THE MEERS BROOK
The Meers Brook (older spelling Mears Brook) is a tributary of the river Sheaf. It
originates as a spring in the Gleadless area and runs for some 3,400 m west until it flows into
the Sheaf near Saxon Road and Clyde Road. The name means ‘boundary brook’ and at one
time it formed the boundary, along with the Sheaf, between the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of
Northumbria, to its north, and Mercia, to its south. It remained as the border between
Yorkshire and Derbyshire until 1901. From 1957 the part of the Meersbrook which had run as
an open stream behind the back gardens of Albert Road to the north and Valley Road and
Rushdale Road to the south was covered over but if you walk along its route with a good
map, you can still see, here and there, traces of its course.
The Midland Railway and Heeley station
The site of Heeley Railway Station lies on Chesterfield Road. The station itself was
built on the bridge over the road, close to the junction with Gleadless Road.
Construction of the Midland railway into Sheffield began in 1864 following
parliamentary approval. Over a thousand recently built houses on the approach to Sheffield
were compulsorily purchased and then demolished. By August 1867 work on the Bradway
Tunnel was progressing. Stations were built at Dronfield, Abbey Houses, Ecclesall and
Heeley. The railway opened in February 1870. Heeley Station originally had two platforms. It
was widened with four platforms replacing the original two between July and September
1902. The station stayed open for another six decades, finally closing in June 1968 following
the Beeching cuts to the railway system. Today all that can be seen from Chesterfield Road is
a weed choked and blocked entrance just south of Heeley Bridge.
Albert Road Tram Depot
This building is situated on Albert Road about 50 m from the junction with
Chesterfield Road. It is a Grade II listed building which has now been converted to flats. The
original entrance is on Albert Road and above the stone and brick arch the words ‘Sheffield
1878 Tramway Company’ is carved into stone.
The first horse drawn trams ran from Lady’s Bridge to Attercliffe in 1873. The line
from Moorhead to Nether Edge and Heeley opened in 1877. Tram sheds in Albert Road were
opened in 1878. During the conversion to flats in 2006 the archway was demolished and
rebuilt at a slightly higher level than when first built.
The last of the horse drawn tramcars ran in 1902 and the last electric tram ran in
The old coach road
The main route out of Sheffield, and the only major road in the area was the Sheffield
to Derby Road. which ran from the town up through Heeley and through where Graves Park
now lies. This road has been traced back on old maps to 1724 when it was no more than a
horse and cart track. It probably existed in this form for a long time before, as there is a
reference to a bridge at Heeley in 1650. It was properly widened and metalled in 1756 and
made into a toll road. The toll bar was in Heeley, about where the Red Lion pub is now. From
there the road ran straight up the hill, close to the entrance to Meersbrook Hall, which had
been built in 1759, past the Walled Garden and then on up the current Derbyshire Lane. It
was too steep for most passenger coaches and an extra horse was added to pull the coaches up
the hill where the Park is now. In 1797 the modern Chesterfield Road was laid down; built as
a turnpike road from Sheffield to Chesterfield. An attempt was made to cut a new route for
the coach road, joining Chesterfield Road to the upper part of Derbyshire Lane and bypassing
the old route. This resulted in the modern Derbyshire Lane being laid out, but it was still a
steep road. The old coach road fell into disuse after this time and there is no trace of it on the
1804/05 map, though for its forty one year life (1756 to 1797) it provided one of the main
roads out of Sheffield.
A record from 1787 lists several regular passenger coaches using the road, going to
Chesterfield, Derby, Burton, Lichfield, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton
Some travel times for early coaches:
1760 – Sheffield to London 3 ½ days (ie about 84 hours).
1765 – Sheffield to Chesterfield 3 hours.
1778 – Sheffield to Birmingham 13 hours.
1785 – Sheffield to London 31 hours.
The main north – south road is the A61 London Road South/Chesterfield Road dating
from 1797 when it was laid down as a turnpike road from Sheffield to Chesterfield. ‘The
turnpike method of financing and controlling the repair of old roads or the making of new
ones, were applied in the district by no fewer than twenty two Acts of Parliament between
1739 and 1818 dealing with main routes’. This road replaced the earlier Sheffield to Derby
coach road which ran through Meersbrook Park, then up Derbyshire Lane and Graves Park.
The first horse drawn tramway route was opened in 1873 and reached Nether Edge
and Heeley by 1877. Tram sheds in Albert Road were opened in 1878.
The first electric trams were introduced in 1899 and the last of the old horse drawn trams ran
in 1902. Tram tracks were laid down on Chesterfield Road in 1903 and the trams ran until
The plaque on the east side of the bridge says that the current bridge was built about
1869. There has been a river crossing at this same place, traceable maps from 1904 back to
1796. After 1756 the road south from Sheffield crossed the Sheaf some 50 to 60 m to the
west of its current position and then continued south across the bottom of the current Gleadless Road. Before that the Sheaf crossing was about where Well Road meets London
Evidence for a river crossing at Heeley existing before 1650 comes from an edition of
the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Tues. 30/08/1864. On p 3 a correspondent
quotes from the notes of his four times great grandfather Stephen Fox, who records repairs to
the bridge between October and December 1650.
Only the 1845 map of Norton parish records the use of the land. From counting the
fields and their area it has been possible to reconstruct how the land was divided.
38% of the land was arable and the trade directory for 1883 says ‘the chief crops are
wheat, oats, barley, turnips and hay.’
36% was grass and we can presume that it was used to graze cows for the dairy farms.
The directory for 1862 says ‘and here many large dairies of milch cows.’
7% was arable and grass.
11% was wooded, including some new plantations.
4% were parks and plantations of woodland; some of the areas that would one day
become Meersbrook and Oaks parks.
The remaining 4% is land occupied by and surrounding buildings, forges, dams etc.
This was a last look at a world that was soon to vanish. By the 1870s, the very first
streets of Heeley, Woodseats and Meersbrook were being laid out and a farming landscape
stretching back for many centuries would be replaced by the suburban streets we walk on
Jos Kingston’s account of Norton says ‘In the sixteenth century, Norton had a clear
identity of its own, as the principal scythemaking community in the north of England.’
This tradition carried on into the nineteenth century and the trade directories for 1833,
1841, 1849, 1852, 1856, 1864, 1868 and 1876 all say that the area is known for ‘scythes,
sickles and reaping hooks, for which there are several forges and grinding wheels.’
The trade directory for 1862 mentions ‘scythes, sickles, files and cutlery.’
The trade directory for 1879 mentions ‘files, cutlery, scythes, sickles and reaping
The introduction to the Norton Parish Registers quotes the ‘View of the Present State
of Derbyshire’ (1779) which says that ‘there were 136 scythe makers and 25 grinders’ at
The first mention of the farm is from 1664, with William and Maria Gillat living there
with their two daughters, Maria (b 1664) and Anna (b 1669).
Edward and Maria Newton had four children: Edward (b 1674), John (b 1678),
Martha (b 1680) and Rachel (b 1686).
Matthew and Elizabeth Staniforth had one daughter, Hannah, (b 1693).
Matthew died in 1729 and Elizabeth in 1735.
Robert and Anne Staniforth had five children: Maria (1732-1741), Elizabeth (b 1735),
Samuel (1739), Milicent (b 1744) and Sarah (d 1752).
Robert’s wife Anne died in 1757.
Hannah, daughter of Abraham and Hannah Bertles (b 1764).
John and Sarah Bingham had a son, John 9d 1767).
Mary, wife of John Bingham senior (d 1768).
John and Elizabeth Green had a daughter, Elizabeth (b 1779).
George and Ann Shortland had two children: George (b 1782) and Ann (b 1785).
William and Elizabeth Smedley had one daughter, Hannah (1781-1783).
Matthew and Martha Oudall (also spelled Oldall and Oldale) had eighteen children:
Matthew (1774-1779), Robert (1776-1779), Martha (1777-1779), Peter (b1779 d1779), Ann
(d 1779), Joseph (b1780 d1780), Mary (b1780 d1780), Elizabeth (1781-1782), Thomas
(b1781), Hannah (b1783 d1783), John (b1783 d1783), Godfrey (b1784), Luke (d 1786),
William (1787), Samuel (d 1788), James (1789-1790), Another Samuel (b 1791) and Sarah
Of all these children, thirteen of them died young, seven in a ten month period
between April 1779 and February 1780. Only sons Thomas, Godfrey, William, Samuel and
daughter Sarah survived.
Thomas went on to manage the farm and is mentioned in the 1805 map of Norton
Parish, farming 59 acres. He married a woman called Sarah and they had at least one child, a
daughter Mary, born in 1805.
The 1841 to 1861 censuses show Richard Booker (b 1788) farming between 59 and
64 acres at different times. He married Mary (b 1791) and they had three children: Richard
(1814-1865), Mary (b 1821) and Ellen (b 1824).
The 1851 census shows Joseph Binghm (b 1815) farming 12 acres with his wife Ann
(b 1813). They had three daughters: Ann (b 1846), Mary (b 1848) and Sarah (b 1850).
The 1861 census shows Mary Gillatt, a widow (b 1812) farming 25 acres with her two
children: Thomas (b 1847) and Mary (b 1850).
The 1871 census shows three families living at the farm:
John Johnson (b 1833), a carpenter with his wife Mary (b 1836) and their seven
children: William (b 1856), Martha (b 1858), Gertrude (b 1862), Ada (b 1863), Eva (b 1867),
Minnie (b 1868) and Arthur (b 1870).
Henry Ashton, an agricultural labourer (b 1831) with his wife Ann (b 1840) and their
three children: Jonathon (b 1865), Henry (b 1866) and Ann (b 1869).
John Barker, a retired bricklayer (b 1815) with his wife Elizabeth (b 1809) and their
son William (b 1851).
The 1881 census lists George Roberts, a pen machine maker (b 1835) living there
with his wife Agnes (b 1838) and their eight children: John (b 1862), Morgan (b 1865), Sam
(b 1867), Edith (b 1868), Frank (b 1870), Frederick (b 1873), Jessie (b 1877) and Alice (b
John and Elizabeth Barker are also there.
Carfield – A note on the name
The term carr is an Old Norse woodland name that has survived as a general place
name, as in Deepcar. When applied to woods it described low lying woods bordering streams
and rivers in which alders and willows predominated. There is a Carr Wood between Heeley
and Gleadless. It occupies the narrow valley of a tributary of the Meers Brook and was
referred to as ‘Carr Wodd’ in 1583.
Records of the farm are scanty with only a few people mentioned before the late
Maria, wife of Thomas Chantry (d 1703).
Thomas, son of Thomas & Sara Pashley (b 1717).
Gamaliel Egbarrow (d 1723).
Nancy, daughter of the widow of Robert Merill, farmer (b 1741).
Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Hudson (b 1774).
Amelia, daughter of Joseph & Millicent Ashberry (b 1779).
John and Hannah grey had two children: Sarah (b 1782) and John (b 1785).
Elizabeth Tomlinson (d 1785).
Ann, wife of William Stevenson (d 1789).
Sarah Bingham, daughter of Samuel Bingham, labourer, and his wife Ann (b 1818).
The 1805 map lists George Fawcett farming 70 acres at Cockshutts farm. George
Fawcett was born in 1777 in Tadcaster, Yorkshire. He died in 1862, aged 85. He married
Mary Elizabeth Fawcett, (b 1776). She was buried, aged 80, in 1856.
The couple had four children: George (1810-1895), Ann (b 1816), Sarah (b 1819) and
Mary (b 1821).
Their son George married Sarah Cadman (b 1817). They had one son, John (1848-
1916). He married Sarah Revell (1852-1921).
The census returns between 1851 and 1891 show the Fawcett family farming at
Cockshuts farm. The 1851 census also shows the Faircroft family farming there. George
Faircroft (b 1777), farmer of 68 acres and his wife Elizabeth (b 1777) had one daughter,
Sarah (b 1819).
Cockshutts – A note on the name
A Cockshutt is a broad way or glade in a wood through which woodcocks and other
birds might dart or shoot, to be caught by nets stretched across the opening.
The first record of someone living at Cowmouth farm is of John Rose, carpenter, and
his children Elizabeth (b 1567) and John (b 1570).
Leonard Trycket and Elizabeth Burnell had a son, John (b 1584).
An infant daughter of Francis Bate, stryker, (d 1591).
John Barnes, scythe-smith (d 1603).
There is then a long gap in the parish records until the Linley family in the late 18 th
century. Thomas and Mary Linley had three children: Mary (1793-1811), Sarah (b 1799, d
1799) and Thomas (b 1805). The 1805 parish map shows Thomas Linley farming 102 acres
at Cowmouth farm.
Mary, wife of Thomas Linley, was buried in 1811.
Their son, Thomas, married Mary Allen in 1835. They had seven children: Mary Ann
(b 1836), Thomas (b 1838), Peter (b 1839), William (b 1840), John (b 1843), Samuel (b
1845) and Mary (b 1848).
Due to the collapse of the Parker Shore bank Cowmouth farm was put up for sale by
the receivers in 1850. The farm was described as having a rental value of £170 and being 120
acres. A bid was put in for £4,000 by a Mr. Shortridge but the bid was deemed as insufficient
and the farm was withdrawn. The Linleys moved to a farm in Eckington and Cowmouth was
bought by the Rev Henry Barlow of Christchurch, Pitsmoor in 1853
In 1857 Elijah Wragg was the tenant there. From 1861 it became the tenancy first
of Joseph Carr, then other members of the Carr family.
The census returns from 1861 to 1901 show Joseph Carr farming 43 acres. He and his
wife Sarah had seven children; Frederick (b 1859-1921), Sarah (b 1862), George (b 1865),
William (b 1868), Florence (b 1871), Hannah (b 1871), Lucy (b 1873) and Lily (b 1876).
The Rev Barlow died in 1878 and an attempt was made to sell the farm to develop the
land for housing. It is not known why this didn’t happen although some parts of the farm
were sold off. The farm continued to remain in the Barlow family. In 1909 Henry Barlow’s
great nephew sold three fields and the top part of Warminster was developed for housing.
There was a local scandal when 22-year-old Frederick Fox Carr ran away with Clara
Robinson of Bolehill Farm and they were married in Matlock. He came back to Sheffield to
be a butcher with a shop on Chesterfield Road, but became a milkman and, on his death in
1921, 2 of his children – JW Carr and Doris M (Carr) Widdowson took over the milk round.
The business was sold to Amos Knowles in 1959, who was then living at the farm and this
became Express Dairies when Mr Knowles retired, and then the Association of Co-Operative
Creameries and the Dairy Farmers of Britain until the site was sold and planning permission
for a housing development was sought.
From the Norton Free admission books, there was a child Jenkinson at Cowmouth
Farm in 1904 and a child Knowles in 1914. In a 1948 Directory, both Avery Knowles and
Amos Wiliam Knowles are listed as milk dealer, Cowmouth Farm.
When the Carrs ran their dairy farm they had the following fields –The Spring field,
The Footway field, The Long field, The Square Bent field, The Croft, The Ponds, The Garden
field, The Turnpike field, and the farmhouse, yard and garden and a Plantation. It comprised
43 acres, 2 roods and 22 perches.
In July 1950 the Sheffield Astronomical Society had plans for an observatory at the
farm and presented them to the Council. Eventually, the plans were passed and the
construction took place at a cost of £150. A deed for the lease of the land at Cowmouth Farm
was signed and included the stipulation that the Society provide a fence to prevent the cattle
getting too near the Observatory.
In 1956 the Bramley fields from the farm were made into playing fields for Sheffield
Lees Hall farm
There is a long record of occupation at Lees Hall farm from before 1607. There is
some overlap between the families, which would indicate that at some times, more than one
family was living there; perhaps not surprising for such a large building. Much of the early
record of occupation is disjointed and reflects what is in the Norton Parish Records rather
than a full account.
Lees Hall was a massive building and we don’t know which of these families was
farming and which were just occupying it until the account of John Lowe in the 1730s (see
below). The Booker family took the farm’s occupation from the late eighteenth until well
into the nineteenth century, after which the Butcher family took over. At various times the
farm was recorded as being between 70 and 100 acres.
John Parker died in 1607, or 1615, leaving Lees Hall, mills and other property to his
In 1626 Humphrey Cardinall, was at Lees Hall. His wife Maria was buried in 1627.
Sellbee Massenn and Margaret Barker of Lees Hall had a son, also Sellbee in 1659.
Thomas and Mary Roper had a son, Philip in 1660.
Francis and Anna Barker had four children: Robert (b 1660), Francis (b 1664, d
1664), William (d 1667) and an infant son (d 1671). Anna was buried in 1671 and Francis in
John and Anna Cave had two children: Elizabeth (1673) and Francis (b 1676, d 1676).
Anna Cave was the daughter of Francis Barker. John Cave died in 1677 and Anna married
John Bright (see below).
Jana Rodgers, wife of John Rodgers was buried in 1677.
John and Anna Bright (formerly Cave) had three children: Anna (b 1683), Maria (b
1686) and Francis (b 1687).
William and Martha Wastnage had two children: Anna (d 1689) and William (b
Edward and Bathia Greenwood had one son, Morewood (1693-1733).
Malin Bright was buried in 1701.
Charles Brearley was buried in 1703.
Benjamin and Gertrude Eyre had two children: Denis (1700-1701) and Robert (b
Ralph Clay married Sara Peniston in 1707. The couple had seven children: Maria (b
1708), William (b 1709), Ralph (b 1711), Sara (b 1713), Barbara (b 1715), George (b 1718)
and John (b 1719).
Thomas and Sara Pashley had two children: Johan (b 1710), Jonas (b 1716, d 1716).
George Bramhall was buried in 1724.
A map from 1701 shows a total of 20 acres being farmed.
John and Maria Lowe had eleven children: Thomas (b 1721), John (b 1722), George
(b 1725), Joseph (1727-1742), Samuel (b 1729), Maria (b 1733), Rachel (b 1734, d 1734),
Martha (b 1735, d 1735), David (d 1738), Betty (b 1740) and Luke (b 1741). John Lowe is
described as a farmer, the first time we have an account of someone farming, rather than
living at Lees Hall farm.
Joseph, son of son of Samuel and Elizabeth Beech b 1738.
Robert and Elizabeth Merill had two children: Unknown 9b 1739) and Elizabeth (d
John Ryalls, labourer and his wife Martha had one child: Mary (1741-1742).
Thomas Ellin, farmer, married Sarah Brownell, a daughter of the Brownells of
Newfield Green. Thomas was Master Cutler of Sheffield in 1833. They had three children:
James (b 1747), William (b 1748-1751) and John, date unknown.
Sarah, Thomas’ wife was buried in 1763.
Another Thomas Ellin and his wife Susannah had one son, Thomas (1766-1767). This
Thomas was Master Cutler of Sheffield in 1841.
Susannah, Thomas’ wife was buried in 1766.
James and Ann Ellin had one son, Thomas (b 1771).
John and Hannah Ellin had one son, Isaac (b 1771, d 1771).
Thomas Bagshaw was buried in 1753.
John and Elizabeth Marshall had four children: Elizabeth (1757-1758), John (b 1759),
William (b 1762) and Joseph (d 1764).
Arthur and Rachel Spyth had one son: Michael (b 1766).
Hannah, wife of John Hollinsworth was buried in 1768. John Hollinworth was buried
Mary Webster, Lees Hall was buried in 1770.
John and Elizabeth Butterill had three children: Elizabeth 9b 1774, d 1774), Richard
(b 1775) and Elizabeth (b 1778).
Robert Booker (1752-1795) married Mary Hirst (1745-1790). The couple had four
children: Sarah (1779-1781), Robert (b 1780), John (b 1784) and William (b 1789).
Mary, wife of Robert Booker was buried in 1790. Robert Booker was buried in 1795.
Their second child, Robert Booker (1780-1863), married Ellen Hancock who had
been born in Dronfield, Derbyshire in 1789, in 1807 in Dronfield. A Mr Senior kept Lees
Hall until Robert Booker came of age. The couple had two children; Mary (b 1812) and Eliza
Mary, daughter of Thomas and Mary Booker (b 1782).
Richard, son of John and Mary Booker (b 1786).
Alice, wife of John Booker (d 1804).
The 1805 map records Robert Booker farming 129 acres at Lees Hall farm.
The 1841 census shows Robert Booker (b 1780), Ellen Booker (b 1789) and Mary
Booker (b 1813) living at Lees Hall farm.
The 1845 map shows Robert Booker farming 86 acres at Lees Hall farm.
The 1851 and 1861 censuses shows Robert Booker (b 1780) farming 100 acres in
1851 and 86 acres in 1861, living with Ellen Booker (b 1789), Mary Booker (b 1812) and
Eliza Butcher, widowed (b 1818) with her children Samuel (b 1841), Frederick (1843) and
Robert (1845) living at Lees Hall farm.
Robert Booker died in 1863 and the 1871 census shows his grandson Samuel Butcher
in charge of the farm, farming 86 acres with his aunt Mary and mother Eliza
The 1881 census lists Samuel Butcher farming 84 acres with his brother Robert
farming 70 acres.
The 1891 census lists just Samuel Butcher.
The 1901 and 1911 census show the Clarke family in occupation. William Clarke, (b
1850) was a coal merchant. He married Mary (b 1857). The couple had seven children:
Adeline (b 1881), William (b 1883), a mining engineer, Nancy (b 1886), Nellie (b 1889),
Muriel (b 1891), Harold (b 1894), a steel tester, and Cecil (b 1899).
The trade directories from 1903 to 1912 lists William Clarke, coal merchant, living
Harold Earp moved in, in 1930 with his wife Florence, and sons Harry and John and
daughter Dorothy. The last recorded occupation is from 1956-57. Sheffield Corporation
decided to demolish the building which was in a poor state, and it was demolished in March
1958. It had no modern conveniences, gas or electricity, and water was drawn from a well.
Meersbrook Bank Board School was built in 1894 at a cost of £ 4,500, on a steep
slope between Binfield Road and Derbyshire Lane. The architect was T H Wilson.
In 1899 a much larger Junior School was added, the architect being Joseph Norton. It
has ten classrooms, some with folding partitions, each with dual desks for sixty children. The
basement had enclosed play sheds. The walls and railings of both buildings still survive and
the school remains in use as a Junior and Infants school, despite an attempt by Sheffield City
council to close it in 1993.
The school transferred to the Sheffield Board in 1901. The Board bought a dwelling
house and outbuildings next to the school for use as a caretaker’s house.
Originally known as the Norton Lees Council School, it was built in 1903 because of
the pressure on school numbers by the expanding local suburbs. The architect was Joseph
It was a massive structure, built to accommodate 980 children (360 mixed juniors,
360 mixed seniors and 260 infants) in three buildings; two, two storey blocks for the juniors
and seniors and a single storey block at the rear for the infants. Each section had a large
schoolroom and four classrooms furnished with dual desks. The school was renamed Carfield
School in 1924. All the buildings are Grade 2 listed. The caretaker’s house and boundary
walls survive, as does the playground shelter at the rear.
Mundella opened in 1875 as an infant’s school with 700 places at a cost of £ 2,700.
The site had been bought from the Duke of Norfolk for £ 375. The architect was T H Wilson.
The school contained two large rooms and two classrooms. The largest room held 400 boys
and the other large room held 300 girls. The classrooms could be adjusted to accommodate
50 children each. In 1893 the building was extended to accommodate a further 250 children.
The architect was again T H Wilson. Most of the 1893 extension was demolished in the late
1930s and was replaced by a larger brick building to cater for the children from the many
semi-detached houses that now surrounded the school. A further new extension built about
2000 fronting Derbyshire Lane has replaced a row of houses.
The school was transferred to the Sheffield school Board in 1901. It is currently an
infants and junior school named after Anthony John Mundella (1825 – 1897), a Sheffield MP
for nearly thirty years.
CHURCHES and CHAPELS
St James, Norton
The earliest documented evidence for the church is from about 1180. There is an 11 th
century inner doorway in the south porch, some of which has been restored. The west tower,
except for its top, was built in Early English Gothic style. Most of the rest of the church was
built in Perpendicular Gothic style. The north isle was built around 1200 and the south aisle is
14 th century. The church was renovated in 1882.
St Paul’s, Norton Lees
William Cockayne gave an acre of land for the new church and vicarage. The
foundation stone was laid on Monday the 25 th of October 1875 by Mr and Mrs Cockayne.
The church was to be built in Early English style with sufficient accommodation for
300 worshipers and allowing for a later extension if required. The architect was Mr T D
Webster of Sheffield. The mason was Mr T Rodley. Mr T Badger was the joiner. Messers
Harrison and Chadwick were the plasterers and slaters, Mr Corrie was the plumber and Mr
Hopworth was the painter.
The estimated cost was £ 4,000. £ 1,000 was raised by subscription and the rest was
donated by Mr Cockayne. The church was built in Dunford Bridge Stone and was roofed with
varied coloured tiles. The stones at the apex of the gable had richly foliated crosses. The
stone carving was done by Mr Hems of Exeter. The interior of the church was just over 100 ft
from east to west. The nave was 73 ft by 25 ft. A vestry which served as an organ chamber
was built onto the south side of the chancel and the bell turret below the spire at the north
west of the building was octagonal. The organ was built by Conacher of Huddersfield and
cost £ 300.
The vicarage was built in 1899, twelve years after the church. St Paul’s Church was
altered in 1935 by adding broad north and south aisles and was redeveloped in 2006-07.
Meersbrook Vestry Hall
The Vestry Hall stands on the corner of Burcot Road and Meersbrook Park Road. It
was designed by the architect Joseph Norton and opened on the 28 th of June 1904. It is a
grade 2 listed building. About the year 2000 it was converted into flats for rent.
Meersbrook Park Congregational Church, later Meersbrook Park United
The original building was a red brick church built on the corner of Chesterfield Road
and Beeton Road. It appears on the 1894 OS map as ‘Congregational Chapel.’ It was built
with two circular turrets either side of the entrance on Chesterfield Road. From 1972 it was
called Meersbrook Park United Reform Church. Next to the brick building was a ‘tin church.’
In 2002 plans were drawn up for a new multi-purpose church and community centre, and
both were demolished in 2010 as they had become structurally unsafe for use. A new building
was built in their place.
Christ Church, Heeley
The Parish Church of Christ Church, Heeley was built from November 1846 and
consecrated in August 1848. The original church, built to accommodate a congregation of
450 was built at a cost of £2,695, to a design by the architect James Mitchell. It was dedicated
to St Thomas. The original church was cruciform in shape with a tower about 60 ft (18 m)
high over the north transept. A Church Room with seating for 350 was constructed between
July and October 1889 at a cost of £420. The church itself was enlarged in 1890 when the
nave was lengthened by one bay and a new aisle was built on the north side to provide seating
for a further 320 and a vestry and organ chamber were added at a cost of £1,750. Services
were held in the Church Room during the course of this work. The Church re-opened in May
Primitive Methodist Chapel
The primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1858 on what was then called Sheaf
Street and is now Gleadless Road. This building was the original meeting place for the
The industrialisation of Sheffield was due in no small part by its siting at the
confluence of several rivers; the Sheaf, the Rivelin, the Don, the Loxley and the Porter. Water
power fuelled over a hundred and fifteen mills. The great majority were used in metal
grinding and forging, some as early as the 1500s, and a few even earlier. Here are the mills
local to our area.
Moscar Wheel dates from the 15 th century and is the oldest known cutler’s wheel on
any of the Sheffield rivers. Its earliest description is of a house with water wheels.
In 1496 its ownership was transferred from William Bras of Ecclesall to Richard Lee
of Norton and Richard Bower of Ecclesall. In 1502 Roger Eyre made a successful claim for
this and other wheels. The Eyre family appear to have owned the mill for the whole of the
16 th century. In 1599 Robert Eyre leased the site to Edward Gill of Norton. Walter Eyre
leased it to Leonard Gill in 1618.
Edward Gill, described as a ‘scythesmith’ was a yeoman but had become a gentleman
by 1638 when he leased the wheels to John Wilson of Attercliffe and William Newbolt of
Greenhill. Edward and his son Leonard made 21 year leases for each wheel separately in
1645 and 1652, to William Staniforth, scythesmith and William Barnes, scythegrinder.
Leonard Gill’s will in 1655 left property, including the wheels, in trust to pay for a
schoolmaster to give free education to poor children in Norton parish.
From 1705 to 1742 the rate books show Moscar wheel as one property. By 1774 the
tenancy was divided again, to Thomas Gillot and Thomas Ashmore.
The Norton School accounts of 1822-1823 show Peter Linley as sole tenant. In 1856
John Rodgers took over the freehold but sold it to Henry Newbould. When Rodgers and Sons
left in 1891 the sale advertisement showed only one wheel in use, but Moscar Wheel never
New Mill / Norton Forge / Norton Hammer Wheel
The first definite evidence for a mill on this site is of a ‘New Milne’ leased to John
Blythe of Norton for 60 years. New Mill was granted to Robert and William Swyft in 1544.
By 1582 the mill was owned by Francis Leeke and in that year he granted it to John Parker of
Norton Lees. He leased property including a ‘wheele wheelhouse … near New Milne’ to John
Bullock in February 1609. In 1617 his widow, Mary, conveyed to her brother in law Francis
Parker ‘two water corn mills … called the New Mills in Norton.’ Parker sold the mill to John
Bullock in 1622, at which time it was described as for ‘grinding of scythes and knives.’
John Potter bought up many surrounding properties in 1740 and transferred them to
his son William in 1749. He is named as the owner of ‘hammer wheel’ in 1781 with John
Osborne as tenant. Potter appears as the owner in 1804/05 with William Wilkinson and Co as
Later tenants from the 1820s to the 1850s are mainly scythe and sickle makers. Booth
and Deakin were followed by William Moore and Robert Jackson. William Potter is still
recorded as owner in 1822. The property may have come into the ownership of the Shore
family at this time. However, the failure of the Parker Shore bank in 1843 led to Norton
Hammer being sold to John Rodgers in 1849/50. The wheel was still working in 1882 but
was empty by 1891.
Smithy Wood / Cliffefield / Garlick Wheel
The earliest known reference to Smithy Wood wheel is from 1709. The earliest name
of the wheel may have been Cliffefield wheel, home of the Barnes family. Robert Barnes,
scythegrinder, died in 1603. In 1608 Garlicke Wheel is first mentioned in a deed relating to
the sale of riverside properties. Robert and John Barnes are mentioned but not specifically
connected to the Wheel. The firm connection came in 1647with John Barnes’ will which says
‘John Barnes, of Garlick wheel, parish of Norton, scythesmith.’ His widow remarried and on
her death was Dorothy Vessy, widow, of Garlick Wheel.
Smithy Wood Wheel was in the possession of Francis Gregg of London when he died
in 1721. It was sold to John Hatfield in 1724 and to Samuel Shore in 1777. By then there
were two wheels, one for scythe grinding, used by John Gillatt and Martin Bingham, and a
cutler formerly occupied by Henry Chapman.
By 1804/05 William Webster had succeeded Martin Bingham. After the collapse of
the Parker Shore bank, Smithy Wood was put up for sale. By 1863 Lydia Shore was the new
owner with sub-tenants Benjamin Price and William Richardson. The freehold was bought by
the Tyzacks in the 1870s. The last mention of the Wheel listed Tyzack and Turner as the
owners in 1901.
Little London Wheel
Little London Wheel was in use by 1720 and was leased by Francis Gregg to George
Offerton and son. In 1724 Joseph Turner bought the lease and Gregg sold the freehold to
John Hatfield. Turner died in 1753 but his trustees continued to pay the rent to Hatfield. In
1777 Samuel Shore bought the mill. By the time of the Norton survey of 1804-05 William
Webster was tenant at the wheel. Between 1849 and 1861 William Moore was sub tenant and
occupier. In 1863 Lydia Shore was the owner. Some of the mill land was bought for the line
of the Midland railway in 1876 and the mill was expanded by new owners Tyzack and
Turner. By 1912 modernised water wheels had been installed. By 1935 the company had
moved its scythe making operations from Abbeydale and as late as 1950 one water wheel was
still in use. By 1972 the dam was in poor condition and was filled in.
This is the only mill on the Meers Brook. The mill is first mentioned in the will of
William Blythe (c. 1581 to 1632). John Unwin of Blyth Mill was recorded as living there in
1741 and Abraham and Ann Birtles lived there as late as 1775. After this the mill disappears
from history, though its exact site was occupied by Rushdale Cottages as late as 1894, at the
northern end of the footpath known as break back, which runs from the east of Bishops’
House to the mill. Part of that footpath can still be traced, running from the top to the bottom
of Bishops Court Road.
Cliff Field House
Cliff Field house was built before 1796. The first recorded tenant, from 1804/05 was
Martin Goddard. By 1845 the tenant was Robert Brownhill. In 1850 it was described as
‘Mansion House comprising Dining, drawing and Breakfast Rooms, eight lodging Rooms,
Kitchens, and Cellars; with Stables, carriage House, Pleasure Ground, Garden, Cottage
House, and Outbuildings. The tenant is the late Mr R. Brownell.’ A succession of tenants
followed. The 1861, 1871 and 1891 censuses listed John Ryalls, attorney at law and later a
barrister (b 1805) living there with his wife Ruth (b 1804) and their children, Louisa (b 1833),
Frances (b 1834), Charles (b 1840), Leonard (b 1841), Emilia (b 1844) and , Charlotte (b
1846). Also there in 1861 were John Woodhead (b 1804), an agricultural labourer, his wife
Mary (b 1812) and their daughter Mary (b 1840). In 1861 John Tyzack (b 1803), a widowed
gardener was also living there with his daughter Mary (b 1826). The 1891 census shows his
son Leonard Ryalls, a solicitor, living there with his four unmarried sisters and Sarah Tyzack
(b 1830) as their cook.
The house appears on the 1894 map but had been demolished by 1898 when the first
of the streets of the new suburb of Meersbrook were laid down.
The land on which Meersbrook Hall was built was purchased from Benjamin Blythe
by Sheffield businessman Benjamin Roebuck, on the 2 nd of May 1759. Construction began on
the 3 rd of July 1759 with the cellar being dug out. When Roebuck bought the land there were
already two useful buildings on the site – a stone U shaped barn and, to its west, a solitary
brick building which may have been an eighteenth century workhouse in Norton parish. Both
these buildings could be repurposed as estate offices, servants’ quarters, stables etc.
The barn was 16.85 m long and 5.5 m wide and adjoining it was a two storey building, 11.35
by 14.1 m. To the west of this combined structure, and separated from it by no more than 1.4
m was the solitary brick building, 8.5 by 8.7 m.
Just three years earlier, the old Sheffield to Derby Road, previously no more than a horse and
cart track, had been properly laid down for the use of coaches and wagons. The road passed
very close to the Hall and no doubt Roebuck would have used it to go into Sheffield, but, as
importantly, it could have been used to transport the materials to build the Hall.
By December 1759 the walls, doors and windows were being put in. The new Hall was 16.6
m long and 15.5 m wide with a large bay window on its north side.
Roebuck, 39 at the time, moved in with his wife Elizabeth, 45, and children Sarah, born in
1748, Thomas, born in 1749, Robert, born in 1753, Benjamin, born in 1755, Elizabeth, born
in 1756 and Mary, born in 1756.
His wife died in 1769 and in 1770 he launched The Sheffield Bank in partnership with John
Shore and John Parker, but by 1778 he withdrew from the partnership, almost certainly
selling his share to Parker and Shore. The probable reason was the crisis which had overtaken
his brother Dr John Roebuck, proprietor of the Carron Iron works.
He sold Meersbrook Hall to the Shore family in 1778. He married for a second time to
Helena Maxwell. There were no children from his second marriage. He retired to Bath in
Somerset and died in 1796. Helena died in Bath in 1801.
The first of the Shores to live in Meersbrook Hall was Samuel Shore, born in 1738. He
married Urith Offley, born in 1736, in 1759. They had four children; Offley, born in 1760
who died in 1767, Samuel, born in 1761, William born in 1762 and Bohun born in 1763.
Urith died in 1781 and Samuel married Lydia Flower in 1788. Samuel died in 1828. Lydia
outlived him by more than a decade, passing away in 1839 aged 92.
His son, another Samuel, born in 1761, was one of a succession of Shores who made their
fortunes as steel makers and merchants in Sheffield. He married Harriet Fitzwalter-Foye,
(born in 1760), in 1798. They had ten children: Sydney, born in 1790, Julia, born about 1790
and probably died young, Elizabeth, born in 1793, Anne born in 1796, who died in 1799,
Offley born in 1797, Harriet born in 1799, Urith Lydia born in 1800, Amelia Theophilia born
in 1802, Maria Theodosia born in 1803, and Octavia born in 1805, who died in 1808.
In 1819 an extension was built to the west of the Hall. The original entrance in the west wall
became part of the corridor which turned through a right angle to the south. The new entrance
was at the south within a covered structure faced by three stone arches. The extension was
14.4 m N-S by 5.4 m E-W with a rectangular bay on the west elevation. At about the same
time a walled garden, covering over 3,600 square m was built about 100 m to the south west
of the Hall. Its northern wall was a hollow or cavity wall, through which hot air could be
forced so as to create warmer growing conditions inside the wall, for fruit trees.
Samuel Shore died in 1836, and between 1836 and 1842, his son Offley Shore used the
Parker Shore bank’s assets to pay his late father’s bequests. £10,000 each was paid to his
sisters, three of whom, Urith Lydia (1800-1864), Amelia Theophilia (1802-1862) and Maria
Theodosia (1803-1855), were living at Meersbrook Hall. None of the sisters were married
and these bequests allowed them to live out their lives in comfort. Urith Lydia was the last to
die in 1864.
In 1843 the Sheffield Bank, opened by Benjamin Roebuck and his partners in 1770, and now
called the Parker, Shore and Company of Bank Street, stopped trading. It was later revealed
that the Shores had been using the bank as a personal account. During the enquiry that
followed the end of trading it became evident that the long commercial depression and
previous heavy losses were not sufficient to explain the bank’s collapse. It was clear that
there had also been dishonesty bordering on theft with former senior partners withdrawing
large sums of money that were never likely to be repaid, and poor accounting.
There do not appear to have been any prosecutions. Instead, following the bank’s collapse,
much of the Shore estate was auctioned off in July 1850 to pay off the family’s debts. The
auction list totals 879 hectares of land in the surrounding area, much of it in Norton parish.
After Urith Lydia’s death, the estate at Meersbrook was rented to a lawyer, William Pashley
Milner, a J.P. for West Riding and Derbyshire and a Magistrate, and also a keen gardener.
Milner had been born in 1806 in Retford, Nottinghamshire. He married Susannah Aldam in
1852. They had one son, William Aldam, born in 1854. William Pashley Milner died in 1884
after which his wife and son moved to Totley Hall, where Susannah died in 1911, having
outlived her husband for 27 years.
After William Pashley Milner’s death the estate passed to a syndicate of London
stockbrokers, the Lands Allotment Company, in 1885.
At that time Sheffield Corporation was considering the use of the land left by the estate. It
had not been built on but the local area was rapidly being developed with streets built in
Heeley from 1872. There was public concern that the whole estate would be built upon if the
Corporation didn’t acquire some part of it. Following a meeting in 1885, the Corporation
bought 15 hectares from the Lands Allotment Company for £7,500. The area became
Meersbrook Park, which was opened in September 1887.
Elsewhere in Sheffield, John Ruskin, one of the principal art patrons, critics, writers and
collectors of the Victorian period had established a museum in Walkley, from 1875. By 1890
he was seeking a new, larger building for the museum’s collection. Meersbrook Hall was
chosen and opened as the Ruskin Museum from the 15 th of April 1890. Its first curator was
William White, who remained until 1898. His position was taken over from August 1899
until August 1931 by Gill Parker, who lived in an apartment with his wife Lizzie, daughter
Ursula and son Raymond. In the autumn of 1898 Constance Genevieve Pilley, then aged 20,
began working for the Museum, first as a Librarian and then Assistant Curator. When Parker
retired, she became, in effect, the acting curator. She moved into the Hall about 1933 with her
friend Clara Streets, remaining there until after her retirement in 1947 and finally moving out
in May 1949.
There were minor additions to the Hall between 1849 and 1875. Two rooms, one at the front
and one at the back were added on the ground floor and a brick bridge was built to link the
House with the stone structure to the east.
The east wing or aisle of the early stone barn was demolished at some time between 1898 and
From 1891 until after 1901 George Parkes was living at the Hall as the caretaker of the
Ruskin Museum, with his wife Jane and daughter Mary. Also living at the Hall from before
1900 until 1912 was William Knowles as park keeper and head gardener with his wife
Charlotte, son George, daughters Clara and Katherine and daughter in law Clara. By 1911
William Knowles was living there with his second wife, Caroline. He was replaced by
William Falkner from 1913 until 1937 and by Abel Garnet, living with his wife Doris from
1938 until 1948, with James Hogg as gardener from 1940 to 1944. Cyril Castleton took over
as park keeper from 1948 until 1967, living with his wife Ada.
At the start of the Second World War, the Museum was temporarily closed from the 29 th of
August to the 12 th of September 1939 for special exhibits to be packed and removed to a place
of safety. An RAF barrage balloon was stationed by the Hall, opposite the bay window.
Twelve RAF men were billeted on the ground floor. In December 1941 the RAF men were
replaced by sixteen WAAFs. They left on the 24 th of June 1942 and were replaced by two
With visitor numbers falling, the Ruskin collection was moved out in 1953 and the Hall was
closed to the public. From December 1954 until 1971, Henry Ellis was employed as
caretaker, living in a flat created for them on the first floor of the Hall, with his wife Vera and
children Denis and Roger. They were the last occupants of the House.
After being closed for seven years, in March 1960, central office staff from the Parks
Department of Sheffield City Council were allowed to temporarily use the Hall as office
accommodation. This temporary measure effectively became long term use.
In 1986 the original courtyard of the early barn was filled in to first floor height to provide
extra office accommodation.
By 2015 Sheffield City Council were considering centralising their office staff and on the 24 th
of April 2016 the Parks and Recreation Department moved out of Meersbrook Hall, locating
to 1 Moorfoot, Sheffield S1 4PL. The Friends of Meersbrook Hall and Heeley Development
Trust received the keys to the building on the 3 rd of May 2016.
Please note that on all the early maps, the building is at first called ‘Meersbrook
House’ and then ‘Ruskin Museum.’ The current name, ‘Meersbrook Hall’ first
appeared in records from the 1880s and then after the Council left in 2016.
THE VILLAGE OF NORTON LEES
Lees House was a substantial stone building situated between Norton Lees Road,
Norton Lees Lane and Beverleys Road. The house was built in the early 18 th century. The
earliest recorded tenant was John Gray in 1804/05. By the 1840s it was occupied by the Rev.
Percival Bowen (1803-1873), his wife Marianne (1808-1895) and their son, Percival (1839-
1900). Bowen was the headmaster of Sheffield Grammar School from 1830 to 1863.
The property was described in 1850 as ‘Mansion House comprising Dining and
Drawing Rooms, Library, Kitchens, Cellars, and eleven Lodging Rooms; with Carriage-
House, Stables, Garden, and Farm buildings.’
By the 1870s it was occupied by William Cockayne (1833-1898), his wife Emily
(1833-1916) and their children, Florence Ann Cockayne (b 1860), Mary Emily Cockayne
(b1861), Margaret Cockayne (b1863), William Arthur Cockayne (1865-1900), Alfred
Edward Cockayne (1869-1869), Francis Ernest Cockayne (1871-1930) and Frederick
Cockayne (b 1875).
In September 1916 it was sold by auction following the death of Emily Cockayne.
The auction provides another description of the house: ‘Substantially built and well-arranged
Freehold Family Residence with Extensive grounds, Tennis Lawn and Carriage Drive,
together with the Stabling and Loose Boxes, Coach and Motor Houses, Harness Room (with
harness cupboard and sliding glass doors) Fowl Pens, Manure Pit, Coal and Coke places,
Wash House, Greenhouses, Stoves, Vineries, Peach Houses, Garden Frames, Potting Shed,
revolving Summer House, and all the usual outbuildings.
The House contains on the Ground floor; Entrance Porch, Spacious Tiled Entrance
Hall, Front and Back staircases, Drawing Room with Large Bay and Side Windows (26ft 6in
x20ft 6in) Dining Room (21ft x14ft 6in) Breakfast Room with Passenger lift, Smoke Room,
large kitchen (with Longden Cooking Range), Pantries WC., with provision meat, and wine
cellars in the Basement.
On first floor; Full-sized Billiard Room with staging, 5 Principal Bed Rooms, Bath
Room with double Lavatory and separate WC
On the second floor: Large Nursery with 4 Maids' Bedrooms
The Site contains 1a. 2r. 1p. or thereabouts, and has extensive frontages to Norton
Lees Road and Norton Lees Lane forming a valuable Building site.’
From then it was occupied by Joseph Higginbottom, insurance manager, and from
1951, by Mrs. Lily M Higginbottom. Direct correspondence with Mrs Higginbottom’s niece
has provided one interesting piece of information. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the
Sherlock Holmes stories was a friend of hers and used to visit the house. After the war the
House was let as flats, with a succession of couples, families and single people renting. The
last person, Lily M Higginbottom, moving out by 1979. After that the house lay derelict for
several years before being demolished. The Lees House Court estate occupies the site of the
The only remnant of Lees House is the stone wall opposite St Paul's Church.
West View was a substantial building in the village of Norton lees, built before
1804/05. The earliest recorded tenant was John Gray in 1804/05 and 1817. The record from
1850 describes a ‘Mansion House comprising Dining, Drawing and seven Lodging Rooms,
with Kitchen, and Cellar, with Stables, Carriage House, Outbuildings, Yard, Garden, and
Pleasure Ground’ with a widow, Mrs Sarah Parker (b 1812) living there with her servants up
to at least 1871. The property came up for auction in June 1927. West House was let as flats
after the war, the last occupants moving out by 1967. The house was demolished and the
current block of flats on the site were built about 1970.
The cruck barns
Two cruck barns once stood in the grounds of West View. The larger of the barns
measured 24.8 m long by 6.4 m wide. The smaller barn measured 18.5 m by 5.0 m.
These barns survived well into the 20 th century. The larger one had been demolished
by the time of the 1935 OS map and the smaller survived for some time after that, but was not
on the 1956 map.
These barns give us a rare insight into the vanished early part of the village. Cruck
buildings dwindled in popularity by the sixteenth century due to a change in fashion to post
and truss construction, but also possibly because of a rising demand in curved oak timbers for
ship building. They certainly would have been earlier than Bishops’ House.
The Hollies is first mentioned in a map dating to 1769 with the occupant as Thomas
Green. The 1804-05 map mentions Joshua Green as the tenant. The 1841 census lists Helen
Brittain (b 1791) as the tenant. The 1850 auction of Shaw lands lists the property as ‘Mansion
House comprising Dining and Drawing rooms, Kitchens, cellars, and six lodging Rooms;
with Stable, Carriage House, Cottage, and Outbuildings, garden, and Pleasure Ground.’ The
1861 census shows Joseph Hall (b 1811) living there with his wife Fanny (1812-1892) and
their children John (b 1835), Henry, (b 1837), George (b 1839), Elizabeth (b 1844), Joseph (b
1849) and James (b 1851). Joseph’s brother George set up a company manufacturing hand
tools and George joined him in 1878. George became master cutler in 1904.
Joseph and Fanny’s son Joseph married Louisa in 1866. He died in 1936.
The family moved to nearby Thorpe House for a while, because the 1871 census
shows Edward Welby (1836-1926), a barrister in practice and later Sheffield’s stipendiary
magistrate, living there with his wife Sarah, (b 1848) and new-born son Edward.
1891 census shows Augustus Stayner (b 1837), a mining tool manufacturer from
Nova Scotia, Canada living there with his wife Mary (b 1855) and one year old son, also
By 1901 Joseph and Louisa Hall had moved back. From then until the last entry in
1931, after which the house was demolished for the Hollythorpe estate, built in 1934.
The trade directories list various members of the Hall family living there; Joseph Hall,
George hall, Charles Joseph Hall and Louisa Hall.
Our earliest certain reference for Thorpe House comes from 1656, though it may have
been there in 1640. It was occupied by William Thorpe (b 1617), the son of Owen Thorpe.
William married Kathrin Stinfelay in 1658. They had twins, Thomas and Mary, also born in
1658. The will of William Blythe III, of Bishops’ House, from 1665, mentions Thorp House.
Though there are gaps in the record, several generations of the Thorpe family lived in
the house over two centuries. Our next record is of Godfrey (b 1717), the son of Godfrey and
Maria Thorpe living there.
Another William Thorpe married Sarah before 1777. They had seven children;
William (b 1777), Martha (b 1780), Samuel 9b 1782), Hannah (b 1784), Thomas (b 1785),
George (b 1789) and Charlotte (b 1792).
The House was rebuilt in 1829.
The 1841 census records Charlotte Thorpe (b 1792) living there with her son William
(b 1829). She lived there until the house was sold, following the collapse of the Parker, Shore
bank, when much of the local land and property was sold. William Cockayne, a draper,
bought Thorpe House for £ 4,000 in 1850. He was the founder, with his brother Thomas
Bagshawe Cockayne, (1802-1871) of the large department store on Angel Street (T.B. and
W. Cockayne, later Schofields).
William Cockayne (1806-1884) married Mary, nee Shepherd (1814-1877) in 1832
and lived in Thorpe House with their children William (b 1833-1898), Edward (b 1836-
1889), Walter (1841-1901), John (b 1843), Anna (b 1844-1915), Bagshaw (1845-1892), Mary
(b 1849) and Leonard (1855-1934). Leonard emigrated to New Zealand and became that
country’s greatest botanist.
By the time of the 1881 census, George Hall (1841-1907), an engineer’s tool
manufacturer was living there with his wife Clara (1858-1932). By the 1891 census he was
still living there with Clara. George was apprenticed to Brookes Brothers and soon
progressed to manufacturing and factoring hand tools. He was joined by his brother Joseph in
1878 and the partnership was formalised from 1885. George rose in fame to be appointed
Master Cutler in 1904.
The Trade Directories list George Hall living there from 1901 until 1907 when he
died. From 1910 until 1931 the occupant is listed as Mrs George Hall (Clara Hall). She died
in 1932 after which the contents of the house were auctioned off, in May 1932. At some time
between then and 1934, the house was demolished for the Hollythorpe estate.
A row of stone-built cottages a few metres to the east of Bishops’ House, they were
probably built by the Blythe family for use by servants and farm workers about 1620. The
earliest occupant we have been able to trace was John Lowe, who lived there from at least
1779 to 1817 and farmed 35 acres. The cottages had a succession of occupants after that.
John Goacher (b 1801), a labourer married Mary Fidler in 1824 and lived there with
their children Jasper (b 1824-1824), John (b 1826), Charles (b 1829), George (b 1831) and
Martha (b 1836), recorded in the 1841 census.
By the 1851 census, Stephen Cavile (b 1821) a messengee, was living there with his
wife Eliza (b 1820) and their sons George (b 1848) and Sidney (b 1850).
In the 1860s and 1870s John Harrison (b 1825), a steel melter was living there with
his wife Fanny (b 1826) and their children Benjamin (b 1854), Leonard (b 1857), John (b
1857) Launcelot (b 1850), Ann (b 1864) and George (b 1870).
By the 1880s Henry Schofield (b 1819), a retired salesman was living there with his
wife Elizabeth (b 1825). The building was now called Lees Hall cottage.
In the 1890s, Joseph White, (b 1820) formerly of Bishops’ House had been moved
there after Sheffield corporation wanted Bishops’ House for the park keepers and gardeners
of the new Meersbrook Park. He lived there with his daughter Jane (b 1848) and
granddaughter Winifred (b 1884).
The 1901 census shows Edwin Taylor (b 1857), a printer machineman living there
with his wife Mary (b 1858).
From 1901 to 1905 the Trade Directories list Joseph O Haway, gardener lived there.
From 1906 to 1928, Fred Anderson, chauffeur to the Hall family lived there with his
wife Fanny and son Fred. Also listed were Harry Lumb, head gardener in 1911and Jonathon
Duchars, gardener in 1925 and 1926. The last mention of the cottages is in 1931, after which
they were demolished.
A Silvester (or sometimes spelled Sylvester) family were living in Norton Lees, in the
18 th century and the croft is named after them.
Nicholas and Alice Silvester had five children between 1713 and 1727. Their eldest
son, John, born in 1713, married Julyana (or Julina) and they had eight children between
1740 and 1758. John Sylvester’s profession was a ‘naylor.’
Their second son, Samuel, also a naylor, born in 1716, married Elizabeth. They had
six children between 1739 and 1753.
By 1805 the tenant was ‘Anderton,’ and by 1817 it was John Gray. Ellen Brittain is
shown occupying the property in 1845 and 1849. The 1841 census shows Helen Brittain,
undoubtedly the same person, living at The Hollies. She was 50 in 1841, so born in 1791.
There is evidence that a windmill once stood at the eastern end of the village of
Norton Lees, to the east of Bishops’ House. No trace of it remains today, nor does it appear
on any of the old maps, yet there is both documentary and physical evidence that it was once
The field to the east of Bishops’ House was called Windmill field in the 1804/05 map.
Physical evidence comes from the central post on the north face of the second phase
of Bishops’ House, which rests on a worn grindstone made of fine-grained sandstone. We
know that this post was part of the house built in 1580, so the grindstone and its use must
predate this. Fourteen more grindstone fragments rest on the wall at the western edge of
Meersbrook Park, bordering the path into the park by Bishops’ House.
A medieval windmill would have looked very different from the stone tower and sail
ones that still exist, dotted around the countryside, many well preserved. It would have been
made entirely of wood, shaped like a large hut or shed, propped up on a central post and free
to turn so that its sails could catch the wind.
Beverleys Road was named after Cllr. George Henry Beverley, a city councillor from
1904 until his death in 1908.
Brindley Close was named for the Brindley family, former owners of the house
Cavill Road was at first called Victoria Road. It was renamed in 1904 after the Cavill
family who built houses on the road.
Cliffefield Road was named after Cliffefield House, for many years the home of the
Ryalls family. The house was demolished between 1894 and 1896.
Cockayne Place was named after William Cockayne, senior partner in the Angel
Street firm of T B and W Cockayne, later Schofields.
Harvey Clough Road From the name of the old field, Harvey Clough which was part
of Cow Mouth farm.
Millmount Road was once Milner Road, named after William Pashley Milner, or
perhaps his family, who lived at Meersbrook Hall from about 1864 to 1884. It was discovered
that there was another Milner Road in Attercliffe, also named after a member of the same
family. To avoid confusion it was renamed in 1903 and the new name was chosen for its
similar sound to the old one.
Pearson Place was named after the Rev. Henry Pearson, vicar of Norton from 1812
to 1844, and his son, the Rev. henry Hollingworth Pearson, vicar from 1844 to 1888.
Scarsdale Road was originally called Green Lane. It was renamed in 1903 after
Scarsdale House, home in the 1890s of Edward Lister, butcher and farmer.
Welby Place was named after Edward Montague Earle Welby, Sheffield’s
stipendiary magistrate for over fifty years from 1874. When a local barrister from Denton in
Lincolnshire he lived in Norton Lees but later moved to Norton House.
Arnold A and Howard R (2017) Bishops’ House Norton Lees Lane, Norton Lees,
Sheffield. Tree analysis of timbers. The Nottingham tree-ring dating laboratory.
Ball C, Crossley D, Flavell N (eds.) (2006) Water Power on the Sheffield rivers.
Batty S R (1984) Rail Centres: Sheffield.
Bright P (1845) Plan of the Parish of Norton in the County of Derby 1845 by Paul
Bright. Scale 5 inches = 60 chains or 1:9,504. The map is part of the Norton Tithe Award and
Map, archive ref. is MD3786.
Drury C, Parker, M.D., W S (1927) The Parish Register of Sheffield, transcribed by
Charles Drury and William S Parker M.D. Indexed by Edith M Ordish. Edited by T Walter
Hall F.R. Hist. S. privately printed for the Hunter Archaeological Society of Sheffield.
Available at the Sheffield Archives Library at 52 Shoreham Street Sheffield S1 4SP.
Fairbank W (1759) Benj. Roebuck’s purchase surveyed on 02/05/1759. Ref:
FC/FB/15. Available at the Sheffield Archives Library at 52 Shoreham Street Sheffield S1
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and 1805. Scale 6 inches to 1 mile or 1:10,560.
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