Shirecliffe, Adamson and Parker
From Eastwood's History of Ecclesfield (pages 421-427)*
Between Barnes Hill and Ecclesfield , about a half mile from the church, is the quaint old mansion of Whitley Hall, built, as was a favorite custom with our forefathers, in a sheltered hollow, enlivened by a sparkling lander or water course, from which the name Lander House, occasionally met with the old descriptions of the place, was doubtless desired . The grounds rise around the house, with many fine old Oaks and other forest trees which combine with the water and the woods in the background to render the situation peculiarly picturesque. The building itself takes up three sides of a large square paved courtyard the front of which was formerly closed in by palisades, with a gateway to the centre, the stone pillars of which still mark the position. It is one of the oldest seats of gentry in the parish, indeed there is a tradition, though unsupported by evidence that, it afforded the a resting-place for one night to the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots, while in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury at Sheffield Castle and his other seats in the neighborhood. Rooms in the west wing are pointed out as those which she occupied on this occasion.
Whitley Hall formerly belonged to a branch of Parker of Norton-Lees one of whom has left his name and this date 1586 over a doorway in the east wing .
The pedigree of this family is given Hunters Hallamshire (p.263) and it has long ceased to be connected with this parish, nothing more need be said of it except that in 1616 one of its members sold it to Thomas Shiercliffe, whose father, Robert (second son of Richard) Shiercliffe of Ecclesfield, had already bought the adjoining lands belonging to Halehouse (pronounced and often spelt Hoyle-house) where there is still an old farmstead within three hundred yards of the lodge at the entrance of Whitley Hall.
Thomas Shiercliffe married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Pawson, of the neighboring farm of Windmill-hill. He died 1636 and was succeeded by his third son Thomas ( a lieutenant of trained-hands for the defense of the country under King Charles the II), who was buried in Ecclesfield Chancel, June 14, 1661 and succeeded by his eldest son, Nicholas Shiercliffe, M.D., born September 1, 1650, who by will dated Jan. 8, 1684-5, left his estate to his brother Nathaniel, with remainder to his other brothers, Samuel and John, in succession, with further remainder to Nicholas Shiercliffe of Sheffield cutler. Dr. Shiercliffe placed the initials of himself and his wife, daughter of John Ibbotson of the Chapelry of Bradfield, with the date 1683, over a doorhead in the east wing.
Nathaniel Shiercliffe, his brother and heir, born 1652, married into the Family of Gower of Stittenham and had several children . He was buried, March 8,1728-9 and was succeeded by his only son Thomas, baptized, July 20, 1692, who died September 18, 1754, leaving only one so although he had many daughters, John Shiercliffe of Whitley Hall, Esq.(baptized, June 20,1720) who in 1740, married a niece of Vicar Steer, daughter of Benjamin Steer of Sheffield. He also had an only son Thomas, who died unmarried December 25, 1779, in the lifetime of his father, who died may 13, 1789. Two daughters who survived him were co-heiresses. Mary the elder, who married M.M. de Bartolome, Esq. MD., and died March 11,1858 and Elizabeth Shiercliffe Parker, who is still living . An older branch of the family was settled at Ecclesfield and Croswick, whose members intermarried with principal families of the parish .
The earliest known person of the name was William Shiercliffe of Ecclesfield, who was living in 1436. His son was Thomas Shiercliffe, who was "Master of the Game" to the Lord of Hallmanshire and whose portrait in his forester's costume, with those of his two wives, formerly appeared depicted in two windows of the church . This Thomas has three sons, Henry, William and Alexander. The two former seemed to have no children ; Alexander married Isabel Mounteney of Cowely; their eldest son was Nicholas Shiercliffe; whose son married 11th June 1577, Barbara, daughter of Thomas Wombwell of Thundercliffe Grange, and had William Shiercliffe and other children . William died without issue, Sept. 25, 1649, the last of the name in that branch.
He was one of those who had to compound for their estate during the Commonwealth, his delinquency being that he forsook his dwelling and went and lived in York while it was a garrison for the King, and when it was beleaguered. He petitioned Nov. 29th, 1645, and took the national covenant the same day, and the negative oath June 25th, 1646. The particulars of his estate were a copyhold messuage and lands in Ecclesfield, worth 4l. a year; eight years' remainder of a lease worth of land in Leeds, worth 40l. a year; a like remainder in lands in the Manor of Oakenshaw, worth 80l. a year above the rent reserved; personal property, 15l. 3s ; " debts owing unto him (in danger not to be recovered) to the value of two hundred pounds, by Thomas Barbars's heirs and executors (who died much in debt), John Purdine's heirs and executors, Walter Stanhopes's heirs and executors, Matthew Webster's sureties, Francis Wilkinson and Robert Combe, Philip Dillworth and Mr. William Wombell. For want of the writings, which were all plundered from him, he knoweth no certainty what each oweth. He prays he may compound for the said 200l, either at a lower value or else when the sum is recovered, a tenth part then to be paid to whom it shall be appointed." The fine was 108l.
An elaborate pedigree of the family , compiled by Mr. Hunter from various sources, is given in the History of Hallamshire. This name (Shiercliffe) which is spelt in almost every conceivable way, was doubtless derived in the first instance from the will so called, near Sheffield. It now has disappeared from the parish, though descendants of Hannah Shiercliffe, second wife of Kenyon Parker, and sister to John Shiercliffe, the last male of the family are still living there.
John Parker, son of Kenyon Parker by his first wife, married the heiress to Whitley Hall as above said, and sometime between 1803 and 1810 sold the estate to Benjamin Hammond Esq. of Liverpool, at the death of whose wife, Mary Hammond, it was bought by William Bingley, Esq. of Ellerslie Lodge in the parish of Peniston, a descendant of Bingleys of Bolton and Swinten, where the members of the families here resided since the early 1100 century. Mr. Bingley has been at considerable pains to make the house a comfortable residence, and is now occupied by Charles William Bingley Esq. Ph.D., his only son.
In the early documents connected with this place, is special mention of a water mill, and a furnace or kill, showing that the mill formed a very important item in the property and the advantage of water power afforded by two streams which rise from two springs known as Lander Spring and Colley Well, in the rising ground in the part of the estate and in the Hall had doubtless little to do with the site of the house. The old mill -dam, gently enlarged and altered, now forms a ornamental sheet of water.
Whitley is remembered by many gentleman of Yorkshire and Lancanshire and elsewhere, at which they received their education, it having been occupied for many years at the end of the last and beginning of the present century by the Late Mr. John Rider as a boarding school.
In the wall which divides the grounds from the land leading to Barnes Hall is the socket and stump of an ancient cross or way mark, which is carved a purely conjectural date 1470. On the back of a fireplace in one of the bedrooms of the Hall is the date 1660.
The hamlet of Whitley Hall consists of two farmsteads and a few cottages. One of the farms belongs to the trustees of Mrs. Sylvesters requests, and is in the tenure of Widow Eyre, a name old standing in the Parish, there living "Thom Eyre", churchwarden , as early as 1584. The other is in the occupation of Mr. John Rider, son of the late Mr. Rider of Whitley Hall.
Whitley Car is a detached portion of this hamlet, situated close under Greno Wood . Here is a small farmhouse belonging to the Duke of Norfolk, over the door of which is the date 1679, and initials W.W.S. and S. R. Near it resides an eccentric character , who, having realized an independence by his own exertions, has retired to this sheltered nook to pass the remainder of his days, far from the sound of the tilt hammers amid which his younger days were spent. Emanuel Eaton , such is the worthys name, occupies himself cultivating choice flowers, fiddling and writing verses; the latter (as he thinks) in the style of Burns except in one, and that not the most credible point of resemblance, are still curious emanations from such a source.
* This out of copyright material has been transcribed by John Eastman, who has provided the transcription on condition that any further copying and distribution of the transcription is allowed only for noncommercial purposes, and includes this statement in its entirety. Any references to, or quotations from, this material should give credit to the original author(s) or editors.