Welcome to this section of the website which deals with the history, structure and construction of Bishops’ House. My name is Ken Dash and my association with Bishops’ house began in March 2011 when I went to a heritage weekend. I suggested that I could do a proper plan and elevation of the building, something that appeared never to have been done. Colin Merrony and Dr Roger Doonan, both from the Archaeology Department of the University of Sheffield, who were involved in the heritage weekend agreed to this and the Archaeology Department lent me some survey equipment. I began in the autumn of that year.
I didn’t realise then how long it would take. I could only work while the House was open to the public at weekends and could only do the outside work in relatively dry weather. Once the ground floor plan was done, I produced a plan of the upper floor and the walls, roof and the cellar. I finally finished in 2014.
While this was going on I was learning about the history of the house and the people who had lived in it over the centuries, and began my own researches, especially into the later and often ignored families who had occupied the building from the late eighteenth century up to the time the last occupants moved out in 1974.
This, then is a history of Bishops’ House, a building which has changed over the centuries with additions, demolitions and refurbishments. It is also the history of the many families who lived here, and part of the history of the small Derbyshire village of Norton Lees that is now part of the City of Sheffield.
It often seems to us that every time we think that we know as much as we can ever know, a few weeks later we find out something new and sometimes something totally unexpected. So although we now have a good understanding of the history of Bishops’ House and can now place many more of the events in the building’s history into a relatively firm chronological sequence there may be a few surprises still.
Many people worked to interpret and understand the history of Bishops’ House. Here are their names (in no special order of merit):
Clairemarie Allen, Julie Anson, Neil Anson, Andy Bentham, Pauline Beswick, David Bostwick, Andrew Bower, Kathryn Brown, Zach Brown, Joy Bullivant, Chris Connolly, Lucy Creighton, Dr Roger Doonan, Meg Green, Ann Hayes, Wes Hedge, Jeremy Hodgkinson, Peter Honeyman, Stanley R Jones, Colin Merrony, Sharon Mosey, Sarah Shepherd, James Thompson.
When I began this survey I had no clear idea of how to progress or what I would find. John Brown, a retired architect, who was the first Chairperson of the Friends of Bishops’ House and I used to spend many hours walking around the building and studying and interpreting it. He suggested the recording system that I used for the timber beams and gave many hours of his time to review the interpretation of the building, even when he was ill. It was his clear guidance that led to our current understanding of the building. John died in 2015 and we all miss him. Thank you John.