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THE GREAT SHEFFIELD FLOOD


The Great Sheffield Flood occurred just before midnight on March 11th 1864 when the newly constructed Dale Dyke Reservoir above Low Bradfield burst causing some seven hundred million gallons of water to go down the Loxley Valley at around twenty miles per hour and up to sixty feet deep in places causing the loss of two hundred and forty people on the night, research has since found around another sixty died as a result of contracting illness in the weeks and months following the flood.

The first fatality of the flood was a two day old baby swept from its mothers arms whilst trying to escape from the cottages in Low Bradfield, the largest number of lives were lost in the Malin Bridge area where ninety five lost their life (it is thought that there were 163 living at Malin Bridge at the time. The General Cemetery in Sharrow, Sheffield is where the majority of the victims are buried although a number are buried in Chapel and Church Graveyards along the route.

Dale Dyke Reservoir was the first of three reservoirs in the Bradfield area to be constructed, Agden was in the process of being built and Damflask was only at the planning stage and all work had to be halted until the inquiry into the disaster was completed and this resulted in a complete rethink on how reservoir embankments should be constructed. When Dale Dyke Reservoir was finally completed the new embankment was built some two hundred yards inside the old reservoir was knocking around a third of the previous capacity off and resulting in the difference being absorbed by the construction of Strines Reservoir as a “top up” for Dale Dyke. There are four stones marked C.L.O.B. which marks the centre line of original bank at Dale Dyke.

The largest loss of life in one family was the Armitage family from Stag Inn and cottages at Malin Bridge and numbered twelve, they are all interred at Loxley Chapel Graveyard in one biog grave apart from two who were never found but there names are on the headstone with a note that they were assumed to be lost in the flood.

One of the sons of the Chapman family from Little Matlock died in the flood and his body was found almost in Conisborough some seventeen miles from his home, again he and his family are all buried in Loxley Chapel Graveyard and although I know the grave location there is no family headstone.

Every year local historians and enthusiasts mark the occasion with walks, talks and sometimes exhibitions of artifacts etc.

This years walks (2020) take place as follows:
Wednesday March 11th starting from Low Bradfield car park at 10-30am to Dale Dyke and return around 1-00pm
Thursday March 12th starting from Malin Bridge Supertram Terminus at 10-30am going up the Loxley Valley and finishing around 1-00pm at Damflask Reservoir Embankment.














HORSA HUTS

Hutton Operation for the Raising of the School-leaving Age
The UK Government passed the Education Act 1944 this act supported the expansion of education to raise the compulsory education age to 15, one extra years schooling for all.
This act resulted in the need to accommodate an extra 168,000 pupils with extra classroom provision for each school.
The government answered the problem by designing a concrete, timber and corrugated roof flat pack delivered to 7000 schools called the Horsa Hut. These flat packs were erected within the school boundaries to accommodate the extra school year. Originally intended to last approx. 10 years as a temporary solution, with modifications and renovations, some are still being used today.
Within the Bradfield Parish Council there are six schools. The Horsa Hut existed on each site, most being demolished during School modernisations over the years, there was recently one at Oughtibridge School but this was demolished during the extensive extensions. Loxley School still have their Horsa Hut, this has been extensively refurbished and re roofed. It is still used today as a joint Nursery and After School club on a daily basis.
Wharncliffe Side School donated their Horsa Hut to the community by a Trustee deed. The Trustees rebuilt and extended the Hut into an unrecognisable building which is now the Wharncliffe Side Community Centre. Steve Buckley one of the Trustees remembers the original Horsa Hut from 1955 when he first moved into the village.
The unrecognisable Hut at Wharncliffe Side and Loxley’s Hut being the last remains of the Horsa Huts from the 1940’s In Bradfield Parish.




WELL BLESSING

Bradfield Parish council sponsor the annual Well Blessings at St. James Church Midhopestones. This involved blessing the St James Well dedicated to the farming communities and the Potters Well situated in the village of Midhopestone, dedicated to industry.

This Well Blessing is an ancient ceremony established in the 11th century, these ceremonies held in superstitious reverie long before Anglo Saxon, Dane, or Normans came, continuing throughout the following centuries to bless the St. James and Potters Wells in Midhopestones.
The Well Blessing service occurs in September at the Grade 2 listed St James the Less church on Chapel Lane, Midhopestones.

Thomas de Barnby was Lord of the Manor of Midhope 1337 to1354 when his nephew Robert de Barnby took over. It was probably Robert who founded the church laying the foundation stones in 1360. It was originally a private Chapel for the Barnby family. After the Reformation, the family found themselves impoverished after incurring heavy fines for continuing to follow the catholic religion. They consequently sold the entire Manor.
In 1690, Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite Hall bought the Manor for £2256, restoring the church in 1705 and adding the bell Cupola.

The Grade 11 listed church is administered by Penistone & Thurlstone Team Ministry, retaining the 3pm service time established originally so that the farming congregation could attend between morning and evening milking.
There is reputedly a tunnel leading from the chapel to Midhope Hall which was the Manorial Home of Elias de Midhope. After speaking with the current owner of the Hall who farm the land and live in the Hall, it appears that during years of farming and gardening, 'many' dressed stones have been dug up in the direction where a tunnel could have run from the Hall towards the church - interesting.

The church has original timber, several closed pews with family names still inscribed and ascending to the upper gallery the chain is still present near the bell .

Photos courtesy of Malcolm Nunn








Midhope Church d.pdf




ROBIN OF LOXLEY

The Riddle of Robin of Loxley: Hunting for Robin Hood at Loxley Primary School
Scholars have spent many years debating the existence of Robin Hood, but now in a forgotten corner
of Loxley new light has been shed on an actual documented figure who potentially fits the origins of
the legendary ‘Hooded Man’.
Loxley Primary School uses the land now known as Robin Wood (a totally coincidental name given
just a few years ago!) for its woodland curriculum but research is looking like it can prove that it is –
or very, very close to – the location of a reference given in 1637 as ‘Little Haggas Croft; wherein is ye
foundacions of a cottage where Robin Hood was borne’, not across the way at Normandale as has
previously been assumed for many years. This reference has long since been overlooked as it is
much later than when Robin was supposed to have lived, but is not too far removed from linking
Loxley to a man known as ‘Robert Dore of Wadsley, also known as Robert Hood’ who was arrested
as one of the leaders of the 1380 Peasant’s Uprising in York. Robin was the traditional shortened
form of Robert. His arch-enemy (the Mayor at the time)…a man named Gisburn (although John, not
Guy)… and his punishment: a stint in The Tower before receiving a full pardon from good King
Richard (the II in this case, not the Lionheart as tales would have us believe) two years later.
Some of this woodland shows evidence of being from antiquity, and one part backing on to Loxley
Common contains dense masses of extremely mature holly trees, an essential requirement for
peasant’s pasture land which is revealed by its old Yorkshire place-name ‘Haggas’. Combined with
other newly discovered ‘on the ground’ evidence, Loxley teacher and Archaeological Sciences
graduate Dan Eaton feels that the school’s work may hold the key to unlocking a long-lost riddle. He
suggests:
“Very little has ever been recorded of Loxley in the Middle Ages prior to 1400; no-one has ever really
established where the original settlement was at this time, and certainly on flatter ground close to
the river would the most obvious suggestion, not way out on the slopes above Rodney Hill. This side
of the valley going towards Bradfield was a hunting area known as Loxley Chase with a region known
as Loxley Common (which was probably the worst land available in the area) allocated for peasant
usage. This was conjoined to Wadsley Common – and a stone’s throw in the bigger picture from
Little Haggas Croft – so the two areas would have had indistinguishable boundaries. Landowners
cared about where their own land started or finished, not where common lands met. It is perfectly
acceptable that Robert Dore could have been born just this side of the ‘border’ rather than the better
historically established Wadsley. A legacy of oral history passed through several generations of
sedentary families could easily have kept this locational knowledge alive until John Harrison’s visit in
1637. Ask yourself this: if Loxley is the earliest recorded birthplace of Robin Hood, why would anyone
have ever heard of such a backwater locale at the time if there wasn’t some truth in it?”
There is still much to be done, but hopefully Dan and Loxley Primary will be able to continue to
untangle the Gordian Knot that is the origins of Robin Hood in the coming months.



                                                          

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