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The Chesterfield Glaziers

N 1584 Elizabeth countess of Shrewsbury (‘Bess of Hardwick’), after the
breakdown of her marriage to George Talbot, the 6th earl, went to live at what
is today known as the Old Hall at Hardwick (in Ault Hucknall), her family’s
home since the thirteenth century. The previous year her son William Cavendish 1
had bought the Hardwick estate from receivers acting for the creditors of her
brother James. Soon afterwards she began to rebuild the mansion and from April 2
1588 building accounts record in considerable detail the expenses involved in
glazing the windows of the new house.
The name of one man, Richard Snidall (c.1555–1611), appears regularly in the
accounts as the principal glazier employed at Hardwick, with entries such as:
‘The 18th of Julij [1588]. To Snidall the glazier in full payment for all the glasse
in the gallerij which doeth come to three hundredth Fyffty and foure footts at five
pence the Foot seven pounds ten shillings and six pence payed to hime before of
that some five pounds £2 7s. 6d.’. By December 1589 Snidall is listed amongst 3
the retained craftsmen who received a quarterly wage of 5s., in addition to any
payments agreed for specific contracts. His quarterly wages are recorded until 25
March 1591, but he continued to receive payments until 10 November that year,
when work to make the windows of the Old Hall weather-tight finally drew to a
close. In July 1591 the Hill Great Chamber – the top-floor state room at the west
end of the house – was nearing completion. A drawing of 1773 by Samuel
Author’s contact address: I amgrateful to my colleague, Andrew
Bower, for sharing with me his research into vernacular buildings of the area.
P. Riden, ‘The Hardwicks of Hardwick Hall in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries’, DAJ,
130 (2010), 163–7.
D.N. Durant and P. Riden (eds), The Building of Hardwick Hall. Part 1: The Old Hall, 3
1587–91 (DRS, 4, 1980), 39.
Hieronimus Grimm shows the vast scale of the windows in this apartment, and
the accounts record on 31 July 1591: ‘payd to Snidall the glassier in Full payment
for glase for the great chamber next to the hill 6 windose which cometh by
measure to seven and Twenty score foots of glasse with assler 5d. the foot is £11
5s. Recevid by Snidall of that some 4 Casses of glasse which cometh to £5 6s. 8d.
and 40s. before the payment and nowe in Full payment £3 18s. 4d. he is payd for
the casments and most sett them up £3 18s. 4d.’1
When in 1590 Bess determined to build the New Hall at Hardwick, Snidall
remained her principal glazier. Until his contract was complete in November
1598, he was in constant employment there each year throughout the summer
months and beyond. References and payments to ‘Snidall’s boy’ from September
1597 to November 1598 and ‘Snidall’s man’ from May 1594 to April 1598
clearly indicate that he did not work alone, although the names of his assistants
are not recorded.
The vast scale both in window size and quantity, of the glazing required at first
the Old Hall and then the New Hall meant that there was far more work than a
single glazier could accomplish, even with assistants and when spread over a
number of years. Consequently, other glaziers were employed in addition to
Snidall, although the accounts suggest that he was regarded as the main contractor
for the glazing. Thomas Bracks, who appears in the accounts from November
1590 to September 1591, had to be taken on to glaze the windows of the Forest
Great Chamber and several service rooms in the Old Hall, whilst a glazier called
only by his surname, Jury, features in the accounts for the New Hall intermittently
from December 1594 to May 1597.2
Bess moved into the New Hall in 1597 before all the building work was
complete and by 1598 there was great urgency to finish the glazing. William
Cavendish’s accounts record that in May 1598 a servant was sent ‘to Lichfield …
with a letter to Jury the glazier to come hither’. He responded to the request: 3
together with ‘Jury’s Man’ he appears in the Hardwick Hall building accounts
between June and August 1598. He may be the Robert Jerrye buried at Lichfield 4
on 15 March 1620. A Katharine Jurie widow was buried at Lichfield on 20 April 5
Ibid., 145. 1
D.N. Durant and P. Riden (eds), The Building of Hardwick Hall. Part 2: The New Hall, 2
1591–98 (DRS, 9, 1984), 276.
P. Riden (ed.), The Household Accounts of William Cavendish, Lord Cavendish of Hardwick, 3
1597–1607, Part 2 (DRS, 41, 2016), 40.
Durant and Riden, Hardwick Hall. Part 2, 276. 4
Staffs. RO, D20/1/1. 5
The expanse of windows at Hardwick Hall is its outstanding architectural
feature, and the jingle, ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’, is well known.
Despite the expense, in order to maintain visual symmetry, windows were glazed
even when blocked internally. Such vast windows filled by huge quantities of
expensive glass proclaimed Bess’s wealth, although Francis Bacon later warned
of the drawbacks: ‘You shall have sometimes fair houses so full of glass, that one
cannot tell where to become, to be out of the sun or cold’. For the large amounts 2
of glass required Bess set up her own glassworks at South Wingfield, from where
cases of crown glass were sent to Hardwick. Snidall cut the glass into diamond-shaped quarries which were then held in place in the windows by lead
cames. These may have been made from lead made at Barlow, where Bess’s sons
William and Charles had a smelting mill.3
In 1593, well before the New Hall was complete, Bess had begun to build
another house for her son William Cavendish at Oldcotes (or Owlcotes), about
two miles north of Hardwick Hall on the other side of the Doe Lea valley, which
was attached to an older house there. Unfortunately, household accounts which 4
detail building expenses do not survive before 1597, by which time the work was
nearing completion. In that year an unnamed glazier was paid £13 15s. 7d. in
July, £3 16s. 7d. in August, 13s. 4d. in September, and in October 30s. ‘for
casements’. Thereafter, from September 1599, the accountsreferto varioussmall 5
jobs for which the glazier was needed, and to servants being sent to Chesterfield
to fetch him: in September 1599: ‘To the glazier of Chesterfield for making a
casement in the nursery & finding the glass 2s.’; in November ‘To the glazier for
mending a glass window in my master’s closet 6d’ and in August 1600 ‘Spent by
Parker in going late at night for the glazier to Chesterfield 3d.’ In April 1605 the
accounts record: ‘Paid at Owlcotes 6 April: glazier and his boy four days at
mending the old and new house 6s., 1lb of solder 6d’. Significant early winter 6
storm damage to the windows at Hardwick Hall probably accounted for the entry
in November 1606: ‘To the glazier for his man and himself at Hardwick 11 days
7s. 4d.’ and in December 1606: ‘The glazier at Owlcotes two days 12d., his man
Staffs. RO, D27/1/2. 1
F. Bacon, ‘Of Building’, in The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Morall, of Francis Lo. 2
Verulam, Viscount St Alban (1625), essay 45, paragraph 4.
D. Kiernan, The Derbyshire Lead Industry in the Sixteenth Century (DRS, 14, 1989), 155,
P. Kettle, Oldcotes: the last mansion built by Bess of Hardwick (Cardiff, 2000), 7–20. 4
Riden, Household Accounts. Part 2, 12–13. 5
Ibid., Part 3, 190.
four days 8d., solder 8d.’.1
The glazier from Chesterfield is never named in these entries. Only in
September or October 1603 is his identity revealed: ‘To Snydall for setting glass
into three new casements at Owlcotes, viz. In the kitchen, scullery and wet larder,
and setting them and finding solder to them, himself and his man a day and more
20d.’ Without doubt, Richard Snidall was the long-serving reliable glazier from 2
Chesterfield who was on call for repairs to Cavendish family properties at
Hardwick, Oldcotes, Woodthorpe (in Staveley) and elsewhere. William
Cavendish, as lay rector of Sutton in Ashfield (Notts.), was responsible for the
upkeep of the chancel there. When the windows needed repair he called on
Snidall. In September 1603 his accounts record: ‘To Snydall for glazing 12 foots
of glass in the chancel at Sutton in Ashfield and for mending the rest that needed
by great 5s. 10d.’.3
When Richard Snidall of Chesterfield, glazier, made his will on 17 September
1611, he was still working for William Cavendish: ‘I give to my sonne Richard
all my tools, viz: towe vices the one in my house th’other in my lords in my Lord
Cavendysh his house with all such tools as doeth be longe to a glasier.’ Snidall 4
was buried at Chesterfield on 11 November 1611, and an inventory of his goods 5
was drawn up on 21 November. He was not a wealthy man: he rented his house
which consisted of two rooms downstairs and two chambers above, with a
kitchen and a workshop attached. The total value of his goods was £16 13s. 2d.,
which was reduced by debts of £7 12s., including 10s. ‘for halfe a case of glasse’
and a further 10s to ‘John Smyth of Ashburow for glasse’. The contents of his
workshop, valued at £2 10s. 8d., included ‘one vyce vij Cresinge yrons ij
sothringe yrons with other necessaries belonginge to a glasiers trade’ 40s., ‘xij
wispe of glase & six b…’ 10s., ‘hafe a stone of lead’ 6s., and ‘one lead pane’ 2s.
In addition, he had glass ‘in the house’ (3s. 4d.) and ‘in boothe chambers’ (2s.
8d.), although these entries may refer to glass in the windows, rather than glass
stored in these rooms.
‘Ashburow’ can be identified as Ashborough Hill in the parish of Bromsgrove
(Worcs.). Later in the seventeenth centuryRichard Dixon came from Worcester-
Ibid., 377. 1
Ibid., 494. 2
Ibid., 56.
Staffs. RO, B/C/11, 28 March 1612/13, Richard Snidall; J.M. Bestall and D.V. Fowkes (eds), 4
Chesterfield Wills and Inventories 1604–1650 (DRS, 28, 2001), no. 274 (abbreviated hereafter
as CWI).
M. Walton et al. (eds), Chesterfield Parish Register 1558–1635 (DRS, 12 (1986), 15 (1990),
shire to work at the Bolsterstone glasshouse, near Sheffield, before establishing
his own works at Whittington, near Chesterfield, in 1704.1
Richard Snidall’s son, Richard, who was left his father’s tools in 1611, was
only twelve when his father died and was therefore too young to have been his 2
father’s apprentice mentioned in the Oldcotes accounts of 1605. There is no trace
of him thereafter. References to ‘Snidall’s boy’ in the Hardwick Hall accounts for
1597–8 evidently relate to an apprentice, just as those to ‘Snidall’s man’ in 1594,
1595, 1598, 1603 and 1606 refer to an assistant. His identity can be established
from an exploration of Snidall’s family history and a reference in the Sheffield
church burgess’s accounts for 1621–2 to glaziers from Chesterfield: ‘1622 To
Geo: Walker & Tho: Slater the glassers of Chesterfeld for amending the Church
windowes £1 0s. 0d.’. This reference is important, not only for naming the 3
Chesterfield glaziers, but also for indicating that therewere apparentlyno glaziers
in Sheffield who could have undertaken the work.
Between 1559 and 1579 one son, Edmund, and at least four and possibly six
daughters of Roland Snidall (d. 1587) were baptised at Chesterfield. If Richard 4 5
was his parents’ eldest son he may have been born before the surviving
Chesterfield register begins in 1558. It is not known with whom he trained as a
glazier but he may have completed a seven-year apprenticeship in the late 1570s.
He married Anne Moore at Chesterfield on 22 May 1581, but seems to have had 6
only one child, Richard, who was baptised on 1 September 1599. Anne died in 7
1606 and was buried on 18 April. Richard quickly remarried, on 25 June that 8
year, to Margery Frith. After Richard died, Margery married Thomas Petty (d. 9
1628) on 19 June 1613.10
J. Kenworthy, The Early History of Stocksbridge &District: Bolsterston Glass House (1914),
19, quoting R.E. Leader and F. Bradbury, History of Old Sheffield Plate (1912). ‘Ashburow’ was
misread as Ashbourne in CWI, no. 274.
He was baptised on 1 Sept. 1599 (Chesterfield Parish Register, 180). 2
J.R. Wigfull, ‘Local plumbers and glaziers’, Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological
Society, 4 (1929–37), 335.
Parish Register, 124.
Ibid., 22 (Edmund), 31 (Gertrude), 40 (Joan), 51 (Katherine), 82 (Elizabeth); no parents are 5
named in the case of Mary and Maud (ibid., 5, 14), either or both of whom could have been the
daughters of Thomas Snidall, whose son Roland was baptised in 1575 (ibid., 65). Thomas could
presumably have been the older Roland’s brother.
Ibid., 90.
Ibid., 180. 7
Ibid., 222. 8
Ibid., 223. 9
Ibid., 263.

Petty’s first wife was Margery Slater, whom he married on 23 June 1577. She 1
was the sister of Francis Slater, who in his will of 22 November 1609, proved on
24 March 1610, described himself as a glazier of Chesterfield. The main witness 2
to Slater’s will was Thomas Whitehead (1564–1616), who was also a witness 3
and an overseer of the will of Richard Snidall and one of the appraisers of his
inventory. When Whitehead died in 1616, described as ‘aditus et hierodulus’, 4
which appears to mean parish clerk or sacristan, one of the appraisers of his 5
inventorywas Thomas Petty. There were clearly connections between these four 6
men, and it may well be that Francis Slater was ‘Snidall’s man’.
Slater may be the man of that name who married Grace Owdam on 12 August
1576 at Darley. The couple had four daughters baptised at Chesterfield between
1584 and 1590 and an only son, Thomas, baptised on 16 May 1594. Francis 8 9
Slater was buried on 23 November 1609. In his will, dated 22 November 1609, 10
he reminds his wife, Grace, to make sure she obtains the sums of money owing
The descendants of Richard Snidall of Chesterfield.
Ibid., 74, where the bride’s Christian name was transcribed in error as ‘Margaret’. 1
Staffs. RO, B/C/11, 24 March 1610/11, Francis Slater; CWI, no. 266. 2
Parish Register, 24, 283. 3
Staffs. RO, B/C/11, 28 March 1612/13, Richard Snidall; CWI, no. 274. 4
Parish Register, xxiv, 283.
CWI, no. 313. 6
DRO, D1978/A/PI/1/1. 7
Parish Register, 104 (Jane, 28 March 1584), 116 (Margaret, 23 Aug. 1586, buried the 8
following day), 128 (Mary, 9 Dec. 1587), 140 (Epiphany, 16 Sept. 1590).
Ibid., 156. 9
Ibid., 243. 10
and due to him, a total of 21s. 8d., which were to be offset against the 30s. which
he owed ‘Mr Bamforth of pingle hill in the County of yorke for a Case of glase’.
His inventory, taken on 4 December 1609, describes a small house of four rooms
with contents valued at £14 10s. 8d., and a workshop, which contained ‘one vice
with mouldes, sotheringe Irons, grosing Irons and a lead ladle’ worth 10s., glass
worth 8s., and lead and files worth 2s. Pingle Hill appears not to survive as a
place-name, but Pinglehead appears on the Old Series one-inch Ordnance Survey
map in Ecclesall. ‘Mr Bamforth’ may be the John Bamford who married Alice 2
(b. 1584), daughter of Rowland Morewood (d. 1619) of The Oaks at Bradfield on
20 February 1609. Bamforth came from Pule Hill near Thurgoland (in Silkstone 3
parish). A glassworks was in operation at Silkstone before 1659. Alice was the 4 5
sister of John Morewood of The Oaks in Bradfield, whose grandson George Fox
(b. 1643), ‘Had the Glass Works at Bolsterstone’. Fox lived at Fulwood Hall, not 6
far from the present-day Pingle Avenue and Pingle Road, off Abbeydale Road
South in Sheffield.
The references to glass coming from south Yorkshire in 1609 and Worcestershire in 1611 imply that there was no glasshouse in or near Chesterfield in this
When Francis died his son Thomas Slater (1594–1668), was only fifteen. He 7
may have been apprenticed to his father or possibly to Richard Snidall, who did
not die until 1611. While he would have inherited his father’s tools and materials,
he would have been too young to work as a glazier in his own right, and must
have completed hisseven-year apprenticeship with someone else. The most likely
candidate was the man with whom he was to forge a lifelong partnership in a few
years’ time, George Walker. Thomas Slater would have turned 21 in May 1615
and completed his apprenticeship. A month later, on 25 June, he married Alice
Bestow at Chesterfield, and their first son, Francis, was baptised on 16 March
1616. A second son, Thomas, was baptised on 6 July 1618, and a daughter, 9
Staffs. RO, B/C/11, 24 March 1610/11, Francis Slater; CWI, no. 266. 1
PN Yorks. WR, I, 200.
FMG, 1062–3; J. Hunter, Hallamshire (1869), 469. 3
J. Hunter, South Yorkshire (1828–31), II, 270.
D. Dungworth, T. Cromwell, D. Ashurst et al., ‘Glass and pottery manufacture at Silkstone, 5
Yorkshire’, Post-Medieval Archaeology, 40 (2006), 162.
FMG, 681–2.
Parish Register, 156 (bapt. 16 May 1594); DRO, D643A/P/I 1/2, burial 13 April 1668.
Parish Register, 275, where Alice’s surname is given wrongly as ‘Boston’.
Ibid., 293. 9
Grace, on 28 November 1622.1
In 1621 the Sheffield church burgess accounts record a payment of £4 9s. 6d.
‘To the glasser of Chesterfeld for worke about the church windows’. As George
Walker of Chesterfield was the older man, he may have been the glazier referred
to. The following year, however, Thomas Slater was working alongside him and
together they were referred to as ‘the glassers of Chesterfeld’.3
George Walker was baptised at Chesterfield on 23 April 1588, the son of John
Walker (c.1560–1622), who married Elizabeth Nayler on 7 November 1585.
4 5 6
He may have been ‘Snidall’s boy’ in the Hardwick Hall accounts of 1597–8,
although he would have been too young to have been formally apprenticed.
George married Margaret Corker at Chesterfield on 19 February 1614 and their 7
eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was baptised on 9 October that year. George Walker 8
died intestate and letters of administration were granted on 17 October 1637 to
his widow, Margaret, and Thomas Slater, described as a glazier of Chesterfield.9
The connection between the two families was strengthened by the marriage at
Chesterfield on 27 October 1639 of George Walker’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth,
to Thomas Slater’s eldest son, Francis (1616–55).10
Not only did Thomas Slater help to administer George Walker’s estate, he was
also one of the appraisers of his inventory, taken on 29 September 1637. One of
the other appraisers was his cousin, Humphrey Petty (1584–1666), the son of
Thomas Petty, whose first wife was Margery Slater. The inventory lists a ‘house’
(i.e. the main living room), a little parlour with a cellar beneath, two chambers,
a kitchen and workshop, and a stable and fold. The contents were valued at £18
1s 4d. The workshop contained a vice, a pair of iron moulds and an iron ladle
worth 26s. 8d., ‘Glasse wrought’ (20s.), ‘Glasse unwrought’ (13s. 4d.), and five
sothering (i.e. soldering) irons and all other tools (5s.).11
With George Walker’s death, and no son to follow him in the trade, Thomas
Slater appears to have been left as the only glazier in Chesterfield. Described as
Ibid., 320. 1
Wigfull, ‘Local plumbers’, 335.
Ibid. 3
Parish Register, 129.
Ibid., 316 (burial, 24 Feb. 1622). 5
Ibid., 112. 6
Ibid., 267. 7
Ibid., 271. 8
Staffs. RO, B/C/11, 17 Oct. 1637, George Walker; CWI, no. 415. 9
DRO, D643A/PI/1/2.
See n. 9.
Thomas Slater the elder, he was buried at Chesterfield on 14 April 1668; there 1
was no grant of probate or administration in either the diocesan or prerogative
court. His second son, Thomas Slater the younger (1618–66), followed him into
the glazier’s trade. He predeceased his father, and was buried at Chesterfield on
19 November 1666. In his will, made four days earlier, he left ‘Thomas Slater 2
my deare & loving father’ all his apparel and asked ‘that the said Thomas my
father shall live in my now dwelling house with the saide Dorothy my wife she
alowing him sufficient meate and drinke washing and lodging firelight and candle
light and all other nessisarys meete and befitting him to have during his naturall
life’. He left his ‘cosen Thomas Slater halfe a casse of glasse Tenn stone waighte
of leade and three pound weight of old peuter towards seting him up of his
trade’. Thomas, born in 1640, was in fact his nephew, the son of Francis Slater, 3 4
who had married Elizabeth Walker, and so the family business continued into a
fourth generation.
Slater’s inventory, taken on 11 December 1666, shows him living in a house
with two living rooms, two parlours, a kitchen and a buttery downstairs, four
bedrooms, a cellar, stable and barn. The contents were valued at £48 8s. 2d.,
including, in the shop, ‘Glasse, Leade, sauther [i.e solder], one vice & other
materialls’ worth £16. Slater was also owed £40. As a glazier he had become far
more prosperous than any of his forebears. This is also illustrated by bequests in
his will. Subject to his wife’s life interest, he left his barn and fold, and three
parcels of land which he had purchased (containing 4 acres in all), to his eldest
son John, and the house in which he lived to his second son Thomas. Both boys
were each to have £30, including £10 towards an apprenticeship and £20 when
they reached the age of 23. His youngest son Samuel was left £10 for an
apprenticeship and £50 at 21. His two daughters were each to have £60 at the age
of 20, presumably as marriage portions.5
What became of the nephew Thomas has not been established. No marriage
of anyone of that name can be found in parish registers in and around Chesterfield, and although burials of men named Thomas Slater appear in the Chesterfield register in 1717 and 1718, in neither case do probate records survive which
might have identified one or the other as a glazier.
Between the late sixteenth century and late seventeenth, the region around
DRO, D643A/P/I 1/2.
DRO, D643A/P/I 1/2.
Staffs. RO, BC/11, 3 April 1667, Thomas Slater. 3
DRO, D643A/P/I/1/2, bapt. 26 Dec. 1640.
Staffs. RO, BC/11, 3 April 1667, Thomas Slater. 5
Chesterfield and Sheffield is notable for the large number of houses built by
wealthy manufacturers, merchants and traders involved in the Derbyshire lead
industry and the Hallamshire cutlery industry. There was plenty of work for
skilled glaziers such as George Walker and Thomas Slater and, while traditional
diamond quarries were usually used for domestic glazing, more complex designs
were occasionally desired, particularly to enrich the windows of dining parlours
and great chambers. In 1615 Walter Gedde published a small booklet of designs
for glaziers and others. A copy of this may have been known to the Chesterfield 1
glaziers, as several designs from it are found in the region. That shown in Plate
1 of the booklet is of a cross window with the ubiquitous diamond quarries, but
far more complex and striking designs follow, some of which can be matched to
surviving windows.
Haddon Hall still has diamond quarries of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries surviving in many windows. The parlour, however, has a great westfacing window containing arms in stained glass set within a glazing pattern based
on Plate 21 of Gedde’s booklet. Further afield, high on the moorland north-west
of Sheffield, lay Wigtwizzle Hall (in Bradfield, Yorks. WR), demolished in
1936. Photographs show two panels of glazing in an upstairs window seemingly 2
copied from Plate 18 of the booklet. The glazing was probably installed in 1623
when John Ibbotson upgraded his house to provide fashionable rooms for his
newlymarried daughter Maryand her husband, Christopher Wilson. Wilson was 3
a great friend of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, and before his marriage
spent much time in Strafford’s home at Wentworth Woodhouse. The Wentworth 4
Woodhouse muniments include a copy of Gedde’s booklet, confirming that it 5
was known in the region. When Wigtwizzle Hall was demolished the two panels
of glazing were saved and still survive locally in private ownership.
Bishops’ House at Norton Lees (in Norton), dating from 1554, was home to
several generations of the Blythe family, whose wealth came from the manufacture and marketing of scythe blades. William Blythe (1608–66) inherited the
W. Gedde, A Booke of Sundry Draughts Principaly serving for Glasiers: And not Impertinent
for Plasterers, and Gardiners: be sides sundry other professions (London, 1615).
Sheffield Independent, 7 Feb. 1936, published a picture with the caption, ‘Historic Wig- 2
twizzle Hall, near Sheffield, which Sheffield Corporation has begun to demolish’.
J. Hunter, ‘A memoir of the origin, descent, etc., of the ancient family of Wilson of Broom3
head’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 5 (1878), 101 (a paper written in 1824). Christopher
married Mary Ibbotson at Bradfield on 29 Oct. 1623.
Ibid., 100; J. Hunter, South Yorkshire (1828–31), II, 84.
Sheffield Archives, WWM/P/7/3.
Norton Lees estate on the death of his father, William, in 1632. The younger 1
William lived at Dore following his marriage at Dronfield on 28 January 1629 to
Elizabeth Bright of Dore, but the couple were resident at Bishops’ House by 24
September 1634, when their daughter Sarah was baptised at Norton. A
photograph taken between 1860 and 1865 shows mullioned and transomed
windows in the parlour and parlour chamber inserted in 1632–4 as part of
improvements made by William Blythe shortly after he inherited the property.
On the evidence of the Sheffield churchwardens’ accounts of 1621–2, there may
have been no glaziers working in Sheffield and so Blythe may also have
employed men from Chesterfield. The parlour window had glazing in the upper
panels which appears to be based on Plate 28 in Gedde’s booklet. As early as
1818 a correspondent to The Northern Star noted its rarity: ‘The long range
window in its principal apartment, so curiously formed of the dimunitive [sic]
lozenge, deserves delineation, or a more certain preservation than its brittle
material can ensure’. This comment went unheeded in later years. Photographs 4
taken in 1945 show the intricate glazing intact, but it was later replaced by
ordinary diamond quarries.5
A drawing of a nearby property, Whirlow Hall, demolished in 1842, shows
precisely the same design in its parlour window. The house was built by the
Bright family and a newspaper report of 1886 refers to the dates of 1619 on
masonry in the ‘lower garden’ and 1652 on the oak doors of an outbuilding. The 6
Brights were related to the Blythes of Norton Lees, which may account for the
similarity of glazing at both properties. After Thomas Bright of Bradway, the
brother of Henry Bright of Whirlow, died in 1616, his widow Joan married
William Blythe of Norton Lees the following year.
Another local instance of a design from Gedde’s booklet occurs at Cartledge
Hall (in Holmesfield), in a house improved in the early seventeenth century for
Ll. Ll. Simpson (ed.), The Parish Registers of S. James’ Church, Norton, Co. Derby, 1
1559–1812 (Derby: privately printed, 1908), 409.
DRO, D2441/A/PI/1/1; Parish Register of S. James’ Church, Norton, 78. 2
T. Smith(illustrator), Sheffield and its Neighbourhood Photographically Illustrated (London, 3
The Northern Star or Yorkshire Magazine, 21 April 1818, 348, letter from M.M.M. (Mrs
National Buildings Record, A45/6404. Photograph of Bishops’ House by G.B.Wood, 20 5
Aug. 1945. The National Buildings Record now forms part of the National Monuments Record.
Sheffield Independent, 18 Dec. 1886. 6
Sheffield Archives, PR 138/1, burial 28 April 1616 and marriage 4 Nov. 1617, both at Shef7
field parish church.
Thomas Burton, a lead merchant. Thomas, born probably in 1567, married Helen
Bright, the daughter of Thomas Bright of Dore, at Dronfield on 19 May 1598.
Burton was high sheriff of Derbyshire in 1628–9. There, the ogee-patterned 1
glazing design of Plate 34 is perfectly formed in decorative plaster ribwork on a
vaulted chamber ceiling. As the title-page of Gedde’s work noted, the designs
were ‘not impertinent for plasterers’. In the same room at Cartledge Hall other
plasterwork can be seen cast from moulds that were also used at Haddon Hall.2
No building accounts or other papers survive for any of these houses which
might have revealed who was responsible for the decorative glazing, but it is
possible that George Walker and Thomas Slater, who seem to have been the only
glaziers active in the area for much of the seventeenth century, may have been
sought out by local merchants and gentry wishing to improve their homes.
FMG, 337–43; Thomas was bapt. on 26 Jan. 1567 and Helen on 12 July 1573, both at 1
Dronfield (DRO, D2441/A/PI/1/1).
D. Bostwick, ‘Decorative plasterwork of the Yorkshire region, 1570–1670’ (Unpub. Univ.
Sheffield Ph.D. thesis, 1993), 168–72

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