of the way known as Barber Balk. Here there is an artificial and not a natural bank or ridge, though the way still maintains the highest ground. An old packhorse lane runs upon the bank, which resembles a little railway embankment, the average breadth of the top being from six to eight feet. In some places the height of the bank measured on the slope from the bottom of the ditch—which is only faintly marked—on the south-east side is from seven to eight feet; it is rather less in others. The ground has here been long cultivated, and the ditch must once have been much deeper. On the opposite side, the bank is very low, being seldom more than one or two feet above the level of the adjacent fields. Oaks and other trees grow here and there upon the top or sides of the balk or bank. Where it is preserved, the bank, with a path either on its top or by its side, pursues its course through the village of Greasborough, and after going down the hill on the north-east side of that village, and passing the south-east end of a sheet of water known as the Mill Dam, appears on the opposite hill side in an almost perfect form. Here it resembles the earthwork at Grimesthorpe, and the Bar Dyke in Bradfield, and at once strikes the eye as an imposing military entrenchment. The ditch at this place is nearly forty feet in width, but the depth is less than at Grimesthorpe, being only four-and-a-half feet. The ditch still continues on the south-east side. Here the way does not run on the top of the bank but on its north-west side. The sides of the ditch are not so steep as those at Grimesthorpe, nor is the shape so fastigate, but it is the best-preserved portion of this great earthwork still existing. I have now described the ridgeway in its course from Grimesthorpe to Greasborough. But it does not follow that these places are its actual termini. From Grimesthorpe it possibly extended, as I have said, along or near to the "Grimesthorpe Road," by Meadow Head, Hall Carr, and Burngreave, crossing the Don and continuing through Upperthorpe,[8] Steel Bank, and Walkley, and running upon the ridge of the hill in Stannington, until it reached or came in contact with the earthworks in Bradfield, such as Castle Hill and Bar Dike, already described. This supposition is chiefly supported by evidence drawn from local tradition, and from philology. That evidence consists of the embankment formerly existing in the Nursery, near the Don, the tradition about a "Roman road" at Steel Bank,[9] the discovery at or near Steel Bank of stone implements already described in a previous chapter, of the names Walkley and Barber Nook, and of the name Steel Bank itself, which occurs not only as the name of a place midway between Barber Nook and Walkley, but also as an old name on the summit of the hill in Stannington.[10] The street, says Grimm, is the public way, the king's way; the path, the smaller, narrower way was called in Old High German stigilla, in Middle High German stigele, stigel.[11] A portion of the ridge upon which Hadrian's Wall runs is known as Steel Rig.[12] We may take Steel Bank and Steel Rig as almost identical in meaning. It is just possible that the name may mean "steep bank,"[13] but "stile" is found in Yorkshire as meaning "a narrow path, a road."[14] "Bank" is here used in its old sense of "a portion of the surface of the ground raised or thrown up into a ridge or shelf; a lengthened mound with steeply sloping sides." Steel Bank then means path bank, a bank with a road on its top, just as hedge-bank is a bank with a hedge on its top.

Let us now enquire whether any light has been thrown upon these ancient earthworks by the names which they bear, or by the names of places adjacent thereto. We may at once dismiss such names as "Roman Rig" as modern fancies, and as quite unknown until the present century. The name Wincobank is rather striking, and this word resolves itself into three parts. "Bank" is the ridge or continuous mound which goes up from Grimesthorpe to the camp at the top of the wood, and descends on the opposite side. Harrison in 1637 speaks of "Wincowe Wood" and "Winkow Common," and he also speaks of "Wincabanke," meaning the raised bank or ridge leading to "Wincowe." The second syllable is "how," Old Norse haugr, a mound, and the first syllable describes the kind of mound. "Winc" or "Wink" appears to be the same word as our modern surname Wing, which, as a place-name, occurs as Weng, and is found in such place-names as Wenghale. This word is the Old Norse vangr or vengi, Danish vænge, Old English wang, a garden, home-field, enclosed place. What the English settler saw when he came over here was a field or space enclosed by a mound, and he called it Wang-how, Weng-how, meaning enclosure mound, camp mound. Stratmann renders the English wang by the Latin campus. The change from Weng to Wing would be quite regular in the dialect of this district, and besides "the older e is converted into i by nasals and nasal combinations."[15] And in the local dialect medial g becomes c or k.

In 1695 Bishop Gibson wrote:

"On the north side of the river, over against Templeborough, is a high hill, called Wincobank, from which a large bank is continued, without interruption, almost five miles, being in one place called Danes Bank. And about quarter of a mile south from Kemp Bank (over which this bank runs) there is another agger, which runs parallel with that from a place called Birchwood, running towards Mexburgh, and terminating within half a mile of its west end, as Kemp Bank runs by Swinton to Mexburgh more north."[16]

So it seems that the ridgeway connected with the camp was known in 1695 as Danes Bank, at all events in one part of its course. The men who knew it by that name were far more likely to be right than those who of late years have called it "the Roman Rig."

We have seen that to the north of Kimberworth the ridge-way is known as Barber Balk. About a mile to the west of it are Barber Wood and Walkworth Wood. This word Barber seems to give a clue to the origin of the earthwork. The same word occurs in Barber Nook, near Crookes, where it will be remembered that stone hatchets and other prehistoric remains have been found,[17] and where a tradition about a "Roman road" exists, or has existed. It is also found in Barber Booth at Edale in Derbyshire, in Barber Fields and Barber Stones near Ringinglow. It means barbarian. Walkworth seems to be derived from the Old English wealh,[18] a foreigner, and wurð, a protected clan homestead. If we say that Walkworth is foreigners' homestead, and Barber Balk is barbarians' bank, or a continuous mound thrown up by barbarians, shall we say that the designation barbarian (barbar) and foreigner (wealh) were intended to apply to the same people? I think we must say so. It would appear then that at an early period the English-speaking inhabitants of the district not only spoke of this long mound or ridgeway as barbarians'[19] barrier, but that they also spoke of certain people living in their neighbourhood as "foreigners," or people whose nationality differed from their own. Now who were these foreigners ? They cannot have been the Romans, for, in my opinion, that people neither made the camp just described, nor the ridgeway, and the fact: that, as we shall presently see, flint implements and chippings are found on the ridgeway affords some proof that these earthworks were not made by Roman hands. Moreover, the English settlers would hardly speak of Roman fortifications or military ways as the work of barbarians. I am about to maintain that these earthworks were made by a Cimbric people, and in this connection I would observe that not only is there a Walkworth adjacent to Barber Balk; there is another place ending in worth, a village through which Barber Balk runs, namely Kimberworth. Can this be Cimbra-wurð, or Cimbera-wurð homestead of the Cimbri, a race once inhabiting the Danish peninsula? In a previous chapter it was suggested that the Cimbri made the Bar Dike, and another entrenchment in Bradfield. There is an earthwork in Eckington, eight miles to the south of Kimberworth, which is called Dane Balk, and this would appear to point to the Danish, meaning Cimbric, origin of these banks. This name, as well as Danes Bank, which, as we have seen, was applied to some part of the ridgeway in 1695, reminds us of the Dannevirke, or Danish wall, the great bank or entrenchment between Schleswig and Holstein, which runs across the Danish peninsula from sea to sea. In Ellis's transcript of the Doomsday Survey, and in the published facsimile, Kimberworth appears in large letters as Chibereworde, and this would appear at first sight to be fatal to my theory that the word means homestead of the Cimbri. But it may be the strongest proof of it. The old scribe or copyist, not knowing the place itself, may very easily, when copying from the original draft, have omitted the dash or curved line over the i, which would represent the letter m, and therefore I propose to read Chimbereworde. And I do this with greater confidence because in a deed which is less than a century later in date than Doomsday the name occurs as Kymberworth,[20] because that spelling is found in other early charters,[21] and because the word is not a word which was likely to have undergone such a change. For these reasons I think we may with some probability take the Old English form of the name to have been Cimbera-wurð. The singular Cimber, meaning Cimbrian, occurs in Cicero as a surname of L. Tullius, one of the murderers of Cæsar,[22] but there appears to be no instance of the name in the earliest English writers. Kimberworth then may have been the tribal homestead of some Cimbric clan. It is however possible that the word may be connected with the Low Latin cumbra, or cumbrus, a heap, or embankment, especially as the ridgeway passed through the village. But the adjacent Walkworth affords evidence to the contrary, and on other grounds it is much less likely.

A recent writer describes the Cimbri as "an ancient nation of unknown affinity, which was one of the most formidable enemies of the Roman power, and has proved one of the most difficult subjects for the historical investigator."[23] Classical writers were divided in opinion as to the origin of the Cimbri, and the like difference has prevailed amongst modern scholars. The question is whether they were a Celtic or a Teutonic people, and Professor Rolleston, judging from an examination of the form of their skulls, says "the craniographer will incline to the Celtic hypothesis." It need hardly be said that evidence founded on the form of their skulls—they are round, like those found in the Danish peninsula—is of great weight. In addition to this Professor Rolleston points to the existence in England of earthworks which remind us of the 'castra ac spatia' of the Cimbri in their native land (Tacit. Germ. 37) but which have been shown by Colonel Lane Fox to have been thrown up by invaders advancing inland from the sea."[24]

According to Plutarch the Germans called the Cimbri "robbers." Grimm connected the word with the Old High German chemphari, Old English cempere, a warrior.

When describing the Bar Dike and other earthworks in Bradfield I quoted a passage from the Germania of Tacitus,[25] of which I now give a translation. The historian says:

"The same German promontory [meaning the Danish peninsula] is occupied by the Cimbri next the Ocean, a state which is now small, but of mighty renown. Moreover the widespread vestiges of their ancient fame, and their camps and ways remain on either shore, by whose circuit you may even now estimate the immense military strength of the people, and also the degree of credit to be given to the account of so great an emigration."

It will be noticed that I have ventured to translate castra ac spatia as "camps and ways." I find that spatium means path or course in various classical writers. Thus Ovid speaks of spatium declivis Olympi,[26] and Tacitus himself uses the word in that sense.[27] The "great emigration" mentioned by the historian seems to refer to the "Cimbrian Deluge," there being various traditions recorded by ancient historians "as to the occurrence of such catastrophes in the Cimbric Peninsula, and in 'extremis Galliæ.'"[28] And Professor Rolleston says that "it is of importance to recollect that there are geological reasons for holding that the so-called 'Cimbrian Deluge' was but one of a series of submersions, each of which may have caused an emigration." That emigration may have been partly into the British Isles. The invaders appear to have landed in the north of Yorkshire, and to have entrenched themselves as they advanced towards the south and south-east. This would account for the uniform presence of the ditch on the south-east side of the ridgeway, it being intended as a defence against attack delivered from that side.

If we suppose that this warlike and renowned people invaded this country, or settled therein, a reasonable explanation is offered of the camp (castra) and the ridgeway (spatium?) described in this chapter,[29] and everything seems consistent. And if we suppose that the Cimbri were a Celtic people, it would be natural for the earliest Germanic settlers in England to ascribe their fortifications, their military roads, and their dwelling-places to the barbarian, the foreigner, and the Dane (meaning the Cimbrian). They believed that these works were not Germanic, and they also knew that they were not Roman.

The camp in Wincobank wood and the ridgeway connected with it were old—we know not how old—in the days of Tacitus. That they existed in the days of a people who used flint implements has been proved by recent discoveries. The Rev. C. V. Collier and the Rev. W. S. Sykes have found flint flakes, charred flints, and flint implements on the ridgeway leading down from the camp to Meadow Hall. Four of these implements, represented in their actual size, are figured above, the figures I and 2 showing a flint knife, of light colour, on both its sides. This instrument is not unlike a modern butter knife with a bevelled back, the bevel being as cleanly cut as though the flint had been a piece of wax. The edge is very sharp, but broken in a few places, and the sharpness is produced by a wide bevel, extending to half the breadth of the knife, but this unfortunately is not shown in the photogravure. The knife was broken across the centre, and had to be glued together. The most remarkable feature of the knife is the hole or groove which has been cut on both sides, apparently to enable the first finger and thumb to retain a firm grasp. As these holes are deeply cut, and as the knife is in no part thicker than a five-shilling piece, the wonder is how, in such a hard material as flint, the holes were cut at all, for the division between the two cavities is very thin. So smooth are the cavities that one would hardly suppose that mere chipping could produce them even in the hands of the most cunning artificer. The other flints are less interesting. Two of them are scrapers, each having one sharp edge, and they were used for scraping skins or other materials. The remaining flint, which is of much darker colour than the rest, has a serrated edge, and can even now be used as a saw. The lapse of time has had no effect upon this hard material.Amongst some other flint implements found at Ashover in Derbyshire I have a small flint awl, very sharp at the point, and evidently intended for making holes in skins. Canon Atkinson of Danby has found flints in the entrenchments on the moorlands to the west of Whitby, and I believe they are occasionally found in the entrenchments at Bradfield. Of the Yorkshire entrenchments Canon Atkinson says "the devisers and builders of those massive and skilfully projected lines of defence were makers and users of flint weapons and flint implements; and yet that is not a fact inconsistent with a knowledge, on their part, and possession of instruments and weapons of metal."[30]

In August 1891 nineteen Roman coins were found in the ditch adjoining the south side of the ridgeway, towards the bottom of the hill on the Meadow Hall side. The discovery was accidentally made by some navvies when they were cutting through the ridgeway in making a branch of the Midland Railway to Chapeltown. "They were found," says a writer in the Sheffield Independent, "under a flat stone, and had evidently been placed there for security." The opinion of Mr. Barclay V. Head, of the British Museum, was taken as to three of the coins, and he pronounced that they belonged to the reigns of Hadrian, Domitian, and Antoninus Pius. That of Hadrian was the finest.[31] a The coins are dispersed, and are in private hands. It might be said that the discovery of these coins affords some proof of the Roman origin both of the ridgeway and the camp. There is no reason, however, why a Roman should not have hidden his treasure in the earthworks of a conquered or foreign people.

The proximity of the ridgeway to a now well-known Roman town will be noticed, and it might on that ground be supposed that the builders of Templeborough were also the makers of the ridgeway and the camp. We have here the same problem as that which presents itself in the earthworks adjacent to Hadrian's wall. Whether the earthworks adjacent to the great wall are of Roman construction or not, the ridgeway and the camp at Wincobank show few signs of Roman origin. It seems to me that the evidence is all the other way, though it is not unlikely that the Romans seized and occupied military works which had been prepared by another people, and used them as their own.

There is one very striking feature about the prehistoric earthworks in this neighbourhood, and that is the uniform width of their ditches or trenches. Whether we examine them at Bradfield, Grimesthorpe, Wincobank, or Roe Wood, we shall always find that the width of the trench is thirty feet, with occasional slight variations, but so slight as in no way to affect the rule. The only seeming exception is the ditch of Barber Balk at Greasborough, which is forty feet in width, but is not so deep as the ditch is in other places. The quantity of earth cast up there was, however, as nearly as possible the same as the quantity cast up at Wincobank, and along the ridgeway. Either, then, a uniform width was understood and maintained by the makers of these earthworks, or else they were dug out by gangs of men of equal numbers, and working the same number of hours each day over a given space.


[1] In Guest's Rotherham, p. 594.

[2] O. E. hryegueg. There is a place called Ridgeway in Eckington, Chesterfield.

[3] Mr. Leader, the Rev. W. S. Sykes, Mr. Keeling, and myself.

[4] Local Notes and Queries of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent.

[5] It is thirty-three feet measured from the middle line of the ridgeway.

[6] Some old roads in Lincolnshire are known as rampars, which means mounds, and is the same as ramparts, the t being excrescent.

[7] This is now a matter of conjecture, but, as will be seen in the plan on a subsequent page, the missing parts of the ridgeway can be supplied from the portions which remain.

[8] Formerly Hooperthorpe. It does not mean "upper village." The first part of the word may be a personal name, or it may be connected with the O. H. G. huopa, an enclosed and measured piece of ground.

[9] Ante, pp. 20, 21.

[10] A copyhold surrender of the year 1777 mentions a message called "the Fairbarne," and fields called Annott Hole, Sib Croft, Hob Well, and the Acorn Hill, together with other lands at Steel Bank, Stannington. There was copyhold land at Steel Bank near Upperthorpe. "The Fairbarne" occurs as Farebarne in 1718. "Annott" in the Old English anot, useless, unprofitable, so that Annott Hole means a piece of waste ground lying in a hole. Here is another proof that field-names are not "corrupt" in form.

[11] R. A. p. 552.

[12] Bruce's Handbook to the Roman Wall, 1885, p. 173.

[13] Compare the Dutch cen steylen wegh, a steep way (Hexham's Dict., 1675) and the Swedish stel, steep.

[14] Halliwell's Dict

[15] Sievers's Old English Grammar, by Cook, 1887, p. 9.

[16] Gibson's Camden, 1772, p. 847, cited by Mr. Leader in Guest's Rotherham, p. 597.

[17] Ante, p. 21.

[18] The final h in wealh appears to have had a guttural sound, and perhaps it was originally written hh or ch, for in the oldest texts the spelling of final h is often ch, as thrúch for thrúh. (See Sievers's Old Engl. Gram, by Cook, 1887, p. 121.)

[19] The word occurs in Wyclif, i Cor. xiv. ii. "I schal be to him, to whom I shall speke, a barbar." And Mätzner quotes two other instances of the word from an Old English author where it is equivalent to "heathen." We may compare the German barbar, Swedish barbar, barbarian. "Balk is the O. E. balca, a ridge, bank."

[20] Hunter's South Yorkshire, ii, 267.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Cic. Phil. II. ii.

[23] Article on Cimbri in Encyclopaedia Brit., last ed.

[24] For numerous references to the Cimbri see Professor Rolleston's essay in Greenwell's British Barrows, p 632, and Förstemann, Altd. Namenbuch, 1872, p. 407.

[25] Ante, p. 32.

[26] Metam. vi, 487.

[27] "Nam quomodo nobiles equos cursus et spatia probant," etc.—De Orat, 39.

[28] Rolleston, ut supra, p. 631.

[29] Messrs. Church and Brodribb, the editors of a scholarly little edition of the Germania (Macmillan), take castra ac spatia as a hendiadis, and translate the words as "vast encampments."

[30] Forty Years in a Moorland Parish, 1891, p. 157.

[31] Ex inform. Rev. C. V. Collier, who received his information from the Rev. John Julian, of Wincobank.

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Another couple of short chapters:

XXXII. The Earthwork in Roe Wood

About quarter of a mile to the north-east of Shirecliffe Hall, Pitsmoor, is a wood known as Great Roe Wood. Near its western edge is a nameless earthwork, hitherto little noticed, but once or twice described as a "camp." This earthwork originally consisted of one large circular mound and an outer ditch. It is not nearly so well preserved as the earthwork at the top of Wincobank wood, for only portions of the mound and ditch now remain. It is upon a hill side which slopes to the east, not upon the summit of the hill, and there is no ancient road near.

With the help of the Rev. W. S. Sykes I examined and measured this earthwork in November, 1893. There are three distinct portions of the mound and ditch now remaining, the most perfect of these being on the east side. Here the mound and ditch are in their original form, and they exaclly resemble the larger and inner mound and ditch of the earthwork in Wincobank wood. The other portions are on the south-east and south-west sides. These are only small pieces, but by their help, and by the help of the fainter traces of the enclosed space still existing, it is possible to make out the original plan. The enclosed area is flat. We took the following measurements:

Diameter of the enclosed area measured from north to south - 200 feet

Diameter of the enclosed area measured from east to west - 190 feet

Inside height of the mound on the east side - - - - 5 feet

Perpendicular depth of ditch - - - - - - - 6 feet

Width of ditch measured from margin to margin in the three places where it is preserved - 30 feet

It will thus be seen that the ditch corresponds in width and depth to the larger ditch of the camp at Wincobank, and to that of the ridgeway.

Mr. Winder tells me that, according to plans in the Duke of Norfolk's office, there has been no alteration in the size or shape of Great Roe Wood for the last hundred years, and he says that the largest oak tree he ever saw was felled in it. The six-inch Ordnance map of 1850 marks a spring on the site of the earthwork, though this seems to have been carried away by draining; at all events it is not there now.

There can be no doubt as to the antiquity of this earthwork, which seems to have been the site of a protected clan homestead of some old Germanic, or rather Cimbric or Celtic family. Tacitus, as is well known, describes the old Germans not as dwelling in towns, but as inhabiting dwellings scattered here and there in the fields and woods. "Every man," he says, "surrounds his house with a spatium"—whatever that may mean.[1] The names of places in England ending in tún, wurð, etc., show that the enclosed or protected homestead was common here, and what protection could have been better, when stone buildings and castles were not, than an encircling mound of earth and a big ditch?

It seems to be almost an instinct in an Englishman to surround himself, if not with a great earth mound, at all events with a big garden wall. The children who make mounds and ditches for their houses on the sea shore are perhaps, unconsciously and by instinct, repeating what their forefathers did ages ago, and what their fathers still do when they build great walls round their parks and gardens, not to shut out their enemies or beasts of prey, but for reasons best known to themselves.


[1] Germ. 16. As to the word spatium see ante p. 246.

XXXIII. The Romans: Scotland Balk

An ancient road or raised bank, which in one place bears the name of Scotland Balk, "runs across" (to quote the words of Gibson's Camden) Danes Bank, otherwise Barber Balk, a little to the north of Templeborough. I take this Scotland Balk, which Gibson describes as "Kemp Bank," to have been the great northern Roman road, which passed through or near Templeborough and went forward to Legiolium (Castleford) and York. These words "Scotland Balk" and "Kemp Bank" would at first suggest that this was a ridgeway or an embankment made by the people who made the neighbouring Barber Balk. And these two "balks," which run so near together, appear on the map to resemble the two nearly parallel embankments or dikes at Bradfield already described. But Scotland Balk does not run parallel to Barber Balk. As the plan shows, the two lines get gradually wider apart as they go respectively towards the north and north-east.

The opinon here advanced that Scotland Balk is the great northern Roman road is founded upon an examination of the work itself, and upon the negative evidence afforded by the fact that if this be not the great northern road which passed through Stretton, Chesterfield, and Beighton, and went forward through or near Templeborough to the north, it is nowhere else to be found. I doubt whether any inference of this kind can be drawn from the name Scotland Balk itself; it is hardly likely that it means Scotland road, or road to Scotland. I have said something about this word on a previous page.[1]

Scotland Balk, otherwise "Kemp Bank," is not so well preserved as Barber Balk; its remains are apparent in fewer places, and it has suffered more from the cultivation of land. It never, like the ridgeway or Barber Balk, takes the form of a rounded embankment with an adjacent ditch. Its summit is never less than twelve or more than fifteen feet wide. In every place where I have examined it its top is flat, and it has a decided appearance of having been a road. I have seen no signs of pavement, but I have had no section cut, or examination made beneath the soil.

At the Kimberworth end, or near Gilberthorpe Hill Top, Scotland Balk appears as a slightly-raised road, twelve or thirteen feet broad, the raised sloping bank being most apparent on the eastern side, and having a perpendicular height of four or five feet on that side, whilst on the western or opposite side the perpendicular height is never more than two feet, and in many places there is no bank at all on this side. Nowhere could I detect any sign of a ditch, and only in one small portion, about 300 yards in length, did I observe that the road was in actual use, this portion being merely a lane leading from a turnpike to a field. Further to the north of Gilberthorpe Hill Top the course of the "balk" is not so apparent, though the raised bank appears here and there, but its site and direction can usually be traced by means of two parallel rows of big trees which grow on either side of it, this feature of the road being especially apparent in and near Wentworth Park. In the park the course of the road has been partly obliterated by artificial sheets of water, but a portion of the raised bank running in a straight direction, with a row of trees on either side, is very well preserved. Here, as before, the bank is highest on the eastern side, and the breadth of the "balk" nearly corresponds with its breadth at Gilberthorpe Hill Top, being about fourteen feet. Here, too, the top of the "balk" is flat, and looks like a disused road, and as though it had been an old coach road leading to the north. I have examined it in many places, and have always found its top flat, and at least twice as wide as the path or way which in some places runs on the top of Barber Balk. This feature of Scotland Balk is so uniform and persistent that I incline to regard it, on this ground alone, as an ancient road. Again, Scotland Balk is not, like Barber Balk, a ridgeway; it does not run upon a ridge, or show any trace of having been intended for a barrier against an enemy, or as a defence against attack from the east or south-east. It is, however, possible that this absence of any sign of military engineering is owing to the nature of the ground over which it runs, and the long period during which the contiguous land has been cultivated.[2] It is interesting to compare the breadth of Scotland Balk with that of some of the great Roman roads in Italy, such as the Via Appia, which were from thirteen to fifteen feet wide between the trenches.

Two great Roman roads then met at Templeborough, or a little to the north of that town. The exact point where they crossed each other has not been exactly made out, but probably it was somewhere in the line of the turnpike road leading from Meadow Hall to Kimberworth. That part of the Long Causey—if I may so describe the road which led from Crookes to Templeborough—has been little explored to the east of the last-named town. It appears to have led to Lincoln, but if that city is the Lindum colonia of the Ravenna geographer, and if Templeborough is Bannovallum, it seems strange that no town is mentioned between those two distant places. It can hardly be doubted that Lindum colonia is Lincoln, but, as Mr. Bradley has lately shown,[3] it is very doubtful whether -coln in that word translates colonia, or whether Lincoln was a colony at all.


[1] Ante, p. 144.

[2] 1 would here refer to an interesting chapter on "Roman Roads in the Neighbourhood of Rotherham" by Henry Payne, M.D., and John Hugh Burland, in Guest's Rotherham, p. 613, seq.

[3] Academy, Nov., 1893.

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XXXIV. The Romans: The Long Causey

A Roman road went through Hallamshire in the direction of east to west. I propose in this chapter to trace the course of this road, which has been called the Port-way,[1] Bathum-gate, Giants' Causey, and Long Causey, from Buxton to Templeborough, near Rotherham. It would seem more desirable to trace it from Templeborough to Buxton, because the road was, as one of its names implies, the highway leading to the hot springs or baths there. But, as the part of the road which is near Buxton has been more fully examined than the part near Templeborough, and at an earlier time, it will be better to begin with the known and then proceed to that which is less known.

The earliest mention of this Roman road which I have seen is that which occurs in a book written by Dr. John Jones, and printed in 1572.[2] The writer was at one time Reclor of Treeton near Sheffield, and, as he wrote a book about Buxton, he was probably well acquainted with the country between Sheffield and Buxton. He is of opinion that "Buckstones Bathes," as he calls them, are "of great antiquitie," and he tells us that for "many yeares past" the town of Buxton "was frequented for the health of thousandes, by bathing them: as well as it is in these our dayes. For, betweene Burghe and it, there is an high way forced ouer the moores, all paued, of such antiquity as none can express, called Bathgate." A few years later Camden says "that these hote waters were knowne in old time, the Port-way or High paved street named Bath-gate, reaching for seven miles together from hence unto Burgh a little village doth manifestly show."[3] Burgh is the place now called Brough,[4] near Hope. Pegge speaks of the road as "the lesser Roman road called the Bath-way." "It is now," he says, "commonly stiled by the natives of the country Bathom-gate."[5] The natives were quite right in using this name, for they thereby preserved correctly the ancient form of the word. Bathom stands for baðum, the dative plural of the Old English bæð, bath. The German Baden is the dative plural of the cognate word bad. It appears from an ancient charter printed in Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus that the city of Bath was called æt baðum,[6] which, though meaning literally "at the baths," is simply, according to the Old English idiom, Bath. It follows, then, that Buxton, like Bath in Somersetshire, was formerly called æet baðum, or Bath. A recent discovery has shown that Buxton is probably the Aquæ of the Ravenna geographer, and that Burgh or Brough was probably known as Navio, a word with which we may compare the stream at Brough known as Noo or Nooa, though the resemblance is but slight. The order of the iter given by the geographer is "Lindum colonia (Lincoln?), Bannovallum, Navione, Aquis." Bannovallum may, or may not, be Templeborough, for that point has not been settled, but Mr. W. Thompson Watkin of Liverpool has shown "from the evidence of an inscription on a Roman milestone found near Buxton, and marking eleven miles from Navio, that the station bearing that name was probably at Brough, near Castleton, Derbyshire; whilst as to the name of the next station, Aquæ (The Waters), there is but one place in the neighbourhood to which it would apply, Buxton."[7] The Romans knew the virtues of its hot springs, and thought so highly of them that they made a great paved road thereto from the towns to the east and north right across the high moors. The road doubtless extended further to the west of Buxton, as it extended to the east of Templeborough, but we are here dealing with the part extending between Templeborough and Buxton.

Though few Roman remains have, up to the present day, been found at Buxton, it was, in the words of Pegge, "indisputably a Roman station."[8] Few places in the north of England were more likely to attract the eye of the bath-loving Roman than this. Wherever the Romans went they never forgot the hot baths to which they were accustomed, and the hot springs of Buxton would make the labour and cost of building hypocausts unnecessary. But they would not have made this great paved road for the mere sake of travelling to water which was naturally heated. They believed, as many of us believe, in the healing virtues of such springs, and they doubtless intended Buxton to be a resort of health and pleasure, like the city of Bath itself, or like the Baiæ of their own country.

The springs at Baiæ, we are told, were of very different ingredients, and their sanatory powers manifold. They contained sulphur, alum, salt, soda, and other chemical properties. The baths which promoted perspiration seem to have been valued highest, and hot streams of vapour were conducted from the springs by means of pipes into the buildings.[9] Strabo tells us that Baiæ and its warm springs were serviceable both for pleasure and the healing of diseases.[10] Now the warm springs of Buxton were just as serviceable to the Roman settlers living in the north of this island as the baths of Baiæ were to those who remained at home. Wherever the Romans went they took their manners, customs, and habits of life with them. That they should have made a costly paved road to Buxton, right over the barren and heath-clad moors, is a proof not only of their energy and of their love of health and pleasure, but also of the firm hold which they obtained in this country. The walls of their villas and the pavements of their roads have been used as quarries for more than a thousand years. But still hardly a year goes by which does not disclose fresh evidence of their power in England. We know not how many remains of great villas yet lie buried in the ground. Even when we find them, or know about them already, we do not always explore them. It is only on a few rare occasions that some zealous antiquary succeeds in kindling enough enthusiasm to raise a few pounds for exploring, for instance, such a place as Templeborough.

Pegge has already traced the Bath-gate from Brough to Buxton, and we cannot do better than quote his account:

"Brough," he says, "was certainly once a place of consequence, and probably very populous. But now from hence to Buxton, the road is very capable of being traced, as we found by experience, for the materials of which the stratum is composed, are totally different from the natural ground on each side. The stratum, or causey, is not much raised anywhere (indeed there was but little occasion for that, the ground being in general hard and sound) but is the most so at the first setting out; however, in several places upon Tideswell moor you may distinguish the sides of it for many yards together, so as to form a good judgment of its breadth, which we found to be seven or eight yards. "I shall take it at Brough, and proceed from thence to Buxton. As soon as you are over the second water flash, commonly called the Burghwash,[11] which is made by Bradwell brook, it appears in the lane, much raised, but broken into fragments. Then it enters Bull-meadow, running up by the left hand hedge which stands upon it. From thence it turns into that strait lane that leads to Smaldale, where it turns up to the pastures, called Doctor's Pasture and Bagshaw Pasture, where it is but little to be seen. Afterwards it becomes very visible, and proceeds in a very direcl line to the stone fence that parts Bradwell moor and Tidswell-moor; from whence it goes, in a line equally strait [sic] to the enclosures of the Dam of the Forest, and this seems to be the most perfect and conspicuous portion of it. Here, a few yards within the lane, commonly called Hernstone-Lane, it enters the enclosures on the left hand, where we could discern its course, in the month of June, very plainly, by the different colour of the grass, till it entered that straight lane that goes to Fairfield. Afterwards, it winds to the left hand towards Fairfield, and proceeds by that village to Buxton, where it finally ends, for I could not learn that it extended any further. Camden calls the length of it seven miles, but I presume it cannot be less than ten Italian miles."[12]

Pegge believed that the road only ran between Brough and Buxton. "I do not," he says, "find any traces of the road in question, to the North or North East of Brough, whence it may be reasonable to conclude that it extended no further that way, but was meerly intended for a commodious communication between this place and Buxton bath."[13] But in saying this he was mistaken, as will presently be seen.

Having quoted Pegge's account of the road between Brough and Buxton, a few words must be said about Brough itself before we trace the road which goes from that place to Stanage Pole and Redmires, and thence to Templeborough. Here I will once more quote the last-named writer:

"Brough is a small hamlet in the parish of, and very near, Hope, where remains of antiquity have been frequently and copiously found. And when I was there, anno 1761, in company with Mr. John Mander of Bakewell, they shewed us a rude bust of Apollo, and of another deity, in stone, that had been found in the fields there. There had also been a coarse pavement composed of pieces of tiles and cement discovered, as also urns, bricks, tiles, in short every species of Roman antiquities, but coins, of which we could not hear that any had been found. The two fields called Halsteds,[14] lie at the confluence of Bradwal brook and the Noo or Noa. In the upper one innumerable foundations of hewn stone had been ploughed up, and in the lower, very near to the angle made by the two brooks, are the apparent marks of an oblong square building, the angles of which were of hewn grit stone."[15]

In 1778 William Bray published "A Sketch of a Tour into Derbyshire and Yorkshire"—a pleasing and interesting book which is too little known in this district. He thus writes of Brough:

"In a field at the conflux of the two streams, it is in memory that a double row of pillars crossed the point of land, but they have been entirely destroyed some time. Old people say they were of grit-stone, and that three persons could walk abreast between them. At a gate by the road side, just before coming to the mill, on the left of the gate I saw a base, and part of a column of brown stone."[16]

Bray gives an engraving of a portion of one of these pillars, which resembles those lately found at Templeborough. A considerable harvest of Roman remains probably awaits the explorer at this place, which might be written Burgh, as it used to be. This word, which occurs also in Temple-borough, proves that these places were considerable villas or towns whose fortifications were more substantial than simple hedges and ditches. A big Roman villa was a town in itself, just as some great ducal mansions, Welbeck for example, are as big as some towns.

Important as the town of Brough or Burgh must have been, it is not à priori likely that a costly Roman road, "all paved," as Dr. Jones described it in 1572, would have been made for the sole use of that town only. Nor was this the case. The straight course which Roman roads usually took has often been noticed, and if we draw a straight line from Buxton to Templeborough we shall find that it will pass through, or nearly through, Burgh. We shall also find that this line will pass by, or very near, Stanage Pole, Redmires, Hallam Head, and Sandygate. I do not say that we can trace the road through all its course from Burgh to Stanage Pole, or from Stanage Pole to Templeborough, for the cultivation of land and the growth of Sheffield have destroyed most of the traces of it. But there is no doubt as to its general direction. In a little map of Derbyshire, made so recently as 1805, only two roads from Burgh leading eastward are marked; one is the turnpike passing through Hathersage to Sheffield; the other is an old road which goes up to Stanage Pole. Now this is the Roman road, though its course from Burgh to Stanage[17] Pole is not so apparent to-day. It is, however, very apparent for a mile or two to the north-west of Stanage Pole, where great paving stones may still be seen. Here it is popularly known as Giants' Causey, a name which is in harmony with the well-known belief which attributed old works to the giants. Under the name of Long Causey the course of the road from Stanage Pole to Hallamgate near the Crookes Dam is clearly marked in an engraved map of Sheffield and its environs, made by W. Fairbank and Son in 1795. The course of the Long Causey has been since interrupted by the making of the reservoir at Redmires, and its ancient name has lately been changed to the meaningless "Lodge Moor Road."

Happily the surveyor has preserved the true name, for "long causey" means long paved way, this being a very neat and appropriate description of a Roman road. A Roman road near Chesterholm on Hadrian's wall is known as Stanegate (stone way), the name being identical in meaning with "causey."[18]

Excavations would of course have to be made before the actual construction of the road could be determined. But "part of a magnificent Roman road is still to be seen on a hill-side at Blackstone Edge in Lancashire." This has been partly laid bare, and the view of it given in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities[19] shows that it was paved with small rectangular stones like our modern metalled streets,, but with a row of much larger paving stones running down the middle; these larger stones being raised at the edges, and apparently intended for a central foot-way. The paving stones on the middle of the Roman road which goes by Stanage Pole, and upon that part of the same road which leads to Mytham Bridge near Hope, appear to have been employed for the same purpose as the central stones or paved foot-way of the Lancashire road. One cannot, however, be sure, after the lapse of so many centuries, that these are the original Roman paving stones. They are hollow in the middle. A drawing of the road leading to Mytham Bridge is given on the preceding page. With the termination of the Long Causey, as shown in Fairbank's map, at the south side of the dam in Crookes known as "Pisgah Dam," or "Hadfield Service Reservoir," positive knowledge of the actual eastward course of the road ends. Assuming, as we safely may, that the road still pursued an eastward course, it would pass either directly through, or very near to, the old town of Sheffield, and probably strike the great north road which passed through Stretton, Chesterfield, Eckington, Beighton, and Treeton[20] at or near Templeborough. The Long Causey may have continued along Western Bank, "Brook Hill," Broad Lane, and West-bar Green, crossing the Don at Bridgehouses, or more probably it may have kept further to the south and passed along "Portobello Street," Trippet Lane,[21] and High Street till it crossed the Don at Lady's Bridge. If the term High Street[22] could be shown to be an ancient name, and not a mere substitute for an older Prior Gate, it would possibly mark the site of the Roman road in the city of Sheffield. The course of the road from Sheffield to Templeborough is uncertain, but I think it is most likely that the present road to Rotherham, passing through Attercliffe and Carbrook, stands upon its site.

It is by no means certain that the road crossed the river either at Bridgehouses or Lady's Bridge, and we may dismiss the possibility of its having crossed at the former place as most unlikely. Lady's Bridge is of great antiquity—it was rebuilt in 1485[23]—but we do not know that it stands upon the site of a bridge built by the Romans, though it is not likely that they would have left this river without a bridge. If the road crossed the Don at Lady's Bridge, it would cross that river again at Washford Bridge, in the direction of Attercliffe. But the road may have gone forward to Templeborough on the south side of the Don, without crossing the river at all. For the present we must regard its actual course to the east or north-east as a matter of conjecture, though we may be confident that it led straight to Templeborough, or very near to that town. The present road through Attercliffe is so straight, and points so directly towards Templeborough and Rotherham, that we may, with no little probability, take it to be the site of the Roman road. Positive evidence as to its direction is not now forthcoming, but it might be found in field-names such as Causey Meadow, or Street-field, or in old plans. I have not attempted to trace the road to the east of Templeborough, or through Rotherham.

Templeborough has been so well and fully described by Mr. Leader, who has paid great attention to the traces of the Romans in this neighbourhood, that it is unnecessary for me to say anything about that interesting Roman town. It has only, however, been partly explored, and one may hope that the time is not far distant when the people of this neighbourhood will see more clearly than they see now the importance of examining their past history, and of enabling the antiquary to pursue the researches without which no good history can be written.


[1] The word means townway, public way. Compare O. E. port-strát, public road, port-weall, town wall, port-mann, citizen.

[2] The Benefit of the auncient Bathes of Buckstones, fo. 1, a.

[3] Britannia, trans, by Holland, 1637, p. 557.

[4] The r in Burgh has undergone metathesis, like brust for burst.

[5] The Roman Roads Ikenild Street and Bath-way, 1769, p. 10.

[6] Toller's Bosworth, s. v. æt.

[7] Letter from Mr. Watkin in Mr. Leader's "Roman Rotherham," printed in Guest's Rotherham, p. 597, citing Arch. Journal, vol. 33, p. 54.

[8] Derbeiesseira Romana, read at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, 1789, p. 11.

[9] The authorities are given in Becker's Callus, trans, by Metcalfe, 1886, p. 86.

[10] Becker, ut suprauu, p. 87, n.

[11] This word, you observe, retains the ancient name of Burgus, as well as Brough itself. [Pegge.]

[12] The Roman Roads Ikenild-street and Bath-way, 1769, p. 12.

[13] Ibid, p. 12.

[14] Id est, Hall-places [Pegge.]

[15] Ibid, p. 11.

[16] 2nd Ed. 1783, p. 210.

[17] I give the accustomed spelling of this word, and I find that it occurs as "Stanage" in three places in a perambulation dated 1574 (Hunter's H., p. 12). It is not certain that it means stone-edge. It may possibly be an O. N. stein-eg, stone-way, like Nor-egr for Norð-vegr, north-way, Norway, or hinn-og, hinn-ig, the other way. The pole may remind us of the O. N. varða (cf. Wardlow), a pile of stones or wood erected on high points or waste places to warn a wayfarer.

[18] Bruce's Handbook to the Roman Wall, 1885, p. 167. Comp. O. E. stán-ueg, paved road.

[19] Ed. 1891, vol. ii, 947.

[20] In Eckington the course of the road is shown by the name Street Fields near Dane Balk to the east of Mosborough, at Beighton by the field-name Stratfield, and by the actual discovery of the road there (Gatty's Hunter's H., p. 23), and at Treeton by the field-name Causey Meadow.

[21] It may have passed along Campo or Camper lane at the very edge of the ridge, though I think that no argument can be founded on the name of the street itself.

[22] We have just seen the term High Street applied by an old writer to the Roman road between Burgh and Buxton. A Roman road in the English Lake District is still known as "the High Street."

[23] See p. 133, n.

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XXXV. The Stannington Diploma—The Stone Villa—The Hall

Three-quarters of a mile to the north of the Long Causey, and on the opposite side of the valley, "two thin plates of copper about six inches by five" were discovered in April, 1761. The discovery was made by one Edward Nichols, whilst "ploughing a piece of common land called the Lawns, on the Stannington side of the Riveling." We are further told that the "plates of copper" were "found near a large ground-fast stone."

These "plates of copper" were the celebrated Roman military diploma which, at the time of discovery, the Society of Antiquaries, at a very full meeting, agreed in regarding as "the most curious thing of the kind which had ever been discovered in England."[1] The full meaning of the diploma was not ascertained till long after its discovery.

In order that I might publish an accurate edition of this document I applied to Dr. Purser, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, who has most kindly sent me the following transliteration from the Corpus of Latin Inscriptions, and has appended a translation, together with a few notes.


Found at Stannington, dated 15 Sept., a.d. 124.

Imp(erator) Caesar, divi Traiani Parthici f(ilius), divi Nervae [nepos, Traianus] Hadrianus Aug(ustus), pontif(ex) maxim(us), tribun(icia) [potest(ate)] VIII, co(n)s(ul) III, proco(n)s(ule)

[E]quitib(us) e[t peditih(us), qui mil]it[a]ver(unt) in alis vi et coh(ortibus) xxi, quae ap[p(ellantur)] I Hisp(anorum) A [st] ur(um) et I Qu / ru////et . . . . .

al(is) et Picentana e [t] . . r . . . et Petrian(a); e[t] . . . . .

c(ivium) R(omanorum) e[t IJ Hisp(anorum) et I Frisiavon(um) et I Ham or(um) sagitt(ariorum) et I Sunuc(orum) et I Vang(ionum miliaria) et I Baetasior(um) et I Delm(atarum) et I Aquit(anerum) et I Menap(iorum) et I Ulp(ia) Traiana Cuger(norum) c(ivium) R(omanorum) et I fida Va [rdulor(um)] c(ivium) R(omanorum) et I Batav(orum) et I Tungr(orum) et II Ling(onum) et II Astur(um) et II Dongon(um) et II Nerv(iorum) et III Brac(ar)augustanor(um) et III Nerv(iorum) et VI Nerv(iorum), quae sunt in Britannifa] sub Platorio Nepote, quinis et vicen(is) pluribusve stipend(iis) emeritis dimissis honesta missione,

Quorum nomina subscripta sunt, ipsis liberis posterisque eorum civitatem ded t et conubium cum uxoribus quas tunc habuissent, cum est civitas eis data, aut, si qui [caelibjes essent, cum eis, quas postea duxissent, dumtaxat singuli singulas.

a.d. xvi [k] O©t. C. Julio Gallo, C. Valerio Severe co(n)s(ulibus).

Coh(ortis) I Sun [uc] or(um) cui praes [t M. J] unius Claudianus, ex pedite . . . . . . Albani [filio Su] nu [c] o.

[De]scriptum et recognitum ex tabula [aen]ea, quae fixa est Romae in muro p [ost] templum divi [Aug(usti) ad] Min [ervamj.



Par Ati.

Round brackets signify that the letters enclosed thereby would have been omitted in the most perfectly preserved diploma.

Square brackets signify that the letters enclosed are not extant in the diploma we are considering.

Slanting lines signify that letters equal to the number of lines are not legible, and that no reasonable conjecture can be made as to what those letters are.

Dots signify that whole words are omitted—proper names which cannot be conjectured.


The Emperor Caesar, son of the deified Trajan styled the Parthian, grandson of the deified Nerva, Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus, pontifex maximus, possessing the tribunician power for the eighth time, consul for the third time, proconsul—

To those of the cavalry and infantry who have served in the six squadrons of horse named the first squadron of the Spanish Asturians, and the first squadron of the Qu / ru //// , the . . . . . . . . . . .

the Picentine squadron, the . . . . . . . . . . . and the Petrian squadron; and the twenty-one cohorts named the . . . . . . . . . .

of Roman citizens, the first cohort of the Spaniards, the first of the Frisiavones, the first of the Hamii who are archers, the first of the Sunuci, the first of the Vangiones which consists of 1000 men, the first of the Baetasii, the first of the Dalmatians, the first of the Aquitanians, the first of the Menapii, the first of the Cugerni consisting of Roman citizens styled Ulpia Trajana, the first of the Varduli consisting of Roman citizens styled the Faithful, the first of the Batavians, the first of the Tungri, the second of the Lingones, the second of the Asturians, the second of the Dongones, the second of the Nervii, the third of the Bracaraugustani, the third of the Nervii, and the sixth of the Nervii (which are all serving in Britain under Platorius Nepos) and who have served twenty-five or more campaigns, and have obtained an honourable discharge,

Whose names are given below, to them their children and posterity, has given Roman citizenship and right of lawful marriage with the wives they then had when the citizenship was given to them, or if they had not been married, with the wives they may afterwards take, provided each takes only one at a time.

Dated the 15th of September in the consulship of Gaius Julius Gallus and Gaius Valerius Severus.

To . . . . . . . . the son of Albanus, of the tribe of the Sunuci, late a foot soldier in the first cohort of the Sunuci commanded by M. Junius Claudianus.

Copied and verified from a brazen tablet, fixed up in Rome on the wall behind the temple of the deified Augustus at the shrine of Minerva. (The seals) of Urbanus, Severus, Paratus (three out of the seven witnesses required). The other four names are lost.

A portion of the diploma is now in the Anglo-Saxon Room at the British Museum, and a photogravure of it is here given; but the photographic process does not, owing to the dark colour of the metal, represent the engraved letters very distinctly. The portion here represented is broken into seven or eight pieces. The remaining and much larger portion has been lost or misplaced for many years, and this is only a fragment of one of the copies. The other copy, which is not now forthcoming, was the one from which the contents of the diploma were actually discovered.[2] The real deciphering of the diploma is based on Cough's reading of the last portion. A splendid reproduction in colour of the preserved portion is given in Dr. Bruce's Lapidarium Septentrionale.

These documents were always in duplicate, and were fastened together by wire put through holes in the brass. One of these holes will be noticed in the photogravure.

The fact that both copies were found together under a stone is evidence that they were intentionally put there either for safety or concealment. Had they been treated as waste metal they would not have been found under a stone, and the plates would not have been in one place.

This diploma, like other Roman military diplomata of the same kind, bears special reference to one individual and his descendants. It is a grant, by Hadrian, of Roman citizenship, with all its attendant rights and advantages, to . . . . . . the son of Albanus, of the tribe of the Sunuci, whose home was in Belgium, between Cologne and Liege.[3] This person had formerly been a foot soldier in the first cohort of the Sunuci, commanded by M. Junius Claudianus. He had served twenty-five campaigns, or more, and obtained the honourable discharge (honesta missio) which entitled him either to a grant of land, or a lump sum of money.[4] In this case it is possible that he received a grant of land, and settled in or near the place where his diploma was found. The diploma does not, as in some other cases, mention the wife and children (if any) of the recipient. But it will be noticed that the form of the grant confers the citizenship not only upon him, but also upon his lawful descendants.[5]

In order to distinguish what lawyers call "the formal parts" of the instrument from the special words applying to the particular case, the special words have been printed, in the translation, in italics. The whole of the instrument, except the words thus printed, is "common form," as though it had been taken from a book on conveyancing, or recited from an Act of Parliament. A space was sometimes left on the tablets for the insertion of the name. Historically this diploma is of great interest, because it gives us the names of the auxiliary troops of the Roman army which were serving in Britain under the command of Platorius Nepos in A.d. 124.[6] And it has a prospective importance, because, as we shall presently see, the name of the place where it was discovered seems, along with other evidence, to indicate the site of a Roman country villa, built, perhaps, or begun by this very son of Albanus.

The diploma is a copy made from an original anciently- kept in Rome, and fixed up there on the wall behind the temple of Divus Augustus. As in the case of other military diplomata, the copy was examined or verified, and then attested by the seals of seven witnesses. "The names of the witnesses," says Dr. Purser, "are nearly always in the genitive, signifying that it is their seal."[7] Here the names of three out of the seven witnesses have been preserved.

Mr. Thompson, the tenant of a farm at The Lawns, belonging to the Duke of Norfolk, is a very old man, and he says distinctly that the brass plates were found by a man who was "grubbing up" stones in a small enclosure, of about a rood in extent, known as King's Park or Penny Piece, and represented in the drawing below. These stones were not apparently the foundations of buildings, but the "day-stones" which lie on land not usually ploughed.

This field is in the tenure of Mr. Nichols, a descendant or kinsman of the Edward Nichols who found the diploma. There are no mounds or other signs of buried ruins on the spot. The name "Kings Park" is rather striking, "park" here meaning a small enclosed piece of ground. As regards the alternative name "Penny Rent," Harrison, in 1637, mentions "a meadow called Penny Rent" at Ranmoor, containing 1R. 35P.[8] We learn then that the place where the diploma was found was an enclosed space, of small extent, and, for some reason or other, called "King's Park." Whatever the word king here means it cannot be a personal name, and it is significant that the property is still in the possession of the Duke of Norfolk, the representative of the ancient lords of Hallamshire.[9] The name Penny Piece apparently implies that the agricultural value of the paddock was very small. Dr. Bruce, however, writing of Halton Chester on Hadrian's Wall says "the portion of the station north of the road was brought into cultivation in the year 1827. It is called the 'Brunt ha'penny Field,' from the number of corroded copper coins which have been picked up in it."[10] No such discovery has yet been made in Stannington.

Harrison describes the place now called The Lawns as "the old launde for the deare," containing sixty-two acres, which was "invironed with Rivelin," meaning probably the forest known as Rivelin Firth. A "laund" was an open space surrounded by trees, so that the diploma was found in a deer park of the lords of Hallamshire. An old road runs from the Long Causey down the hill, across the brook, and up the opposite hill side, to The Lawns. The land on the east side of The Lawns is known as The Rails.

A very interesting question arises as to the word Stannington, which was anciently written without the g, and apparently means stone villa. A "stone villa" can only mean a Roman villa, for, as we have already seen, the oldest houses in this neighbourhood were built of wood.[11] Stannington is mentioned in two deeds of the years 1330 and 1331 as Stanyton,[12] which is the abbreviated way of writing Stanynton. "Stanyn" is equivalent to "stonyn, or made of stone, lapideus."[13] The Old English tún translates uilla in a vocabulary of the eleventh century.[14] There is no difficulty in the present form of the word, for stáni-forð has made the local surname Stanniforth, and not, as one might have expected, Stonyforth. Accordingly the old form of the word was stænen-tún, stone villa. Again, Förstemann gives many old German place-names compounded with stain, or its adjective steininer, such as Steininachiricha, stone church.

Hunter says "there is, properly speaking, no village of Stannington, the principal collections of houses being known as Upper-gate and Nether-gate."[15]

A villa standing at the Lawns or on the hill side of Stannington would face the south. "The villa," we are told, "which must be of size corresponding to that of the farm, is best placed at the foot of a wooded mountain, in a spot supplied with running water, and not exposed to severe winds nor to the effluvia of marshes, nor (by being close to a public road) to a too frequent influx of visitors."[16] Now the hill side of Stannington, which slopes to Rivelin Water, has every one of these advantages. The valley which Elliott loved to celebrate in song, and which once contained such magnificent trees, would have been a very likely place for the site of a Roman villa, whether built by the son of Albanus or not.

It seems that in Hunter's time (1819) the voice of tradition was loud in asserting that this valley, which now contains so few inhabitants, was once the "seat of a numerous and busy, people," and some persons even spoke of "the city of Hallam."[17] This tradition may merely represent the dim remembrance of some great house in this place. Traces of the former existence of such a house on this hill side are indeed very clear.

William Harrison, in 1637, mentions "the Hawe Park," and tells us that it "lyeth open to Rivelin Firth," and contained severity-four acres. To the west of this park stood "the old laund for the deer," where the diploma of citizenship was found. This laund, if we may believe the modern field-name, was the King's Park.

But what is "the Hawe Park"? About a mile to the east of "the old laund," otherwise The Lawns, the six-inch Ordnance Map describes a considerable piece of ground, now divided into small enclosures, as "Hall Park." Harrison's "Hawe" stands for "hall," as "Smaw" in Smawfield (in Bradfield) stands for "small," or as "caw," in some dialects, stands for "call."[18] In Scotch, according to Jamieson, ha' or haw is "hall," and means manor house. Much confusion has been caused by Hunter and others, who have written the word as "Haugh." The same Ordnance Map gives, as adjacent to Hall Park, Park Side, Hall Field Lane, Park Head, Park Road.

In the Duke of Norfolk's office is an old coloured plan[19] entitled "a map of Wm. Carr's Farm at Stanington, as survey'd January 4th 1747 by W. Fairbank." This farm, containing 9A. 1R. 23P., consisted of six closes and a homestead, which is roughly sketched on the plan, near "The Manner House." Three roads are marked on this plan, namely Hall Field Lane, out of which runs Cockshot Lane, and the main road then called "Stannington Town Gate." On the south side of this main road the plan marks "The Manner House," and on the opposite or north side of the road it marks a small pond. Immediately to the north of the pond the plan describes by means of a curved dotted line an "old mote." "The Mannor House" is not included in W. Carr's farm; it is just outside, and a little to the north-west of his homestead. The reference list written on the plan contains the following words:


The Gardens & homestead - - - - - 0 0 21

& 3 Bay 6 lenths of Building & 2 Bay 4 lenths

at the Manr in possession of W. Carr and Jno


It appears from this that, besides his farm of nine acres, W. Carr held, along with John Ibbotson, a quantity of building, divided into "lengths" and "bays"[20] "at the manor." The position of this manor house can be exaclly pointed out on the six-inch Ordnance Map, dated 1855. It adjoins the south side of the road leading from Owlerton to Stannington, a little to the west of Cockshutt Lane. The pond of the plan of 1747 appears on the Ordnance Map as a very small triangular sheet of water adjoining the north side of the road, and immediately opposite the place once known as the manor house. The pond is now filled up, and the "old mote" on the north side of the road is no longer there. But another segment of the circular mound of which it formed a part is still visible, though somewhat faint, in the grass field on the south side of the road. The segment preserved on the plan of 1747, taken together with the existing segment, enables us to see that this house was surrounded by a circular moat, like the moat round the manor house of mercy described by Langland in "Piers Plowman:"

þanne shaltow come to a courte as clere as þe sonne,

þe mote is of mercy the manere aboute.

B. 5, 595.

This circular moat, or earthwork, may remind us of the earthwork in Roe Wood described in a previous chapter. In Stannington they say that a "hall" stood on this spot.[21] It is more likely that the hall of Waltheof stood here than at Hallam Head.[22] According to local tradition a "castle" stood half a mile to the south of the manor house, in the field which, on the six-inch Ordnance Map of 1855, adjoins the eastern side of Goodyfield Wood. This would be a very likely place for a Roman villa, as it is nearly at the foot of the hill, and well protected from the winds. The field in which the "castle" is said to have stood is near an eminence described as Goodyfield Rock, and shown on the right side of the frontispiece of this book. The discovery of the Roman tablets, the old moated hall, and the voice of tradition give a strange interest to this beautiful valley. Here, facing the noonday sun, and surrounded by the finest timber in Christendom,[23] stood an ancient house of the lords of Hallamshire. From the great sun-lit slope the trees have gone; only the verdure remains. When we look across this valley our eyes fall indeed upon a lovely scene, but imagination alone can bring back the great deer park with its huge oaks and pines, the villa built by the Roman, or the timbered hall of the Norseman. In few other English districts has the hand of man so changed the old appearance of the country. On the western side of Hallamshire lands which little more than a hundred years ago were unfilled moors, overspread by heather and broom, and tenanted only by wandering tinkers, or by mere squatters, are now covered by big trees and exotic plants. But, standing on the high ground of Crookes and surveying the far-reaching expanse of neat stone fences, and the trim and regular fields which rise one above another on the southern slope of Stannington, you would say that, saving a few old enclosures, this northern side of Hallamshire was a waste newly cleared of its heather and day-stones, and just brought into cultivation. You would not think it was the place which the Roman chose for his villa, or the great Northumbrian Earl for his hall.


[1] Ibid. p. 19, n. col. 1.

[2] Accounts of this missing copy will be found in Cough's Notes to Camden's Britannia, Vol. III., pp. 28, 29, and in Hunter's Hallarashire, pp. 18, 19.

[3] They probably lived in the same distrift as the Segni of Caesar (Bell. Gall, vi., 32).— L. C. P.

[4] See Dr. Purser's article on Exerctlus in Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiq. 3rd ed. i, 809, b.

[5] As to the form, manner of making and attesting, etc., these instruments see Dr. Purser's article (Diploma) in Smith's Dict of Greek and Roman Antiq. 1891, p. 641.

[6] Both the Petrian and Picentine squadrons, named in the diploma, are mentioned by Tacitus (Hist, i., 70; iv., 62). Squadrons of horse were frequently named after the officers who first organized them ; thus the Petrian squadron was called after someone who bore the cognomen of Petra. But the Picentine squadron probably got its name from the town of Picentia, in the district of Picenum. Cf. ala Britannica: Tac. Hist iii., 41—L. C. P.

[7] Article diploma, in Smith's Dict. ut supra.

[8] In Sheffield Glossary. Mr. Winder tells me that he does not find "Penny Piece" in the list of field-names at the Duke of Norfolk's office. But he finds "King's Park and Pasture Field" (about two acres) now in the occupation of Mr. Nicholls. Still Penny Piece must be an old name known to the tenant.

[9] Mr. Winder has shown me a list of the fields in the occupation of the present tenant. Besides King's Park I noticed Summers Lawn, and Linting Lawns. These fields lie all together.

[10] Handbook to the Roman Wall, 1885, p 61.

[11] Chap. xxii.

[12] Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 467.

[13] Prompt. Parv. p. 477.

[14] Wright-Wülcker, 333, 21.

[15] Hallamshire, p. 273.

[16] Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1891, s. v. villa.

[17] Hallamshire, p. 18.

[18] Sweet's Hist, of English Sounds, p. 266.

[19] For the production of this plan I am indebted to Thomas Winder, Esq.

[20] As to this word see ante, p. 179.

[21] A house on the north side of the road, opposite to the site of the old manor, has been lately named The Manor House.

[22] See ante, p. 194.

[23] See ante, p. 192.

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Corrections and Additions

Page 71, 1. 10, for "Cock-crowing Stones" read "Cock-crowing Stone."

Page 75, 1. 1, "Siva" may be connected with chive, or sive, garlick.

Page 78, n. 1, for "in the chapter on 'The Church Lands'" read "on page 129."

Page 83, 1. 26, for "Neepesend" read "Nepesend."

Page 85, 1. 11, for "Woodland" read "woodland."

Page 92. We may refer to the Old Frisian bonner, a bailiff.

Page 94, 1. 12. Insert the word "such" between "with" and "sentences."

Page 100, 1. 7, for "when" read "where."

Page 103, 1. 24, for "Old" read "old."

Page 103, n. 3, for "bocung" read "bócung."

Page 105, 1. 14, for "kaupa-jörd" read "kaupa-jörð."

Page 108, n. 1, for "Lexicon" read "Glossarium."

Page 116, n. 1, 1. 7, for "exponunter" read "exponuntur."

Page 138, 1. 1, for "seals" read "seal."

Page 144. In a printed list, dated 1781, of persons receiving out-door relief from the Sheffield Workhouse many persons are described as residing in "Scotland," meaning a part of Sheffield. W. Wake, Esq., steward of the Manor, has kindly permitted me to see the Sheffield Court Rolls in his custody. These Rolls are not earlier than the end of the last century, and I did not notice any copyhold land in "Scotland" or the neighbourhood thereof.

Page 158, 1. 26. Chaucer's words are "in hernes and lanes blinde." C. T. 12586.

Page 179, 1. 9. "Woodhouse" may be a house built in a wood, as "Moor-house" is a house built on a moor.

Page 212, 1. 23, for "used" read "found." Solheim still occurs as a local name in Norway.

Page 212 n. 4, for "blind" read "blindr."

Page 221, n. 1, 1. 3, for "scaltera" read "sealtera."

Page 240, n. 3, 1. 1, for "message" read "messuage."

Page 245, n. 2, 1. 2, after "Namenbuch" insert "(Zweiter Band)."

Page 247, 1. 26, for "above" read "here."

Page 254, 1. 17, for "opinon" read "opinion."

Page 258, 1. 10, for "translates" read "is derived from."

Page 365, 1. 17, strike out "sole."

Page 274, 1. 11, for "last" read "lost."


On p. 260 I have said that Stanage may be Stein-eg, stone-way, paved way, and it will be seen that the Roman road between Stanage Pole and Hathersage is known as Giant's Causey. Now if that were so, it may be that the termination eg occurs also in Hathersage, anciently Hathersegg, which we may divide as Hathers-egg, meaning Hather's way. The O. N. Höðr, genitive Haðr, was a mythical being of tremendous power, who seems to be identical with the Hotherus of Saxo, and with reference to him Grimm asks us to consider such place-names as Hadersleben and Hothers-nes. Hather, then, seems to be the name of a mythical being or giant who, according to the old legends or popular tales of the neighbourhood, made the great causey or paved way. Little John, the mythical companion of the mythical Robin Hood, is said to have been buried at Hathersage, and the exact place of his burial is still pointed out in the churchyard. Hather or Höðr (Hod) was the being who, according to Norse mythology, shot Balder with the mistletoe, so that "he fell dead to the earth." That places sometimes took their names from ancient roads may be seen in Ridgeway, near Chesterfield. The Roman road above Moorseats in Hathersage is known as The Ridgeway.


The old Northern poem called the Lay of Righ (Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i., 234) attributed to the eleventh century, describes the characteristics of the three orders of men, viz., thralls, yeomen, and gentlemen. The Earl, according to the poem, lived in a hall facing the south. He began to be a warrior, and

Vig nam at vekja, völl nam at rioða,

val nam at fella; vá til landa.

Réð hann einn at þat átján búom.

"He began to waken war, he began to redden the field, he began to fell the doomed; he won himself lands. He ruled alone over eighteen townships" Messrs. Vigfusson and Powell, the editors of the poem, say that it is "clearly of Western origin," in other words that it originated in the British Isles. Now Waltheof, or Val-þjófr (put to death in 1075), was the acknowledged chief and leader of Danish or Northern England. According to the Doomsday Book he not only had a hall in Hallamshire, but "ruled alone over eighteen townships" there. These were the townships of Sheffield and Attercliffe, which were "inland" of the manor of Hallam, and the sixteen unnamed berewicks, mentioned in the Survey. In the second line, and perhaps in the alliteration, the poet seems to be punning on the word val in Val-þjófr. Can we not, therefore, say that the lay was sung at Waltheof's court, and was intended to flatter or please him? It belongs to the class of genealogical poems. It contains a description of an Earl's house, and of the food, clothing, personal appearance, etc., of its noble inmates.

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Just a reminder that the above is the complete text of The Hall of Waltheof, or The Early Condition and Settlement of Hallamshire by Sidney Oldall Addy, published in 1893. Addy died in 1933, so this book is in the public domain meaning that you are free to do whatever you want with the text. However, if you do republish it somewhere else, it would be nice if you mentioned that you got it from here.

So, that's it. What's next?


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Just a reminder that the above is the complete text of The Hall of Waltheof, or The Early Condition and Settlement of Hallamshire by Sidney Oldall Addy, published in 1893. Addy died in 1933, so this book is in the public domain meaning that you are free to do whatever you want with the text. However, if you do republish it somewhere else, it would be nice if you mentioned that you got it from here.

So, that's it. What's next?


A pat on the back for you for a job well done and a vote of Thanks on behalf of SheffieldHistory and its smelly members, sorry members lol

What's next ? Well it would be great if you could keep us aware of what is available Stateside, I'm sure someone will shout when you mention one that isn't available here. So that's more of the same please, since no-one else here has the chance to do it.

You could have a "rest" and check my Pubs listings (the full list will be along at some point soon) - a bit of light reading !

Once again, Thank you.

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