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Longshaw, an article by T Walter Hall


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LONGSHAW is one of the many places of natural beauty, confided to the care of The National Trust, for the enjoyment and well-being of the nation. It is seven miles southwest of Sheffield Town Hall and forms the north-east corner of Derbyshire.

The estate is about a thousand feet above sea level and comprises more than a thousand acres of moor and woodland, together with a shooting-box known as Longshaw Lodge; the whole of which has recently been purchased, with funds publicly subscribed, and conveyed to The National Trust.

The original purchases consisted of the Lodge and seven hundred and sixty-five acres of land, to which was added at a later date a further two hundred and forty-five acres, known as the Surprise View.

The whole of the Longshaw estate is in Derbyshire; but it has a long frontage to the city of Sheffield, which is now wholly in the west riding of Yorkshire.

When the city acquired additional land in Derbyshire under the Sheffield Corporation Act of 1928, it was provided that the boundaries of the West Riding of the

county of York and the county of Derby should be altered, so that the city should be wholly situate in the west riding; and this area has been transferred from Derbyshire to Yorkshire.

From the beginning of the 19th century, when it was open common land, the history of part of Longshaw is well recorded.

A few years after the enclosure of the commons and waste lands of the parish of Hathersage in 1808, certain allotments were purchased by Charles Brookfield, a Sheffield solicitor, on behalf of himself and several friends, with a view to establishing plantations of timber and other trees and selling or disposing of the same for their benefit and profit; and in order to carry on the business to advantage, the purchasers formed themselves into a company called the "Sheffield Planting Company", in which they were the shareholders.

The company was founded by a deed of settlement, dated the 28th August 1823, and the following is an abstract of the deed.

1823 August 28th: Deed of Settlement (Engl) made between Charles Brookfield of Sheffield in the county of York gentleman of the first part, Hugh Parker of Woodthorpe in the parish of Handsworth in the said county esquire, Oflley Shore of Sheffield aforesaid banker and James Rimington of Broomhead Hall in the said county esquire of the second part and the several other persons whose names and descriptions were mentioned in the schedule thereunder written of the third part.

After reciting, that for the purpose of establishing plantations of timber and other trees and of selling and disposing of the timber for their benefit, the several parties thereto of the first and third parts had subscribed a capital stock or sum of five thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds;

and reciting, that under certain Inclosure Acts, including the act for inclosing lands in the parish of Hathersage in the county of Derby, 1808, and by virtue of a deed poll, under the hands and seals of the Hathersage Inclosure Commissioners, dated the 6th July 1816, the said Charles Brookfield became seised of certain allotments of land therein described and intended to be thereby released or otherwise assured;

and reciting, that the said Charles Brookfield purchased the said allotments on behalf of himself and the parties thereto of the third part, at the price of £2,228 - 9 - 6, which was paid out of the said capital sum of £5,750;

and reciting that the said allotments had since then been formed into plantations and the residue of the said capital sum had been accordingly expended in fencing draining and planting etc;

and reciting, that for the purpose of carrying on the said plantations and of duly dividing the profits etc; the said allotments should be vested in the parties thereto of the second part, in manner thereinafter declared; it was witnessed that the said Charles Brookfield had sold and released unto the parties of the second part, all that allotment or parcel of land (intersected by the turnpike road leading from Sheffield to Buxton and divided into two parts) situate at or near a place called Long Shaw in the said parish of Hathersage, containing 100 a. 2 r. 4 p. bounded east by the turnpike road to Stoney Middleton leading over Froggatt Edge, west by Burbage Brook, north by lands purchased by Joseph Trickett and south by the allotment then next thereinafter described;

and also all that other allotment etc, situate at or near Long Shaw aforesaid containing 79 a. 1 r. 36 p., bounded east by the said turnpike road to Stoney Middleton leading over Froggatt Edge, west by the Buxton turnpike road and Yarncliffe Wood, north by the allotment above described and south by open common land, which said allotments then remained as plantations; to hold unto and to the use of the parties of the second part their heirs and assigns for ever, upon certain trusts thereinafter declared.

The lengthy trusts and provisions, that follow, provide the necessary machinery for establishing and maintaining these plantations and for producing a net profit, to be divided amongst the parties thereto of the third part, who were to hold the 100 shares of the company, in proportion to the capital each had subscribed.

Witnesses: Thomas Wilcockson, Charles Austin Brookfield, John Rawson, J. Ensom, Samuel Younge junior, Joshua Coates.


14 Charles Brookfield ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...805

4 Edwin Sorby of Button Hill, Sheffield gentleman ... ... 230

4 William Barker of Sheffield merchant ... ... ... ... 230

4 George Bennet of Sheffield gentleman ... ... ... ... 230

4 Josiah Fairbank of Sheffield land surveyor ... ... ... 230

4 George Ibbotson of Sheffield merchant... ... ... 230

4 Samuel Lucas of Bolsover Hill, Ecclesfield silver refiner 230

4 David Mallinson of Sheffield grocer ... ... ... ...230

4 George Naylor of Sheffield merchant ... ... ... ...230

8 Thomas Nowill of East Bank, Sheffield gentleman ...460

4 Hall Overend of Sheffield surgeon ... ... ... ...230

4 Thomas Pearson of Sheffield wine merchant .:. ... ... 230

4 Joseph Read of Wincobank esquire ... ... ... ...230

4 John Read of Norton House esquire ... ... ... ...230

6 Thomas Sanderson of Sheffield merchant ... ... ...345

4 Richard Stanley of Sheffield banker ... ... .. ...230

4 John Sorby the younger of Sheffield edge tool maker 230

4 Henry Sorby of Sheffield edge tool maker ... ... ...230

4 Samuel Younge of Sheffield silver plater ... ... ...230

4 William Aldam Smith of Sheffield ironmaster ... ...230

4 William Fairbank of Sheffield land surveyor ... ... ...230

A full copy of this deed of settlement is engrossed in a folio volume, bound in calf, in which are entered the minutes of all meetings of the shareholders and committee; and these minutes give a complete history of the company from its foundation in 1823 to its dissolution in 1856.

The transfer of the shares often involved reference to the will of the shareholder, and the record contains much local history; as to the shareholders and their families.

Following the record of the transfer of shares, is a statement of the "Proceedings at General and Committee Meetings", which appear to have been held at the Sheffield Fire Office in George Street but occasionally at Fox House near the plantations.

The first committee (appointed by the deed of settlement) consisted of John Read, David Mallinson, Samuel Lucas, Josiah Fairbank, and Henry Sorby.

At a meeting held the 5th December 1831, it was resolved that the Duke of Rutland, having by his agent applied to the company for the privilege of making a drive or road through the plantation from Longshaw to the Grindleford Bridge Road, the meeting did not think it expedient to grant his grace such a privilege.

At a meeting held at Fox House on the 18th May 1832, it was resolved that the drive or ride through the plantation should be continued southwards, to within about two hundred yards of the southern boundary.

At another meeting at Fox House on the 24th May 1833, Mr Josiah Fairbank was requested to view the diversion of water, made by the Duke of Rutland, and to prepare a plan of the same and report to the next meeting, which was held on the 12th July following, when the report was read; and from this it appeared that the diversion had been made to supply the fish pond of the duke, which diversion was injurious to the plantation and ought not to have been made, without the consent of the company.

A copy of the report was to be sent to Mr D. Ewes Coke; the Duke's agent, with a request that the water be restored to its former channels, which was done shortly after.

In October, 1833, instructions were given for the drive to be carried up to Froggatt Edge Road; and stone posts provided for forming a good substantial gate for the entrance there.

In December 1835, Christopher Green Broomhead of Fulwood was to see if the stone in the plantation (adjoining the Grindleford Bridge Road) was suitable for Mill Stones; a lease for ten years at a yearly rent of twenty five guineas was subsequently arranged.

At a General Meeting of shareholders held in Sheffield on the 5th December 1842, it was resolved that none of the share-holders or any other person be allowed to shoot or otherwise destroy game.

In July 1844, it was decided that the privilege, which had been temporarily allowed to the Duke, of a footpath through the plantation from Longshaw to Yarncliffe be discontinued.

In the same year a cottage for the woodman was ordered to be built in the plantation, at a cost not exceeding £300.

At a Special Meeting of shareholders held in Sheffield on the 9th October 1854, a letter was read from Mr W. M. Nesfield, agent for the Duke of Rutland, offering to lease the shooting at £10 a year or to buy the plantation, and the meeting gave instructions for a valuation of the property to be made.

The minutes of 4th December 1854 record that the company's land had been offered to the Duke at a price, which offer had been declined and a tenancy from year to year of the shooting at £10 a year had been arranged with the duke.

At a meeting of shareholders held the 27th September 1855 it was proposed by Mr George Walker and seconded by Mr Edward Hudson, that the committee be requested to make arrangements for the sale by public auction or private contract of all the land etc belonging to the company.

This was followed by a resolution, passed on the 3rd December 1855, that the committee was to sell the whole property at Longshaw to the Duke, at the price of £3,300, which sale was subsequently completed.

The last meeting of the shareholders of the Sheffield Planting Company was held at the Fire Office, George Street, Sheffield on the 26th October 1858, when a deed of dissolution was executed, a final dividend paid and some outstanding unpaid accounts transferred to the Sheffield General Infirmary.

This volume, recording the business of the company with particulars of all transfers of shares, was evidently held for safe keeping by Charles Brookfield, of Paradise Square, Sheffield, as solicitor to the company; and it was retained by him and his successors, who practised as Brookfield and Gould, which later became Gould and Coombe, now Bramley and Coombe, of which firm Dr Edward Bramley is the senior partner.

The volume and other local records were recently presented by Dr Bramley to the city of Sheffield, where they are known in the Public Reference Library as The Bramley Collection; and can be examined by those who desire further details respecting the affairs of the Sheffield Planting Company.

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