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This article was first published in the Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society Vol 4, and appears here by kind permission of the Society.

Thanks also due to Gramps for providing the copy. Footnote numbers are in []

HAS Vol 4




A Paper read before the Society at Broom Hall, June 14th 1917.

THE place-name, Brom or Brome, occurs in several local documents of early date. The earliest of these, mentioned by Hunter, is a deed dated 1329, by which Sir Robert de Ecclesall granted to Joan, daughter and heir of John de Wanton of Masham, and to Richard Welles, his manor of Ecclesall and what land he had in Ecclesall, Aldwark, Sheffield, Brom and Crakes [Crookes]. [1]

The family of de Ecclesall had been possessed of the manor of that name for upwards of a century. In 1219 the name of Radulphus de Ecclesall appears as a witness to a grant made by Gerald de Furnival to the monks of Kirkstead. A second Ralph gave a corn mill to the canons of Beauchief, and a Sir Robert de Ecclesall was one of the witnesses to Furnival's Charter of 1297. The Sir Robert who made the grant to Joan de Wanton was the last of his line; he died before 1342. [2]

Joan de Wanton left no heirs, so in accordance with the terms of the grant made to her, the properties passed to Sir Geffery le Scrope. The last male of this family, Geffery, Lord Scrope, died in 1519 and his estates were divided amongst his three sisters, Ecclesall being allotted to Elizabeth Fitz-Randal, whose daughter Elizabeth married Nicholas Strelley, into whose family the properties passed.[3]

In the list of Yorkshire Fines in Michaelmas Term, 1532, published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, there is a reference to Brome. William Holgyll and John Savage, Clerk, were the plaintiffs, and Nicholas Strelley, esq., and Elizabeth his wife, the defendants. The properties mentioned are the "Manors of Eccleshall and Wodlathis, and 60 messuages with lands, 2 watermills, free fishing in the waters of Eccleshall and £13 Rent in Eccleshall, Wodlathys, Sheffield, Brome, Crokys and Aldwarke."[1]

The Charters of the Twelve Capital Burgesses abstracted and published by Mr. T. Walter Hall, contain two references to Brome. John del Wodd del Brome is mentioned in a charter dated 29 Sep. 1333 and John Shemyld del Brom in one of 12 March 1433-4.

1. History of Hallamshire, Gatty's edition, p. 342.

2. Ibid. pp. 341-342.

3. Ibid. pp. 342-343.

4. Y.A.S. Record Series, vol. ii.


Mr. R. N. Philipps, in a paper upon Broom Hall, read before the British Archaeological Association in 1873,[5] said that under the deed of 1329 "Brom came into the possession of the Wickersleys." Hunter gives no evidence in support of this statement, and confines himself to the remark that "the first owners of these lands as a separate estate, of which I have found mention were the de Wickersleys."[6]

This family had been settled at Wickersley, near Rotherham, from the twelfth century, but when their connection with Sheffield, and particularly with Broom Hall, first arose, is very uncertain. Mr. Hall quotes a deed dated 1419 by which John de Wykersley granted to William Cutte a tenement with appurtenances lying near the market place in Sheffield.[7]

A John Wickersley was one of the witnesses to the agreement for the building of Lady's Bridge in 1485, suggesting that he was intimately connected with the life of the town at that time. A deed mentioned by Hunter, formerly at Broom Hall, and dated 16 May 1499, refers to "John Wyckersley de la Brom," This was no doubt the same John Wykersley who witnessed the agreement mentioned above and whose Will, dated 20 May 1506, is recorded at York. In this he is referred to as of "Brome Hall, Shefelde."[8]

The Will of John Wickersley, son of the last named, dated 24 April 1528, is too well known to need detailed mention. He is described as of Broom Hall, was the last male of his line, and on his death the property passed to his niece, who, for her second husband, married Robert Swyft.[9] Swyft sprang from a Rotherham family and played an important part in local affairs during the middle portion of the sixteenth century.

There can be no hesitation in attributing to the Wickersleys the erection of the earliest existing portion of Broom Hall. The details of the timber work are Gothic in character and suggest the latter part of the fifteenth century as the period of their execution. It is probable that the timber framing once extended to the lower storey, the size of the angle post suggests this, and it was the usual method of construction. The window in this framing is carried upon projecting brackets; these, with the cement panels between them, form a cove which springs from a battlemented moulding; the window itself has been renewed in recent years. The large beam at the foot of the gable is moulded on its lower edge and bears evidence of traceried panelling upon its face. Below the beam, on either side of the window, are further coves and mouldings similar to those below the window. The lower edges of the barge boards are cut in a series of trefoil forms. At the junction of the barge boards are the remains

5. Journal B.A.A., vol. xxx, pp. 296-307, "Broom Hall, Sheffield, and its neighbourhood." R. N. Philipps, LL.D., F.S.A.

6. History of Hallamshire, Gatty's edition, p. 362.

7. Catalogue of Ancient Charters. 1913. T. Walter Hall, p. 28.

8. History of Hallamshire, Gatty's edition, p. 362.

9. Ibid. p. 363. . ' :


of a large wooden finial, below which is a carved head. The timber framing returns along the western wall of the wing until it is stopped by a projecting chimney breast of an early character.

The timber work at the Manor and that at the Hall in the Ponds, the latter now sadly mutilated and robbed of its old world charm, are practically contemporary with this fragment of Broom Hall. The ruined condition of the work at the Manor allows the method of construction to be studied. The timbers are mortised and tenoned together and secured by oak pegs. On the edges of the timbers V-shaped grooves are cut; scanty remains at the Manor show that small, flat stones were fitted into these grooves, filling the spaces between the timber. These stones were plastered on both faces so as to make the work weatherproof.

The remaining fragment of the home of the Wickersleys is too small to make possible any attempt at the recovery of the original plan, but the arrangement of the smaller houses of the fifteenth century followed one general plan. The most important apartment was the hall, the centre of the life of the household. At one end of the hall was the kitchen with its adjuncts, at the other, the private apartments of the family, chief among which was a parlour.

A screen crossed the hall at the end nearest to the kitchen, forming a passage at the outer ends of which the entrance doors were situated. At the opposite end of the hall was a slightly raised dais, upon which the principal dining table was placed; the dais was often lighted by oriel windows. In early times the hall extended the full height of the building, dividing the wings, one from the other, and necessitating two staircases to reach the upper rooms.[10]

The development of this grouping of rooms governed house planning down to the middle of the seventeenth century, but by this time the hall had ceased to be the centre of household life and had become merely an entrance. The plans of the houses of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods commonly took the shape of the letter H or of an I placed upon its side. Many local examples of this type still exist; amongst these may be mentioned Eyam Hall, and the older portions of Derwent Hall, both of which have been visited by the Society.

In spite of modern alterations and extensions, the H-shaped plan may still be traced at Broom Hall. The present building is divided into three houses which, for ease of reference, may be described as the eastern, the centre and the western houses. The centre house, at one time known as "The Sign of the Sundial," contains the cross portion of the H, now divided by walls so as to form passages, staircase and drawing-room. The ceiling of this room is divided by beams into six compartments, the panels being surrounded by moulded cornices.

10. A good example of this type of plan is the Manor House, Great Chalfield, Wilts.


From the arrangement of these panels it seems evident that the room was once wider. The flue from the fireplace in the north wall is carried on an arch across the passage behind the room, a system which was not customary in the olden days when all flues were carried up directly from their foundations. Blore's drawing of the north front of Broom Hall, made about 1818, shows a large projecting chimney breast on the north side of the centre portion of the building; this has been demolished and the building rearranged. The present staircase, on the north of the drawing-room, is of oak and is a good example of the simple woodwork of the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The eastern wing of the H-shaped house is now divided between the centre and eastern houses. The lower room, towards the south, belongs to the centre house; it has a simple moulded cornice, with part of the ceiling at a lower level than the remainder. There is also evidence that the room has been widened northwards. The room above this one has a ceiling sloping slightly upwards from its east and west sides towards the centre. In the end spandrels, which project a little in front of the face of the wall below, there are indications of plaster ornaments, now removed. In one corner of the room is a wall cupboard, the door of which has moulded and chamfered stiles and rails treated in the manner customary in Elizabethan and Jacobean times.

The northern portion of this old eastern wing forms part of the present eastern house. The upper room has a ceiling of a similar shape to that just described, but it retains its original ornamentation. On the west wall there is a modelled plaster frieze, 6| inches in depth; the design is almost obliterated by successive coats of whitewash, but there are indications of rabbets combined with conventional scrolls. Ornament from the same moulds was used on the soffit of a beam in an upper room at Cartledge Hall, and a somewhat similar pattern of rabbets and foliage may be seen in a bedroom at Unthank Hall.

Above the frieze at Broom Hall there is a moulded cornice which is also carried across the spandrels on the north and south walls. The spandrel on the south covers the lower part of a roof principal; it projects in front of the wall below and is moulded on its edge. On the face are five ornaments; the centre one is based upon a fleur-de-lis; on either side are ornaments formed of leaves and fir cones; beyond these are Tudor roses. In the centre of the spandrel on the north is a design formed of twisted snakes, exactly like one in the ceiling of the lower room at Cartledge Hall. On either side of the snakes is a head, and beyond these are circular ornaments. A head from the same mould may be seen at the Bishop's House, Meersbrook. Along the centre of the ceiling, following the line of the ridge, is a band of ornament with a moulded rib on either side. The west and part of the east walls of this room are panelled, the work being similar in character to the cupboard door already described. The panelling and frieze are


carried round a projecting pier in the south-western angle of the room, suggesting that the present south wall is a later addition. This wall is formed or faced with wood panelling of an entirely different design from that on the west wall of the room. At a first glance it appears to be work of the fifteenth century, but an examination of its detail suggests that it belongs to the Gothic Revival times of the early nineteenth century. The ornamental treatment of these upper rooms appears to have been identical and, though now parts of two houses, it is quite possible that they once formed one apartment, the "Great Chamber" of the seventeenth century house.

The western wing of the H-shaped house has undergone drastic alterations in its southern portion, which now forms part of the western house. Plaster cornices on the lower floor suggest that its original southern extremity terminated at the same line as that of the eastern wing. The timber-framed building is situated in the northern portion of the western wing and forms part of the centre house. The room on the lower floor has a beam across its ceiling and plain plaster cornices suggestive of seventeenth century work.

The erection of the H-shaped house was probably due to William Jessop, who died in 1630. He was the second of the Jessops who owned Broom Hall and succeeded his father in 1580. He lived at a time of much building activity amongst local families; Stephen Bright of Carbrook, Leonard Gill of Norton, the Burtons of Cartledge and Holmesfield and others, were engaged upon extensive building schemes, and it is only reasonable to assume that William Jessop followed the example of his neighbours and rebuilt or reconstructed his house.[11]

Much of the modelled plasterwork now remaining at Broom Hall appears to be identical with that found in other local houses known to have been erected during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Unfortunately the outer walls of Broom Hall have been almost entirely refaced and altered in their character, but part of the northern end of the east wing appears to be original; its workmanship agrees with the suggestion that the house was erected at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The plan attached to the deed conveying the property to John Watson of Shirecliffe Hall, in 1826, shows the western wing projecting southwards to the present line, but only about twenty feet in width. The plan also shows a projecting chimney breast on the western side of the wing. Mr. Philipps, in the paper already mentioned,

11. The initials S B (Stephen Bright) and the date, 1623, are on a cast iron fire-back at Carbrook Hall. The initials LEG (Leonard and Elizabeth Gill) and the date, 1623, are on a mantel formerly at Norton House but now at the Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield. Ornamental plaster work, formerly in Norton House, has been refixed in the ceilings of two rooms at the University, Western Bank. A branch of the Burton family was at Cartledge in the early part of the seventeenth century. A Burton crest, the wyvern, appears on the mantel in the lower room, and a demi-wyvern or dragon, holding a cresset or beacon, appears on the plastered wall of the staircase. Holmesfield Hall has the date 1611 in one of its upper rooms, but the south front was refaced about 1720.


attributes this wing to the Jessops. If this be the case, it must have been the work of the last member of that family to occupy the Hall, William Jessop, who died in 1734, and whose very beautiful monument is now on the south wall of the Side Chapel in the Cathedral Church. William Jessop married the Hon. Mary Darcy and filled a somewhat responsible position in public affairs. He may have added to the size of his house, bringing it more into unison with his position and requirements, but the existing work is characteristic of a rather later period of the eighteenth century, and it is quite possible that this wing was extended by his grandson, the Rev. James Wilkinson.

Ten years ago two articles upon Broom Hall were published in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.[12] They were inspired by notes written by a lady who formerly resided at the Hall, and whose memory extended backwards over a period of about seventy-five years. She thus described the old western wing before it was altered, some time in 1828 or 1829 :

The entrance to the west side of Broom Hall was where the blank window is now. It opened into a room with two windows at the front and one at the same side as the door. This led into a room with three windows at the front and another at the back. These rooms had rather large black oak doors. When the second gable was built—in order to have a better entrance, staircase and passage—it was found necessary to pull down a large chimney which projected into the yard. This was connected to the room having three windows to the front, and involved taking down a rather tall chimney-piece of carved wood and a large fire-grate. Their removal cleared a considerable space, the walls on that side being about three feet thick, as may be seen from the recess in the present doorways. . . . The chimney-piece and fire-grate were replaced.

In the room with the three windows there is still a large oak door and a carved wooden mantel-piece, both of which are of eighteenth century workmanship, although the latter can hardly be described as "tall." It is of the Adams type.

The compiler of the Sheffield Local Register, under the date 1760, says :—"Broomhall: the modern part built by the Rev. James Wilkinson, Vicar, who resided in the hall of his maternal ancestors." Presumably this was written about the year 1830, the date of the publication of the Register. It has been suggested that the "modern part'' referred to is the eastern portion of the building, but this is later in date than 1760.

The Rev. Edward Goodwin, writing in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1764 upon the Sheffield of that day, says : "Broomhall, about half-a-

12. Sheffield Daily Telegraph, May 21st and July 6th, 1907. "Reminiscences of Old Broom Hall."


mile to the S.W., formerly the seat of the Jessops, but now inhabited by a farmer." It seems reasonable to suppose that if the Vicar enlarged the Hall and resided there in 1760, as the compiler of the Local Register suggests, he would still be living there in 1764. Yet the Rev. Edward Goodwin, one of the Assistant Ministers at the parish church, who must have had intimate relations with the Vicar, states in the latter year that the Hall was "inhabited by a farmer."

With the exception of the additions made to the western house, the most modern part of Broom Hall is the extreme eastern portion, now forming the greater part of the eastern house. The work is characteristic of the later years of the eighteenth century. The doorway is especially noteworthy and is a beautiful example of the style associated with the brothers Adam. This of itself disposes of the suggestion that this part of the building was erected in 1760, for Robert Adam only commenced practice in 1758, and it is not likely that his work would have penetrated to a small provincial town within less than two years and with detail characteristic of his more mature years.

It has also been suggested that this eastern extension was due to rebuilding after damage caused by the fire in 1791. While the work may have been carried out after this date, there is no evidence that the building itself was appreciably damaged by the fire. The Sheffield Register, a weekly newspaper, in its issue of Friday, July 29th 1791, says, after describing the attack upon the Gaol :—

Broomhall was now the cry . . . the house of the Rev, Mr. Wilkinson our Vicar. All his windows were broken, part of his furniture and library damaged and burnt, and eight hay ricks set fire to, four of which were entirely consumed. Before the populace had been long at Broomhall, they were followed by the Light Horse, who presently dispersed them. Thus disturbed they returned to town, and broke the windows and did other damage to the house of Vincent Eyre Esq.

The report of the trial at York of the five persons committed for taking part in the riots, does not contain any evidence that structural damage was done. Of John Bennett, a youth less than nineteen years of age, who was convicted and executed under the laws of the time, it was stated that he "actually set fire to the tables and books in the house; that afterwards he, with two or three others, who have absconded, took a lighted candle and set fire to the haystacks in the yard, which were totally consumed; and that the house would have shared the same fate had not the Light Horse seasonably arrived."

The well-known local rhyme :

"They burnt his books,

And scared his rooks,

And set his stacks on fire"

no doubt correctly describes the amount of damage done.


The eastern addition to Broom Hall is of two lofty storeys; it is faced with dressed ashlar stone and has a central doorway towards the east; this opens into an entrance passage with staircase; on either side is a large room, that to the south retains its original mantel-piece of white, sienna and dove marbles; the upper rooms have the original hob grates with marble surrounds and wooden mantels. The doors and other woodwork are substantial and are of late eighteenth century type. The sash windows are in plain reveals except that over the doorway, which is surrounded by a moulded architrave to give emphasis to the central feature. The south front of the centre house has sash windows which may have been inserted when the eastern addition was built. The doorway of the centre house is of Gothic Revival type and was probably inserted when the building was converted into three houses.

The "Assessment made for the Necessary Relief of the Poor of the Township of Ecclesall Bierlow . . . Made and assessed the 26th day of June, being the 1 book for the year 1786, at sixpence in the pound," contains the following items under the name of the Vicar :[13]

"The Rev. Mr. Wilkinson's .. .. 1-8

Late Mitchels .. .. .. 2-8

Late Atkinsons .. .. .. 5-6

Late Dawsons .. .. .. 2-4

More land .. .. .. .. 9-2

His new house .. .. ., 2-2"

The last item may refer to the eastern addition and suggests that this was erected about 1785.[14]

In 1805, after the death of the Rev. James Wilkinson, the property passed to his relative, Philip Gell of Hopton, and the Hall itself was advertised to be let. The advertisement stated :

N.B.—The House will be either Let entire or divided into two Dwellings, making two very good Mansions, with all necessary and separate conveniences, and the Tenant or Tenants may be accommodated with any reasonable quantity of Land in good condition.

The plan attached to the conveyance of 1826 was prepared by William Fairbank, and is dated 1824. The land conveyed covered about 104 acres. It extended from the western side of Hanover Street to about midway between Collegiate Crescent and Broomgrove Road. Hanover Street and the portion of Ecclesall Road from its lower end to the Moor are shown, and coloured as a roadway, but the remainder of Ecclesall Road, crossing the land, is indicated as if it were then merely contemplated or in course of construction. A plan in the

13. Sheffield Independent, April 26th, 1877.

14. This suggestion has been confirmed by an examination of the Fairbank Building Books, an extract from which is given in an appendix to this article.


Norfolk Estates Office describes Hanover Street, from its junction with Broomhall Street, and the lower part of Ecclesall Road as : "New private Road from Broom Hall." The plan is dated 1783. On another plan dated 1777, showing a proposed "exchange of the Lands of the Duke of Norfolk and the Heirs of Wm. Jessop Esq.," the dividing line takes the direction of this "new private road." Between these years the road was no doubt made.

The plan of 1824 shows the house at the junction of Hanover Street and Broomhall Street, now a laundry. At the time of the conveyance to Mr. Watson it was occupied by "John Williamson's widow." It was described as "Broomhall Lodge," and the field to the north of it as "Lodge field," part of which was sold to James Dixon.

In 1826 Broom Hall was let in two tenancies, the occupants being John Tillotson and George Wilkinson. The latter, a schoolmaster, lived at Broom Hall for many years and apparently occupied the western portion. On one of the outer doors of the present western house is a knocker upon which the name "Wilkinson" can be traced.

William Singleton, another schoolmaster and a Quaker, had a school at Broom Hall in 1817. With reference to the termination of his tenancy, Mr. R. E. Leader quotes an advertisement in The Mercury dated June 23rd 1821, "To be let, a large dwelling house, part of Broomhall lately occupied by Mr. Wm. Singleton as a Boarding school." This fixes the date of Mr. Singleton's departure and the probable time of Mr. Wilkinson's entrance upon the scene. The advertisement of 1821 shows that John Robinson was then in occupation of the farmhouse.

The plan of 1824 shows an L-shaped building to the south of the western portion of the Hall and extending across the site of Broomhall Road; this contained the farm buildings. The plan also shows the line of the old water pipes which conveyed water from Crookes to a cistern at the rear or northern side of the Hall. The lady resident, whose notes are quoted above, says the water supply was particularly good :

I have never tasted such except at Ilkley and Malvern. . . . There was a well and pump in the rookery, and the water from the well was as sulphurous as Harrogate water and turned all spirits black, so after some years the pump was taken away, and the well covered.

The Rate Book for September 26th 1837, gives the names of the occupants of the Hall as G. Wilkinson, W. Hutchinson and John Robinson, showing that the Hall was at this time divided into three tenancies. The name of John Tillotson is struck out and that of W. Hutchinson substituted, showing the date of change of tenancies. The Rate Books of June 1840, and of July 1844, give the names of the tenants as G. Wilkinson, John Fawcett and Wm. Hutchinson. The early Books of 1849 show the tenants to be F. Hunt, J. Sansom and


G. Wilkinson, but that of October 15th has the name of J. Sansom struck out and that of E. Philipps substituted, showing- that Mrs. Philipps came into residence about Christmas 1849. A brass knocker on the back door of the centre house bears the name of "I. Sansom."

In the scullery of the eastern house is a long oak table, dating from Elizabethan or Jacobean times, possibly part of the furniture of the house of that period.

In the garden of the western house there is a fragment of cast iron; from its appearance once part of the back of an old fireplace. The top is semi-circular and is edged with a plain bead. The plate bears the initials M.C. or possibly G. and the date 1673. At that time Francis Jessop was the owner of the Hall; the plate probably comes from some other building.

A few years ago the old chains and posts separating Broom Hall from the road were removed and the present stone wall erected. The change added to the comfort and privacy of the tenants but destroyed a much admired feature. Last year the gates leading into Broomhall Park were removed and the roads were thrown open to unrestricted traffic. The gates stood at each end of Collegiate Crescent, in Park Lane and in Broomhall Road, close to its junction with Broomhall Place.[15]

In these days of Town Planning it may not be without interest to draw attention to the manner in which this estate was laid out some seventy or eighty years ago. Provision was made for houses of various sizes, and a fair amount of open space was given to houses of even the smallest class. It may also be of interest to mention that the names of Mr. Watson's sons were given to William, Edmund and Henry Streets, the latter now changed to Bangor Street by our Local Authorities, who are the reverse of sentimental in such matters. Travis Place and Clark Street owe their names to builders who were engaged upon the erection of the various properties. Sunny Bank is named after a field over which this road was formed.

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Note numbers are in []

Great stuff, Thank you both.

[Notes relating to Gatty's Hunters Hallamshire will be revealed in the Merry Christmas 2009 thread in the fullness of time, we are waiting on Santa's written instructions.

Be warned there is more than one version of Gatty's book; the pages numbers may be a little out.]

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Broom Hall Estate. 


Broom Hall, Broomhall Road. Earlier portion built between 1509-1547. Home of the Wickersley family. Later occupied by the Rev. James Wilkinson, who added the fine East Wing. Restored in 1970s by David Mellor. 



Etching by T S Hicks of exterior of Broom Hall, Broomhall Road. 

Date Period:1851-1899. arc02580.jpg.7faa7b96a94dcddfe5a8aab61814fb53.jpgarc02580 

Original at Sheffield City Archives: X814/1/23/1.


Plan of the Lots of Broom Hall Estate referred to by conditions of sale. 1810. 



Broom Hall Estate, with the names of the purchasers of some of the Lots. 1810. 



A Plan of the part of Broom Hall Estate purchased by John Watson of Philip Gell, in 1802, Plan dated 1823. 



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That’s amazing, I’ve only just learned of this place after finding De Wickersley and fitz turgis in my family tree through the Sheffield Hartley/Bingham line, are there any portraits of any of these people? 

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No images of portraits on Picture Sheffield relating to the De Wickerleys or Fitz Turgis, but for others who are interested in a bit of genealogy from the USA, their connection to St. Albans, Wickersley, Rotherham and Roche Abbey. 

Notes for John Wickersly

Research Notes:


Their connection to St. Albans, Wickersley & Roche Abbey. 


And Roche Abbey. 


Broom Hall



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On 08/11/2023 at 14:38, Ponytail said:

A further account of the attack by the rioters at Broom Hall in 1791.

From "Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, it's streets and it's people.", edited 1875 by R. E. Leader from letters and articles in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent 1872/73.

Pages 64-67.

"Twiss: There is another good story of the stocks, in connection with old Justice Wilkinson. A little girl in the street was incited by some mischievous fellow to go up to a gentleman walking along, and to say:

"They burnt his books, And scar'd his rooks, And set his stacks on fire " —

the well-known doggrel relating to the rioters' attack on Broomhall. The child innocently went in front of the gentleman and, bobbing a curtsey, lisped out the lines. "What, my dear?" asked the Vicar — for it was none other. The child repeated it. "Yes, my dear," said he, "come along with me;" and leading her by the hand, took her to the stocks, to her great distress.

Leighton: Justice Wilkinson had a patriotic sympathy with the fathers and mothers of illegitimate children, from an idea that, considering the drain of the war, it was a public benefit to add to the population. Some sayings of his, a little too broad for reproduction in print, are yet told by the choicest of our old story-tellers.

Leonard: It was in 1791 that that attack on Broomhall was made. The ringleader, one Bennett, was executed for it at York.

Everard: I have always understood that the individual executed was a poor, half-witted young man, whom the mob purposely incited and pushed forward through the library window, to commit the incendiary act of setting the books and papers on fire. Had the event taken place now, the unfortunate lad, instead of being hanged, would in all probability have been sent to an asylum during her Majesty's pleasure. This case, I have been told, produced at the time such an impression on the public mind as led to the doing away with the law, or custom, of giving" blood-money." I say law or custom, because I have heard it denied that any such law was ever enacted by the British Parliament. As matter of fact, however, it must have possessed some shadow of legal authority, as it was a thing practised in two instances, at least, in "Old Sheffield;" and after the Broomhall riot the practice ceased to exist. My father was one of those who, out of curiosity, went as an on-looker to that scene of outrage, but, believing that the military would soon put in an appearance, he began to make his way homewards. In Black Lamb Lane (now Broomhall Street, but then a narrow country road), his retreat was, however, intercepted by the approach, at full speed, with noise of jingling scabbards, mingled with oaths and curses, of a detachment of cavalry. He jumped over the field wall and lay hidden until they had passed. Then, concluding that there would certainly be another troop soon following, he decided to go down the lane (now Hanover Street) towards Sheffield moor, and by that roundabout way get home. He had not, however, gone far in that direction, before another party of soldiers made their appearance, headed by the Colonel and Justice Wilkinson himself. He had then with agility again to perform the climbing and hiding feat, and thus managed to escape the dangers of his nocturnal ramble on that clear moonlight night.

Leonard: It appears from the Sheffield Register's account of the affair that the cavalry in question consisted of a detachment of Light Dragoons, sent over from Nottingham "in consequence of an application to Government for them; "and it seems very probable that if the unwonted arrival of the soldiery had not suggested rioting to the mob, none would have taken place. At the Cutlers' Feast that year the guests "were almost frantic in their expressions of approbation of Mr. Wilkinson's conduct;" and the Mistress Cutler's party on the following day, "with that rapturous joy which females only elate in a cause worthy of their sex can express, not only drank his health * ' • but nothing less than acclamations of applause would satisfy their ardour and zeal."

Twiss: There are other anecdotes about Justice Wilkinson's doings as a magistrate which may as well be mentioned in connection with the old Town Hall. Being called upon on one occasion to arbitrate between a quarrelsome husband and wife, he ordered that they should be locked up together until they could agree. The discipline proved efficacious, for, after a show of obstinacy, the refractory couple came to terms, and announced their contrition by knocking upon the walls, as had been arranged. Another is this: A lady, having quarrelled with her servant, was required to appear before the Justice. She refused to go before " Old Niddlety Nod " (a nickname given owing to a peculiar shaking of the head caused by paralysis), and. had to be fetched by a constable. "So you refused to come before 'Old Niddlety Nod,' did you ? You are here now, however, and ' Old Niddlety Nod ' orders you to pay the servant her wages and the costs of the court."

Leonard: That nickname reminds me of the description of Mr. Wilkinson given by one living who remembers him. "He was," said he, "a fine, venerable-looking old man; very stately, but rather palsied when I saw him. His head shook a little. He drove about in a large old family carriage with a pair of horses and Joshua Gregory, his clerk, used to stand behind like a footman. I was at school at Chesterfield when the rioters went to Broornhall and 'burnt his books, and scared his rooks, and set his stacks on fire.' My father sent me word what mischief had been done at the Hall. After Justice Wilkinson died, Joshua Gregory went into a tableknife concern. The firm was Wostenholni and Gregory, but it did not continue long."

Page 90.

"Twiss: In 1791, at the same time that Broomhall was attacked, the mob destroyed the doors and windows of the gaol and the house of Godfrey Fox, and liberated the prisoners. It was the prison for the liberty of Hallamshire, and the property of the Duke of Norfolk."


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The Rev. James Wilkinson (1754 - 1805), M.A., Vicar of Sheffield and one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the West and North Ridings of Yorkshire. 1798. Lived at Broom Hall. 


Artist, E. Needham. 

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