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The following article first appeared in the Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society, Volume 2, p129 and is reproduced here in full by kind permission of the Society. Published between 1920-1924.

( http://www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/hunter/index.html

the Index is reached by clicking on Publications on the left hand side)


By S. O. Addy MA

So far as is known at present, Stannington Hall is first mentioned in 1441. In that year it belonged to John Talbot, Lord Furnival, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury, and had been let by him for twenty years from 1421 to John Harsand, at the yearly rent of 1 pound 6 shillings and 8 pence.

When his lease expired, either he or another person of the same name held certain lands and tenements in Stannington, for which he paid an aid of 4d. He seems therefore to have left the Hall and to have lived on a much smaller holding.

The important thing to remember is that Stannington Hall was then the property of the Lord of Hallamshire.

On the 3rd of May, 1465, the Abbot and Convent of Beauchief granted to Richard Jackson of Stannington a perpetual lease of

"an acre of land lying in Beregecrofte between lands of the hall (aule) of Stannington on the south and Hau More on the other part,"

at the yearly rent of 10d.

It seems possible that Lord Furnival before 1465 had given Stannington Hall, with its toft and croft, to Beauchief Abbey, but no record of his having done so has been found. It would not be likely that the Abbey would become the owners of a croft and nothing else, and we know that a manor-house had its toft and croft like other tenements. Moreover, a toft and croft usually went together, and the Hall would stand on the toft.

However this may have been, the Abbey, as we have seen, was the owner in 1465 of a croft called Beregecrofte, which appears to have been situate on the north side of Stannington Hall. I cannot find Hall More, but Hangsmoor is given in the right quarter on the Ordnance Map of 1855.

Let me draw attention to the word berege in Beregecrofte. It may be the Old English berige, a berry or small round fruit, so that Berege-crofte would then mean "small fruit croft." Or it may be berig, a burg.

The acre leased to Richard Jackson lay in a croft devoted to tillage. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "croft" as

"a piece of enclosed ground, used for tillage or pasture: in most localities a piece of arable land attached to a house."

Now this croft at Stannington seems to have been a piece of arable land attached to Stannington Hall.

An Old English Vocabulary defines the suburban man as one dwells outside the ‘berig,' which differs only from the Stannington word in not having a final " e."

If we refer to "Berry" or "Bury" in Blount’s Hard Words we shall find this definition:

"a dwelling place or Court; The chief House of a Mannor, or the Lord's seat is so called in some parts of Endland to this day, especially in Herefordshire, where there are the of Luston, Stockton &c."

People even spoke of "a bunch of berries” when they meant a group of manor-houses.

This word, as Spelman shows, became Latinized in English pIace names as beria, and he explains it as "court, city, burg, habitation, manor." He mentions also “Beristed," the site of a manor-house, and "Berie meadows," the meadows of a manor.

We have therefore the best reasons for believing that the Hall at Stannington was known before the Norman Conquest as a burg or burh. A burg was "the strong house of a great man," but its meaning was extended to include a town or city. It was also frequently applied to a Roman stationary camp, or town, as we see in Templeborough and in Brough (Burgh), near Hope.

I pass on to another deed. On the 30th of September, 1580 John Parker of Norton Lees, Esq., in consideration of the sum of 220 pounds and 10 shillings paid to him by Gregory Revell of Stannington, yeoman, bargained and sold to the said Gregory

"the eighth part of all that messuage then commonly known by the name of Stannington Hall, situate, lying, and being in Stannington within the parish of Bradfield within the county of York; and the eighth part of the houses, edifices and buildings, orchards, yards, and gardens to the same messuage belonging."

In addition to the eighth part of the Hall the sale included altogether seventy-one acres, including a close or ground containing twenty-six acres called Hall Cliff.

On the same day the said John Parker sold land to Thomas Littlewood, of Stannington, tanner, and others. Parker died at Norton the 25th of December, 1615. Neither in his will nor in the inquisition taken after his death is mention made of land at Stannington, so that he must have alienated his property in that village during his lifetime.

It should be noted that the land was sold to Gregory entire, though he only bought an eighth part of the hall, buildings, yards, orchards and gardens. If the hall were built in bays of equal size, partition of the buildings and outbuildings would have been easy. But to admit of division into eight parts the bays must have been numerous.

In 1747 William Fairbank, of Sheffield, a well-known surveyor and Quaker, made a plan of a small farm at Stannington on which a homestead called "The Mannor House" is roughly sketched. It was on the south side of the road them called Stannington Town Gate, but now Stannington Road. On the opposite, or north, side of the road was an old moat, and this must have contained water or else it would have been useless. To give further details without the aid of a plan would he unsatisfactory, but I think it is possible to indicate the site of the house. It was evidently identical with the hall of 1441, 1465, and 1580.

In our time any old house may be called a hall; it may even be called a manor-house, and after a few years people begin to think that it was so. But tricks of this kind were not in fashion when Fairbank lived, and we may take it that his reference to his building as manor-house is correct.

But Stannington was not a manor, and by a well-known statute no manor could have been created later than 1290. We may therefore infer that this manor-house was the hall or court of the manor of Hallam, mentioned in Domesday Book. I am acquainted with no evidence that Stannington was either a manor or a sub-manor.

So lordly a house, the seat of government in Hallamshire, has not passed away without leaving traces of its existence. You may see those traces in the names of fields where the ground slopes down to the Riveling - Park Side, Park Side Lane, Hall Field Lane, Park Head, Hall Park, Hall Park Road, Hall Cliff. Some of these are mentioned in Harrison's Survey of 1637.

According to that Survey the Lord of Hallamshire. kept in his own hands:

1. The Old Laund reserved for deer, and containing a little more than sixty-two acres. In this place, which was afterwards called the Lawns, the celebrated Roman diploma was found in 1761. When I wrote The Hall of Waltheof I was told that the place was called King's Park.

2. Hawe Park, which lay open to Riveling Firth, and which the Lord could enclose at his pleasure. This is the Hall Park marked on the Ordnance Map of 1855. This park contained seventy-five acres, and in it grew such big and straight trees that travellers had been heard to declare that they had not seen such timber in Christendom.

3. Little Hawe Park containing timber. Its area was rather more than three acres, and it might have been enclosed at the lord's pleasure. The hall is not mentioned by Harrison because it had passed out of the lord's possession.

The deer park and the two other parks were surrounded by a great wood which Maud Lovetot, who was born in 1173, called "my Forest of Riveling. " This forest extended westward to the uttermost parts of Bradfield.

In 1863 a Sheffield writer said:

"The fathers of old men now living used to relate that less than a century ago squirrels, which were then numerous, could run on the tops of the trees from this spot to the vale of the Derwent near Ashopton, distant seven or eight miles, without touching the ground."

I am quoting from the late John Derby's charming little book.

Mediaeval writers contrast the forest, or open wood, with the park in which wild animals were enclosed. There were deer parks before the Norman Conquest, and it was the duty of the tenants of a manor to repair their fences.

Hunter's instinct led him right when it led him to see in the Riveling Valley the seat of the early lords of Hallamshire, the lords who reigned there before the Norman Conquest. He founded his opinion on two things, namely, a spontaneous tradition which he had heard, and the discovery of the Roman diploma.

I will deal with these two things in order.

The tradition, as Hunter tells us, "in a tone unusually loud," had long called attention to the banks of the Riveling as

"having been once the seat of a numerous and busy people inhabiting the vill which gave its name to the manor of Hallam."

Can we believe this tradition? Did a "numerous and busy people" ever dwell in a village, or, as the tradition has it, a "city," near the banks of the Riveling? The tradition, says Hunter, was "unusually loud"; in other words, it was firmly asserted.

Moreover, it had been of "long" continuance, by which Hunter means that his informants had heard it from their forefathers. If objection be taken to the word "city," we must remember that burg could have that meaning.

There is no reason why the tradition should not have been substantially true.

Let me turn to something which may help to confirm it. If you look at the six-inch Ordnance Map of Stannington, dated 1855, you will find to the south of Goodyfield Wood and Goodyfield Rock, and between those places and the Riveling, a number of fields called Tofts. They extend for a mile from Under Tofts in the east to Hopwood Tofts in the west, the central portion being called simply Tofts. The word "Tofts" is written right across the fences of the fields.

Now this word "toft" is defined in the deed of 1580 just referred to as a "mesesteade," that is, a messuage, or the site of a house. The word was in early use, and occurs in Anglo-Saxon charters. Langland's "tower on a toft" will be remembered by readers of old English literature, where "toft," according to Skeat, means "a slightly elevated, exposed site."

It is best known in conjunction with "croft"; in thousands of old deeds you will read of " toft and croft," the toft being the site of the house and outbuildings, and the croft the paddock behind it.

But, as a man could not support himself and his family on the produce of a croft, arable land and various common rights were attached to these holdings. Such must have been the conditions of land-tenure in Stannington.

A word which bears the same meaning as Tofts is Homesteads. That is the name of a station on the Roman Wall in Northumberland

"the most interesting and extensive example of Roman work on the wall."

We may ask ourselves the question whether this long string of Tofts in the Riveling Valley, now surviving only in name, is evidence of the former existence of a "numerous and busy people" there.

We will now leave the Tofts, and I am going to ask you to follow me along the banks of the Riveling till we come to the place where the Roman diploma was found. Let us try to imagine that it is a summer's day sixty years ago, and that we are taking Mr. Derby as our guide.

We enter

"a favourite haunt of the poet Ebenezer Elliott, to which he has dedicated a fine poem. It is a deep ravine, the sides covered with large trees, some lying directly across the stream and others partly buried beneath the falling banks. The bottom is formed of rocks, and the water flows murmuring among them, and sometimes falls widely in cascades over their sides."

The stream, like that in the Loxley Valley, is studded with grinding-wheels, and we will walk along its banks until we reach the Riveling Corn Mill, which lies in a deep hollow surrounded by a few neat, whitewashed houses. There are no "wheels" or mills beyond this.

In 1637 the corn mill was held by two tenants in equal shares. There are many instances in the Domesday Book of mills held in shares, so that a man might have a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth part, or even a smaller fraction.

Water corn mills are mentioned in Anglo-Saxon charters of the ninth and tenth centuries. The mill ranked next in importance to the church, as we see in grants of estates with church, mill, wood, field, pasture, and heath. The Romans also had corn mills turned by the water-power of streams, and descriptions of them exist down to the sixth century. When therefore you see a mill which has belonged to the lord of a manor, you may be sure that it is ancient; the buildings may be modern, but the site may be very old indeed.

You may have noticed that there is a water corn-mill close to the Roman station of Brough in Hope, and another at Ickles, near the Roman station of Templeborough.

Leaving Rivelin Mill, we cross the brook and walk up to the farm house called the Lawns, near which the Roman diploma was found It was found, as Mr. Levi Thompson told me, in a field known as King's Park, or Penny Piece. Hunter says it was discovered by one Edward Nichols when ploughing "a piece of common land called the Lawns," and in a note he says it was found "near a large ground-fast stone. "

In 1863 Mr. Derby gave rather a different account. He said that the Lawns was then the property of Mr. Thompson, and that the diploma was found

"in what is now a small rectangular Croft, skirted by a few trees, near this house."

The croft, he said,

"is the property of Mr. Nichols, who lives on a farm near Bingley-lane, to the right and the discovery of the tablets [the diploma] was made by his grand father 102 years ago, who then held the same farm. They had evidently been buried in a rather deep hole formed for the purpose, and were covered with a large stone.”

The word "evidently" makes this account look more like an inference than a statement of fact ; still Mr. Nichols may have heard this from his grandfather. If we could trust this account, the diploma had been put into "a rather deep hole' for safety, and possibly had not been taken far from its original home.

The text and translation of the diploma have been given elsewhere. It is a military diploma, written on two thin plates of brass, which were once fastened together by brass rings. These served the purpose of hinges, so that the plates would open and shut like a book. The document belongs to the year 124, and is a grant by the Emperor Hadrian of the coveted distinction of Roman citizenship, with all its attendant rights and advantages, to a man whose home was in Belgium, between Cologne and Liege.

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, in the Roman army , and obtained the honourable distinction which entitled him either to a grant of land or a lump sum of money. He may have chosen land, and found a home with others in the Riveling Valley, Hadrian came into Britain in person in the year 118, or six years before the date of the diploma.

Before we leave the Lawns, I will quote Mr. Derby once more . He says:

"We have recently found in a small wood, in some of the unreclaimed land near this place, which is not known to have been disturbed for many centuries, a quantity of lead and lead ore, partly smelted: and in the immediate neighbourhood several considerable beds of charcoal have been discovered, of which we possess portions. There can indeed be little doubt that the process of smelting lead ore, probably from the Derbyshire mines, which are not many miles distant, was here carried on by the Romans."

If the lead and charcoal were found a foot or more below the surface, they may well have been left there by the Romans. The Roman road, here called the Long Causey, meaning "the long paved way," which extends between Templeborough and Brough, is half a mile to the south of Riveling Mill.

From that road an old lane, made zigzag on account of its steepness, runs down to the mill. There is no doubt that lead was carried along this Roman road to be smelted in places where wood was plentiful. There was hardly a tree on the high land between the Derbyshire lead mines and Brough, and it was more convenient to take lead to the woods than to carry charcoal to the mines.

There were lead works, called "lead mines" in some old records,at Beauchief, to which lead must have been taken from the Derbyshire mines. It was probably carried through Templeborough to what was called the “port" of Bawtry, to be sent thence by boats to the sea.

It will he seen that there is some evidence here of Roman occupation, though neither Roman tiles, nor pottery, nor coins have been found. But Roman remains often turn up when least expected. The Riveling Valley, according to Roman ideas, would have afforded a better site for a villa than any place between Templeborough and Brough. Such a villa, we are told, was

"best placed at the foot of a wooded mountain, in a spot supplied with running water, and not exposed to a too frequent influx of visitors."

The Stannington side of the valley had all these advantages, and it lay open to the sun.

I have said that Hunter founded his opinion on tradition, and on discovery of the Roman diploma. Had he known what we now know about Stannington Hall, that opinion would doubtless have gained so much strength that it would have become almost, if not altogether, a certainty. But he had never heard of this manor-house. "The name Haugh-park," he said, `,which is on the Riveling, is not only evidently Saxon, but it betokens proximity to some considerable mansion, while it is certain that none such has existed near it since the time of the Conqueror. “

We have now seen, however, that such "a considerable mansion" existed at Stannington. Its remains have entirely perished, but there strong reasons for believing that it was the seat and court of the early lords of Hallamshire. The court was probably removed to Sheffield, which was a far more convenient place, not long after the conquest.

Without the aid of the deeds of 1465 and 1580, printed by Mr. Hall, this paper could not have been written. They have thrown a new and bright light on the subject.

It will he noticed that in speaking of the Riveling I have followed old local documents. It has only become the Rivelin in modern times.

The word "riveling" meaning a rivulet, is given in the Oxford English Dictionary as occurring in English writers in 1615 and 1622. In compound words, Rivelin and Riveling occur much earlier.

Thus we have Ryveling dene adjoining Stannington, after the year 1237 (Pegge's Beauchief Abbey p.155).

Mr. Battersbv has kindly sent me a few notes: 1086 (Domesday) Riuelenoit, now in Flintshire, formerly in Cheshire.

In charters of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries relating to Rievaulx Abbey we have Tacriveling, Tachriveling. This is a boundary, mentioned with other boundaries, mostly streams. (Rievaulx Cartulary, Surtees Soc.)

Mr. Battersby says that Riuelenoit makes one incline to a possible Celtic origin.

A few words must be said about the place called Hallam. One would expect to find the court of the lord of Hallam in a place bearing that name, but there is now no such place in the neighbourhood of Sheffield. Nor can we be quite certain of the position of a place called Hallum in the Feodary of 1451. But etymology may throw light on the subject. We have just seen that Harrison in 1657 describes two Hawe Parks in Stannington belonging to the lord.

We have also seen that Hunter writes this name as Haugh-park, and he must have got that form of the word from a document. But it did not matter whether he wrote it Haugh Park or Hawe Park, because the Middle English halgh afterwards became both hawe and haugh. Thus Southey in Ecclesfield is written Southalgh in 1383 and Southawe in 1451.

So where Harrison wrote Hawe Park his predecessors of the fourteenth century would have written Halgh Park.

Now this word halgh, hawe, or haugh, is descended from the O.E. healh, a nook, and from the dative plural of this word (oet healum or halum), meaning “nooks," we get the place-name Hallam. This is the opinion of Dr. Henry Bradley. There is no doubt that he is and as an authority on the subject he has no equal.

We have seen that there were two Hawe Parks in Stannington. They may have existed before the Norman conquest, when they may have been called halum, "nooks." It may be of interest to add that there are places called Nook and Nook Lane less than quarter of a north of the site of Stannington Hall. The Ordnance Map of 1855 also gives a little cluster of "nooks" on Crookes Moor lying close together: Low Nook, Barber Nook, High Nook.

No doubt there was confusion in modern times between hawe, haugh, a nook, and hall, a nobleman's house. But that ought not to surprise us when we know that a hall stood on the site.

When a man made a cutting on a moor for the purpose of cultivation or for the erection of a dwelling, such a cutting may well have been called a "nook." When we find such a place as Westmundhalgh in Bradfield we know that it was the"nook" of a man called Westmund, who perhaps had squatted there. And when in a charter of 972 we find heath halan (for halum), "heath nooks," we may perhaps see the process of squatting at work. Moor Hallows in Penistone seems to mean " moor nooks."

(This case for identifying Stannington as the site of Waltheof's Aula in Hallam is disputed Here)

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Addy always leaves feeling slightly :blink:

But thank you for posting that :)

I know what you mean Gramps, and the smiley sums it up very well!

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This is a really interesting topic. The location of Stannington Hall, and Nethergate hall never really appear to be pinned down. Addy makes some assumptions to location that now are taken to be written in time.

What was good for me, reading this article, is that I had taken a map of Stannington by Harrison in 1637(which was as we know lost and re-created) to be a map of all buildings in Stannington, however,  Addy states "3. Little Hawe Park containing timber. Its area was rather more than three acres, and it might have been enclosed at the lord's pleasure. The hall is not mentioned by Harrison because it had passed out of the lord's possession."

That was a really interesting moment to put a piece of evidence in context for me - the 1637 map is not a comprehensive map, it is only a map of the Lords of the Manor possessions. 

Has anyone else ever heard / read more information on the location of Stannington Hall?  or the mysterious Nethergate hall that is referred to where the Revel family moved from to Revel grange?   

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