SchooIdays - Memories and History
                     Pre 20th. Century



Mr IN Gosling's plan (I736) High Street is called Prior Gate, and as late as I800 it was recorded that the north side "still retained, amongst the oldest inhabitants, the name of Prior Row." To account for the name, the guess has been made that in the times when the Sheffield Church was an appanage of the Monastery of Worksop, this was the route by which the officiating prior came to hold service. But such Worksop priors as were Vicars of Sheffield lived here; for on appointment of a canon to a dependent living it was customary to excuse him from residence in the Monastery; and the distance between Worksop and Sheffield was too great for constant passings to and fro between the services. Further, with the exception of the two instances cited above, we know of no authentic record of the name Prior Gate. On the contrary, legal and other documents of an earlier date use the name High Street. In the I700 list, and all through the century, it is so called. The " Local Register" itself, which speaks of Prior Row in connection with King John's apocryphal visit (see p. 273), quotes a story from the Sheffield, Mercury about the knife with which Felton stabbed the Duke of Buckingham at Portsmouth (I628! having been made by Thomas Wild, a cutler living in Crooked Billet Yard, High Street‹not Prior Gate.* High Street has never boasted any public buildings, except occasionally a post office. It has always been given up to _________ * " Local Register," p. 20 See Gatty's Hunter, p. I66, as to the improbability of the story. Crooked Bill or Crooked Billett Yard is believed to have been at the top of High Street, running behind the Thatched House Tavern, and called in modern times Foster's Court. Mr. John Holland said he had conversed with aged men, who remembered the sign which gave the name to a yard in Fargate; but this must be a mistake, for in the Sheffield Register, May I6, I794, there is advertised as to be let, " That well known and good established Publick house known by the Sign of the Crooked Billet, in High Street in Sheffield.'' ___________ retail traders, or professional men. These have, however, often been notable citizens, taking large part in the affairs of the community. At the top of the street, next to the Church Gates, on the site of Pawson and Brailsford's present premises, was the iron- monger's shop of Thomas Heaton, Town Trustee and Church Burgess. When the old Town Hall was built, close to him, in I700, he supplied the "chaines" for the hall candlestick. He was elected a member of the Town Trust in I724. A tombstone in the churchyard records that he died December I9, I734, in the 48th year of his age, and tells us that " He was easy and agreeable in every path of private life, and useful to the publick as a member of the three publick bodies of the Town, the Church, and the Free School, and died generally lamented." Then follow the names of his wife and of a number of their daughters, who long remained in occupation of the High Street premises, ending with " Hellen, the last survivor of this truly Respectable Family, who departed this life, the I8th June, I795." We get an instructive glimpse of the High Street of the past in a reference to Mr. Heaton's property in a document dated I726.* In that year Heaton leased to the Rev. John Balguy " part of his garden adjoining the Boys' Charity School." On this Mr. Balguy built a dwelling-house, and it is evident that Mr. Heaton's garden had extended behind his shop, for the whole length of the churchyard, to the Charity School. Mr. Balguy was at one time a teacher in the Grammar School, where his father had been headmaster from I664 to I696; and mention of him brings us into connection with another High Street worthy and Town Trustee, Mr. Christopher Broomhead, for the Rev. John Balguy married one of Christopher Broomhead's daughters; Mr. Robert Drake, surgeon, another; and Mr. Christopher Robinson, headmaster of the Gran mar School, and the author of various theological books, a third-+ _______ * " Local Notes and Queries," Sheffield Indepenednt, March I5, 1877. + Gatty's Hunter's " Hallamshire," pp. 250,255, 308-9. Ante, p. 174. _______ Just below the Heatons, at the corner of York Street, and included with it in a semi-circle of posts and chains, was the old-fashioned draper's shop of Mr. Thomas Vennor, one of the founders of Queen Street Chapel.* It was carried on after his death in I787 first by Jones, Butcher, and Firth, and then by Mr. John Butcher alone. Although Mr. Vennor was never actually a member of the Town Trust, he was a candidate at the election of I778, but yet another High Street resident, Thomas Gunning, merchant, was preferred before him. Mr. Gunning's prosperity is indicated by the fact that, with the exception of Mr. Winter, silver-plater, he was rated at a higher assessment than any other inhabitant of the street. At the opposite corner of York Street was Mr. Ezra Ridgard, after- wards Ridgard and Bennet, a well-remembered bookseller; and a near neighbour of his was Nathan Andrews, the watch- maker who owes his fame to the manner of his death, rather than to his life. + The houses on the south side of High Street, as well as those on the north, boasted extensive gardens. Another legal document‹dry and formal on the face of it‹is most illumin- ating in the light it throws on this street and its inhabitants at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is an indenture, dated I708, between Robert Sorsbie, of Sheffield, gent., Malin Sorsbie, of the City of London, the only brother of the said Robert, and Annie Sorsbie, of Sheffield, spinster, their only sister, of the one part; and Henry Waterhouse, of Sheffield, gent., of the other part. It relates to "a messuage wherein the said Henry Waterhouse and Joseph Nicholson, William Parks, and James Parks do now, or lately did severally dwell, and an orchard and garden, or gardens therewith belonging and adjoining, situate in High Street, all which belonged to the said Robert Sorsbie, or to his late father Robert Sorsbie at the time of his death."# Now we know, from other sources, that the messuage thus bought by Henry Waterhouse, a well- known attorney, who died in 17I9, was a little way above where George Street is now, or between that and White Bear Walk; and that the " orchard and gardens " behind the house ------------ * Ante, pp I62-3. + Ant, p. 53 # Local Notes and Queries,~ June 22, I876 ----------- extended to Norfolk Street, for Miss Ann Waterhouse, the youngest daughter of the said Henry Waterhouse, lived there, and died there in I787. She is remembered as the last lady in Sheffield who wore the once fashionable hoops, which made her entrance into church a matter of some difficulty. We can see, from the names appended to this deed, how the neighbours were called in to witness the signatures. John Trippett, "alehouse-keeper" and churchwarden, who supplied ale for the rejoicings when George I. was crowned, was fetched across the street from the "Grey Horse"; Christopher Stacey, tallow chandler, and Town Trustee from I7I3 to I720, from whom were bought candles for the illuminations at the same corona- tion, was enlisted in the service; and with them came James Jennings, hardwareman; Samuel Moore, gent.; and Richard Wright, junior, son of the founder of carriers' wagons from Sheffield to London. The Sorsbies are one of those indigenous families whose names, like the Trippetts, Scargells, Creswicks, and many others, run all through Sheffield's annals. As Sawsbie, Sorbie, Soobie, Soresbye, Soresby, Soresbie, Sorsby, Sorsbie, and Sorby, they have been always with us‹certainly from I594, perhaps even longer. One Robert Sorsbie was Town Collector in I6I5, and the first of the Masters Cutler in I624; Malin Sorsbie was Town Collector and Master Cutler in I647, Master Cutler again in I657, and Town Collector again in I659. Another Malin Sorsbie was, presumably, a mason and builder, frequently employed from I658 to I674 in repairing the Lady's Bridge, or the AImshouses; and down to I689 we find " Mr. Soresbie's man leading stone to the Lady's Bridge." Another Robert Sorsbie, no doubt the father mentioned in the deed of I708, was Master Cutler in I669. He was one of the Town Trustees appointed under the Charitable Uses Decree of I68I, which put the Trust on a new footing. His son, the executor of the above deed, sat on the Trust from I703 to his death in I754. He was also a Church Burgess. The elder Robert Sorsbie did not deem it incompatible with his position as Town Burgess to borrow, on bond, and retain in his hands for many years, money of which he was the trustee. And we meet uith entries like the following: " Paid for ale when the Townesmen mett at Mr. Soresbye's" (I698), and "Spent at Mr. Soresbies at a meeting about the Sessions " (I669). But we must not suppose from these that, like some subsequent Trustees, he was a victualler. What, probably, is meant is that drink was sent for from outside when " the Townesmen " met at his house for consultation on matters of business.* The Sorsbies and the Waterhouses were not only brought into conjunction in the above-mentioned indenture. In their deaths they were not divided, for members of the two families lie side by side in the Parish Church. From Hunter's copy of the inscription on the Waterhouse tomb, it appears that Henry Waterhouse, the attorney, of High Street, had a large family.t+ His youngest son was the Rev. Robert Waterhouse, whose comprehensive will, dated I777 (he died in I778) includes such names as Jane and Martha, daughters of Thomas Heaton; Tho. Mitchel, of Sheffield, dealer in buttons; Anthony Thompson, of Whiteley Wood, dealer in saws; and especially various members of the Wreaks family, his next- door neighbours in High Street, with whom he seems to have been on terms of close friendship. Marmaduke Wreaks, peruke maker, otherwise hairdresser and toy-dealer, is mentioned; and there are small legacies left in trust for Marmaduke's sister-in-law, widow of Robert Wreaks, and her children, one of whom, whether under her maiden name of Barbara Wreaks, or as Mrs. (Bradshaw) Hoole, or Mrs. Hofland, became one of the most prolific of Sheffield writers. Her life was written by Thomas Ramsay. Up to I795, at which time she was a frequent anonymous contributor to the local newspapers, she kept a milliner's shop in Church Lane. Then she went to Bath, and in I796 married Mr. Thomas Bradshaw Hoole, a Sheffield manufacturer. Being soon left a widow, she resided at Attercliffe, and while there published, by subscription, a volume of " pleasing " poems, containing many local allusions. ____________ * The same custom obtained in other places. " Whenever Sir Thomas Lucy visited Stratford a pottle of wine, and a quartern of sugar, or a quart of burnt sack and sugar, were placed at his disposal, either at the Swan or the Bear, or at one of the Aldermen's private houses." Sidney Lee's Stratford-on-Avon," p. 24I. + Gatty's Hunter's " Hallamshire," p. 251. Ante, p. I90. ___________ With the proceeds of this she opened a boarding school at Harrogate; but the period of her greatest literary activity was after she had married Mr. Thomas Christopher Hofland, the landscape painter. She mixed largely in the literary society of London, and died at Richmond-on-Thames in I844.* Neighbours of Marmaduke Wreaks were the Trueloves, and in Truelove's Yard William Lee, having migrated from the other side of the street, carried on his business as cord- wainer, otherwise boot and shoe maker. He was a well-known character, a regular frequenter of the " Bay Childers," and so largely imbued with the betting spirit that, on seeing the violent swaying of a vehicle in which his wife and only son were preceding him to Doncaster Races, he cried out, " Five to four that our John's killed ! " On the opposite side, almost facing George Street, was the well-known ironmonger's shop kept by Joseph Nowill and Robert Kippax, sometimes alone and sometimes in partnership. Mr. Nowill built the schoolroom at the top of the Paradise Square steps, as a Freemason's Lodge; and he also erected for himself a house at East Bank. Of Caesar Jones, druggist, at the lower corner of George Street, though a well-known citizen of his day, nothing is recorded so remarkable as his baptismal name. Mr. Andrew Raynes, surgeon, mentioned previously, was a door or two lower down; and then came the quaint, old-fashioned window of Thomas Penglington, or Penlington, who kept a jeweller's and watchmaker's shop there for at least forty years, and was a respecectted participator in the town's public life. And this part of the street was never without its saddler. Matthew Heald was the first we can with confidence (I774) identify. His daughter, in I776, married one of her father's workmen, Joseph Cecil, who ultimately succeeded to the business. After- wards, through the extinction of the Rotherams, he inherited their estates and became Lord of the Manor of Dronfield.+ __________ * See Alderman William Smith's ~ Charcteristics," &c. (1889). Also Sheffield Miscellany, vol. 1., p. 84; and ~ Local Notes and Queries," July 20, I876. Aso ante, 130, I82, I87, 189, I9l, 240. + One of the Cecils was predecessor of Mr. J. T. Dobb, chemist and druggist, Westbar, through whom the Free Library has become possessed of an old account-book recording the rents of the Dronfield Manor from 1660 to 1714 ___________ On the lower side of Mulberry Street was the old Stone House, for many generations occupied as wine and spirit vaults. Standing somewhat behind its neighbours, and solidly built of stone, it formed a notable contrast to its surroundings. E On the hopper of the spout at the back were the initials, E M 1727 but the meaning of these has never been satisfactorily determined. Elmsall has been suggested, and Marriott; for there is a suspicion that through one or other of these families it may have come into possession of the Greaveses of Page Hall, who undoubtedly at one time owned it. Somewhere in the eighteenth century it got into the hands of one of the Watsons, hereafter to be mentioned. He put into it, as whole- sale and retail dealers in wines and spirits, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, who had been in his service; and after the death of her husband, in I785~ Mrs. Howard kept it until I822, when she died, leaving it to her son, Mr. Thomas Howard. In his last years Mr. Howard lived in a little cottage near The Hills, Grimesthorpe Road, and finished his career in the Stamp Office. His brother, Mr. William Howard, was brought up in the silver-plating business, which he carried on with his son, Mr. Sterling Howard, the friend of Professor Sterndale Bennett. After the Howards, the business of the Stone House was carried on by Mr. John Porter, then by Porter and Prest, then by Mr. Prest alone, and ultimately by his son, the late Major Prest, of the Hallamshire Rifles. Then it fell a victim to street improvements. Nathaniel Lister was a grocer and tallow chandler below the old Stone House. He must have been in, or perhaps just above, the old-fashioned timbered house which is still remem- bered as occupied for a great many years by Mr. John Cooper, confectioner. The street was then so narrow that loads of hay have been known to stick fast, unable to pass the projecting upper storey. This, with Mr. Bawer's wine vaults just above, was one of the survivals of a class of property, now wholly gone, which long reminded us how quaint and picturesque, with their timbered gables, and latticed windows, and swinging signboards, the chief streets once were. The bottom premises on the south side, where High Street ended and the Market Place began, were at this time occupied by Mr. John Winter, silversmith and plater, whose firm in I774 was Winter, Parsons, and Hall. The representative of an old family, he was a leading citizen, and an active member of the Town Trust from I772 to I792. A curious arrangement conne~ed with the early water supply was on his premises; for Mr. Matthewman put up "a large reservoir" over Mr. Winter's candlestick factory for supplying the town with Crookes Moor water. Messrs. Bardwell and Son subsequently ccupied the back part of Mr. Winter's premises as an auction room.* Their front at a later date was used for the Post Office, in the time of Mr. William Todd, founder of the Sheffield Mercury. There are three things that must strike very forcibly anyone who looks into the history of the old Sheffield taverns. The first is the prominent position that their landlords, in past days, took in the affairs of the town, and the manner in which the learned professions were recruited from their sons. The second is the disappearance of many inns once foremost in rank‹a disappearance so complete that not even the sites can now be identified. The third is the intimate part these houses played in the life of the town, when they were the accepted meeting places of the leading citizens, and the rendezvous where all public, and a large measure of private, business was transacted. The endeavour to discover traces of the old inns which have vanished might be expected to be easy. On the contrary, it is surprisingly difficult. Tradition and old letters sometimes help, but quite as often they tantalise by the vagueness of their alluring stories. The Burgery records teem with items of expenditure at the taverns; but the entry is generally in the name of the landlord only, or, if the _________________ * Messrs. Bardwell frequently had their auction sales at Mr. John Beardshaw's, The Cock, Hollis Croft, and other inns. See, e.g., Iris, February 6, 1795, on which date property is to be sold having " a branch of soft water laid in to serve the whole premises "‹a' very rare thing in those days. Landlords met their tenants at the " Cock," to receive rents, ameliorating the transaction with a dinner, or supper; and it was often busy with billeted soldiers. _________________ sign of the house be given, the landlord's name is omitted. It is only by research in the dusty archives of lawyers' offices that definite clues to the old taverns can be obtained. Of the eight victuallers in High Street named in the Directory of I787, the houses of four only survived to our own times‹the ~ Grey Horse," the " Blue Bell," the " White Bear," and the " Bay Childers," otherwise " Bay Horse." Of these the ~ Grey Horse," which is believed to be the oldest tavern in the town, is alone unchanged. The familiar tradition is that King John, on his way to York, stayed at this house. Nobody has ever been ahle either to prove or disprove the story of King John's visit, the date assigned to which is I215. The king, it is true, visited Yorkshire on several occasions, from I207 to I2I3. The detailed itineraries of his journeys have been preserved, but with the exception of a doubtful mention of Rotherham, he came no nearer to Sheffield than Tickhill. Nor, with a huge train of courtiers and attendants, did he travel in a style compatible with the notion of putting up at an ordinary inn. ~When he had passed, the country had been impoverished by the rapacity of his purveyors and the require- ments of his suite. The credibility of the legend of his visit is further destroyed by the addition of a circumstantial statement how his Majesty, graciously pleased with his reception, granted the townspeople many privileges (which was not John's custom without larger value received than a night's lodging), including " the appointment of Town Regents, with a Town Clerk (who was to be a man of learning and well versed in the law), and a town seal." Now a king may come and a king may go, and leave no trace; but corporate privileges are less evanescent. and no vestige has been found of those King John is said to have left behind when he mounted his charger and rode away from the " Grey Horse." * Recent improvements have been fatal to the " White Bear," which stood at the .... the street on the south side. Its landlord in I787 was David Jones, and in I79} it was the __________ * The date of Lord Furnival's Charter is 1297 (Edward I.); King John died in 1216. Hunter ( " Hallamshire," p 59n) says Edward III. visited Sheffield ___________ meeting place of the " Norfolk Club." The " Bay Childers " was also on the south side, standing back between George Street and Mulberry Street, with an old public right of way through its yard from the one to the other. It is called " The Horse and Cat " in the Directory of I774~. Prior to I794, when it was rebuilt, the landlord had been John Henson. He was succeeded by Joseph Henson, a name we shall meet with in connection with the " George and Dragon " Another name also associated With both houses is Lawton.* After existing for many years as the " Queen Victoria,' the " Bay Horse " is now succeeded by an inn of modern type, the Westminster." The " Blue Bell" has a curious history. An old honse with this sign stands to-day on the north side of High Street, facing George Street. But formerly there was a " Blue Bell" on the south side, below Mulberry Street, + and behind it the gardens across which that street was afterwards made. The title deeds are very complicated, because they relate to five different properties, ultimately united in the hands of the Younge family in the nineteenth century. They date from 170I. In them the holdings, long in the family of William Brookes, a prosperous peruke or periwig maker (circ. I723 to I763)~ whose wife was Vicar Dossie's daughter, and whose sister married Mr. Joshua Matthewn1an of the Town Head (page I98), are mixed up with the property of Crofts, Cres- wick,, Cliff, Heald, and others. Many of the names of High Street worthies, found herein, tempt to large digression; but the point which concerns our present purpose is that we identify the inn long known to have stood next the "Old Stone House" (page 27I) as the " Blue Bell," and are able to associate it with the name of Amory. The property is described as in the High Street, near unto the Market Place, called and commonly -------------- * William Lawton, landlord of the " Bay Childers,'' fell down dead in the Market Place in I811. + When Gosling's plan was made in 1736, neither Mulberry Street nor Change Alley was in existence. All was gardens from the backs ot the High Street houses to Alsop Fields (aferwards Norfolk Street). A deed of 1786 shows that some time previously the garden formerly adjoin- ing Ralph Elmsall's (the ~ 0ld Stone House ") had been let off in pieces for building, when part of it is ~ now usell as a street ' ------------- known by the name of the "Blue Bell,"* heretofore in the possession of Benjamin Crofts, a grocer, the owner, from whom William Brookes bought it (I75I), and successively occupied by Thomas Bland, George Amory, Thomas Amory (his son), Phyllis Amory (Thomas's widow), Timothy Millington (I797), and Joseph Law. In I827-28 it is spoken of as formerly called the " Blue Bell," but since used as liquor vaults by Messrs. Ward and Bawer, and then by Mr. George Bawer, in his business of a spirit merchant (p. 27I). The site of this became in later times the "Clarence Hotel." It is now included in Mr John Walsh's premises. The " Crown," a High Street inn of repute, often resorted to by the " city fathers," especially from I7IO to I727, is lost in the mists of time. It was at that period kept by John Morton. That it was a tavern of importance and well fur- nished, is evident from the fact that when, in I72I, the eighth Duke of Norfolk visited the town, and gave a series of dinners and suppers to the leading inhabitants, considerable quantities of plate, pewter, crockery, and table linen were borrowed of Morton. In I74 Morton's widow advertised the inn to be let, describing it as " near the Church Gates, with stabling for twenty-four horses." This may have been the inn reputed to have stood where the London City and Midland Bank is now, and therefore running beside the property of the Heatons already described. York Street, which is of later date, probably ran through what had been the " Crown " premises. Of the " Red Lion," " with good convenience and stabling thereto" kept by Christopher Bennett up to I75,~ we only know that it was " in the High Street, near the Market Place." Within the last few years there was an old house, bearing the name of the " Red Lion, ' a few steps up the Hartshead Passage, close to where, near the end of the eighteenth century, were the back premises of Haslehurst's Bank. _________ * A shop conveyed from Claudius Lord to Matthew Heald (1788) is spoken of as " adjoining to the houses of Benjamin Steer and Elizabeth Dale, widow, one of these known by the name of "The Duke of Norfolk~s Arms,' but then of James Edmonson and known by the sign of the ~ Blue Bell.' " Edmonson was a saddler. __________ The position of the ~ Cock," opposite to which Revel Homfray's Sheffield Weekly Journal was printed, has long been conjectural. We can now say positively that this inn stood on the north side of High Street, alternatively called Prior Row,* "leading from ye Market Place to ye Parish Church," where now (I9OI) is the West End Clothiers' Company, at the corner of what has been christened High Court. Its history is this. The property was, in I593, sold by Richard Skinner, of the Hill, Hathersage, to William Shemeld, at first described as a yeoman, but afterwards as an "inholder." In I603, Shemeld being dead, Francis Barlow, chapman, bought it of his representatives. Barlow and his family carried it on during the greater part of the seventeenth century, acquiring also, from Joshua Shemeld, the next house on the west. John Ellison had the "Cock" about I686. In I695 Thomas Barlow, nephew of a later Francis, let it to John Wood, who kept it until his death in I709. Meantime, in I702, it had changed ownership, Thomas Parkin, the elder, ironmonger, having bought it from the Barlows. Wood's widow carried on the " Cock " until I734, and it is repeatedly mentioned in the Bur- gery accounts down to I748, when one Anderton was probably landlord. Then it ceased to be an inn, and was the residence of Elizabeth Parkin, spinster, daughter or granddaughter of the above Thomas Parkin. In I752, Madam Parkin having gone to Ravenfield, her kinsman, Walter Oborne (page II4), occu- pied this and the adjoining house; and when, on her death (in I766), Mr. Oborne inherited Ravenfield, Thomas Gunning, of the Lead Works (page 267), succeeded as occupier. In I786, Mr. and Mrs. Oborne being both dead, the property was bought by Mr. Simon Andrew Younge, in whose family it still remains. In that year the upper house was occupied by Younge, Sharrow, and Whitelock, merchants; afterwards by Mr. Charles Frederick Younge, jeweller, silversmith, and hardwareman. on its site __________ * The statements on p. 265 as to Prior Row needs qualification. Prior Gate, it is true, occurs only on Gosling's plan, and the earliest deed (1593) speaks of the ~ Cock '' as in High street. But in subsequent documents Prior, or Pryor's Row is commonly given as an alternative, and is some- times so used as to imply less the street itself than the houses on its north side. I have met with no instance of the name Prior Row bein~ applied when houses on the south side are spoken of ___________ was in recent times the " Star," now (I9OI) the " Carlton." The lower house (the old " Cock ") was at the same time the residence of Mr. Gunning's widow . It ultimately became Rimington and Younge's Bank, and the drapery shop of Messrs. Cowen and Dixon. Next below this was, from I832 to I846, the office of the Shcffield Independent - now Mr. Samuel, jeweller, and the Ceylon Cafe. Here stood, side by side with the " Cock," another notable contemporary tavern, the " Rose and Crown." Although our knowledge of this house is incidental, coming to us chiefly through references to the adjoining property below, it is very precise. From I675 to I8I2 there are transactions relating to the bottom house on the north side of High Street (now, I9OI, Manfield's shoe shop), whose ownership passed through the hands of Woods, Newbolds, Butlers, and Staniforths to Younges. It is described as " in a place called the Prior's Row, being on the north side of a certain street there leading from the Market Place towards the Parish Church," having on the east messuages occupied in succession by Bretland, Simmons, Furniss, and others (late, I90I, Mr. Lawton, p. 309); and having, on the west, the house which was, at the dates here given, in the following hands: James Goodie (I675), Thomas Pegg (I68I), Christopher Pegg (uho died in I700), Jane Pegg, his widow (died I723), William Watson (I723 and I728), John Greaves (I786 to his death in I804), James Heiffer, to 1807; Thomas Watson, I807 to I8I2, when Mr. William Younge, then owner, replaced it with shops. This house is not, it is true, spoken of as the '- Rose and Croun" until I79I; but we know all the above to have been victuallers; and a plan accompanying the deeds leaves no doubt as to its position and name. The curiously embarrassing thing about the " Rose and Crown" is that we have three inns with this sign‹the one just described; another across the way, at the junction of the Market Place and High Street (south side); and a third, still surviving, in Waingate. The only proof of the existence in the eighteenth century of the last named is that a Lodge of Freemasons (called, from the name of the house, the " Rose and Crown," but afterwards the " Britannia") was held there in I765-I769. In I779 the Lodge met at the " Rose and and Crown" in High Street. The Market Place Rose and Crown was the bottom tenement on the south side of High Street‹below Prior Court, and immediately above (west of) the ~" George " of our own day. Its site is that referred to on page 272 as afterwards occupied hy Mr. John Winter, Mr. Bardwell, and Mr. William Todd. The shop~ before Mr.Todd published the Mercury 1815, and had the Post Office there, was in the hands successively of George Botham, confectioner; James Cooper, linen draper; and John Middleton, grocer. .A deed of 1803, after reciting the several holdings, says: " All and singular of which said premises were fomlerly used and occupied as part of the ' Rose and Crown Inn.' " And in I812 it is referred to as "fomerly occupied as an inn, and then known and called by the name of the Rose and Crown~ It was here, in recent times, hefore being engulphed in Mr. John Walsh's premises, that Messrs. Cutts, Sutton, and Co. had an optician's shop, and there was an eating-house, entered by a narrow passage on the east, in the rooms above and behind. As Sam Peech s name is not met witll in connection with the High Street house, it is reasonable to suppose that this was the " Rose and Crown" he occupied in I774, before he took the " Angel." It is as useless to guess at which " Rose and Crown " Nevill Simmons sold hooks by auction in 169I-92 (p. 310), as to specu- late why there were two houses of that name so near one another. The High Street ~ Rose and Crown " was only two doors above Simmons' shop; the Market Place " Rose and Crown ' faced it. So he was more likely to patronise one of these than Waingate. In speaking of the " George " of former times, we must put out of our minds the inn recently known by that name (now, I901, called " The Bodega "), on the south side of the Market Place. That, as will be shown presently, was really the "George and Dragon." The first : George ' was Watson s, at the bottom of the Hartshead Passage. From I721, " Watson's" looms large in connection with all meetings, and treatings, and festivities. ln 1720 a Commission in Lunacy sat " at the house of William Watson, the sign of ' The Bush,' in Sheffield"; and this is the solitary note of a tavern of that name.* In 1723-I728 he was at the High Street " Rose and Crown." In 1739 he bought property extending from the Market Place " to ye top of ye Hartshead "; that is to say, the whole line between the Hartshead Passage and Watson's Walk, as far as the " Dove and Rainbow"‹four houses and gardens. It was here, no doubt, that the " George" arose. The earliest reference to this sign is in I76I, when tickets for a performance in the primitive theatre in the " Angel " yard were " to be had at Mr. Watson's, at the George.' " Then, in I764~ tbere is in the Sheffield Public Advertiser (June 26) an announcement that George Smith and Matthew How had begun running, from the " George Inn," " The Sheffield, Matlock, Derby, and Birmingham New Machines in two days," fare one pound. And the same newspaper, on July I5-22~ I769~ contains the advertisement of a sale by auction, "at the house of Mr. Thomas Watson, known by the sign of "lhe George,' in Sheffield." The Directory of I774 has the following: entries Watson, Thomas, inn-holder, ' George,' ___________ * In 1741 Mr. William Watson was elected a Town Trustee; he resigned in 1784, but he lived Until 1791 when he died at Hags House, near Cannon Hall, Firvale, at the great age of ninety-seven. He was popularly known as " Fecky (Confectioner) Watson "; and Hunter appends to his pedigree (in " Familae Minorum Gentium ") the remark, " said to have been a confectioner.'' He had twenty-three children, of whom William Watson, of Shirecliffe, died 1793, was the eldest and last survivor. This William, and another son Thomas, were also vintners. ~ Expenses at Mr. Watson's, junior," appear in the Burgery accounts in 1749; after that the entries are sometimes ~ Thomas Watson's,~ or ~ William Watson~s,~ or simply ~ Watson's." Thomas Watson, who pre-deceased his father, was landlord of the first ~ George," in 1761. His sons, Thomas and John, inherited the Hartshead property, and of these Thomas, who died in 1832, continued in the business there into the nineteenth century. In 1796 Mr. Montgomcry, writing from York Castle, directing payment of sundry small debts, says: ~ I owe Thomas Watson, innkeeper in the Hartshead, something for horse hire to Doncaster. I also owe the other o]d Thomas, who lives there and lends horses, a trifle.'' The brother of this Thomas Watson, John, attorncy, succeeded his uncle William at Shirecliffe Hall, and was the father of that honoured citizen, Sir Henry Edmund Watson, whose decease (February i7, I90l) is recorded as this page is passing through the press. _______________ Market Place. N.B.‹He has a mourning coach, palls, cloaks, and post-chaises to let." " Woollen, Matthew, inn-holder, ' George,' Market Place." This duality of tenure is puzzling. We meet with the name Woollen (Christian name not given) in an advertisement (Iris 1st February, I796) announcing the sale by auction of " that old-established and well-accustomed public-house, The Three Fleurs-de-lis,' Angel Street, in the occupation of Mr. Woollen, with brew-house, stabling for ten horses. In the Registe~, October 25, I793, "that old and well- accustomed Inn, known as the ' George,' in the Market Place where two hackney coaches are kept," and with stabling for forty horses, is advertised to be let, application to be made to Mr. Thomas Clark, on the premises; and this Thomas Clark is given in the 1787 Directory as inn-keeper, Market Place: so presumably he had succeeded the first Thomas Watson at the " George." We have already seen that Mr. Thonmas Watson (son of the earlier Thomas) was landlord of the " Rose and Crown," High Street, from I807 to 1812. When the Watsons' "George," at the bottom of Harts- head, was given up, the sign was not transferred, as has been supposed, to the Market Place " Rose and Crown ' The fact is that the " George," as we know it, was, up to 1824 or later, consistently called, in legal documents, the " George and Dragom" Its history goes back to I682, when, James Hoole. " pewterer," being tenant, George Hutcheson, distiller, sold this and the adjoining hollse, wherein he lived, to Joshua Bayes, cutler. Bayes, in turn, sold them (l690) to Stephen Newton, butcher, of Little Sheffield, and in his family their ownership continued until I788, when Mr. Samuel Peech (then of the "Angel") bought the inn for £1,500‹finding £50 himself, and borrowing £1,450 on mortgage. At this time the inn was in the occupation of Mrs. Mary Kinder, and so it continued until, the property quickly passing (I790) from Peech to John Eyre, merchant, the latter sold it (leaving the whole of the purchase money of £I,600 on mortgage) to Joseph Henson (see " Bay Horse "). Under Henson, his widow, and his widow's second husband‹John Baxter, the house was carried on until I807, when, John Lawton being landlord, it was sold to William Wright, " hostler." Then Wright went off to the '~King's Head," and Lawton bought the "George and Dragon." But on his death in I8I6 it was too heavily encumbered to be an advantageous legacy to his widow and son; and in I837 the latter was described as " late of Sheffield, innkeeper, but now of Dronfield, schoolmaster." There was, from at least I77I to I787, another inn close by ‹between the " George and Dragon " and Change Alley. This was the " Golden Cross," kept by Samuel Shepley. But from the sum at which it was rated, and from the fact that the landlord combined the trade of butcher with that of victualler, it was probably not an inn of the first rank. Of greater im- portance‹for it was one of the most heavily rated properties in the town, higher than the " Angel " or the " King s Head " ‹was the " Coach-and-Six"; yet, curiously enough, it has " left not a wrack behind." When projects were afoot, in I785, for rebuilding the markets, it was proposed to add the ground of the late " Coach-and-Six," and the slaughter-houses, to the Market Place, and to build corner-shops. In I808 the name " Coach-and-Six " had been applied to an inn in the Hay- market, for one Sarah Hodgson succeeded her husband in a house so called in that year. The " Swan " is another inn whose name occasionally flits tantalisingly across our view. It is mentioned only once in the Burgery accounts (I748), and that casually; but we get a more distinct reference to it in particulars of the charges which the Duke of Norfolk incurred when, in I72I, as above described, he entertained some of the leading inhabitants. Among the payments were items for coach-horses, saddle- horses, lodging livery-men, for ale, beans, and so forth, "to Mr. Laughton, at the " Swann.' " In 1754 Francis Lister published The Sheffield Weekly Journal, " near the Shambles," and " opposite the ' Cross Daggers.' " This " Cross Daggers " was part of the property of Mr. William Burton (see plan, page I64). In I79I Robert Sandys was successor to Ann Asline, deceased, at this inn; and in I828 it was kept by Richard Greenwood. In I847, when from Mr. Burton's successors the property had come into the hands of Mr. Francis Colley, we get a note showing that the old taverns were becoming " tied houses." The place was then a beerhouse, let to Mr. Bradley, of the Soho Brewery, while " part of the 'Cross Daggers,' now separated there- fronm,'' was used as a warehouse by Mr. Colley. There were still stables, .&c., at the back; and included in the property was another beerhouse, the " Golden Fleece," in the occupation of Robert Smith. The passage leading from Fruit Market to Norfolk Street, with Queen's Court running parallel slightly above it, was still called Cross Daggers Yard in the large Ordnance Map of I853. 'The recent extensions of the " King's Head," giving its upper rooms a frontage to the Market Place, bring it over the site of the old " Cross Dagers." The early title-deeds of the " Angel " have, unfortunately, been lost, and the abstracts that exist do not go further back than I740. From the decree of the Burgery quoted on page 3I7, it woluld appear that Mr. Thomas Pegg was either owner or landlord of the "Angel" in I682-3. But we have seen above that he is spoken of in a deed of I68I as in possession of the " Rose and Crown," High Street, at that time. ln I7I7 the trustee of Christopher Pegg (who had died in I700), conveying that house to Jane Pegg, his widow, speaks of her as having managed her husband's estate, and as still inhabiting the " Rose and Crown." It is, therefore, evident that the constant references in the Burgery accounts to treating and drinking at " Mr. Pegg's," I680 to I7OO, and at " Mrs. Pegg's," I700 to I720, relate to the High Street " Rose and Crown," and not to the "Angel." Thus we are altogether at sea as to who had the latter inn until Samuel Glanville took it in I753. There are, indeed, evidences of important taverns, other than the " Cock," the ~ Crown," the " George," and the " Rose and Crown "‹as " Horsfield's " (I720 to I739) and " Turner s " (I707 to I727); but there is nothing helping us to identify the "Angel " with these names. From I740 the " Angel " went through rapid changes of ownership‹from Daniel Robinson to John Bright, to William Doughty, to William Doughty, junior, to John Bourne, to William Lee, and finally, in 1779, to Samuel Peech, who, having succeeded to the tenancy on Glanville's retirement in I776, bought the property in I779. Peech continued the "Angel " until I808. After a short enure under his son, William Peech. the estahlishment was broken up, and the stock sold off (I810). The property fell into five different ownerships in I8I5, the inn itself being bought by Mr. Thomas Walker, a neighbouring tinman. It was re-fronted, fifty yards being thrown into the street, and the entrance, which theretofore had been below the house, was made above it, thus substituting the straight carriage-way as we see it to-day, for a yard that, after leaving the street, crossed the back of the house. The inn was reopened in I8I6, with Mr. David Hawkins for landlord. It was then that the terra-cotta angel, who has been futilely affecting to blow blasts on her brazen trumpet all these years, appeared. She was modelled by Rossi, a sculptor, who once lived opposite. In I663, and again in I668, one Robert Boughton issued penny tokens, and from the fact that they bore, on the reverse, a king's head, crowned, the late Mr. Llewellyn Jewitt thought it probable that Boughton was an innkeeper at the sign of the " King's Head. ' He is mentioned as an Overseer of the Poor in I663. It has always been said that in I7I6 the landlord of the " King's Head " was Samuel Thompson, who had married the widow of a still earlier occupier, Mr. Dickenson. Mrs. Thompson took a third husband, one Richard Yeomans, who died in I729, and both he and his widow managed somehow to obtain what was then thought the great privilege of interment within the Parish Church. Henry Hancocks was the next tenant. He was there in I732, at which date the property (including the old gabled house at the east corner of Change Alley and Fruit Market, then held by John Crooke, grocer), having been temporarily alienated, came back into the Webster family, and Leonard Webster (Town Trustee, 1744- 1773), besides beingr owner, seems to have been also landlord, 1745-I768. From that time to I80I, when he retired in favour of George Howson, James Kay, or Key, kept the inm And this brings us to the time of "Billy Wright," whom we have seen coming here from the " George and Dragon "; and under whom, until he handed over the reins in I824 to his son-in- law, William Woodhead, the " King's Head" was a famous coaching-house. It was Leonard Webster who cut up the bowling green formerly attached to the " King's Head" into plots, Change Alley being run througrh them. There was at the " Tontine " none of the long tenure of occupancy that is a characteristic of some other inns, and none of the mystery which surrounds their career. Landlords came and went in rapid succession. The first (I785) was James Wtson, He was succeeded in I793 by Mr. Carnelly. In I798 Mr. Ashmore followed, but removing in I805 to the " Commercial Inn " (afterwards the " Mail Coach "), Mr. Simpson entered upon the " Tontine"; then, in I809, Mr. Batty; in I820, Mr. John Lambert~ who had been a woollen draper in Rotherham, and had married Mr. Batty's daughter; in I832, Mr. William Lyon Bickley, who married another of Mr Batty's daughters. With Mr. Bickley the line ended. He survived his house, and became an iron merchant, living. until I866, small, round, and rubicund. In a MS. memorandum relating to the year I780 or there- abouts, there are mentioned, as creditable places of resort by the better class of manutacturers, tne " French Horn," Hartshead; the " Cock," Castle Hill; and the " Star," Bull Stake. Other old taverns that have disappeared were the " Crown and Thistle," Irish Cross; the " Mitre " and " Spread Eagle," Fargate; the " Chandlers' Arms," Bull Stake; " Well Run Dimple, ' Barker Pool; the " Owl" (or " Hullett"), popularly known as " Shout-'em-down's," at the bottom of Norfolk street‹the headquarters of recruiting parties; the " Cock," Hollis Croft; and the " Ball," Hawley Croft. There was even a " Bull and Bitch." These once famous inns have all gone now, but other eighteenth century taverns that remain are the " Black Swan," Snighill; the " Yellow Lion," Bull Stake (Old Haymarket); the " Travellers," Snighill; the "Dove and Rainbow"; the " Falstaff," "Wicker; the "Old Red House," Fargate; and a few others. Note :- The printing of this book was so far advanced when much of the information in the foregoing chapter reached me, as to compel severe condensation. The old inns are more fully dealt with in articles in the Sheffield Independent, March 30, I901, and following weeks .

******************************************************************************** * This out of copyright material has been transcribed by Eric Youle, who has * * provided the transcription on condition that any further copying and * * distribution of the transcription is allowed only for noncommercial * * purposes, and includes this statement in its entirety. Any references to, * * or quotations from, this material should give credit to the original * * author(s) or editors. * ********************************************************************************

Back to Chapter Index

Home Page