Friday, April 17, 2020

Sheffield’s Civil War Survivors

This fortnight we’re revisiting an exhibition held at the Central Library a couple of years ago.  In it, we considered how Sheffield’s rich history had been shaped by conflict and major events in the wider world.  It is difficult to predict how our city may be changed by the current world crises of pandemic and climate emergency, but as history clearly shows, change will inevitably come…

In this series of blog posts we will pick out a selection of stories from our city’s past and hopefully whet your appetite for more.  You can delve deeper by visiting our website and view thousands of images at Picture Sheffield, the city’s depository of over 100,000 local images. 

Despite the destruction of Sheffield Castle and the dramatic changes to the appearance of Sheffield following the Civil War, a handful of local buildings still remain that date from those turbulent times. They stand today as silent witness to the extraordinary events of the centuries before.

Old Queen’s Head Pub, Pond Street 
The oldest part of the building was once known as the Hall at the Ponds and may have been used as a banqueting hall.  The earliest recorded mention comes from a 1582 'inventory of contents' made by George, the Six Earl of Shrewsbury, although the building is thought to date from around 1475.  

In 1770, it is referred to as the former wash-house to Sheffield Manor. It went on to become a private home before conversion into a pub during the mid 19th Century.  Looking at the two pictures below we can see that much of the timber structure was at some point covered before later being revealed during refurbishment.  

Broom Hall, Broom Hall Road, Sheffield
Home of the Parliamentary supporting Jessop Family during the Civil War.  These pictures show the oldest portion of the building, which was built between 1509-1547, and the later East Wing which was added by Rev. James Wilkinson.  In the 1970s, the house was restored by David Mellor.

Bishops’ House, Norton Lees 
Located in what is now Meersbrook Park, the building was home to William Blythe, a Parliamentary Commander in the Civil War and one of the men supervising the demolition of Sheffield Castle in 1648. Plasterwork depicting the Talbot coat of arms inside the house is believed to have been taken from Sheffield Castle during its demolition, perhaps as a ‘trophy’ by Blythe.

It is thought the building may have been named after the sons of William Blythe, John, Bishop of Salisbury and Geoffrey, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. 

Bishops' House opened as a Museum in 1976 following a renovation funded by Sheffield City Council and English Heritage.  Today, it is managed by a volunteer group, The Friends of Bishops' House.

Carbrook Hall
Said to be Sheffield's most haunted building, Carbrook Hall was home to Parliamentary Colonel, Sir John Bright and it is believed the building was used as a Parliamentarian meeting place during the siege of Sheffield Castle.  The stone building is a 1620 addition to a much older building possibly dating back to the 12th century.  Sadly, this earlier structure was destroyed.  In the 19th century the hall became the Carbrook Inn and operated as a public house until relatively recently.

In 2019 and following a careful refurbishment, Starbucks reopened Carbrook Hall as a coffee shop.

Population of Sheffield in 1692 - 4000

Tomorrow we take a look at Chartism, a working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848 and the first mass working class labour movement in the world.   In particular, we'll take a closer look at the 'Sheffield Uprising'.

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