REMINISCENCES OF SHEFFIELD by R. E. LEADER
CHAPTER 12 - THE OLD CHURCH, CHURCHYARD, AND TOWN HALL.
THE reigns of the Georges were bad times for the ecclesiastical buildings of the country, and our Parish Church was, like many others, shamefully treated by those who ought to have kept it in seemly repair. Without enter- ing into architectural details, it is enough to remark that though the chancel, through being the freehold of the Duke of Norfolk, had suffered less than the nave, and had, indeed, been cared for at various periods in the eighteenth century, the aspect of the whole place was, up to the year 1805, de- pressing and disgraceful. An " unsightly ' charnel-house and a structure where the town fire-engine was kept, on the north side of the chancel, had been removed in I777, a vestry being substituted, with Church Burgesses' room above it. But the chancel was still thought a not unseemly place in which to hang leather fire-buckets, in continuation of the thirty given, among other benefactions, by Robert Rollinson, the maker or enlarger of Barker Pool. .And the Shrewsbury Chapel, with its invaluable monuments, was covered with dust and littered with lumber. The nave, from which any view of the chancel was shut out by the bricking-up of the tower arches, was in a dismal state. Mr. Samuel Roberts's Autobiography gives a graphic description of the effect of the interior on his youthful mind: " It was one of the most gloomy irregularly-pewed places in the kingdom. It seemed as if, after the work of pewing had begun, every person who chose had formed a pew for himself, in his own way, to his own si~e, height, and shape.* There ------------ * It seems never to have occurred to anyone to question the seemli- ness of regarding pews in churches as private property, and trafficking in them. In I709 Benjamin Thompson, cutler, sold, for an annual payment of one shilling, to William Ratcliffe for ever, subject to reservations in favour of Thompson during his life, " all his title, interest, property, claim, and demand in and unto one seat or sitting place in Sheffield Church, in that loft under the singing loft of the north side of the said church, adjoining to the west window." In I724 the Archbishop of York granted to William Skelton and Robert Sorsby a faculty to erect a loft, seat, or stall; and in I79I Thomas Harrison, " saw master," paid .£48 to the assignees of Joseph Matthewman for two pews, one on the ground floor, near the churchwardens' seat, and the other in the south gallery. The money for building St. James's Church, in I788, was raised by £50 shares, each entitling the holder " to a pew in the church as a freehold inheritance. " ------------- were several galleries, but all formed, as it seemed, in the same way as the pewsÑsome of them on pillars and some hung in chains. The lord's closet was a gloomy structure.+ High under the lofty centre arch, spanned from side to side the massive rood loft, behind which, filling up the apex of the arch, were the King's arms, painted most gloriously, and magni- ficently large. Under the clock, in a large glass case, yet scarcely perceptible in the gloom, was the pendulum, blazoned with an enormous staring gilt sun, solemnly and mysteriously moving from side to side with a loud, head-piercing tick-a-tack at every vibration.... Glad indeed was I when the service was over; when pattens began to clatter, and Johnny Lee,# the clerk, was called to on all sides for a light to the lanterns." The legal document under which the nave was rebuilt and reopened in I805 gives a description of the interior of the church fully justifying the impressions of Mr. Samuel Roberts's boyhood. The Church has " become ruinous and in decay in the walls, arches, pews, roofs; and other parts of the fabric all need immediate reparation and amendment; and the same church has in many respects become not only clumsy and in- elegant in its appearance, but darkened and incommodious by reason of the situation, condition, and disproportion of, and want --------------- + The Lord's closet," that is, the Duke of Norfolk's pew, was kept jealously locked, eight persons who had the privilege of entry having keys. " The Duke's nether closet " was occupied by the churchwardens during their term of office. The gallery " hung in chains " was Mr. Jessop's loft, the seat of the patron of the living. It was in the north gallery, over the stair head; and as the then patron, Vicar Wilkinson, could not himself use it, boys, who irreverently called it the "coal cart " or " coal barge," climbed into it, and greatly enjoyed a place where they could behave as they liked, and see without being seen. # William Ellis, son of William Ellis, Master Cutler in I684, who died IIth September, I743, aged 63, and was buried in the church porch, was parish clerk for forty years. John Lee, baptised in I7Ig, died 2nd February, I788, after being parish clerk for many years. --------------- of symmetry and proportion in several of the pillars, arches, windows, and other parts thereof" The "seats, stalls, and pews in the body, and the lofts and other parts " are spoken of as " moulderous, rotten, and decayed, and moreover extremely irregular and incommodious, and greatly unsuitable to the rank, style, and condition in life of the present owners and occupiers thereof," while " the flooring and pavement are broken, interrupted, ruinous, and in decay, and require total and entire renovation." The Church, prior to this, had undergone such ill-treatment that it would have seemed impossible, even for restorers of the Churchwarden age, to inflict on it further indignities. Yet these, with the aid of their architect, Mr. Charles Watson, of Wakefield, they fatuously perpetrated. Mr. Hunter makes the true archceologist's moan over the ruthless destruction of monuments, inscriptions, and brasses; while a chronicler of far different, and indeed, vandalic type,* gloats over the re- moval of the old gargoyles, quaintly adorning the exteriorÑ" a profusion of fantastic heads, rude forms, and ugly faces, which served as water spouts, from which they obtained the vulgar appellation of ' water spewers.' They grinned horribly on those who gazed on them, but, in the absence of better con- trivances, they were serviceable." With these specimens of the fifteenth century workmanship went much elseÑpillars, arches, windows, carvingsÑfor which the new nave, widened to the extent of the transepts, and so destroying the cruciform shape of the church, was, archceologically and architecturally, a poor exchange. The place was again defaced by galleries at the west erd of the aisles and in the north transept. The organ, placed on the loft where, before the Reformation, the rood had been, blocked up the western lower arch.+ And, as if this did not sufficiently sever the two arms of the church, the brick- work with which the eastern tower arch had been filled up ------------------ * History of Sheffield in Directory of I833, p. 68. + John Wickersley, of Broom Hall, left directions in his will (I528) for " the loft in the Roode Chapell, wher th' organne now standes to be new buylded"; and he desired that he might '~be beried in the Roode Chapell, as nye unto the ymage of the same Roode (removed in I570) as conveniently maye be." Glassby's '~ Old Churchyards," p. IO. --------------------- that service might be held in the chancel during the rebuilding of the nave, was allowed to remain. It kept its place until I842~ when, and in I857, various makeshift modifications were made. Not until the great restoration of I880 was everything intervening between the chancel and the nave cleared away. It is in the chancel alone that, inside or outside, can be found any survivals of that perpendicular fifteenth century church which replaced the original Norman structure. There is no particular need to regret the removal (in I867~ when the new clock was put up and placed within the tower,) of the quaint cupelow, which, standing over the south transept, bore the sun- dial and sheltered the clock.* But, although incongruous and inartistic, it had a character of its own, and many old Shef- fielders felt a pang at the necessity for parting with a long familiar friend. The Old Church has in its time witnessed some curious scenes. The Rev. Francis Jessop, M.A., Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford (younger brother of the last Willialll Jessop, of Broom Hall, who married Lord Darcy's daughter), was Rector of Treeton. He had himself sometimes occupied the pulpit of the Sheffield Church, for he published a sermon preached there in I709-IO. Once, when sitting in Mr. Jessop's loft (that curious box above the gallery already described) listening to a discourse by Vicar Drake, he rose, levelled a loaded pistol at the preacher, and called out, " Duck or l)rake, have at thee, mallard." The terrified Vicar stooped down in the pulpit in great trepidation, and remained hidden until his reverend brother had been disan1led. Mr. Jessop, after playing many other mad pranks, and obtaining for himself a reputation at Treeton expressed in the lines, "A fighting priest, the bully of the gown. . . Who thumps the cushion and his people too," was adjudged a lunatic, and "closed an unhappy life" in I728. Another adventure, in which the father of this unhappy Rector of Treeton, Mr. Francis Jessop, F.R.S., of Broom Hall, played a prominent part, may be related. The story, as ______________ * In cutting the hole for the clock face, a stone bearing the chevron moulding, evidently a fragment of the old Norman Church, was found. ______________ told by Sir John Reresby, of Thrybergh (whose grandfather had boxed the ears of Sir William Wentworth, father of the great Earl of Strafford, on the same bench), is that he, Mr Jessop, and other justices were assembled, July I8, I682,at Rotherham Sessions, when a dispute arose through Mr. Jessop objecting to measures for a more rigorous persecution of Nonconformists: " The laws having been put more vigorously into execution against Nonconformists of late than heretofore, Mr. Jessop (a known favourer of dissenters) made some scruple to join us in that proceeding. After a long debate in a private room to satisfy his doubts on that point, he cast some reflections on the proceedings of the justices in their former sessions as well as on those there present, declaring that all their proceedmgs and warrants were illegal; to which I replied that it was something saucy to arraign so many gentlemen of quality concerned in the commission of the peace for his single opinion. He (Jessop) stood up and retorted with great insolency 'You are very impudent.' At which words I (Reresby) took up a leaden standish (he sitting behind a table and at some distace from me) and threw it at his face, where the edge lighting upon his cheek, cut it through. We afterwards drew our swords, and I went into the middle of the chamber, but the company prevented his following of me, and afterwards recon- ciled us. I was sorry for this accident, it happening at a sessions of the peace, but the provocation could not be passed over." * According to Oliver Heywood,+ Sir John Reresby was only prevented from attacking Mr. Jessop with his rapier by the intervention of the latter's son, " a stripling of fifteen or sixteen," who " grasps about Sir Johns midle (being a little man) holds him, gets hold of his rapier, thrusts it to the wall &c., so the bal)ble was stopt." Sir John Reresby attributed it to Mr. Jessop's " industry" that he received no invitation to the next Cutlers' Feast, and Heywood records that Mr. Jessop's protest " tended to the moderating of justices towards dissenters, so that when Mr. Bloom was prosecuted on on the Five Mile Act, Mr. Benton for conventicles, and Mr. Wads- worth for absence from church, they ' came off well.' " Mention has been made of the pendulum of the church clock, and its exposure to public view. A singer in the choir ____________ * Reresby's Memoirs, edition I875, p. 256. + Diaries, vol. II., p 293 ____________ once very cleverly availed herself of this, as a means of escape from an awkward predicament. Having fallen asleep during the service, she awoke to find everybody gone, and the church locked up and deserted. All attempts to attract attention from outside proving unavailing, she arrested the swing of the pendulum, and so stopped the clock. The clerk, discovering this, went to search for the cause, and the girl, who afterwards became Mrs. William Cutler Nadin, was liberated. We get an interesting note of the manner in which churches were sometimes used as places of assignation, in an indenture dated I7I2. By this the interest of £I80, settled for life on a Mrs. Young, by her first husband, and invested in property held by her nephew, is to be paid to her in sums of £4 IOS., at the south porch of the church in Sheftfield upon every 29th December and 29th June, betwixt two and three o'clock in the afternoon, during her life. It seems just possible, from the accounts of the Church Burgesses, that in the sixteenth century there was not a peal of bells, but only a "great bell" and a Sanctus bell. The earliest peal of which we have any record dates from I686. To this the Cutlers' Company contributed another bell which, not being satisfactory, had to be re-cast. The Church Bur- gesses increased the number by three in I695; and these continued in use until I745, when a new peal of eight was put up, the Cutlers' Company again contributing one bell, which recorded both itself and its predecessor by the inscription: " Donum Societatis Cutlariorum. Anno Domini I688. John Spooner, Master Cutler, I745." This peal was in turn re- placed by ten bells, in I799, but there were complaints that the weight of the tenor bell had been reduced, and it is evident that there were changes, or additional bells, in I804, for in that year the Town Trustees contributed £I00 " towards purchasing the new bells," besides paying the ringers a donation of five guineas "on opening the new bells," on the 24th November. Since that time there have been twelve bells. There had been trouble with the ringers in I80I, when they seem to have " struck." * But Benjamin Tibbs got together a new company, _____________ * A list of the names of the ringers at this period is given in Mr. J. D. Leader's "Records of the Burgery" (p. 407). In 1822 only two of the old set remainedÑJohn Heald and William Heald. The present (Igoo) ringers, thirteen in number, are T. Hattersley, H. C. Hattersley, William Lomas, W. Burgar, Arthur Brierley, J. Holman, T. Silvester, H. Bower, S. Seed, J. Rew, E. Woodward, J. Mulagan, G. Mulagan. _____________ the bargain with them being cemented with ale at Sam Peech's. That they were not all fresh hands, however, is shown by the following: " May 2, I809, died, a few days ago, Mr. Richard Owen, much lamented, particularly by the Society of Change Ringers, to whom he had belonged nearly sixty years. They will al- ways bear in mind how cheerfully he led off the first peal that was ever rung of ten new bells, on the 29th April, I799. He was interred at St. Peter's Church, on the 29th April, I809, being exactly ten years after the bel]s were first rung." How it came to pass that while providing and maintaining the bells was the duty of the Capital Burgesses, on the Town Trustees was cast the cost of ringing them, is one of the mys- teries handed down to us from the time when the Commis- sioners of Edward VI. appropriated to the Church the lion's share of the town's property, leaving to the Burgery only such pickings as were saved then, and under Queen Mary's charter. The amounts paid through all the centuries for bell-ringing would, if capitalised, make a very considerable increase to the town's estate, but it is evident that our ancestors rejoiced in strident peals from the church belfry more than their degene- rate descendants, one of whom (the late Mr. Bernard Wake) expressed the pious wish that the " rascal ringers," those foes of repose, " for the good~ of the land, had round their necks what they pull with their hand." Slowly, but surely, the use of the bells has been decreased, and nobody now ever thinks of decorating the ringers with cockades on occasions of fes- tivity. By I749, when the ringers were paid £5- 5s. for "Sun- days, rejoicing days, and the usual occasions," the Town Trustees were tiring of the perpetual extras. In I80I, the special occasions, or King's days, beyond Sundays, were speci- fically defined. The men were to put in " five minutes on the Sundays before service in settling the bells, and about ten minutes in chiming."* In the reign of George III.,the King's ___________ * Settling " or setting the bells means getting them all adjusted, mouth upwards, preparatory to ringing. " Chiming" is a gentle pull, without swinging. There is no chiming now, except one bell daily, for prayers. ____________ days were: Jan. I 8th, Queen's birthday; Jan. 30th, King Charles's martyrdom; May 2gth, King Charles II.'s restora- tion; June 4th, King's birthday; Aug. I2th, Prince of Wales's birthday; Sept. 22nd, King George III. crowned; O~t. 26th, King's proclamation; Nov. sth, Gunpowder Plot. This list was, when George IV. came to the throne, considerably cur- tailed, and at the end of his reign the ringings on the anniver- sary of the execution of Charles I. and of the restoration were discontinued. During Queen Victoria's reign the bells were rung on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, in addition to three "Queen's days,"ÑMay 24th, June 20th, and June ~8th. Until the time of Vicar Sutton, when he stopped the ringing during the illness of his wife, a single bell was rung at six in the morning, at noon, and a curfew bell at eight in the evening, with an additional bell at seven o'clock on the mornings of Sundays and Saints' Days. The five guineas salary paid to the ringers in I749 had been increased to twenty guineas in I805, with fees for special occasions. In I830 the Town Trustees talked about discon- tinuing their payment for the Sunday ringings, but nothing came of it. On the contrary, they increased the payment to thirty guineas, and since I893 it has been £50, with extras for Queen's days. There was one immemorial custonl, now fallen into disuse, around which there hover certain legends whose origin has never been explained. This was the pra~ice of ringing on Tuesday evenings during the winter months, from the Tuesday after Doncaster Races to Shrove Tuesday. One story is that a belated wanderer, lost on the moors above Ringinglowe, recovered his bearings by hearing the sound of the Sheffield bells wafted to him on the still night air; and that to show his gratitude he left a legacy to pay for the perpetual ringing on Tuesday evenings. No foundation can be found for this pretty romance, and neither the Town Trustees nor the ringers ever heard of that legacy. Another theory associates the Tuesday evening peal with the old market day; and, again, a more prosaic explanation is that Tuesday was the ringers' chosen practice night. We have to fall back upon the knowledge that the ringing in the winter months was an ancient custom, and to be content without elucidating how the custom arose. The chimes were always regarded with affection by old inhabitants. Whether there were any before I773 we do not know, but in that year a set were put in " by Mr. Whitehurst, of Derby." These, however, cannot have been satisfactory; for there was another set in I784, which are probably what remained until I867, when, with a new clock, came new chimes, altered, two years later, " to play the air only and not in harmony." The change cannot be said to have been a success: at, least it was greatly regretted by those who remembered the old chimes.* The crockets on the church spire have, on several occa- sions, inspired men more ambitious than wise, to try to climb to the dizzy height of the weathercock. A freak of this kind has even been attributed to Mr. William Battie, familiarly known as " Billy Battie." Mr. Battie had begun life as a cooper, and ended it a successful ivory merchant. He lived in Townhead Street, and was an active member of the Town Trust from I822 to his death in I848. His achievement was not so heroic as it was afterwards magnified to be by Dame Rumour. When a portion of the steeple had been taken down and rebuilt, he ascended by the still unremoved ladders to the base prepared for the weathercock. There he stood, with nothing to hold by, and played the National Anthem on his French horn. Gales' Shefficld Registeg, of July I8, I789, records that a slater, in a state of intoxication, ascended the ladders by which the weathercock had been removed for repairs, " to the terror of the spectators, who every moment expected he would be dashed to atoms. When he was within a few yards of the top, their fears were heightened by his hat blowing off; he, _______________ * No complete list of the tunes is to be found. Many attempts were made to compile one, but the following only could be authenticated: Sunday, Io4th Psalm; Monday, " Blue Bells of Scotland"; Wednesday, " See the Conquering Hero Comes "; Saturday, ~ Happy Clown," from Alan Ramsay's ~ Gentle Shepherd"Ña tune that was popularly known as " Tang Ends. " The present airs are: Sunday, Easter Hymn; Monday, "Home, Sweet Home"; Tuesday, "Blue Bells of Scotland"; Wednesday, " The Heavens are Telling"; Thursday, " Life let us Cherish"; Friday, I04th Psalm; Saturday, "Caller Herrin'." ______________- however, reached the summit, and came dc,wn remarkably swift and perfectly safe, to the relief of those who witnessed the foolhardy attempt." In the foregoing cases the ascent was made by ladders, but there are on record two ascents by the projecting crockets only. The first of these was made by a table-blade forger, named Thomas South, employed by Messrs. Broomhead V~iard and Thomas Asline Ward, in Howard Street. Inspired by a public-house discussion and, needless to say, bet, he undertook to climb to the vane, and forthwith started off and did it. He afterwards said that there was no great dimculty in getting to the top, but having reached it, a realisation of the peril com- pletely sobered him. He turned the weathercock round, and then carefully descended. When, after his giddy elevation, he found himself safe on the ground again, he ran off home, without speaking to anyone, completely unstrung. The other instance occurred during the visit of the Prince of Wales to Sheffield, August I6~, I875. An account of it will be found in the local newspapers of the period. Up to I787, the Vicarage stood in solitary dignity in its croft, which originally included the large triangle whose base was the western side of the churchyard (the whole length of what is now St. James's Row), and whose sides were Church Lane and Campo Lane, with the apex at the Town Head. But by that year this considerable piece of land, in the middle of a growing town, had become too valuable to be longer kept open. St. James's Street was madeÑeither accidentally or by design the exact proportion, from footpath to footpath, of a mileÑand the land was let on building leases. Houses were put up, inhabited chiefly by surgeons and attorneys, the pioneers of more varied occupants. St. James's Church was built; and the Girls' Charity School was erected, north of the Vicarage, on the west side of the Churchyard. But the neigh- bourhood was so quiet that St. James's Street was used as the drill and parade ground of the Militia. These changes were the beginning of the end of the old Vicarage. It struggled in mute resistance against its doom, shorn of its old glories, and in the state in which old inhabitants remember it. until I854,when it was taken down, and Vicar Sale removed to Broomhall Park. No one has taken the trouble to leave us any particulars of the history of it, or of its predecessors. It was an inartistic structure, standing, after the curtailment just described, within high walls which formed the corner of St. James's Row and St. James's Street, the entrance being from the latter, through double doors, leading into a yard. The centre of the house, low, with no upper storey, was the older part, its structure of lath, beams, plaster, and rubble indicating considerable anti- quity. The higher wings flanking this, on either side, were of more recent date. The windows were round-headed, but the building had no architectural pretensions; with its yellow- washed walls it had not even the redeeming quality of pictur- esqueness. One relic of it alone remains. The large stone step of the St. James's Street entrance to Messrs. W. H. and J. A. Eadon's Auction Room, which stands on its site, was the mantel-shelf of the chief room in the oldest part. When the present buildings were put up, a house adjoining the auction room was reserved for the transaction of vicarial business, and as a residence for the curates. It is beyond question that the Old Churchyard represents the place of burial ever since Sheffield has existed. During the extensive restorations of the church at the beginning of the eighteenth century, it was found that the east end stood upon a bed of human bones, so vast that they formed practically its foundation. A similar discovery was made at Ilkley some years ago. There the bones evidently were not the fortuitous result of wholesale and unceremonious burial, but were so manifestly arranged and consolidated as to indicate the deli- berate intention of using them for a dry foundation. Roman coins of the time of Antoninus (A.D. I38-I6I) were amongst them. No such indication of the date of the bone deposit at Sheffield was obtained; but we are justified in saying, generally, that they proved the great antiquity of the church- yard as a place of interment. In later, but still remote times, before it was surrounded by walls or railings, our churchyard was used as a common thoroughfare, pathways crossing it diagonally from the four corners.* The retaining wall, along Campo Lane on the ________ * The Burgery accounts contain frequent payments for " paviours '~ and " causeys," in the churchyard. ___________ north, must have been there from very early days, and there has been fencing beside Church Street, on the south, during all the time of which there is any record. East Parade and St. James's Row are comparatively modern. Thus the church- yard, within the memory of men not long passed away, ran, on the east, up to buildings or garden walls, while on the west it abutted on the Vicarage Croft, or aftervvards on the houses erected thereon, in Virgins' (now St. James's) Row. At this period there were gates, or stiles at the four angles. The north-west corner was approached from Hicks-Stile-Field (Paradise Square) and Campo Lane by steps, probably with a post at the top narrowing the entrance. This stile "helped the passenger over a deep descent from the then open church- yard into a field below,"~* and Wills distin~ctly says it was made of wood. But instead of telling us, like a sensible chronicler, what it was like, he leaves this, in his in his wrestlings with rhyme, to our imagination: You may form to your fancy a stile which once stood Near the little Grape Tavern, and made up of ~vood; On the side of a field then belonging to Hicks, Where children, at that time, have oft gathered sticks. 'Twas call'd Hicks' stile-field, and there corn has oft grown' But Paradise Row, since the stile was took down. An entry in the Burgery accounts, dated I700~ speaks de- finitly of "six pairs of yates belonging to the Church Yarde," and in I729 there is mention of a lamp placed ~ at the north gate. The chief gates, at the top of High Street, are some- times distinguished as " the broad yates," and one ancient re- ference to these has especial interest because it shows, what cannot be discovered from any other source, that in the middle of the seventeenth century funerals must have entered the churchyard through a Iych-gate, with a watching room over it. The date is I659~ and the entry is '' Paid for timber, workman- shipp, slate latts, nayles, and other things about the Church _________ * Holland's " Sheffield Illustrated," p 27. See also his paper on " Our Old Churchyard," 1869 "to Richard Clayton for wood and makeing a newe style at the church yard, I2S." (1658) ~ Received of Widdowe Hill for a steele formerly used to the church yard, 2S." (I662). " To John Crook for making a new gate for the church yard against Rich. Greaves Shop " (I690-9I). Leader's " Records of the Burgery," pp. 167, I78, 249, &c. _____________ Yates, and the house over the same, £8 7s. Iod." When this " house " was demolished we do not know, but in the very next year, I660, there was another considerable payment, £4. IIS. I0d., " For setting up the Old Church Yates, and for workmanshipp, wood or other materialls about the same, and the newe Church Yates." Fairbank's plan of I77I, and an old engraving of the Parish Churchyard, made by Thomas Harris, in I793, concur in showing gates in the middle of the south (Church Lane) side, immediately opposite the Cutlers' Hall, with a path from them direct to the church door. It was probably as an acknowledgment for the use of this, when the Cutlers' Company went to church to hear the annual sermon, that, in I725, they spent 6s.: " Treating Vicar Dossie for liberty of the door and walk in the Church Yard." We thus account for five gates or stiles, four at the corners and one in the middle of the south side. The sixth was probably an en- trance from the VicarageÑwhere the St. James's Street gates are now. Although the Town Trustees were constantly spending money in repairing the gates, providing them with locks and keys, and bolts and springs, and putting up stoops and rails in front of them, there was not only constant foot-traffic through the yard, but the boys of the town used it as a playground. Those of the Charity School assumed airs of proprietorship but this exclusive use was challenged by the Grammar Schooi boys, as well as by their sworn foesÑthe lads from Mr. Cow- ley's Academy in Figtree Lane (afterwards used as the Jews- Synagogue). Between the rival hosts from these academies there was incessant strife, the dividing territory of Campo Lane frequently resounding with their war cries. One favour- ite churchyard diversion of the lads consisted in vaulting over the tombstones, and especially over " t'alli," that solid and silent monument to some mysterious unknown. Commonly supposed to be of alabaster (hence its name " t'alli "), it is really of Derbyshire marble. It stands near the vestry door, polished through contact with the garments and hands of the many generations that have used it as a seat or a plaything. One " Old 'Siah Carr " established something approaching to a prescriptive right to rest there, as he sat devoutly listening to the chimes. Another plain tomb, close to the vestry door, claimed to mark the burial place of the Hawleys (Hawley Croft, a descendant of whom was Abraham Hawley, a well- known metal dealer in Fargate). The inscription has long been obliterated by the wear of grey-headed gossips, who so persistently sunned themselves on it as to originate a hoary pleasantry. It was currently said to be never cold. The popular imagination has built up many legends as to " t'alli " tomb. The chief favourite of these runs thus: To an old inn in High Street, which stood at the end of Mulberry Street, where " the Stone House'' afterwards arose, there came one night an unknown traveller. The bedroom allotted to him had, besides the communication with the landing, an unused door which had formerly opened upon the yard behind, but at a considerable elevation above it. The traveller arose during the night and sought to leave his room, but got to the wrong door, forced it open, stepped out, and falling to the ground was killed. All attempts to ascertain his name, or to communicate with his friends, failed; but he had a considerable sum of money in his possession; so a handsome tomlbstoneÑ" t'alli " Ñwas erected over his nameless grave. The top marble slab has been broken; and this, in turn, has given rise to the legend that it was done in an attempt to rifle the tomb of the treasures popularly believed to have been buried with the unknown stranger. In 1830 new wrought-iron gates were erected, and the walls and fences of the churchyard put in good repair by public subscription. The opportunity was taken to stop the abuse of the space as a playground; but the churchwardens were at pains to fortify themselves against the unpopularity of this step by publishing a strong opinion by the Archbishop of York in its favour. Mr. Samuel Roberts to some extent compensated the Charity School lads by relegating them to that elevated wooden gallery, high up above York Street, where they may still be heard at their games any day. The utilisation of the burial ground for sports was, of course, only a survival of the old middle-age, and especially pre-Reformation, custom of regarding churchyards, nay even the naves of churches, as fit places in which to carry on the affairs of the community. There can be little doubt that the feasts and fairs of byegone days were held in our churchyard. We have already seen how, at the Cutlers' Feast of I771, booths for the sale of merchandise were erected there, as well as in the neighbouring streets. These further notes may be permitted as helping us to recall the old times. In I570-I the Capital, or Church Burgesses paid iiijd. "for pullinge downe the crosse in the churchyard," at the time when the rood-cross in the church and other emblems of Popery were destroyed. In I6IO Arthur Courtnall was fined IS. for "stubbing up an ash in ye churchyard"; and in I767 lime trees were bought and planted. In I695 the Town Trustees allowed 20S. "towards inlarging of the Church Lane well," and in 1697 they paid £I IOS. " towards making the new well at the church-gates." Charges for repairing this well are entered in I70I and I7I2, but after that the references cease. It is said that a vigorous stream of water flows underground beneath the churchyard, near the St. James's Street gates. Hard by the main entrance were the stocks, reputed, on what evidence is not clear, to have been brought here from the Market Place. All that we know authentically is that there was a removal of the stocks in I59I, and again in I663; but unfortunately the records do not tell us whence or whither. As to the pilloryÑa sort of upright stocks, in which, not the feet, but the head and hands of the culprit were fastenedÑ one made in I552 was supplanted by another in I635; but the belief that the pillory was also at the Church Gates is probably founded on nothing more substantial than the notion that where the stocks were, there the pillory would be. The cuck, or cucking, stool was at the same time (I59I) repaired; but as the last mention of this instrument for punishing scolding women is in I747, when it had to be fished out of the river, we may assume that it fell into disuse long before the stocks. The last authentic note of incarceration in the Church Gates' stocks is in I790, when " nine men were put in for tippling in a public-house during Divine Service." At the same time two boys were " made to do penance in the church for playing at trip during Divine Service, by standing in the midst of the church, with their trip-sticks erect." The " knock- nobbler," whose duty it was to look after offenders of this kind, and to prevent people from going to sleep, uas a recognised official, much dreaded by the young, for he never hesitated to " nobble" with vigour. In many places, as Hope (I699), he was called the dog-whipper, one of his duties being to keep stray dogs out of the church, or, if they got in, to whip them out. When the first Hospital Sunday collections were made here for the Infirmary (I798), the only deduction was three shillingsÑ" paid the dog-whippers at each church (Parish Church, St. Paul's, and St. James's), one shilling.'' The office of " peace-keeper"Ñwhich was the polite name for knock- nobbler or dog-whipperÑat the Parish Church, was, early in this century, filled by " Owd Bashford." His secular calling was the caning of boys (impressively producing a new cane for the week's work every Monday morning) at a school which, with his wife Nanny, he kept near Queen Street Chapel. One of his ecclesiastical duties was to accompany the " church mesters," on their visits, during service, to the neighbouring public-houses, to see that no gambling or drunkenness uas going on. The churchwardens carried white wands of office, and if any unlucky person was caught the worse for liquor, or committing the heinous offence of playing chuck-farthing or shuffle-board, he was hauled off to the stocks, and there left exposed to the jeers and insults of the passers-by. The stocks, removed from the church-gates to the Pot (Paradise) Square, were used there as late as about I828. Having served their day and generation, they were last heard of as lumber, in a broker's yard. There were other stocks, at Attercliffe, and Ecclesall Chapel, and in Coal Pit Lane near the site of the old Sugar House. The stone posts of the last named were still to be seen in front of the ruined Chequers Inn as late as I885 The remnants of others long remained opposite the Bridge- houses' end of the Iron Bridge. An old Westbar resident, Mr. Oakes, who died in I874, at the age of 88, remembered making personal acquaintance with these. Sam Hall, the Constable, catching him playing pitch-and-toss one Sunday, incontinently clapped him in the stocks for an hour, to the no small indignation of the young culprit's mother, who " called " the constable with a vigour that might have landed her in the cucking-stool a few generations earlier. Another of Mr. Oakes's recollections was seeing a malefactor flogged by the Beadle (Bill Jones) as he was dragged in a cart from True- love's Gutter to the Town Hall. Whatever became of the Sheffield pillory, there uas one at Rotherham within Mr. Oakes's memory, for he was eye-witness to the pelting of a man there with rotten eggs. The name of Bill Jones recalls a further instance of the barbarity of the old methods of deal- ing with offenders. It was the duty of this man to take prisoners, whose cases had been before the magistrates, to Wakefield House of Correction. They had to go on foot, and they marched, alike those who had been summarily convicted and those who, being committed for trial at the sessions or assizes, might be innocent, fastened together by a long chain, in slave-gang fashion. As being put "under t'clock " meant being run into the Toun Hall, so ~ I'll send thee up Pyebank," was, locally, a threat of commitment to Wakefield. " Bill Jones will soon have thee, without thou mindest," was another popular form of warning ill-doers. When the stocks, and possibly the pillory, were at the Church Gates, they were in convenient proximity not only to the church, for the punishment of flouters of its services, but also to the Town Hall. Until its removal in 1808, this stood at the Church Gates. It was an oblong building, square to the points of the compass. Its north-east corner was separated by only a narrow space *om the south-west corner of Mr. Heaton's shop (now Pauson and Brailsford's). Across this space, represented now by the opening to East Parade, the church gates were placed diagonally. The long east side of the Town Hall faced High Street; the south-east corner and the short south side projected considerably into Church Lane; while the west and north sides u-ere entirely in the Churchyard. A line drawn from the north pillar of the present church gates towards Cole's corner, and ending about halfway across Church Street, would represent approximately the eastern front of the Old Town Hall. Copious details of the erection of this building in I700 are to be found in the Town Trustees' accounts,* and these show, negatively, that wherever else its predecessor may have been, it was not, as has sometimes been supposed, here.+ Other- wise payments for the removal of the older hall would have been recorded. " The well att the Church Lane Ende " was, perhaps, disturbed, but beyond this and a few " bolders," carried away in a couple of days, nothing interfered with lay- ing the foundations. All we know as to the first hall is that there were ( 1638) eleven shops under it, paying rent to the Lord of the Manor; beyond that all is guess-work. Its position is just as mysterious as is the site of the " cage," or lock-up, which was repaired in I6I2, and was taken down in I66I. The ancient inhabitants of the neighbourhood of Townhead Cross handed down a tradition that an old house in Pinfold Street was the first Town Hall in Sheffield; but the only basis for this seems to have been the circumstance that they remembered chains remaining attached to the walls, and these, they ima- gined, had been for prisoners. Nobody can say that the " cage " may not have been here; but no such building can have had the shops mentioned in Harrison's Survey below it. However the Town Hall of I700 may have impressed people when it was put upÑwith its gilded ball on the surmounting a little belfry in which " the town's bell" hung, and its iron palisaded windows,Ñby the end of ... century it was regarded as both inadequate and unworthy. Hunter, who would have increased our debt of gratitude by describing, instead of merely mentioning the hall, says it ~was a _____________ * Leader's ~ Records of the Burgery,'~ p. 27I ct scq. + See a controversy in the Sheffield ne~vspapers, August, 1893, and, for a summary of the whole question, Mr. J. D. Leader's Introduction to the Burgery Records, pp. Iiii., liv. The " Sheffield Local Register" (p. 25) says, under date 1659: " Town Hall standing on the town's part of the churchwall repaired at the cost of the Town Trustees.'' I3ut there is no basis for the assumption that the "house o'er the church yates" (see ante, pp. 256-7, and Burgery Kecords, p. 171) was a Town Hall. The phrase, " the townes part of the church wall," does not, indeed, occur here, but in an item in l608 (Burgery Records, p. 9I) " for repeiring the wall," without mention of any house _____________ " disgrace."* It was but small, built of brick, and approached from the High Street side by a flight of steps, from which ~Vilberforce and other Parliamentary candidates addressed the electors. In the basement there were, facing Church Lane, shops, + and behind these three cells, or lobbies, eight feet square and six high, each with a small round hole in the door, through which, standing in a narrow passage, visitors were allowed to talk with prisoners. The cells were so dark that when Nield visited the place, although it was daylight, he needed a lighted candle. # There was, he noted, "an offensive sewer " in the corner of the several cellsÑ" execrable spots," as Hunter calls them, in which, " when the sessions are held, offenders are locked up for a night or two." The lock-up uas popularly known as " Sam Wibberley's Parlour," and later, when Hall had succeeded Wibberley as gaoler, " Sam Hall's Parlour." A pot-market was held in the street outside, and Sam Hall was not too proud of his official position to eke out a living by selling earthenware. He is described in the 1797 Directory as "constable, and dealer in glass and china, 26, High Street," although when appointed " beadle" by the Town Trustees in I786 he is spoken of as a " cutler." The rioters of I796 found in the brittle wares in which he dealt a convenient means of paying off some old scores, and the authorities had to compensate him for pots broken in his house to the extent of £2 IOS. Over the lobbies was an entrance, formmg an ante-room to the hall. In this were suspended, so high as to require " a pike" to get them down, leathern buckets, similar to others kept in the church, for use in suppressing fires. The hall itself had its floor covered with mattingÑcalled " nating " in the furnishing ac- countsÑbound with " cadiss," a kind of woollen braid. The table, I3 ft. Iong, was a humble structure made of three deal boards, covered with green baize (" bayes"); and, for lighting, there was a candlestick, suspended by a chain. The windows (in which, at times of public rejoicing, six pounds of guttering ________ * " Perambulations," Sheffield Independent, August 21,1890. + " Burgery Records,'' 290, 291. # " Remarks on the Prisons of Yorkshire," Gentelman's Magazine, 1805, IXXY., p. 301. ________ tallow candles, purchased at a reckless expenditure of 4s., were stuck in clay, by way of inspiriting illumination) were hung with curtains, occasionally in need of fresh dye. While all these glories were yet in their virgin newness (I704) my lady Howard, mother of the eighth Duke of Norfolk, was enter- tained here, wine being sent in from the Rose & Crown (originally Angel) by Mrs. Pegg to " treat " her at a cost of £2; while twopence was spent for " Tobaccow pipes had at the hall the night the Lady Howard was there." At a later date (I735) the impressive- ness of the hall was increased by placing, on the ~all over the chair, the king's arms. The board for these cost £4 3s. od.; James Truelove was paid I4S. 7d. for ironwork in connection with them, and Jonathan Rutter received no less than £8 IOS. od. for gilding and painting them. A special place was made in which to keep with due security the " Towne's chest," sometimes so securely locked that it had to be broken open. Its chief treasure was ~ a true copy of the Towne's Burgesses Grant to Thomas Duke of Norfolk (for him, his heyrs and successors keepeing of the Courts belonging to the Mannor of Sheffield in the Towlie's Hall)." This,with Henry, Duke of Norfolke's note to the Burgesses for IOO li." was enshrined in a " little wood box within the chest." When the hall was first erected, the Trustees started with a virtuous resolution to allow it to be put to no other uses " than the Towne's Burgesses meetings, and other meetings of the Towne's Officers, and keepeing of the Courts of the Lord of the Mannor." Here, accordingly, the Burgery as- semblcd annually to consider the Collector's accounts, and to elect his successor and " Assistants." But this doctrine of perfection did not stand the test of time, and the temptation to make profit became irresistible. Not many years elapsed before it was let to stage players, to " Smith, the dancing master," to a showman, and for auctions. At the end of the century the West Riding Sessions were held here once in two years, and the Magistrates sat in Petty Sessions weekly.
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