Totley History Group
Totley History Group

Meetings in 2017

The Cutlers Company and The Assay Office, Sheffield’s Two Unique Companies.

22 November 2017


Our speaker on Wednesday, 22nd November was Christopher Jewitt who gave us a very interesting and informative talk about The Cutlers Company and The Assay Office, Sheffield’s Two Unique Companies. 


The Cutlers Company 
The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was incorporated by the Act of Parliament in 1624. The area of jurisdiction was the original manor county of Sheffield and 6 miles by compass. The company comprises a master for one year, junior and senior members and searchers and assistants. In 1624 the company originally controlled the makers of knives, scissors, shears and sickles and in 1680s the makers of files and scythes were included. In 1860 steel makers and steel products were allowed to join. The main hall in the Cutlers Hall was built after they joined. The development of the free halls started in 1638, the present Cutlers Hall was built in 1832. At the Cutlers Hall there are collections of cutlery, silver, paintings and archives. 

Cutlers Hall Cutlers Hall

The company today has changed as industries have changed, the steel industry is not the same but still does make special high end steel. The company also continues to protect the name of Sheffield manufacturing, trademarks are registered holding the certification mark of Sheffield. There are civic and social responsibilities, the master cutlers, members and freemen play a role in Sheffield, often the master cutler becomes the Lord Mayor. 


Charity works are undertaken by the company, every year a challenge is run and recently pulled all the charities together and gave money to the smaller charities. Also working with education and apprentice schemes. 


Sheffield Assay Office
In 1701 5 provincial towns were appointed to assay silver, these were Bristol, Exeter, Chester, Norwich and York. The nearest office to Sheffield was Chester so Sheffield had to send their products there. Birmingham and Sheffield were established in 1773 and established by acts of Parliament.


The Sheffield mark was the Crown until 1973 when it changed to the Yorkshire Rose. Products are tested and hallmarked to protect the consumer, this applies for any item that is any item wholly or partly silver, gold platinum or palladium.

Sheffield Assay Office Sheffield Assay Office

The current assay office is opposite Hillsborough baths, tours are available. The hallmarking act in 1873 - The British Hallmark Council started the testing of precious metals in a furnace. In Dublin there is no minimum weight for hallmarking, however, in the UK there are minimum weights. 


The hallmarks are the entire set of marks: 
The sponsor of makers mark. 
Metal and fineness (purity) mark. 
Assay office marks. 
And non-compulsory if silver, gold, platinum, palladium 
Year letter 
Commemorative marks. 


The Assay Office also has archives and collections of silver. 

No other city in the UK has two such organisation, these are great assets for Sheffield 

Mary, Queen of Scots: The Final Journey (1584-1587)

27 September 2017


Our speaker on Wednesday 27th September was David Templeman who talked about The Final Journey (Mary Queen of Scots), giving us a very fascinating talk about Mary’s later life and execution. David has a new book that has been published which has received great reviews, priced at £9.99 with all the proceeds going to The Manor Lodge.

David Templeman's book cover David Templeman's book cover

David continued with Mary’s story from where finished at his last talk to our group in April 2015 (The Captive Years 1568-1584). Mary fled to England seeking Elizabeth’s protection, however, Elizabeth imprisoned her. The other options were more dangerous as if she was sent to Catholic countries with a larger population like France, Spain she could raise an army and make an attempt for the Scottish and then English throne. Custodians were appointed to look after her, the first one was George Talbot whose wife was Bess of Hardwick.


Among the prisons she was kept were Chatsworth where only the stand tower remains, Buxton spa town where she went to help alleviate her symptoms of arthritis, Worksop Manor, Sheffield Manor, Sheffield Castle. After the Throckmorton Plot in 1583 (an attempt by English Roman Catholics to murder Elizabeth and replace her with Mary) and the break up of the Shrewsbury marriage, Mary left Sheffield on 2 September 1584 and out of the custodianship of the Earl of Shrewsbury. She was not well and neither was George. She termed Sheffield Castle as a wretched prison. 

Wingfield Manor Wingfield Manor

There was a change of custodian to Sir Ralph Sadler, an elder statesmen, who agreed to this on a temporary basis until a replacement was found. The Earl of Shrewsbury accompanied him to Wingfield to supervise the change over. She arrived at Wingfield Manor on 2 September 1984 and departed on 13 January 1585, at Wingfield there were 220 gentlemen, servants and soldiers to guard Mary. There were 48 people in Mary’s entourage including 8 children. Autumn proved unusually wet, Mary suffered with rheumatism and Sadler fell ill too, Sadler asked to be relieved but a replacement could not be found. Preparations to move from Wingfield to Tutbury were made in January 1585, on the way she stayed at Babington Hall. 


She arrived at Tutbury Castle on 14 January 1585, aged 42, and departed on 24 December 1585. Tutbury was not a nice place, it was cold, a dilapidated house with little furniture, and in a Tudor winter it would have been miserable. By now Mary was infirm at 42 years of age due to lack of exercise and fresh air, often ill and in pain. In spring Sadler in a bid to improve Mary’s health took her out on several excursions, usually hawking. However, he was severely reprimanded by Elizabeth for this. Sadler by this time had had enough and yet another custodian was found, Sir Amyas Paulet, a rigid Puritan, a harsh, discourteous man who took over on 17 April 1585. Mary took an instant dislike to him and was insulted that someone under a Baron should be her custodian. He established restrictions on her, and imposed the searching of her belongings. Mary complained to the French Ambassador and mentioned the horrible malaria caused by the lack of drains and emptying of privies under her window which created an awful smell.

Tutbury Castle Tutbury Castle

Mary arrived at Chortley Manor on 24 December 1585. Paulet ceased all correspondence to and from Mary unless diplomatic. Mary appointed a Catholic priest called Gifford to get letters in and out of Chortley. She devised an ingenious method with the co-operation of a brewer from Burton by putting a leather pouch placed in the top of the barrel. 


The Babington Plot - Mary’s illness was at the fore, Paulet’s treatment was bad. In spring 1585 Anthony Babbington was drawn into a bold plot to liberate Mary and place her on the throne. Babbington’s plot was ambitious, however, there was a spy in the camp and a trap was set to catch Mary. Elizabeth had said that the only way she could execute Mary is it could be proved to Elizabeth that Mary wanted her dead. Babbington devised an assassination plan. Mary was now desperate and endorsed Babbington’s plan in writing, Mary had been so careful for all her captive years and this mistake was out of character. Mary was at the end of her tether and goaded into this action. Mary was then waiting for Babbington to kill Elizabeth. On 8 August 1586 unexpectedly Mary was invited to a stag hunt at Tixhall Manor, on the hunt the horses galloped towards her and this was her release she thought but it was the Queen’s soldiers to arrest her on high treason. She was taken to Tixall Manor and completely separated from her entourage. She stayed here for 9 days, her belongings were searched and confiscated, Mary was devastated.


She was arrested on 21 September 1586, she stayed at Hill Hall Abbots before staying at Burton on Trent and then Ashby Castle. On the 23rd she stayed at Leicester and arrived on 25 September at Fotheringhay with 2,000 soldiers who were ordered to shoot her if she tried to escape. Mary would not submit to the authority as she was a sovereign queen, she could only be tried by her fellow sovereigns or at worse a full parliament. Elizabeth was angry and sent her a strongly worded letter advising that she had tried to take her life and if she didn’t agree to the trial then will try her without her being there, May wanted her say at the trial and therefore reluctantly agreed to it.


The Trial commenced on 15 October 1586, Mary had been the great beauty of Europe and now had to be supported whilst walking into court, she was on her own with no one to stand her case, Mary was always at best when stout courage was required. Mary delivered a devastating account of her captivity over the last 19 years, bringing many counsellors to tears, she spoke very eloquently and denied involvement in Elizabeth’s murder. At the trial there was an absence of witnesses, there were discrepancies, no independent and trustworthy judges, no original documents. When the petition was given to Elizabeth she asked if there was any other solution that could be found, and wondered if poisoning was an option so that she need not sign the warrant. It is believed Elizabeth dithered over the signing for 6 months and once signed it was then sent immediately to Fotheringhay. Robert Beale read the warrant to Mary on 7 February during the evening. 

Peterborough Cathedral Peterborough Cathedral

The execution was held on 8 February 1587 just after 9am. She was escorted to the Great Hall to the scaffold with her entourage, dressed in all black satin and velvet and walked with resolution and dignity every inch a queen and showing courage and a smile. Her body was eventually moved to Peterborough Cathedral after 6 months. Mary’s son James moved her to Westminster Abbey to a magnificent tomb once he was King.


When news of the execution reached London people went wild with joy and the celebrations lasted for a week. However, Elizabeth was outraged, she had executed a fellow monarch. Mary’s son James became King of England and Scotland upon Elizabeth’s death. Mary’s spiritual home was France, she thought and wrote in French and most of her servants were French, she was a romantic and tragic figure.

The History of Newspapers in Sheffield

26 July 2017


Our speaker on Wednesday 26th July 2017 was Alan Powell who gave a well-attended meeting a most interesting talk about The History of Newspapers in Sheffield. Alan is the former editor of the Sheffield Telegraph and The Star.


The Sheffield Telegraph was founded in 1855 as the Sheffield Daily Telegraph. It was the city’s first daily newspaper and was published at 8 a.m. every day and cost one penny. The premises were sited on York Street, by the offices of James Montgomery (1771-1854) who was a poet and journalist and father figure of Sheffield journalism having launched the Sheffield Iris in 1794. His statue stands in front of the Cathedral and The Montgomery Hall on Surrey Street is named in his honour. 

James Montgomery Statue, East Parade James Montgomery Statue, East Parade, Sheffield

Other papers that were produced were the Sheffield Weekly RegisterDoncaster Flying PostSheffield ChronicleSheffield TimesSheffield Free PressSheffield Examiner and the Sheffield Mercury which was distributed through the Working Men’s Clubs was founded in 1807 and is still going today. 


The Sheffield Telegraph was founded in 1853 by a Scot named G Benson; his first name is unknown and historians can find little trace of him. Joseph Pearce, a bookseller in Hartshead, tbought the publication from Benson soon after its launch.


In 1864 William Leng, who was helping to edit a paper in Dundee, joined with Frederick Clifford, a London solicitor, in the purchase of the Sheffield Daily Telegraph and moved the business to the nearby Aldine Court. Leng was the Editor during the Sheffield Flood that killed more than 200 people as the water moved down the Loxley and Don valleys. Leng took charge of reporting and sent reports to all the national newspapers. This had not happened before and so the floods became national news. After this a number of the provincial newspapers got together to decide how they could distribute news stories between them. This is how the Press Association began. 

Under Leng the leading article or opinion column was a regular feature. Leng also started a campaign against the Sheffield Outrages (a series of explosions and murders by a small group of trade unionist militants) during which he was often under police protection. Leng was active in local politics becoming chairman of the Sheffield Conservative and Constitutional Association. He was knighted on the recommendation of Lord Salisbury in 1887.


The move into evening journalism began in 1887 with the first appearance of the Sheffield Evening Telegraph which eventually became The Star. The Weekly Telegraph lasted until 1951, its speciality being serial fiction. In 1907 there was the appearance of a 6 page special which was printed on green paper and called The Sports Special. However, everyone asked for the Green 'Un which became its name.

Aldine Court, High Street, Sheffield Aldine Court, High Street, Sheffield (Photo; Wikipedia)

Sheffield Newspapers were the first to use gas powered vans. Their offices had booths in them where reporters would call in with their stories. The basement of York Street was the foundry where the castplates were in the composing room or case room where the type was done by hand. There are tunnels under York Street which are man made. It is unsure what they were built for, could there have been a route to Sheffield Castle? There is a rock fall so no further investigation has been done. 


Just before World War I the newspapers came into the hands of Lord Kelmsley and the names shortened to the Sheffield Telegraph and The Star. The Kelmsley publishing group was bought by the Thomson Organisation in 1959. Ownership changed hands again in 1964 when the newspapers were bought by United Newspapers and in 1965 the Sheffield Telegraph was renamed the Morning Telegraph. The Property Guide kept it going for a number of years. However, when the Sheffield estate agents decided to produce their own paper, the Morning Telegraph ceased publication in February 1986. It was reborn in October 1989 and called the Sheffield Telegraph, a weekly paper which continued to be written at York Street but is printed now on the old site of Dinnington Colliery where other local newspapers are also printed. The York Street site now produces The Star, the Sheffield Telegraph and the Sheffield Weekly Gazette.

Dronfield Hall Barn Local History Fair

3 June 2017


Totley History Group was one of a number of local organisations that had stands at the Dronfield Hall Barn Local History Fair held on Saturday 3rd June 2017. This new event in our local calendar is in only its second year and it benefited enormously from being held in the restored and refurbished Dronfield Hall Barn, attracting significantly more visitors than in its inaugural year. Also exhibiting were The Old Dronfield Society, Chesterfield Canal Trust, Friends of Bishops House, U3A Family History Group, and the Dronfield Hall Barn Research Group.

Totley's Dronfield Connections display Totley's Dronfield Connections display

Our team presented a display produced especially for the event based around the theme of Totley's connections with its neighbours in Dronfield and Holmesfield. It will be remembered that until the early part of the 19th century, Totley was a hamlet and then township in Dronfield ecclesiastical parish. Totley baptisms, marriages and burials were conducted at Dronfield's Parish Church of St. John the Baptist.

14th century stone font 14th century stone font

There are a number of relics of these times still evident in the Church today including the stone font. Whilst the base is a modern restoration dating from 1916, the plain octagonal bowl is thought to be original dating from the fourteenth century.

Church safe, dating from 1638 Church safe, dating from 1638

The parish chest, at the rear of the nave below the tower arch, dates from 1638. It was given under the terms of the will of Henry Fanshawe, who founded the local grammar school in 1579, and was formerly used as the church safe. It has seven iron hasps and locks and against five of the hasps are crude carvings of the initials of the officers who held the keys, the fifth being an initial "T" for the Totley Churchwarden. All of these men would have to be present before the chest could be unlocked and opened.

Memorial stone to Anthony Woodhous and daughter Grace Memorial stone to Anthony Woodhous and daughter Grace

Set in the floor close to the alabaster tomb of Sir Richard Barley is a memorial stone to "Anthony Woodhous of Totly" and his eldest daughter Grace, both buried hereabouts in the 1670s. Brian Edwards stated that the initials "AW" alongside the date of 1704 above the doorway of Bryn Cottage referred to Anthony Woodhouse whose family had rented cottages on Hillfoot Road (or Town Street as it was then known) for many years but perhaps this Anthony was a namesake and descendant. Outside in the churchyard are two other memorial stones with Totley connections, one for the family of George Greaves, dating from 1701 and the other for Keturah, wife of Samuel Dalton, dated 1788.

Foundation stone laid by Mrs Milner, 1898 Foundation stone laid by Mrs Milner, 1898

Like Totley, Holmesfield was a outlying settlement within Dronfield parish. The original Church of St. Swithin dates from 1727 but the foundation stone of the current chancel was laid by Mrs Sarah Milner of Totley Hall on 11 April 1898. In the churchyard can be found the memorial stone to Mrs Milner (1857-1944) and her husband William Aldam Milner (1854-1931). Also in St. Swithin's churchyard are a number of other graves with strong Totley connections including Jessie Matilda Fisher (1893-1969), of Avenue Farm, wife of Joshua Tyzack; Rev. John Arnold Kerfoot (1860-1935), vicar of St. John's, Abbeydale; and Isiah Salt (1887-1947) and his daughter Josephine (1915-2013), better known to us as Jo Rundle. 

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Future Meetings



Unless stated otherwise our meetings are held in Totley Library on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.

Pauline Burnett's book The Rise of Totley Rise has been revised and updated. It tells the story of this small piece of land from 1875 when there was only a rolling mill and chemical yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, through Victorian and Edwardian times, two world wars and up to the present day. It has 94 pages including a useful index and many illustrations from private collections. The book is available now from Totley Rise Post Office priced at £5, or through our website when an additional charge will be made to cover packing and postage.

A few copies are still available of Sally Goldsmith's book Thirteen Acres: John Ruskin and the Totley Communists. Totley was the site of a utopian scheme funded by art critic and social reformer John Ruskin. In 1877 he bought 13-acre St. George’s Farm so that nine Sheffield working men and their families could work the land and, to keep themselves busy, make boots and shoes. Sally tells an engaging story from our history with a quirky cast of characters including Ruskin himself, the poet and gay rights activist Edward Carpenter and Henry Swan, a cycling, vegetarian artist and Quaker. The book is available to order online from the The Guild of St. George by following this link.

A recently discovered box of WWII correspondence reveals the story of how a small group of ladies from Dore and Totley recruited knitters from the west of Sheffield and how their efforts made them the country's greatest provider of Comforts for the Minesweeping crews of the Royal Navy. The story is told in Knit For Victory, a new book from Totley History Group. Written by Pauline Burnett, it has 82 pages and many illustrations. It is on sale in local shops and via our website.  Further information about the correspondence is in this inside page of our website: Dore & Totley Minesweeping Trawlers Comforts Fund

The story is told in Totley War Memorial WW1 of the ten men from our village who gave their lives in the Great War. Written by Pauline Burnett, Jim Martin and Dorothy Prosser, a chapter is devoted to each of the soldiers with a family tree followed by as much information as could be discovered about the men and their families. There is also information about their military careers and the actions in which they lost their lives. The book has 64 pages and is illustrated throughout with photographs of the men, their families and the houses where they lived.

Totley All Saints' Church Parish Magazines for the years 1985-2006 with notices of baptisms, marriages and funerals and accounts of spiritual, educational, charitable and social matters in the village. Scanned in full, including advertisements from local traders.

In 1893 during the building of the Totley Tunnel there was an outbreak of smallpox amongst the navvies which spread to some of the local population. 17 people were buried in communal graves in Dore Churchyard, 6 from "Green Oak" (Lemont Road). The severity of the outbreak was principally caused by overcrowding and insanitary conditions in lodging houses .

Kathleen Grayson was a 39 year old housewife when WW2 broke out. She volunteered for the ARP and became an ambulance driver. During an air raid on Sheffield in July 1941, and despite her own injuries, she managed to get a seriously injured casualty to hospital. For this she was awarded a commendation from King George VI. Together with her friend Hilda Duffy, Kathleen also assembled a team of knitters to provide essential warm clothing for the men serving on the minesweepers patrolling the North Sea.

We have recently bought at auction the WW2 memorabilia of Douglas Platts whose family home was at Hillside, 98 Queen Victoria Road. After the war Douglas returned to his civilian occupation working in the family scissors manufacturing business. He lived in our area for the rest of his life.

We are very grateful to Mrs Valerie Taylor of Dore for lending us the title deeds to Lower Bents Farmhouse which is reputed to be the oldest surviving building in the area with a proven history back to 1621. We have now scanned and transcribed the deeds which could be particularly interesting to anyone with a connection to the local Fisher, Dalton and Marshall Families. 

Until 1844, when Dore Christ Church parish was created, Totley township was part of Dronfield parish. We have now transcribed the burial records for former Totley residents at St. John the Baptist, Dronfield for the period 1678-1870 and at St. Swithin, Holmesfield for the period 1766-1901.

Whilst researching the history of the Dalton Family we found it useful to transcribe a number of early Wills and Inventories. These and those of many other Totley, Dore and Holmesfield people dating from between 1594 and 1856 have now been added to our website.

St. Swithin's Church, Holmesfield pre-dates Dore Christ Church and was the place where many of the people from Totley worshipped and were baptised, married and buried. Read the inscriptions on more than 750 gravestones in the churchyard including those of Mr. and Mrs. William Aldam Milner of Totley Hall, Jessie Matilda Tyzack (nee Fisher) of Avenue Farm, and Rev. J. A. Kerfoot of St. John's, Abbeydale.

Thomas Youdan was a music hall proprietor and benefactor who was living at Grove House, Totley in 1867 when he sponsored the first football knockout competition in the world for The Youdan Cup.

The words Millhouses Cricket Club can be seen in the background of team photos which are likely to date from between 1905 and the early 1920s, very probably pre-war. They were lent to us by Garth Inman who can identify his great uncle, Cecil Inman, in some of the photos and would like to know when they were taken and, if possible, the names of others present. Please take a look to see whether you can put names to any of the faces. 

Josiah Hibberd was seriously injured whilst working on the construction of the Totley Tunnel in 1892. He died on 9 May 1897 at the age of 38 having apparently spent most of previous five years in hospital.

Bradway House was built around 1832 by Henry Greaves, a farmer, together with two adjacent cottages. We have traced most of the occupants of the property from these early days up to the start of World War Two.

We have transcribed the baptisms records at St. John the Evangelist, Abbeydale from when the church was consecrated in 1876 until just after the start of World War 1. The records are arranged in alphabetical order based upon the child's name and show the date of baptism, the names of the parents, their home location and occupation.

Nick Kuhn bought an original 1920s poster which had this owners' blind stamp in one corner. The stamp almost certainly refers to a house named Wigmore that was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The first occupiers that we can trace are John Howarth Caine, a district mineral agent for the LNER, his wife Florence Jane (nee Prince) and daughter Doris Mary. The Caine family lived at Wigmore until 1936 by which time the house would have been known simply as 12 The Quandrant.

George Griffiths died on 13 December 1888 following an explosion during the sinking of number 3 airshaft at Totley Bents. His widow Florence died shortly afterwards and his two daughters Maud and Annie were adopted separately. Whilst Annie lived the rest of her life in Yorkshire, Maud emigrated to Australia in 1923 with her husband, John Burrows, daughter Margaret and son Jack, pictured above.

George Wainwright was said to have been born in Bamford, Derbyshire in 1714. He learned the trade of linen weaving and moved to Totley after his marriage on 1744. He became an ardent follower of John Wesley who paid many visits to Sheffield and who would have passed through or close to Totley. Preaching was at first conducted out of doors and when Wesley's preachers became harassed by a mob of Totley ruffians in 1760, George offered them safety of his own home. He remained a Methodist for all of his long life, dying in Dore in 1821 at the reputed age of 107.

Oakwood School was started by Mrs Phoebe Holroyd in 1925 initially as the Firth Park Kindergarten and, by 1927, as the Firth Park Preparatory School. Phoebe was still working at the school almost fifty years later when she was well into her seventies. We would like to hear from anyone with memories of the school. 

James Curtis was born at sea aboard HMS Chichester in 1790. He enlisted as a Private in the 1st Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards in Sheffield in 1812 and served in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War. He later fought in France and Belgium taking part in the Battle of Waterloo. In later life James lived at the Cricket Inn where his son-in-law William Anthony was the licensed victualler. He died in Heeley in 1882 aged about 91. 

Charles Paul lived in Totley in later life. He was a local historian and archaeologist who was an authority on the history of Sheffield, especially the two areas he knew best: Attercliffe and Ecclesall. His books and letters to local newspapers were published under the Latin form of his name Carolus Paulus.

Towards the end of the 19th century Totley Hall gardens became a well known beauty spot that attracted many hundreds of visitors from Sheffield on open days and the rock gardens became one of its most popular features. Mrs Annie Charlesworth sent us six glass transparencies of the rock gardens taken, we believe, in the early years following the Great War.

Anton Rodgers send us photographs of three water-colours that had been bought by his grandfather at a sale of the contents of Abbeydale Hall in 1919. One was of a scene said to be in York by A. Wilson. A second was of a seated child with a dog believed to be pianted by Juliana Russell (1841-1898). The third was of Lake Como, by Ainslie Hodson Bean (1851-1918) who lived for much of his life on the Riviera and in North Italy.

A Canadian correspondent sent us photographs of a set of silver spoons that were bought in a small town in British Columbia. The case contained a note signed by Ebenezer Hall indicating that they were a wedding gift to Maurice and Fanny Housley. We think we may have traced how they got to Canada and where they might have been since.

Green Oak Park was opened on 23 March 1929 on land that had been bought by Norton District Council from John Thomas Carr, a farmer and smallholder of Mona Villas. In later years, the buildings were used by the Bowling Club (the green having been built in 1956) and by the park keeper. However, the buildings appear to have been constructed in several phases, the oldest of which predates the park to the time when the land was used for pasture.

We believe the old Totley Police Station at 331 Baslow Road was built around 1882. Two lock-up cells were excavated just below floor level in the summer of 1890. We have traced the Derbyshire Constabulary police officers who lived there from John Burford in 1886 to George Thomas Wood who was there when Totley was absorbed into Sheffield in 1934.

David Stanley lived in Totley Rise in the later years of his life. Born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, he joined the 17th Lancers when he was 19 and rode in the Charge of The Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava where he was seriously wounded. For the first reunion of veterans in 1875, he told his story to a reporter from the Buxton Herald.

This picture postcard was addressed to Miss Abell, Holly Dene, Totley Brook Road and posted in Rotherham on 10 December 1907. Edith Annie Abell was born on 4 February 1887 in Sheffield and her family came to live in our area in the 1900s, staying for the rest of their lives.

Charles Herbert Nunn enlisted in the British Army on 23 August 1915 and was sent to France on 18 December 1915 to served with the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1916 it was discovered that he was underage and he was returned home. Shortly after his 18th birthday he re-enlisted and was again posted abroad where, in addition to this trio of medals, he was awarded the Military Medal. 

This certificate was awarded jointly by the Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance to Isaac Henry Williams, of Lemont Road, for his services during WW1 as a stretcher bearer. We are seeking anyone who can help us pass it on to a living relative.

In 1832 Samuel Dean pleaded guilty to stealing a quantity of lead from the Totley Rolling Mill and was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. He sailed on the Mangles and upon arrival in New South Wales he was sent to work for William Cox, the famous English explorer and pioneer. After receiving his Certificate of Freedom in 1840, Samuel became a farmer and went on to have a very large family. Samuel was born in Whitechapel around 1811 to parents Samuel Dean Snr. and Susannah Duck. His descendant Sarah Dean would like help in tracing his ancestry.

Ellen Topham was born in 1889 in Nottingham. Her parents had been living together since 1862 but had never married so it was most unusual that, after their deaths, Ellen was accepted into Cherrytree Orphanage. Even more so since her father, Snowden Topham, had been acquitted somewhat unexpectedly in a widely reported manslaughter trial. Ellen remained at Cherrytree until her death from pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 15.

Mabel Wilkes was a resident in Cherrytree Orphanage between 1897 and 1905. Her granddaughter Sally Knights sent us these images of a book presented to Mabel as a prize for her writing. Sally also sent us some personal memories of her grandmother and a photograph of a locket which contains portraits of Mabel and her husband Septimus Gale.

John Henry Manby Keighley was living at Avenue Farm when he enlisted in 1916. He fought in France with the Cheshire Regiment but after home leave in early 1918 he went missing. The Army were unable to determine whether he had deserted or returned to the front and been either killed or captured by the enemy. In August 1919 he was formally presumed killed in action but it appears he did not die but returned home to his family.

Horace Ford was admitted to Cherrytree Orphanage on 26 October 1888 at the age of six. He left at the age of 14 to become an apprentice blacksmith and farrier. Soon after his 18th birthday Horace enlisted in the Imperial Yeomanry to serve his country in the war in South Africa. His letter home to his Orphanage mentor tells of the lucky escape he had in battle.

Pat Skidmore (née Sampy) lived on Totley Brook Road from 1932 to 1948 before her family moved to Main Avenue. In this short article she remembers her time at Totley All Saints School where she was a contemporary of Eric Renshaw and Bob Carr.

As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have created a Virtual Museum instead. The latest addition to our collection is this double-sided Totley Rise Post Office oval illuminated sign which was on the wall of 67 Baslow Road before the Post Office business transferred to number 71. Please contact us by email if you have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.

Conway Plumbe was a man of many talents who came to live in Totley Rise around 1912. As a young man he had poems published by Punch magazine and is remembered in modern collections of WW1 poetry. A number of his paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy. An engineering graduate of London University, he joined the Civil Service where he rose to a high level as a factory inspector, publishing two books on the subject and giving a series of talks on workplace health and safety on BBC radio during WW2. In retirement he wrote a philosophical-spiritual work called Release From Time.

Inside Totley Rise Methodist Church there is a Roll of Honour commemorating the soldiers from its congregation who served their king and country during the Great War. For all but one of the 28 names the soldier's regiment is recorded in the next column. The exception is David Cockshott for whom 'killed in action' is written alongside yet he appears on no war memorial in our area and no record of a mortally wounded soldier of that name is to be found. We think we have solved the mystery.

Mrs. Kate Plumbe moved from Mansfield to Totley Rise with a number of her family in 1913 and became closely involved with the Totley Union Church. Her daughter Winifred became a missionary and headmistress in Calcutta for over 38 years following which she returned home to live with her sister Hilda on Furniss Avenue. Hilda had also been a teacher, missionary and, like her mother, a volunteer at St. John's VAD during WW1.

Thomas Glossop was a cutler and razor manufacturer who was well known amongst cricketing and gardening circles. Despite going blind, he was able to continue his hobbies with remarkable success

The Totley Union Cycling Society Prize Giving and Fete was held on the fields near Abbeydale Hall on 18 July 1914. Anne Rafferty and Gordon Wainwright have named some of the people in two wonderful photographs of the event. Can you identify any more for us? 

The Tyzack family are well known in our area for owning iron and steel trades at Walk Mill, Abbeydale Works, Totley Rolling Mill and Totley Forge. This article covers the history of the family from the late 18th century when William Tyzack the founder of the company was born until the early 20th century when Joshua Tyzack farmed at Avenue Farm, Dore.  

Walter Waller Marrison moved to Totley around 1897 with his wife and their two young sons. He was a house builder who constructed properties around Totley Brook and Greenoak before ill health forced him to take up less physically demanding work. In 1904 he took over the tenancy of the grocers and off licence at number 71 Baslow Road. After his death in 1908, his widow Kate and later their eldest son Jack continued to run the business until it was sold in 1934.   

Ron Wijk of Nieuw-Vennep in the Netherlands has sent us two scanned images of drawings of old cottages made by the celebrated Dutch painter, Anton Pieck (1895-1987) simply annotated "Totley", and wondered whether we could identify their locations.

We would like to thank Christopher Rodgers for bringing to our attention this fascinating log of the 85th Sheffield (St. John's and Totley Orphanage) Wolf Cub Pack for 1927-45. The log is published jointly by Sheffield Scout Archives and Totley History Group as a free PDF download. It is illustrated by no fewer than 92 photographs and is supported by a comprehensive index and biographies of some of the main participants.

Following our Open Meeting event on School Days, Roger Hart, Howard Adams and John Timperley have each written to us with their memories of Norwood School, which was located in the rooms attached to the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church on Totley Brook Road. 

On 22nd July 1909 the children of Dore and Totley Schools celebrated by a pageant the union of England under King Ecgbert which took place at Dore in AD 827. The pageant was devised and written by Mrs Sarah Milner and her daughter Marjorie and performed in a field close to Avenue Farm in front of a large audience. Photographs of the event survive together with a fragment of the script.

John Edward Greenwood Pinder had lived all 46 years of his life in Totley but on census night, Sunday 2 April 1911, he was not at home; he was in Derby Gaol serving a sentence of three months hard labour. From the age of 20, John had been in and out of local courts for a series of minor offences including drunkenness, assault, wilful damage and night poaching. Finally he was sent to gaol for cutting down and stealing 86 small trees which he sold in Sheffield market for Christmas.

We have already transcribed the census returns for Totley, Totley Rise and Dore. Now we have transcribed Census Strays. These are people who were born in Totley but are missing from our earlier transcriptions. They may have been living, working or studying elsewhere or just away from home on the night the census was taken. Two people were in prison. Others were in Union Workhouses, hospitals and asylums. Fully indexed strays from the 1851, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses are available now. 

We wish to thank Gillian Walker for allowing us to digitize an archive of material about the 1st Totley Scout Group. Most of the material was collected by Arthur Percival Birley in the period 1949-51 and there are many interesting documents pertaining to the building of the scout hut on Totley Hall Lane. In addition four Newsletters survive, two from the 1940s and two from 1971.

We are grateful to Angela Waite and All Saints' Parish Church for giving us access to baptismal and kindergarten birthday rolls dating from 1926 to 1941. We have transcribed the names, addresses, birthdates and baptismal dates and created an alphabetical index of entries for you to search. 

Edmund Sanderson, a Sheffield estate agent, aquired the land on either side of the old drive to Totley Grove in 1874 and divided it into plots for development. He called it the Totley Brook Estate. But before many houses were built, the estate road was severed in two by the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway line. The eastern end of the road became the cul-de-sac we now call Grove Road

John Roberts was born in Sheffield in 1798. He became a partner in one of the leading silversmiths firms in the city before moving to Abbeydale Park in 1851 and extending the house in Victorian gothic style. He paid for the building of St. John's Church and was believed to dispense more in charity than any other person in the neighbourhood including his protege Ebenezer Hall.

The Coke Family owned the Totley Hall Estate from 1791 to 1881. With the aid of a family tree to guide us, Josie Dunsmore takes us through the story of their tenure. 

When the Rev. D'Ewes Coke inherited the Totley Hall Estate in 1791 it had two farms. Josie Dunsmore tells the story of how the two farms were combined under the tenancy of Peter Flint with the aid of field maps drawn by Flint himself and later by the Fairbanks family.

Do you think you recognize this face? More than sixty photographs of the girls and teachers at Hurlfield Grammar School for Girls in the 1940s were given to Totley History Group by Avril Critchley, who was herself a student at the school. The collection includes fifteen form photographs from June 1949. There would have been a number of girls from the Totley area attending the school in those days.

Christine Weaving tells the story of her 2 x great uncle George Edward Hukin, a Totley razor-grinder, and his life-long friendship with the academic, poet, writer, and free-thinker Edward Carpenter.

Eric Renshaw (pictured here on the right with Bob Carr) grew up and lived in Totley from 1932 to 1960. Many of his memories are of a sporting nature.

We are very grateful to Gordon Grayson for giving us this splendid sale document for the Norton Hall Estates, following the death in 1850 of Samuel Shore. The estates included a large part of Totley and the document has maps and illustrations, plus schedules of land and property with the names of tenants. We have also added a transcription of the entries for Totley and Dore. 

Watch this Youtube video of the talk given by Dr. Mark Frost and Sally Goldsmith on Ruskin, Totley and St. George's Farm. The talk was hosted by Totley History Group on 20th May 2015 as part of the Ruskin in Sheffield programme. Also enjoy a video of the outdoor performance Boots, Fresh Air & Ginger Beer written by Sally.

When Jacqueline A. Gibbons became interested in what made her father tick, it began a journey through WW1 archive records and led to her flying from Toronto to visit the house and village where he lived and the countryside that he so much enjoyed. Jacqueline reminds us that in the early 20th century Sheffield was a driving force of industry and that Totley was the place where many of its remarkable people lived and where they formulated their ideas.

Edgar Wood was the designer of The Dingle, 172 Prospect Road, built in 1904 for Rev. William Blackshaw, the founder of the Croft House Settlement. The house, together with its western terrace and boundary walls, has now been awarded Grade II listed building status. 

What was probably "the most perfect little garden railway in existence" in 1910 was to be found in the grounds of Brook House, Grove Road, the home of its designer and constructor, Guy Mitchell. Look at some wonderful photographs and read reports in newspapers and a full appreciation in Model Railways magazine. 

We have now completed our transcription of Totley School's Admission Records for the period from 1877 to 1914. There is also a useful index to the names of the scholars and to their parents or guardians. We are very grateful to Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library for allowing us to transcribe and publish these records and for permission to reproduce the photograph of a specimen page of the register.

On 8, 9 and 11 November 2014 Totley History Group held an exhibition at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Below are additional links to some of the photographs we were lent and stories we researched especially for the exhibition.


Oscar Creswick was a local farmer who served with the Army Service Corps in Salonika and who after the war returned to Totley to become the innkeeper of the Cricket Inn and a member of the village's successful tug of war team.


Walter Evans was a market gardener who also ran a small grocery shop on Hillfoot Road when war broke out. He fought with the Machine Gun Corps at the fourth battle of Ypres. After the war, Walter ran a grocers shop at the top of Main Avenue.


Fred Cartwright was another Totley soldier who survived the Great War. He fought in France and Belgium and although he wasn't wounded he was gassed and was home on sick leave when his daughter was delivered by Nurse Jessop during a snowstorm in January 1917.


Maurice Johnson joined the Yorkshire Dragoons, a territorial unit, on 1 Jan 1914 and so was called up at the very start of the war. He fought throughout the war on the Somme, at Ypres and at Cambrai. After demobilization in 1919 Maurice returned to his old occupation in the steel industry.


Bill Glossop lent us a letter written by his father, William Walton Glossop to his wife describing life in the army during training in the north east of England and asking her to keep him in mind with the children.


The photo above provides a link to an album of photographs taken of WW1 Hospitals at St. John's, Abbeydale and the Longshaw Estate.


Nora Green, of Chapel Lane, was only 14 when war broke out. In 1914 she was ill with diphtheria and was sent to the isolation hospital at Holmley Lane, Dronfield. Nora recovered and wrote a letter of thanks to one of the hospital staff and the reply she received survives. 


We have collected together on this page the names of local men who appear on various War Memorials and Rolls of Honour in Totley, Dore, Abbeydale, Norton, Holmesfield and Dronfield.


Unfortunately we were unable to identify all the photographs we were lent of Totley Soldiers. Please take a look at this album to see if you recognize any of the missing names.

This walk visits locations that have strong associations with Totley during the First World War. It includes the homes of the ten soldiers from the village who lost their lives, the auxiliary hospitals, war memorials, and even the rifle range on which the soldiers trained. Take a look at the first draft of a new walk by the authors of "Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918"

We wish to thank the Trustees of Cherrytree for giving us permission to publish transcriptions of the Cherrytree Orphanage Admissions Book entries for the years 1866-1929. There is also an alphabetical index for you to look at.

With more people having access to faster broadband and mobile networks, we have uploaded seven full and unedited oral history recordings and also added more short excerpts for you to listen to.

Our transcriptions of local trade directories have been expanded to cover the 95 years from 1837-1932 and have also been indexed. From the days when there were a handful of farmers, stone masons, saw handle makers & scythe grinders to the wonders of the Totley Bridge Garage Company, Betty's Boudoir and The Heatherfield Shopping Centre.

We continue to add to our Totley Newspaper Archive. Recent entries have included several about The Plumbe Family, Thomas Glossop and accidents during the construction of Totley Tunnel.

Totley Church of England Parish Magazines for the years 1922-1939 and 1948-1967 with notices of births, marriages and deaths and accounts of spiritual, educational, charitable and social matters in the village. 

Around 90 photographs taken by Stuart Greenhoff for his thesis A Geographical Study of Dore and Totley including several of Totley Moor Brickworks. Superb!  

Chronologically ordered snippets of information recorded by Brian Edwards during his many years of research into our local history.

Read the inscriptions on more than 700 gravestones in  the churchyard.


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