REMINISCENCES OF SHEFFIELD by R. E. LEADER
CHAPTER 10 - THE TOWN HEAD AND CHURCH STREET.
FROM the Lady's Bridge to where it receives the waters of the Sheaf, the river Don, changing its course, runs for about 150 yards due east. The Sheaf enters it from the south, and the two streams joining form a right angle. In this, guarded by water on two sides, the old Castle stood, with approaches across the rivers by the Lady's Bridge on the one hand, and by the Sheaf Bridge on the other. At the period with which we are dealing, the town, as in old times, still lay where it had grown up to the south and west of the Castle; and, like it, was bounded by the rivers.
It was not until the eighteenth century was well advanced that houses began to straggle across to the north bank of the Don and the east side of the Sheaf. Indeed, the town hardly reached the two rivers, there being, except at certain points, large margins of crofts and gardens between the houses and the streams. It was but a small place. On the west, the limits of the town were circumscribed by a line drawn from the top of Coal Pit Lane, along Blind Lane, across Trippet Lane and Broad Lane, and then up Redhill to the top of Hollis Croft, Pea Croft, and Scotland Street. On the south, there was little beyond St. Paul's Church except the houses at the bottom of Coal Pit Lane, and a few scattered tenements and workshops on the adjoining waste.
In I768, there was not on the slope from Norfolk Street to the Ponds in one direction (south-east) an erection of any kind, except a garden-house in what became Arundel Street; and in the other (south) the only house you came to after passing the Moorhead was Mr. Kirkby's, standing to our own day at the corner of Button Lane and Eldon Street. There was one other building near that with a bowling green attached on the open common called Sheffield Moor. Beyond was Little Sheffield, an outlying hamlet. But the era of change was at hand.
By I77I the hillside sloping from St. Paul's Church to the Sheaf, known as Alsop Fields, was intersected, on paper, with the lines of proposed streets; and one of the first steps towards carrying out this change was to lower Norfolk Street, with the two-fold effect of improving the gradient, and of giving better access to what was to become Howard Street. As Norfolk Street sank, St. Paul's Churchyard rose, for the earth taken from the one was thrown upon the other. And this led to a curious scene. " On the Sunday before the digging began, the minister gave notice that all persons who had friends or relatives buried in the churchyard must mark the spot with a stick. The result was seen the next morning, when the place was covered with long rods, stuck on the graves." On other sides of the town the same state of things pre- vailed.
Until I775 there were no buildings in the Wicker beyond the Lady's Bridge until you came to Sam Hill's tavern, the Crown and Cushion. This, up to I7I5 had been the old 'Sembly House, used in connection with the annual muster of the horsemen and harness which the old feudal tenure required the freeholders to provide for their lords. The nursery grounds of the Castle, on the northern river bank between Lady's Bridge and Bridgehouses (afterwards known as the White Rails) were in I78I opened as a public recreation ground, and in the summer of that year " the Duke of Norfolk, the Vicar, and many principal gentlemen of the town were entertained at the nursery house," the dinner being supplied by Godfrey Fox, from the Reindeer Tavern.
The pace of enlargement was slow, and the effect of growth was more to fill up vacant spaces within the area sketched above than to expand beyond it. Mr. Hunter has left us a paper showing how narrow were the limits of the town as late as I799. Having been born in I783, he, a boy of I5, with the topographical instinct already upon him, compiled " A Perambulation through Sheffield in the Years I798-9. "Either he did not complete it, or there has not been preserved his description of the town on the south side of Church Street and High Street; but for all Iying north of that, he considered the area covered by two perambulations. On the first of these, he starts from Townhead Cross, goes down Church Street, Angel Street, Snig Hill, and West Bar, and then up Sims Croft to the Town Head again. On the second, beginning at the same point, he passes down Campo Lane, Hartshead, King Street, Haymarket, and Waingate to Lady's Bridge, returning by Bridge Street, Newhall Street, West Bar, Scargill Croft, across Hartshead, and along York Street to Fargate.
Within this small area he found all that was worthy of mention in connection with the northern side of the town say from the Parish Church to the point where the rivers Sheaf and Don meet. Mr. Hunter speaks of the Town Head as certainly one of the oldest parts, "chiefly inhabited by the poorer ranks of society." This is amply confirmed by the dilapidated houses, one bearing the date I680, which stood here not many years ago. At this spot the streets, running westward from the Market Place Campo Lane, and Church Lane continued through Pinfold Street converged at the entrance to Trippet Lane and Blind Lane (Holly Street). That this and not the open space which we now know at the junction of Church Street, Leopold Street, Bow Street, and Pinfold Street was the real Town Head is confirmed by Gosling's plan. But where was the Townhead Cross, whose presence once inclined Mr. Hunter to suggest that a market may have been held here ? Gosling places it not at the point which he calls the Town Head that is at the west end of Pinfold Street about at the Church Street, or east end of that street, just in front of what we remember as Jackson's pork shop, formerly Mr. Matthewman's house (now demolished), which stood with its side opposite the gates of St. James's Church, and facing south to the Leopold Street of to-day.
A glance at a map will show that this and the adjacent houses formed, roughly, an isosceles triangle, the upper part of Townhead Street, opposite St. James's Church, being the base, Pinfold Street and the western end of Campo Lane the two sides; the apex being the old Waterhouse, where these two streets met, at the bottom of Trippet Lane. On the other side of Campo Lane, there was another irregular block, so surrounded by thoroughfares as to be a sort of island. On this " The Warm Hearthstone " infancy of the water supply in (he same neighbourhood the original " Waterhouse " of the Water Company. This stood in Pinfold Lane, at the acute angle where Campo Lane, above "The Warm Hearthstone," ran into Trippet Lane. The water was brought down by pipes to a receptacle here, whence it was transferred to casks, which, fixed on wheelbarrows, and holding about fifty gallons, were taken about the town by men whose business it was to sell the water. " Water Isaac " was a well-known member of this band of men. Possibly it was in connection with this that the Town Trustees paid the munificent sum of eight shillings "for fitting an old cask for the scavengers to water the streets." An early " Overlooker of the Waterworks " was William Sutton, who, after being in the Marines, became a razor maker.
In I774, the office was held by Adam Ashton, a carpenter. The pinfold, which gives to Pinfold street its name, was a quadrilateral structure, not a true square, on the south side (that is on the left, going from Church Street) of the lane. Its shape was what geometricians call a trapezoid like the lines that might be drawn round a capital W, the broad line at the top of the letter fronting to Pinfold Street, and the shorter line, across the bottom, being where Bow Street afterwards ran. There had been an older pinfold in I592. Its locality has not been ascertained, but it was in convenient contiguity to the stocks. The later one, here described, the last of its race, survived until I835, when it succumbed to a scheme of street widening, and its site was let for building. But that it was not considered altogether an anachronism even then is manifest from the fact that efforts were made to find another suitable place for a new pinfold efforts which seem to have been futile. That the pinfold was subjected to rough treatment, indicating resentfulness on tlle part of those whose belongings were "pounded," is manifest from the constant repairs that had to be done throughout the centuries to its walls and its door. The " pinder" was by no means a popular functionary.
It was a very common practice, on the part of frugal citizens, to keep " the gintlemin that pays the rint." In the old days the community combined to hire a swineherd, to the sound of whose horn, as he walked through the streets on his way to the common pasture-land outside the town, the pigs came flocking, rushing out of shops, and wheels, and houses, and styes or " swyne howles," down entries and jennels, with joyous grunts. But, later, it was very much the habit to allow the pigs to roam at large in the streets, grubbing among the refuse which, in the absence of any scavengering, was all too abundant. Between these and the pinder there was perpetual war. Towards Christmas, when fattening began, many a working man's family was put on short commons, the children's food being stinted to buy meal for the pig. It was a customary thing to have pig troughs at the doors of the houses, and the sight of pigs feeding there, on the public footpath, was a common one. They were summoned from their roamings by the rattle of a bucket or can, and their prompt obedience to this call was a source of much tribulation to old Clarke, the pinder, for when he was trying to run a wandering pig into the pinfold, the owner would set up a great clatter with the bucket, and the pig would outrun his pursuer and be safely housed before the officer could catch him. When he did get a porker into the pound, the liberation fee was fourpence, but the pinder was so systematically regarded as the common foe that when the waits, the bellman, and the night watchman were pocketing their Christmas boxes, he was severely ignored.
It is necessary, in endeavouring to recall this part of the Sheffield of the past, to bear in mind that the Trippet Lane of to-day dates, in respect to width and level, from recent times. Formerly the wayfarer, coming westward to the sharp angle where Pinfold Street and the extremity of Campo Lane used to converge, found himself faced by three narrow openings. Between Red Lane, afterwards Trippet Lane, on the right, and a narrow "twitchell" or " jennel" (represented now by Westbank Lane) on the left, was the entrance to a sort of island of houses known as Red Court or Red Croft. The tenements surrounded a yard, which had an entrance at the east, but no exit at the west. By the sweeping away of this place, Trippet Lane obtained its present width. Beyond this in the old days, the thoroughfare was so constricted that two carts could not pass, whence it was popularly known as " Narrow Lane." Penton Street on the left represents the beginning of the old route to Broomhall, and to a footpath diverging from this on the right and going to Fulwood pretty much on the line of the present West Street. Trippet Lane extended, as now, to Portobello, which was originally the name for the locality between Regent Street and Victoria Street; and from this point there was a narrow footpath to the top of Leavygreave, where it joined the main thoroughfare from Broad Lane, up Brook Hill and Western Bank then an irregular country road, very wide at parts, called Hallam Lane. This led past the Windmill, on the site of the Weston Museum, and so to Crookes and Hallam. This route is very ancient. It represents the Roman line of communication through Sheffield by " the Long Causey " (Redmires Road) and Stanedge to Brough.
In Trippet Lane may still be seen survivals of the old houses which, standing far below the street, show how, when widened, it was also raised. Like other Sheffield streets uhich by good luck, have happily escaped the reforming zeal of iconoclastic advocates of a meaningless nomenclature, it perpetuates the name of one of the oldest indigeneous families. There have been Treppetts, Trypyetts, Tryppetts, Tryppets Trippits, Trippetts in the town all through the centuries, ever since John Trypet and Johanna his wife were assessed at four- pence to the poll tax in I379, and since Richard Trippett signed his name as a witness to the contract for building Lady's Bridge in I485. In I568 the Church Burgesses paid five shillings to Thomas Tryppytt " for goyng to London wyth a younge wenche." The " younge wenche " would seem to have been Tryppytt's own daughter, for we get another glimpse at her story in this subsequent entry: " Given to Thomas Trippet's daughter, that came from London this November for doubting the plague, 2S." There is no hint why the town authorities should pay the cost, or part of the cost, of sending the girl to London; and the note as to her return is susceptible of two interpretations. " For doubting the plague " may mean that she returned home for fear of the plague; or that, having come back, she was, like others, compensated for isolating herself for a time, through suspicion that she might have brought the plague with her.
The names of three Tryppetts occur in the assessment made in I659 for raising soldiers to aid in putting down the Northern Rebellion, one of them, John, being evidently a man of substance and a shoemaker, since he was assessed at twelve- pence (the others of the same name only at 4d.), and he was paid IIS. for making " two payre of boots " for the levies. Among the four men " set forth " for the Queen's service was John Tryckett which brings us into connection with another old Shemeld family. Through all the lists of local names from the time of Richard II., five hundred years, Trippetts are found in one capacity or another sometimes as churchwardens, or charged with the duty of seeing to the " ryngeing of swyne," or as tradesmen, innkeepers, cutlers, or what not. A John Trippet was Master Cutler in I694, and in the eighteenth century the family had a hardwareman's shop in High Street for so many years that they gave the name to a yard in High Street until, in course of time, " Trippet's Yard " became known as "Hawksuorth's Yard." What particular member of the family was of sufficient importance to cause the name of the street to be changed from Red Lane to Trippet Lane it is impossible to say. In the list of streets of I700 Trippet Lane does not occur, but Red Croft does.
The Red Lane of Gosling's (I736) plan becomes Trippet Lane in Fairbank's of 1771, and by that designation it has ever since been known. Like Trippet, the names of Scargell and Shemeld in a bold variety of spellings occur constantly in our earliest annals. These families in the eighteenth century were of dwindling prominence; but from I560 to I689 they pervaded the affairs of the town.
The Scargells, or Skargells, or Skar- gills, were an especially large clan, the parish registers from the earlier of the above years to the end of the seventeenth century teeming with their births, marriages, and deaths. There were alliances between them and the ShemeldsÑother- wise Shemield, Shemeild, Shemelde, Shimeld, Shemold, Shemall-and we find one or other of them always to the foreÑas town collectors, constables, overseers, and occasion- ally as Masters Cutler, though their businesses seem for the most part to have run off the lines of the staple trades. They are often engaged in work connected with the repair of " Lady brydge," or the Town Head well; or supplying car- pentry for the workhouse, or " nailes for the centrie house," or "gyveing xijd. to a poore wench going to service," or "ijs. vijd. towardes buryeing of a poore man that dyed at the coalepyttes," or paying vjd. rent for a Burgery dunghill. One member, at least, of the family was an innkeeper, for in I663-4, Thomas Skargell supplied " I3 gallons of wyne which was sent to my lord for a present." He was also paid certain charges "at the venison feast." In I663, Bridget, daughter of Thomas Scargell, married the second son of Robert Bright, of Banner Cross. From the wills of three Scargells that have been preserved, from I575 to I625, it is evident that they were possessed of comfortable propelty; and the inventory of the goods, chattels, and audits of Richard Shemeld, ironmonger, Who died about I645, shows a total of £6675- 5S. 6d., " a laIge sum for a tradesman in Sheffield at that time."* It is a' little unfor- tunate that two such considerable families should be represented in our street nomenclature by nothing more important than Shemeld Croft and Scargill Croft. As to the former al though it was at the beginning of this century well known as the site of the file works of Nicholas Jackson, a prominent member of the Cutlers' Company it would puzzle a good many citizens who think they know Sheffield well to say where it was.
At the corner of Broad Street and Shude Hill a wholesale fish market is held, on the site of an old rolling mill. Here in bygone days, was John Gurdon's tanyard (afterwards Thomas Rodgers's), with a watercourse running to it from the Sheaf. Beside this, in Shude Hill, was a narrow entrance to Shemeld Croft, which, running behind Gurdon's tenements and work- shops, led to premises held in I779 by Richard and Joseph Shimmeld. And Shimmeld's, or Shemeld's, Croft was a considerable piece of ground, extending to the banks of the Sheaf. The viaduct known as Commercial Street, and other changes, have revolutionised the place. Nor is Scargill Croft, leading from Bank Street to Westbar, an inspiring locality. Very different is it from the days when Thomas Skargill was amerced in a " payne " (fine) of xxs. for neglecting to obey a decree of the 'Sembly to "make one sufficient gate enteringe into the towne field nigh West Barr end, so that the same gate shall open and sleak after men when it is opened and not stand still, and so to keep the same gate well made and repaired from tyme to tyme and at all tymes."
Different, too, from the later period when Joshuah Skargell, as, with imposing flourishes, he signed his will in I625, dwelt here, in succession to his father William, in a house surrounded by orchards and gardens, and with pleasing prospects over Coulson Crofts to the Don, and across to Bridgehouses and the hills beyond. " I give and bequeath," said he, " unto my eldest sonne William one cupboard with boxes, and one iron deske, which are in the chamber of the house wherein I dwell, with all the writings in the same, and also such goods as are in the said house and were given and bequeathed unto me by William Skargell, my late father deceased." Coming down to the last century, it is to be noted that Samuel Scargell or Skargell was elected a Town Trustee in I703, and he was in office as late as I727; but soon after that the enterprising builder had appeared on the scene, for the Leeds Mercury of May Isth, I744, contained the following quaint advertisement: . " Notice is hereby given that at the New House, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, known by the name of Sheffield Brew House, in Scargell Croft, is Brewed the very best sort of brown Strong Beer, commonly called London Porter, warranted to be as good as any Brew'd in London, the malts being brought from Queerwith Market in London, and the Person who Brews the sam'e being regularly Bred a common Brewer, having serv'd seven years' apprenticeship to that trade in London, so that there is no difference between the London Brew'd Porter and his but the water of this place, which is far superior to the New River in London for this purpose, and he does venture to say that in the brewing season it is equal to the Thames for brewing of the brown Beer, having had experience of all three for years together. A strong horse will carry two Ten-Gallon casks, every Person being at liberty to send for what quantity they please, and the Persons who send for the same are desired to let their casks have round Bung holes, otherwise they cannot be stopped close for carriage, and they shall be sure to have it neat and genuine, fine and fit for present Use, from their humble Servant, Thomas Elliott."
In I74 there was a John Scargell, peruke maker, in Market Place, and there were Shemelds in Sycamore Street and at Attercliffe. In the poor rate assessment of I78I there is mention of a Shemeld, in Arundel Street, and of Scargells in Milk Street and Hartshead. Neither name occurs in the Directory of I787, for Thomas Scargill, one of those who seceded from Nether Chapel and who founded Queen Street Chapel in I783, was by that time dead. The name with which Scargill Croft is most closely associated in the early part of the present century is that of Saynor, Samuel and John Saynor, and afterwards Thomas Saynor, being cutlers there, and also on the north side of Bank Street, where is the Union Bank. They struck the well-known mark " Rainbow," which is still in the family. The business was afterwards removed to Edward Street. The manner in which local topography has suffered through the ill-judged wiping out of old street names is grievous. The affectation of politeness, which degenerates into snobbishness when it prefers Cambridge Street to Coal - pit Lane, and Brunswick Street to Tom Cross Lane, is not, however, new. The same weakness was shown in former days when Truelove's Gutter was changed to Castle Street, Pudding Lane to King Street, Petticoat Lane to Milk Street, Bull Stake to Old Haymarket, Workhouse Croft to Paradise Street. Could any name be more inappropriate than Paradise Square.
When a proposal to merge Dam Lane in Northumberland Road was before the Town Council, the motion was supported by a respected Alder man who had himself, a few years before, protested vigorously against such substitutions. Moreover, as was promptly pointed out at the time, he had lived for a long period at Dam House, without any indication that the designation was objectionable. Mr S. O. Addy has reminded me that Paradise," usually shortened into " Parvis," is an ancient name for a garden, or enclosed space, near a church, and he suggests that this is the meaning here. But the difficulty in the way of this ingenious solution is that the Sheffield Paradise is not a mediaeval but a modern name.
If we must give up Hicks-stile Field, plain Pot Square had, at any rate, a meaning; when the crockery vendors were relegated here from the Church Gates and High Street; and it was by a sound instinct that the people long insisted, and to some extent still insist, on using it. Pudding Lane, Petticoat Lane, Jehu Lane, Virgins' Walk, and Lady's Walk, may or may not have had appropriate origins; but in most cases, names full of significance have been exchanged for what is meaningless. Happily, Campo Lane, and Snighill, and Hartshead, and Barkers Pool, and Wicker names on whose origin infinite speculation has been unsuccessfully lavished are spared to us; but who knows how long it may be before some iconoclastic street improver will lay impious hands on them ?
The old Directories contain not a few names which have hopelessly disappeared. Where, for instance, was Saint Pavers, or Longstone Lane ? Church Lane was, towards the end of the century, beginning to emerge from the mean condition which made James Wills describe it as That poor narrow place with wood buildings projecting; 'twas quite a disgrace; The roofs nearly meeting, a dark dreary street might justly be styled the robbers' retreat, Where shops so were darkened for want of true light, Appeared quite at noontide as though it were night. It must have been only by contrast that the shops which had arisen by I827 could be called " fine." The allocation of the Vicarage Croft for building, at the time when St. James's Church was erected and St. James's Street made, enabled the upper part of Church Lane to be improved. The leases of the property built on the Vicarage Croft are dated I787; and that indicates, approximately, the period of the improvement which aroused Wills's enthusiasm. It was in I789 that the lower portion of the street was widned, by taking a slice from the Parish Churchyard a process since twice repeated, despite sentiment; once in I866-7, when the Rev. Canon Sale was Vicar; and again in I89I, under Archdeacon Blakeney. Although there were some mutterings of discontent on the last two occasions by those who thought the repose of the bones of past generations of greater importance than the convenience of the living, the operation was carried out so discreetly as not to provoke any aective opposition.
Vicar Wilkinson was not so fortunate, as the riots described in a previous chapter show. While the north side of the street was thus developing, the land behind the south side was also being opened up. Orchards had hitherto occupied the space between Church Street and Fargate, but now merchants were erecting warehouses there, and besides the various branches of the cutlery trade, there were hammer, edge-tool, and shear makers, silver- platers, and white-metalsmiths.
There is a curious controversy as to whether Brelsforth's or Brinsworth's orchards was the right name for this locality. Fairbank's plan of I777 gives the former; the Directory of I787 the latter. Brelsforth (in various spellings) Brinsworth and Brinsforth are old Sheffield names. The Directory of I774 calls the orchards Brentsworlh's Brailsforth's and Brelsforth's. In a letter dated I763, directions are given for some goods to be handed to the carrier ' at Mr. Moss's warehouse in Brinsford Orchard." In the programme of the procession at the opening of the Infirmary (I797), the form is Brailsford Orchard. In the Directory of the last named year it has become Orchard Street. These are probably all variations of the same patronymic. Robert Brelsforth who bought some of the material of the demolished Sheffield Castle was Master Cutler in I648. Robert Brailsforth was a constable in I654. Robert Breilsforth recursannually in the Burgery accounts from I66I to I668. The name of the Master Cutler I688, is given variously in three different lists as Robert Breilsforth, Robert Brelsforth and Robert Brelsford; Mr. Robert Brinsforth in the cutlers' and smiths' hearth tax assessment of I670, and Robert Brellsforth in the poll tax of 1692. John Belsforth was a maltster in the town in I73I, and William Brelsford is given in I744 as holding certain Church lands to the west of the Church. Mr. Brainsford was a subscriber to the Assemblies in I750. John Brinsworth appears in the hearth t,ax list of I670, and Thomas Brinsworth appears in the Church Street list of persons assessed to the poor rate in I78I which is significant as showing him close to the spot with which we are dealing.
The name Brinsworth is of frequent occurrence in the register of the Assay Office about the year I773, while Brelsforth is not found there. Somewhat later we get yet another variant on the name. This is in the Directory of I821, where the following entry occurs: Wade Richard, Brainsforth Orchard." Now that is doubly interesting because while, on the one hand, Orchard Street had been made long before, on the other "Wades orchards were previously on the slope from Campo Lane to Westbar between Figtree Lane and Paradise Square, intersected in course of time by Bank Street and Queen Street in one direction and by North Church Street in the other. It would be rash to base any theory on the conjunction of the names Wade and Brainsforth, but the coincidence is at least curious. Robert Wade it may be remarked, and afterwards his widow, was for long years a maltster in Church Street. Amid all this amplitude of choice one can only say that the evidence is strongly in favour of Fairbank s form of Brelsforth. That spelling occurs not only on his published plans but on others prepared by him for the town anthorities giving details of the manner in which this part of Church Street was widened and Orchard Street made. One of these (I784) shows the proposed sub-division of Wadsworth's Croft and Brelsforth Orchard and gives both Robert Brelsforth and John Brelsforth as holding land affected by the improvement. No one who has been privileged to study William Fairbanks plans can have failed to be impressed with their beauty and painstaking clearness and accuracy and there is no contemporary authority who can in any way compete with him.
Up to very recent times there still remained, behind the Church Street frontages, traces of the buildings in which staple industries were carried on. The extension of the two banks and of the Cutlers' Hall have largely obliterated these; but as late as I88I, when the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank was enlarged, Mr. James Turner, wireworker, had a shop between the bank and the Cutlers' Hall; and up a court behind this was a building used by him as workshops or store rooms, but which before that had been called " the barracks." It was a lofty brick tenement, four stories high, the ground floor a dungeon-like place, with no window on the western side, and with only a small one on the east. This looked into a small yard, whence a staircase, cutting off a corner of the lowest apartment, led up to a strange-looking landing on the first floor, fifteen feet or more in height, and some twelve feet by six wide, with a curious window unglazed, but with a kind of wooden casement high up. The rooms on this floor were lofty, but they were divided by wooden partitions into dwelling places, occupied, like those on the floors above, except the top one, where there were workshops, by very poor people. On the wall near the landing window just mentioned, there were traces of an older staircase; and there were one or two small lights of an ancient character on the eastern side of the building. From these could be seen, between the structure and the high screening wall of the bank yard, the stone framework windows of a still older building almost ruinous. From the date of the title deeds, this was in all probability Elizabethan. This stone building was not entirely removed when the brick structure which succeeded it was erected, towards the close of last century, by Mr. Sykes, sheep-shear manufacturer, for workshops. Two houses in front of them, facing Church Street, were part of his property. The conversion of the old factory into dwellings was effected by his daughter Elizabeth, who came into possession of the property at his death, and who lived with her husband, Mr. Himsworth, plumber and glazier, in one of the houses.
Mr. Sykes, who is remembered as a Sheffield manufacturer of the old school, was the father of a dissenting minister at Hull, and of Mr. George Sykes, traveller for Mr. Francis Newton, Portobello. The latter was the father of the late Godfrey Sykes, an artist of whom the town is legitimately proud. A respectable old public-house, called The Grapes, kept by one Hall, projected beyond the line of the other buildings half- way across the footpath, until Mr. Aldam, between I8I7 and I82I, removed it to erect wine and spirit vaults. These after his daughter relinquished the business, ,were carried on by Messrs. J. B White and Sons, the rooms of Mr. Aldam's house being let as offices. " The Grapes," besides three windows in front, had small windows in the projection, the one looking up and the other down the street. It was here that the Sheffield Local Band used to assemble for practice. Its chief members were William Taylor, the French horn player, and his son John, a celebrated bugler, together with the Cleggs, father and son, trumpetersÑmen who have been mentioned previously as playing in the band at the Theatre. Mr. Hall's daughter eloped through one of the windows to get married, and from that time the prosperity of " The Grapes " left it, the customers falling away.
Below this, on the site of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank, came a well-built and respectable-looking house, with palisades in front, and with a fine old staircase. In this John Fisher, grandfather of the late Alderman William Fisher, lived. Behind it was a produ~tive garden, in which, in addition to the commoner fruits, grapes grew on the walls. Behind the garden, with Orchard Place between, were the horn-pressing works of Mr. Fisher. A very fine pear tree, a survival of Brelsforth's Orchards, long remained growing by the entrance gate. After Mr. John Fisher, who died in I 820, his sons Robert and William (the latter a fine old politician and reformer) occupied the house. When the Fishers went to live away from their works Mr. Robert Fisher to Pitsmoor, and Mr. William Fisher, first to Eyre Street and then to Woodside Mr. John Stacey, merchant, occupied their house, and from him it passed to the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank. But the works at the back were retained by the Fishers, and are still carried on, though the trade has changed its character, by their descendants.
Hereabouts there was a small shop kept by a quaint old barber who was something of a butt for the rough youths of the period. It was lighted at night by a tallow candle, stuck in a pint bottle, and the door was divided at the middle into two halves, after the fashion familiar in stables. Availing themselves of this arrangement, the tormentors of the old man quietly fastened the lower half of the door, and then, through the upper half, threw in lighted jumping crackers. It afforded them great amusement to watch the antics of the " ungain " barber, as in his alarm he skipped about to avoid the crackers, and made futile attempts to escape through the fastened door.
The Cutlers' Hall demands a chapter to itself. Among other buildings absorbed in the various extensions of this building, or of the adjoining bank, was the well-known Bird- in-Hand public-house, mentioned on an earlier page as the great resort of the chapmen.* In I774 its landlord was John Goddard, but in I787 he had been superseded by John Rose usually called Tommy Rose who was still there in I 797. The Directory of I787 speaks of the house as being in Brinsworth's Orchard (Orchard Street), as well as in Church Lane, but this, I imagine, indicates that, while the frontage was in Church Lane, the stable yard, from which carriers' wagons started, was at the back of the house. It disappears from view, with other public-houses and flour-dealers and cutlers in the street, early in the nineteenth century. The old plans of which mention has been made when speaking of eighteenth century doctors give S. Revell and W. Tim, replaced by Benjamin Roebuck's house; next, John Whiteley, Lon both plans; below that, S. Baxter, afterwards Benjamin Roebuck; then, at the corner, Executors of (Dr.) T. Young and Dorothy Osborn, succeeded by Mr. Asline, surgeon.
That corner house went through many mutations of occupancy in later years. Haslehurst and Son, grocers, were there in 1828; Mr. Alfred Ward, an ironmonger, in I833-37; and others followed, before it and its neighbours came into the possession of Messrs. Cole. There is a tradition that during the widening of the street, by the curtailment of the churchyard in I785, a number of gravestones bearing the name of Roebuck were removed, and might afterwards be seen "forming part of the floors in the cellars and kitchens of the houses opposite." But this, according to the late Mr. William Swift, was the imaginative amplification of the much smaller fact that when, more recently, the Sheffield and Rotherham Bank was making some alterations in its premises, a paving stone in the floor of the messenger's cottage at the back was found to bear this inscription: " Here was interred the Body of Rogger Robuck, late of Sheffield, joiner; he departed this life the 25th day of October, Anno Dom. (remainder of date illegible) and in the 70th year of his age." A " Roger Robuck," joiner, of Whirlow, was, in I659, indicted, together with two of the Brights of Whirlow, for " breaking into the forest of Thomas, Earle of Arundell, called Riveling Forrest, and killing a stag," and Mr. Swift was inclined to identify him with the Robuck of the tombstone. But it was at least a curious coincidence that a Robuck gravestone should help to flag the premises occupied by the Roebuck family at a much later date. In the churchyard, almost opposite the bank and warehouse of Roebuck and Fenton, is a tombstone, dated I752, bearing both names.
There are indications that Church Street was only very gradually changed, and that it did not lose its old characteristics until I8I7. An examination of the Directories shows that between I8I7 and I82I there was a great clearing out of the old tenants and the old trades. A few of these survived. There was Mr. John Hoyland, combining the calling of chemist and druggist with that of brass founder, who was in continuous occupation of No. 8 (which must have been close to, or upon the Sykes or Fisher properties) from I8I7 to I837 and perhaps longer. The Blackwells, hairdressers, also held on tenaciously; and Charles Wills, tailor, under the same roof as Dr. Hodgson; and George Woollen, miller and flour dealer; and George North, butcher; and the Harveys, confectioners; and the Liefs, watchmakers and pawnbrokers; and the Over- ends, surgeons. The last-named were on a site long occupied by malt rooms, familiarly known as " Old Rowleys."
But after I8I7 there is a significant disappearance of those working trades which had formerly largely monopolised the street. Scissor makers, merchants, pen and pocket-knife cutlers, razor manufacturers, and their kind all depart, and with them go a host of flour dealers, seedsmen, and so forth, who seem up to that time to have largely affected the street. And other evidence that the smaller tenements of the past had not been removed in I8I7 is found in the fact that although the population and the town largely increased after that year, there was a considerable falling-off in the residents in Church Street. The small Directory of I8I7 gives more people living there than its steadily swelling successors of I82I and I825, and these in turn give more than the larger one of I828. Even the Directory of I833, far more systematically compiled than any before, shows a diminution on I8I7 of one fourth, demon- strating clearly that this was the period in which large houses supplanted the structures of the past.
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