REMINISCENCES OF SHEFFIELD by R. E. LEADER
CHAPTER 06 - AMUSEMENTS, LEARNING, AND LITERATURE.
FROM what has been said in previous chapters as to the social condition of Sheffield, it will easily be understood that, in the eighteenth century, the tone of the town intel- lectually was low, while any signs of culture and refinement were rare. That part of the community which affected any- thing of the cultivation and graces of " Society" was small and narrow. The chief " function" in which it asserted itself was the Assemblies, held in their earlier days in two rooms of the Boys' Charity School, where, Mr. Hunter tells us, "the company enjoyed conversation, or the mazy dance, by light not of wax, which beamed from sconces of tin." It was not the tallow candles that shocked the feelings of the benevolent Samuel Roberts,* but the fact that the master of the school farmed the children and made his profit out of famishing them, pocketing everything he could save from the sixteen pence per head per week allowed for their maintenance. And it was further to enlarge his income that this worthy was allowed to hire out the rooms in which the boys ought to have slept, for the dancing and card assemblies. That it was possihle for the beauty and fashion of Sheffield to disport itself to the detriment of young lives, gives us a vivid insight into the callous state of public feeling‹but perhaps it may be charitably ascrilbed rather to want of thought than to lack of heart. The scandal was stopped in I762, when the subscribers erected for them- selves the Assembly Rooms at the corner of Norfolk Street and Arundel Street, where, in our own day, the Town Council was accustomed to meet, before it migrated to what had been the lecture hall of the Mechanics' Institution, now the Free Library. Lists of the subscribers in the years I747-I750, together witl1 the rules,+ throw a flood of light on the personnel and the manners of the elegants of Sheffield at that period. One of ---------------- * Autobiography, p. 18. t+ Sheffield independent, Nov. 28, I846. ---------------- the most noticeable signs of exclusiveness, and of the low estimation in which manufacturers were held, is the absence of the names of those who were engaged in the staple industries of the place. There are Shores, to he sure, and Roebucks but around these there is a certain subtle flavour of superiority which manifested itself afterwards in their banking enterprises. Beyond such, and one or two others, we look in vain for the familiar names of cutlers and factors. So far as the subscrihers can be identified, this class is conspicuously absent. Shop- Keepers there are, in small number.,‹several mercers, an ironmonger, a grocer, a stationer and printer‹for the rest they are surgeons, apothecaries, lawyers, clergymen, and the ladies of their families, mingling with a larger proportion of people of independent means‹means limited indeed, but sufficient to enable them to assume airs of superiority to the vulgar concerns of trade; and officers holding his Majesty's com- mission were warmly welcomed. The leader of the Sheffield society of the mid-century period was Mrs. Elizaheth, or Madam, Parkin, who, " with a fortune inherited from commerce," purchased Ravenfield Park. She was the means of introducing to the town Mr. Walter Oborne a relative whom she adopted, educating him at the Grammar School, and afterwards entrusting him with the management of her affairs. Madam Parkin also took under her especial patronage two young ladies, the Misses Laughton, daughters of a Lincolnshire gentleman, whose reduced circumstances were not quite on a level with their aristocratic claims. They brought with them a standard of elegance hitherto absent, and Mr. Hunter expressed the opinion that " the settlement of these two accomplished young ladies in Sheffield had probably no small influence in producing the refinement in manners which was perceptible in several ladies of the better condition in the generation that succeeded them." Miss Mary Laughton became the wife of the Mr. Walter Oborne just mentioned and thus succeeded her benefactress, Madam Parkin, as mistress of Ravenfield, when, on that lady's death, in 1766 Mr. Oborne inherited the estate. The other sister, Elizabeth "well born, well conducted, pretty and of graceful manner," married, in l740, the younger John Fell, of Attercliffe Forge. Mr. Fell died in 1762, and from that time his "most bene- volent and most worthy" widow continued to live at New Hall, " quite the Lady Bountiful of the neighbourhood." She died in 1795, and was the last person buried in Sheffield with anything of the pomp of heraldry. With her expired the use of the dignitied title of " Madam." That designation was resersed for ladies, being widows or spinsters of a certain age, who were a little elevated above their neighbours by birth, wealth, or social position, and who had the habits and manners of gentlewomen.* Perhaps we should rather say were supposed to have those habits and manners, for Madam Bamforth, of High House, contracted a second marriage with her butler, an illiterate person named Senior, and endeavoured (not very successfully) to keep as a profound secret an alliance which made both her title and her name an imposture. Other Madams in the neighbourhood were Madam Rodes, Madam Bagshaw, Madam Shore, Madam Finch, and Madam Hutton, of Whiteley Wood, daughter of Thomas Bolsover. Madam Parkin was " Queen" of the Assembly in 1735; Miss Shore, one of the sisters of Mr. Shore, afterwards of Meershrook, in 1737; Miss Lodge (grand-daughter of Chris- topher Pegge, landlord of the Angel, step-daughter of the Rev. John Baines, assistant minister of the Parish Church, and subsebuent]y the wife of the Rev. Mr. Hedges, rector of Thrybergh), in l740. In 1741 the post of honour was occupied by Miss Eyre, probably the sister or daughter of Vincent Eyre, the Duke's agent; in 1743 by Mrs. Shiercliffe, otherwise Shirtcliffe, of Whitley Hall, daughter of Mr. Benjamin Steer; in 1745 by Miss Elmsall, afterwards Mrs. Clay, of Bridge- houses, whose dauguter married Mr. George Bustard Greaves, of Page Hall; in 1746 by Miss Shore again; and in l750 by Miss Susan Battie, daughter of Mr. Battie, attorney. The rules of the Assemblies were very precise. It fell to the lot of the conductor of the Assembly to lead off, at seven o'clock, the first minuet with any lady; " afterwards the ladies to dance minuets in rotation from the left of the lady who opened the Assembly. Gentlemen who are strangers to be ------------- * See ante, p. 26. ----------- first asked to dance minuets, and afterwards the subscribers, as the conductor of the Assembly may think proper. The ladies to arrange themselves for country dances according to the numbers on tickets handed them on entering. No country dances to be called for after twelve o'clock; after which time minuets may be danced promiscuously until one, when the music will be withdrawn." One hour, from nine to ten, was allowed for tea, or, as its alternative, negus; and there were playing-cards for the non-dancers. There was, moreover, a special card Assemhly every Friday evening. Persons of title and brides were gallantly held to be superior to the regulations as to the order of dancing, and there were special restrictions on the admission of strangers at the time of the Sheffield races and of the Cutlers' Feast. The subscribers to the races in l750, many of whom were ladies, were of the same class, and largely the same individuals, as those who supported the Assemblies. They had other frivolities, too, in which grave citizens like Dr. Browne, of the Lead Works, and Mr. John Greaves, merchant, of Fargate, were not ahove taking part. At one of the Assemblies these two worthies conspired to induce the ladies to join in a beefsteak dinner, to be prepared by Mr. Peech, at the Angel Inn. The jesting challenge was followed up by missives, one of which incidentally shows how good Dr. Browne occupied his Sundays: ~' Dr. Browne begs to remind his dear friend, Miss -----, that to-morrow evening is fix't for the manager's benefit, who will be much hurt if he has not the pleasure of seeing the queen of the assembly and her fair daughters in their usual places; and, therefore, the doctor relies on Miss ------'s interest with all his ----- friends, to prevail with them to attend. The queen, as a public character will, of course, be anxiously looked for. Sunday Noon, 30th 803." The result was recorded in some indifferent of which the following are a sufficient specimen ‹ On the thirtieth of April, that mem'rable time some ladies intended at Peech~s to dine For Lent being over the feast was no crime. CHORUS-Oh, the beefsteaks of the Angel oh the Angelic beefsteaks. The day proved auspicious, the morning was clear, And the noontide of harmony seemed very near, When the ladies walked down to the inn without fear The three married graces* went down in a line: The people did stare, and the sun it did shine, And all did confess that the sight was divine. The young ladies followed as fast as they could To join this fair party, so brilliant and good, All longing to eat this delectable food. Oh ye true British ladies your fame it shall spread As long as the jocular annals are read And Sheffield applaud this most humorous deed; Oh the beefsteaks of the Angel and oh the ,Angelic beefsteaks ln 1783, the gentlemen of the town, adepts at making excuses for dining, instituted " The Monthly Club." It was to meet at the Angel "on [he Thursday nearest the full moon‹ dinner to be on the table precisely at two o'clock‹the bill to be called for at five." Each member was to pay Is. 3d. for his dinner (afterwards increased to Is. 6d. and 2s.), " including malt liquor," and absentees were to pay a fine of Is., " to be the property of Mr. Peech," the landlord. Members were to avoid drinking healths until the cloth was drawn. Each member present was to pay twopence to the waiter. Among some sixty members who signed the rules were the Earl of Effingham‹Thomas, the 3rd Earl, who died in Jamaica in I79I; Dr. Browne, one of the founders of the Infirmary an the first chairman of the Weekly Board, also a partner in the Sheffield Lead Works; the Rev. John Stacye, of Ballifield, the grandfather of the late chaplain to the Shrewsbury Hospital Benjamin Roebuck, merchant, Church Lane; Samuel, Jona- than, Thomas, and John Walker, partners in the great firm of Samuel Walker and Co., Masbro'; Thomas Rawson, the founder of Rawson's brewery; James Wheat, attorney; Paradise Square; Samuel Tooker, of Moorgate, Rotherham half a dozen Shores; Vincent Eyre, agent to the Norfolk estates, Francis Ferrand Foljambe, of Aldwark; Thomas Steade, of Onesacre, the ancestor of the Pegge-Burnells; George Greaves and George Bustard Greaves, of Page Hall --------------------- * Mr~ Vincent Eyre, Mrs,. Roebuck, and Mrs. Francis Fenton. --------------------- Harry Verelst, of Aston Hall, formerly Governor of Bengal, and ancestor of the present owner of the Aston estates; the Rev. James Wilkinson, vicar of Sheffield; Henry Tudor, silver plater; C. H. Rodes, probaly Cornelius Rodes, of Barlbro' Hall; and many others. James Allott, one of the original members, and a partner with Dr. Browne and others in the Lead Works, died very sbortly after the formation of the club namely, on the 30th August, I783, aged 50. The Earl of Surrey, at that time owner of the Norfolk property, was subsequently elected. But in the course of time, in spite of fines for non-attendance, members failed to come, and wllen the following entries had to be made in the mimutes the end was at hand:‹ "Present: Mr Cooke, president, solus.. lt is not well for man to be alone. .After the usual toasts of the members absent and present, the support of, etc., etc., and no one to say thank you, after ~ Here's to you,' broke up." "Present: Mr. Sayle, president. Broke up under the same circumstances as at the last club, in addition afraid of getting drunk, as in small parties the toast goes quick about‹ so departed." The club came to an end in I808.* Leaving the leaders of Sheffield fashion performing the graceful movements of the minuet, or threading their way through the mazes of Sir Eoger de Coverley, or dining at the Angel, with or without angels and graces, let us endeavour to appraise the intellectual state of the town. The children of the operatives, when they were taught at all, were dependent upon dames' schools, where they were supposed to learn, but most frequently did not, the Three R.'s. The teachers of these were themselves wofully ignorant and illiterate, and were ordinarily of a class whose natural vocation is charring, rather than teaching. Children were, in fact, sent to be out of the way of their mothers, as to a sort of day-nursery, rather than because their parents had any belief in ~book-larning." An old lady, asked what she was taught at one of these schools, --------------------------- * For a further account of this club, see Sheffeild Indeoendent, January 6. 1894. --------------------------------- whether reading, writing, and arithmetic, replied, "No, not 'rithmetic, we didn't get as far as that. I remember I once got as far as counting, but I didn't follow it up." Mrs. Thomas Hanby, the wife of one who, like the Hollises, while making his money in London, did not forget the town where he was born, or the Charity School in which he was educated, and herself the sister of Caslon, the type- founder, confided to the mother of Hunter, the historian, " that when women takes to books and them 'ere sort of things, they never comes to nothing." ." schoolmistress in I770 sends in a bill "for a quarter larning for your daughter and enterance, 7s."; and there is also a charge " for daughter's board, meat, drink, close, and scholing." Materials for forming an estimate of the schools provided for girls of a somewhat higher class are scanty. Mrs. Janc Gosling, who published a not ill-written volume of highly correct " Moral Essays," besides issuing a tale entitled " Ash dale Village," had a school where the inculcation of lofty precepts was, we may imagine, accompanied by decent teaching; but ordinarily girls and boys were herded together in mixed schools. Apretty large acquaintance with the family letters of the period leads to the conviction that girls were not so well taught as boys‹their handwriting is worse, and their spelling is execrable. The letters of the wives of well-educated men are often painful in their caligraphy and fearful in the: spelling. There are e.xceptions to the former, but it would be difficult to find any to the latter characteristic.The first Mrs. Timothy Jollie, daughter of Vicar Fisher (ejected in 1662) wrote with all the plainness and almost the laboriousness print, each letter of every word standing detached from its fellows; but her spelling is origrinally phonetic, dehfiant of all rule, and indifferent to convention. Mr. Samuel Roberts* says that many of the lower class were not taught to read at all, and not one-third of them write. When about five years old, he himself went to a teacher of the old style of poor gentlemen, a retired player ----------------------- * Autobiograph~, p. 25 . ------------------------- named Quin. Twenty or thirty urchins of both sexes attended, and, says Mr. Roberts, Quin took no concern about them. Nicholas Hicks, a dissenter, adopted a " new method of teaching to read," and his son, son-in-law, and daughters "taught on the same plan in an adjoining street, near the old Workhouse, where the channels met from many streets." Another of Mr. Roberts's preceptors was "a little lame man named Scholfield," in Norfolk Street. There were others scattered about, for the most part greater adepts with the ferrule than at the gentle art of persuasion. Such was Mr Thomas Sorby, master of an "academy" at Attercliffe, with whom Joseph Hunter was a pupil. of a better stamp, was Mr. Richardson. From his school, at one time in the Park and later in Paradise Square, he issued a useful book on geography. Moses Eadon, too, a brother of John Eadon of the Free Writing School, was able to claim to have qualified not a few reputable citizens for the work of life, and to boast that with him John Pye Smith obtained the foundation of his large and accurate scholarship. We get a curious combination of functions in an entry in the Directory of I774, where one John Swan, of Hollis Croft, is described as " scissor maker of various sorts and teacher of the mathematics." It was to the Grammar School, however, that those of the townsfolk looked who desired for their sons something more than the bare rudiments of knowledge. There, an acquaintance with the classics, if not wide yet accurate, was caned into them. They were well grounded in Latin; and for mathematics and penmanship they had the advantage of capable instruction from the master of the adjoining Free Writing School. The result was that our forefathers, if shaky in their spelling, often wrote an exceedingly good hand. The late Mr. William Swift had among his prized Ireasures an exercise book, written by Grammar School boys, affording indisputable proof of the fashioh in which penmanship was taught as a fine art. The exercises consist of Latin verses headed, "Musae Sheffieldiensis, 1737," and the caligraphy is " like copper-plate." The names of the writers are interesting. First comes " Geo. Steer," aferwards a mercer in the town who is buried in St. Paul's Church, near the communion rails ‹brother, one supposes, of Mrs. Shiercliffe, already mentioned as Queen of the Assembly in I743. "Thomas Younge," or, as he variously spells his name, " Young," was in the school I737-39. He was born in I72I, and, after leaving the Grammar School, took his M.A. at Cambridge, and then went to study medicine at Edinburgh, where he obtained his medical degree in I752. He returned to Sheffield, and prac- tised as a physician until his sudden death in I784. The most beautiful writer in the exercise book is " Daniel Boote," and another is "Geo. lbbotson," but Mr. Swift was unable to trace the career of either of them. Another signature is " Walter Oborne," already mentioned as a leading figure in the Sheffield Assemblies. " Thomas Cawthorn, I739," was the younger brother of James Cawthorn, the poet, also a Grammar School boy, whose memoir was written hy his brother-in-law, the Rev Edward Goodwin. Dr. John Roebuck, a schoolfellow of Cawthorn's, who conferred greater benefit on the world than on himself by the arious ingenious methods in which he made science the handmaid of industry, affords proof that the training of the Grammar School was not limited to turning out skilful penmen and good classical scholars. A Grammar School boy of the earlier generation was William Ronksley, a benefactor to Fulwood, where he built and endowed a chapel, and to Crookes, to whose school he bequeathed a handsome sum. He spent his life in teaching, and in acting as Justice's Clerk to Mr. Francis Jessop, of Broom Hall, and Mr. Bosvile, of Penistone. He published books on grammar and syntax. The accounts of the Church Burgesses show that they were contributing I3s. 4d. to the salary of the master of the Grammar School (one Mr. Yonge) from I564- I568. The worthy pedagogue had to journey all the way to York, for a licence, at a cost of I0s. The Burgesses also gave to William Lee, "a poore scholler in Sheaffield," I3s. 4d. "towards the settinge him to the Universytie of Chambrydge, and buyinge him bookes and other furniture." In I595 they paid to Sir William Sampson, one of the assistant-ministers of the Parish Church, £3 for " teaching 20 poore schollers." It was reported, in 1594, that ~'the schole house containeth 3 baies and a cole-house, all slated, which, together with a croft and a garden, orchard and a court, containeth 3 roods. The rent is 12d." It was the property of the Church Burgesses In I603 a grateful native of Sheffield, Mr. Thomas Smith of Crowland, Lincolnshire, liberally endowed the school, and that high and mighty prince, King James 1., was graciously, and frugally, pleased, on the strength of Smith's bequest, to grant Royal letters patent, to " erect, create, found, and establish" a school for the education of the youth of Sheffield and parts adjacent, to be called " The Free Grammar School of King James of England," to consist of one pedagogue or master, and one sub-pedagogue or usher, under the direction and control of the vicar and twelve other governors. It is not clear whether a new school house was erected in I606, or the old one patched up. What is certain is that in I619 the Churcll Burgesses granted an 800 years' lease of the school house, with the garden and croft adjoining, at the old rent of Is. a year; and that, in 1648, the place being no longer habitable, a new school was built, the walls of the demolished Sheffield Castle being used, it is said, as a quarry whence to obtain the stone. This is the building that remained until, in I835, the street we call School Croft was cut right through it, when the school was removed to new premises in Charlotte ~Street, east of St. George s Church. The headmaster's house adjoining, huilt in 1709, long survived the school building. It was deemed by its contemporaries a " handsome structure." It was certainly large and roomy, as those can testify who remember it as the Burns Tavern, and afterwards the Canterbury Inn.* But in the latter days of the school it had fallen into disrepair, and the headmaster sought another dwelling. The associaLions, some pleasant and many painful, of long generations of Sheffielders hovered around the Grammar School, and to some of its old scholars we are indebted for des- criptions of a place that would horrify a modern Government inspector. To realise its position, the reader must obliterate the street known as School Croft from his mind, and must re- ------------------- * The building was taken down April 1900. ------------------- member that the space at the top of which it and the head- master's house stood, was really a field, or yard, running down the hill from the junction of Campo Lane and Townhead Street towards Tenter Street.* The entrance to the school, which was considerably below the street level, was by steps from Campo Lane, at the south-eastern corner of the croft, and these led also to the Free Writing School, erected lower down in the same yard. The school itself was a low building, with high-pitched roof, framed windows, and a porch.+ Its shape was a capital L, the long arm running from east to west‹that is, paralled to Campo Lane‹being occupied by the classes under the first and second masters. The shorter arm, in which the mathematical and writing master held sway from eight to nine in the morning, before the classical work of the day began, ran at right angles to the street, down the croft. The whole was indifferently lighted. It was also insufficiently warmed, each room having only one fireplace. The floor was of stone, and against the walls was a high wainscotting of dark oak, panelled. The boys' seats and desks, which were something like stalls, ran in double rows the length of the larger room. At the east end was the headmaster's desk, with two massive oak sides, upwards of seven feet high and six inches thick, and terminating in fleurs-de-lys cut out of the solid. Over the chair, artistically painted, were depiced the emblems of scholastic punishment‹the rod, the cane, the ferrule or " custard," with some admonitory lines in Latin. Facing this, with its back to the opposite wall, was the second master's rostrum, with the writing desks on his left. The headmasters were often men who either were or became connected with the churches of the town or neighbour- hood. Thus, the Rev. Charles Chadwick, headmaster from 17766 to l8O9, combined with his scholastic duties the office of Vicar of Tinsley. He is remembered as a dignified personage --------------------- *. All the streets and houses on this hillside have been swept away in he changes of the present year (I900). + See a rhymint, description of it by Dr. Inchbald, of Doncaster, himself an "old boy," quoted by Hunter (Gatty's cdition of the Hallam- shire, p. 306), who vouches for its accuracy. ----------------------- with gold-headed cane and three-cornered hat. When he walked with stately step to his cushioned throne, and thence looked with scrutinising eye for some delinquent, silent awe fell upon the boys, who were very conscious of the biting effect upon the hand of an application of the headmaster's favourite " custard," which lay on the table in front of the desk, bearing, deeply cut in the wood, the ominous words, " I forgot it." There was a laudable esprit de corps among the old Grammar School boys. In I790, " the gentlemen educated at the Grammar School," were invited, by advertisement, to dine at the Tontine at two o'clock. The proceedings were thus recorded in the Sheffield Registeg " Yesterday was held, at the Tontine, the annual feast of the gentlemen educated at the Grammar School in this place. The dinner, which consisted of turtle, venison, etc., etc., was served up in a style of unusual elegance; the dessert was various and elegant, and the wines were of the first vintage. In disposition to be pleased, no wonder the company, with the auxiliary aid, were alive to every mirtllful idea. The song, the toast, the sentiment, the repartee, joined to make the time pass ' unmarked away.' Near forty dined." The stewards were the Rev. Francis Parker (Rector of Hawksworth, Notts, and Incumbent of Dore, born 1762, died I840, son of Kenyon Parker, attorney and Master in Chancery, who lived in the Bullstake); Mr. Sambourne (attorney in Paradise Square); Mr. Webb (sur- geon, Change Alley); and Mr. Thomas Pearson, or probably Pierson the bookseller and printer in King Street, who died at the age of 83 in I837. Those nominated for the ensuing year were the Rev. Mr. Cockshutt,* Dean of St. John's, Cambridge (a wrangler); John ---------------- * The Cockshutts of Huthwaite and Cawthorne were related to thc Wheats, the Sambournes, and the Broadbents (see Gatty's Hunter, p. 170, note). They were for several generation~ connected with the Wortle~ Iron Works. Mr. John Cockshutt, of Huthwaite Hall, was the hero of scene iln the House of Commons. During the Administration of Mr. Pelham (First Lord of the Treasury with a very brief interval from 1743-1754) an attempt was made in Parliament to encourage the use of American iron in opposition to the Siwedish and Russian. Amongst the persons sent up from Sheffielh to oppose this, the American iron being reckoned not equally good with the other, was Mr. Cockshutt. Sitting in the gallery one evening when the debate ran pretty high, and hearing a gentleman saying something he did not like, he rose up and called out, "I hear, by that fellow's talk, he knows nothing about the matter. Show him a piece of iron and a piece of steel, and he'll not know which is which, I'll be bound for it; yet he pretends to teach us in our trade." Upon this there was an uproar in the House. Some were for committing him to prison However, in the end he was suffered to remain, and next morning a very polite card was sent to his lodgings, inviting him to breakfast with Mr, Pelham. --------------- Roberts, Esq., Wincobank Hall; Mr. Kenyon, who lived in Hollis Croft, and was a member of one of the oldest firms in Sheffield; and Mr. T. Pierson, aforesaid. Like the Grammar School, its neighbour, the Free Writing School, was so cut into to make the street (School Croft) that it had to be entirely rebuilt in I827. It was founded in 172I by William Birley, who left £300 to be administered by the Church Burgesses, the School Burgesses (that is, the governors of the Grammar School), and the Town Burgesses, " for encouraging writing and arithmetic." The names of the earliest masters have not been preserved. We find the Town Trustees, at the beginning of 1755, paying 7S. 3d. for the expenses of a meeting with the Church and School Burgesses, "about choosing a master for the Free School." But we are not told who was chosen. An early Sheffield schoolmaster uas Ralph Gosling, a man to whom we owe an imperishable debt of gratitude for handing down to us, in the shape of his well-known plan, altogether invaluable evidence of the size and topography of the town in 1732-6. Gosling, who was born in 1693, at Stubley, in Dronfield Parish, settled at Sheffield, and is described in his will as a writing-master and schoolmaster. His plan of the town shows that he combined with these the functions of a surveyor‹indeed his surveying instruments are a part of the bequests in his will. Comparing the date of his death (1758) with the time when John Eadon came from Ecclesfield to Sheffield, it is not improbable that he was Eadon's predecessor, both as master of the Free Writing School and as a surveyor; for, in addition to teaching " writing in all the usual hands, arithmetic in all its branches, book- keeping and the mathematics," Eadon announced his readiness to measure with the greatest care and integrity all sorts of artificers' works. And he added: " Gentlemen's estates sur- Iveyed, and maps of the same elegantly drawn." John Eadon was a remarkable man and a fine mathe- matician. A signal instance of resolute triumph over early disadvantages, he was destined not only to preside over the Free Writing School for more than half a century, in fact, until his death in I810, but he was also the first of a family who instructed the rising generation of Sheffield for some I20 years. He was one of the five sons of Matthew Eden (as the name was then written), an Ecclesfield woodman. In I766 he published a useful practical manual, "The Arithmelician's Guide"; and in I793-94 he issued the two editions of the first volume of " The Arithmetical and Mathematical Repository." It was designed to carry the work, the preface to which gives an account of the author's method of teaching, to four volumes; but although the second, third, and fourth were announced as " ready for the press," and a list of their contents was given, they never appeared. From a reference in one of Montgomery's letters from York Castle (April I9, I796), it is possible that there was some difficulty with the publishers (Robinsons, PaterDoster Row). There is room, too, to infer, from the same source, that Montgomery printed the first volume, which hears no imprint. Its chief value now consists ln a portrait of the author‹a strong, intellectual face, with- wig, high-collared coat, waistcoat, and redundant neck- scarf‹and the local names given in the list of subscribers. No one can turn over the ingenious rhymed problems in the concluding pages of Eadon's Mathematical Repository without seeing how well calculated was the arithmetical teaching at the Free Writing School to arouse interest and stimulate thought. An early pioneer in a long list of short- lived local magazines was " The Lady's and Gentleman's Scientific Expositor," which ended its brief career in I784. The number of Sheffield men who contributed philosophical queries, or who strove to answer them, affords clear evidence of the existence of considerable mental activity. Mr. John Eadon propounded a rhyming mathematical puzzle, which was answered, among others, by Messrs. Barker, Bardwell, Middle- ton, and Turner, all pupils at the Free Writing School, who," says the editor, " sent us also correct answers to all the preceding arithmetical questions, which redounds much credit to their master, Eadon." The late Mr. Samuel Bailey, who was a pupil at the Free School‹even then reserved, reticent, and gravely holding himself aloof from the sports of his fellows‹was a grandson of Mr. John Eadon's, by the marriage of his daughter Mary to Mr. Joseph Bailey. The old schoolmaster had two sons, John, a partner in the firm of Bailey and Eadon, and father of Mr. Thomas Brownell Eadon, of ~'estern Bank, and George, who lived in tbe house at the corner of Norfolk Street and Charles Street, afterwards the Turkish Baths. He died unmarried. William Eadon, one of the five Ecclesfield brothers, was a joiner and lath-river at Attercliffe; and from him the family of auctioneers and of the late Alderman Robert Thomas Eadon, of President Works, are descended. There seems to have been, in addition to the Grammar and Free Writing Schools, another academy for both boys and girls, called ~The Vicarage School." Nothing is known of this beyond what is revealed in the fact that when, in I798, a local committee was formed to share in a national subscription raised for the defence of the country, there was received the following letter, whose high-flown language palpitates in one breathless sentence. It would be unjust to the signatories to suppose them to have been such unconscionable young prigs as to have written it themselves:‹ "Vicarage School, Sheffield, Feb. 28, I798. ''The young patriots and lovers of Old England at the Vicarage School, in Sheffield, take the liberty of presenting their respectful compliments to the gentlemen of the committee, and hope they will do them the honour to accept of their humble, but voluntary, donations of £8 8s., raised by such small sums as their present finances will admit of, for the support of Government and the protection of their country against the hostile intentions of an inveterate foe, a proud and implacable enemy, whose atheistical tenets they have been taught to dread, whose savage cruelties they have ever contemplated with horror, from whose insatiable thirst for blood, nelther sex nor condition, neither age, beauty, virtue, nor innocence could screen the devoted victims of their own country, and the disseminating of whose irreligious and pernicious principles the contributions to this free-will offering are instructed to guard against, and oppose by every means in their power, as one of the sorest calamities that can be permitted by Provi- dence to be inflicted on their prosperous and happy island. " Signed at the request of their schoolfellows‹Joshua Vickers, William Crawshaw, Michael Turner, Catherine Harmar, Martha Cutler, Mary Vickers." It says something for the growing wealth of the town that in a short time over £I,652 was promised to the fund which the " young patriots " thus supported. The Cutlers' Company, witll rare self-sacrifice, handed over the £200 which would otherwise have been spent on the anmlal feast as a subscrip- tion. But the feast was held for all that, those who attended having to pay half a guinea for their dinner. The schools that have been mentioned may be regarded as the chief centres of intellectual activity in Sheffield in the eighteenth century. On them the town depended for every- thing beyond mere elementary reading, writing, and ciphering. For the rest there was only the example of the clergy and non- conformist ministers and of a few professioaal men, chiefly doctors. In those days, when culture was limited to a narrow circle, we frequently find the town authorities and others utilis- ing the services of the clergy and nonconformist ministers for writing out documents and accounts‹acting as scriveners in fact. Great industry has been shown at various times in attempts to compile a local bibliography.-: The chief result has been to demonstrate how strikingly devoid the town was, at the time of which we are now treating, of native literary talent. Mr. Hunter, in a MS. volume entitled " Memoirs connected with the Literary History of Gleat Britain," drew up a list of Shef- field authors, dead and living, in the second decenary of the nineteenth century. It is singularly incomplete, but it is note- worthy that, excluding twenty-three living writers, who belong --------------- * Appendix to Addy's reprint of the Directory of 1787; Correspondence in the Sheffield Independent, May and June, I889; " Local Notes and Queries," in the same journal, 1874. -------------- therefore to the nineteenth century, Hunter could find only nine names to include among the dead; and to do this he had to go back to the time of Queen Elizabeth. Except Richard Robinson, who wrote a curious metrical work, and dated it from Sheffield Castle, I9 Maie, I574, and Dr. Thomas Short, who issued medical books, they are all clergymen and religious writers. The Rev. Giles Hester,* recalling the fact that all the books bearing the name of Nevill Simmons, during 69 years, 32 of which were spent in Sheffield, were of a strictly theolo- gical character, finds in this proof of the strong religious feeling prevalent here. Whether it be true or not that in the eighteenth century there were, in proportion to the population, more readers of religious books than now, certain it is that the bulk of Sheffield publications consisted of sermons, or of devotional reprints, and a few school manuals. Beyond these the list of books issued here is small, and the local authors are few. The Rev. James Cawthorne was writing his creditable but not too stimulating " Perjured Lover" and " Abelard to Eloisa," with some transitory pieces of didactic verse. The Rev. Edward Goodwin, curate of Attercliffe, was usefully employing his pen in producing sketches of contemporary townsmen and in writing historical accounts of Sheffield; and these, ephemeral as they seemed then, are now of great value. John Eadon was producing his arithmetical and mathematical manuals; Mr. John Richardson, of the " Park Free School," his " Key to the Globes" (he was in Paradise Square in I787); and Mrs. Jane Gosling was propounding most unimpeachable but by no means recondite or startlingly original ethical maxims on the duties of early piety, of patience, of children, of parents, of beneficence, of female discretion, of female modesty, and of conjugal affection; and was, with immaculate ortho- doxy, condemning the vices of swearing, gaming, Iying, pride, and the keeping of evil company. Dr. Thomas Short was producing books on mineral waters and on other medical subjects. But when we have said this, we have practically exhausted the list of original publications, until there arose a ------------ * " Nevill Simmons, Bookseller and Publisher," by Giles Hester, I893. ----------- group of writers, properly belonging to the present century, of whom the chief were James Montgomery, Ebenezer Rhodes, Barbara Wreaks (otherwise Hoole, otherwise Hoffland) Mrs. Sterndale, the Rev. Joseph Hunter, with a few lesser lights. Compared with those who had gone before, these were almost brilliant. And they were sufficiently well known beyond the borders of Hallamshire to draw from Byron his memorable sneer at " Classic Sheffield." But until their time indications of literary skill or instinct, much more of genius, are absent. Mr. Sidney 0. Addy* finds proof " of the culture of a town which was then little more than a large country village " in the fact that four Sheffield booksellers were subscribers in I754 to the costly " Harleian Miscellany." It is indeed true, from indications that remain to us of the contents of the shelves of John Smith, of Angel Street, that the booksellers kept in stock works that only specialists among their successors would think of storing‹tomes of heavy theology by Puritans and Noncon- formists, of divinity by the early Fathers in Greek and Latin, as well as the usual classical authors. It was from these deep sources that his son, young John Pye Smith, profiting by their unsaleable character, got the foundation of his profound learning at a time when most boys are playing or reading tales; and after he became a professor of theology at Homerton he was frequently writing to Sheffield in the hope that certain books he had read and catalogued were still unsold. But although the clergy of the town were fond of taking learned authors from the shelves, and lovingly turning over the leaves; although there were occasional applications for such works from distant parts of the country to which John reputation for a curious and recondite stock had reached the bulk of them were permanent fixtures. The bookseller regarded them with the affection due to old friends, but they were not, from a commercial point of view, a paying speculation; and some of them, to this day, enrich the libraries of his descendants. Such deductions as may he derived from the fact that this kind were on sale in a provincial town must, ----------- * Reprint of Directory of 1787, pp.87,88. ---------- therefore, be discounted by the knowledge that they soared far above the heads of such book-buyers as existed among the public. And the argument derived by Mr. Addy from the large number of subscribers to Barbara Hoole's poems‹and, it may be added, to Mrs. Gosling's " Moral Essays"‹most useful as their names are to the local antiquary-‹are proof rather of a benevolent desire to help deserving townswomen than of care for, or admiration of, literature. Nor does the history of the local newspapers imply a com- munity of large intellectual calibre. For many years, from I740, the Town Trustees subscribed for the Evening Post, supplied to them, along with the votes of Parliament and he Gazette, by Mr. Robert Giddings, of London. But beyond the few London newspapers which reached Sheffield, the town seems to have been dependent on places like Northampton and Doncaster for its journals, and on barbers' shops for the dissemination of their contents. About I7I3, John Lee, whose descendants were destined to achieve some distinction, shaved his customers in what came to be known as " The Whig News Shop," * because he took in the Whig newspapers of those days. It was not until the middle of the century‹I754‹that a newspaper, Lister's Sheffield Weekly Journal, was printed here. Both under Lister, and in the hands of Revel Homfray, who, on Francis Lister's death in I755, incorporated it with his Sheffield Register and Doncaster Flying Post, previously printed at Doncaster, it led a struggling and scantily appreciated exist- ence. Homfray, who had come from Wales, near Kiveton,+ died in I760, and his son, Francis Homfray, seems to have thought the trade of brazier and tin-plate worker, which he carried on in King Street, more desirable than newspaper publication. But a printer named William Ward continued the sequence of local journals by establishing, in the year of Revel Homfray's death (I760), Ward's Sheffield Public Advevtiser,# which, encountering the rivalry of Gales s Sheffield ----------------- * Hunter's Failiae Minorum 1Gentium , p 204. + Ib, 396 # Following a statement in the Sheffield Local Register, it has usually been asserted that Ward's Advertise~r was established in I770; but there are in existence copies which show that it must have been begun ten years earlier. Its day of publication in 1764 was Tuesday; in 1787, Saturday. --------------- Register in I787~ was merged in Northall's Sheffield Courant in I793 - These old newspapers, besides being exceedingly ill written, concerned themselves chiefly with belated records of distant occurrences, and showed an irritating indifference to local events. Thus it is to their advertisements that the modern inquirer has to look for indications of contemporary life and habits, localities and persons. Their condu~ctors appear to have relied, for subsistence, more on the sale of quack medi- cines than on the circulation of the newspapers.* Lister had made a great feature of the fact that he kept, " by the King's authority, the famous Patent Ointment, or Never Failing Remedy for the Itch . . . as thousands to their great joy have happily experienced." He dealt in other compounds designed to cure ailments, described with a sickening detail of symptoms, whose very name is excluded from respectable newspapers nowadays. Revel Homfray's announcement (I755) is as curious for its whimsical illiterateness as for its contents: " Revel Homfray, Printer in Sheffield, having purchased the Material for Printing and Stock-in-Trade of the late Mr. Lister, deceased (who has declined the Printing Business takes this Opportunity of acquainting the Public) that he intends to continue printing and publishing Thc Sheffield Weekly Journal every Tuesday morning, as usual; therefore should be glad of the Continuance of the Customers, either for the Jourunal, or any other Printing Business. As all gentlemen, etc., shall be served upon the least notice, and at the same prices, and all favours will be thankfully acknowledged by their humble Servant, Revel Homfray. Likewise just arrived from London, Dr. Daffy's Elixir, Being the only Family Medicine now extant, upward of 90 years' experience. This may inform the Public, that a large and fresh Parcel of this Elixir, truly prepared in London, is arrived at Sheffield, and appointed to be sold by the aforesaid R. Homfray, at his Printing Office, opposite the Cock in High Street, where it may be had both Wholesale and Retail. Where likewise may be had Dr. Belton's British Oil at Is.' Dr. Clinton's Royal Imperial Snuff for the Head-Ach, three Papers for 6d. N.B.‹ Any of the above mention'd Articles may be had of the Persons who carries this News." ------------- * The sale of patent medicines, as a recognised branch of stationer's trade, continue(l far into the present century. -------------- The quacks who travelled about the country with their nostrums vaunted their qualifications in the Jourual, and were the true precursors of the empirics of later times. There was one " R. B. Shappee, oculist and practioner in physic, surgery and man-midwifery, who was pupil under his uncle, Dr. Shappee, in His Majesty's Service fourteen years, now travels by an Act of Parliament; and after thirty years' constant and large practice in a private as well as a public capacity, acquired the art of curing most medical distempers incident to Human Nature; he is allowed by all that know him to be a most ingenious man in his profession, and has had very great success in his undertakings. And takes upon him to acquaint the public, that he is a Wonder of the Age for the curing of Ruptures, or broken Bellies, from eight years old to eighty years old," etc., etc. Advertising was not considered unprofessional by more regular practitioners. Thus John Beech, surgeon, apothecary, and man-midwife, " takes this method to acquaint the Public that he has just fix'd up a Shop in the above Town (Tides- well)." He sets forth his various qualifications, and adds: "Any of his friends that will do him the honour of their employ may depend on the most tender, diligent, and moderate Treatment. As also of finding him at all Times sober and capable of business"‹the necessity for which assurance throws a very vivid light on the habits of the age. " N.B. Bleeding, and teeth drawn with ease and safety in his shop, Gratis."
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