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Bolsterstone Area


It must be stated that is very difficult to separate the history of Bolsterstone from that of the other locations which make up the district of Stocksbridge as events which initiated a change in one area drove similar changes in the others.

The history of Religion, Schools, Sport, and other featured subjects have their own dedicated pages; therefore we will only briefly refer to these subjects in this section as applicable.


The village of Bolsterstone stands on high ground between the Stocksbridge and Ewden Valleys. At around 900 feet above sea level it lies on the edge of moorland to the south of Stocksbridge.

As a settlement it is much older than either Stocksbridge or Deepcar and it is believed that the village may have originated as an Anglo Saxon settlement.

In 1743 in answer to a request from the Archbishop of York the Reverend Francis Haigh described Bolsterstone as detailed in this article taken from the Parish Magazine of August 1892.

In 1870 Bolsterstone became a parish in its own right, which included Stocksbridge and Deepcar

Joseph Kenworthy wrote about many aspects of history in our district, here in his Handbook Number 15 he proudly presents a detailed history of the things which made Bolsterstone the beautiful and interesting village it remains to this day

Read also this article about the Parish of Bolsterstone of the early and recent past and this article inspired by a ramble around the local area with features about Bolsterstone and the area which can be viewed from this elevated vantage point.

In her article Nell Rawlin recalls her memories of a Bolsterstone in years past.

A few miles west of Bolsterstone is the TRIG point as expected standing on one of the highest points in the locality, from here there are 360 degree views across magnificent countryside.

Bolsterstone Schools

The first school in Bolsterstone was the Bolsterstone Endowed School also known as the Free School or the Old School, it opened in 1686.

The school had to be rebuilt in 1857 as the premises were dilapidated. A sum of £234 12s was raised by the trustees for the work to be carried out.

The National School was built by subscription in 1851, at a cost of £716.

Should you wish to learn more about Schools in Bolsterstone and the rest of the district, please goto our Feature on "Schools & Education".

The Castle Inn Public House

The Castle Inn Public House at Bolsterstone was built in 1840.

In 1907 the Landlady was Ann Bramall. The previous Landlord had been her father-in-law Thomas Henry Bramall. Ann bought the premises, together with ‘6 closes of land’ for £4,750 in January of that year.

She was the daughter of Joseph Grayson, who was a coal merchant and resided at Leeke House on the Haywoods.


The Chapel and the Church that replaced it

As we stated previously Religion, which includes a history of the Chapel and the Church of Bolsterstone is a dedicated section on our website, we have included here only the brief facts and a few of the photographs we have available.

In the 17th century the local area formed part of the larger Parish of Ecclesfield. After the separation of the Bradfield Parish in 1650, people of the area attend the St. Nicholas Church at Bradfield. With the creation of, St Mary’s as a chapel-of-ease, inhabitants of the few farmsteads in the valley were able to practise their religion closer to home.

In 1791 the Reverend Thomas Bland replaced the ruinous chapel on the land where there had been a Chapel or Church, since 1409. It became known as Bland’s Church

In 1872 the Reverend William Reginald Wilson who was the vicar from 1867 to 1914, initiated the replacement of the Blands Church and seven years later the present St. Mary’s Bolsterstone Church was completed in May 1879 at a cost of about £7,000.

A lych-gate was erected in 1897 in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the clock was a gift from the Rimington-Wilson family of Broomhead Hall. Read this article about the lych-gate dedication taken from the Bolsterstone Parish Magazine of April 1898.

A peal of eight bells which were bought by subscription, were dedicated in 1892. Read this article about the the Bells dedication taken from the Bolsterstone Parish Magazine of November 1892. and this article about the the Bells being transported from Deepcar Station to Bolsterstone taken from the Parish Magazine of June 1892.

This extract was taken from the Bolsterstone Parish magazine of January 1898, indicating that Silence is Golden well sometimes.

"If on account of serious illness, any person wish to make a request that the bells may remain silent, such request should be made to the Vicar at least one whole day before the time for ringing.

It is hoped that no one will make such request unless it be absolutely necessary".

There was also a hand bell ringing group in Bolsterstone as can be seen by reading this article by Brenda Milnes and this photograph of the Village bell ringing society shown in 1887.

Here are just a selection of the many photographs we have of St. Marys Church.

Should you wish to view more photographs of this magnificent building or learn more of its history, please goto our Feature on "Religion it's People and Places".

Tradition says that the large block of stone shown in one of the photographs is the basis of the place-name of Bolsterstone, who can say?

The Porters Lodge

The Rockley’s of Worsborough founded a chapel at this site in 1409.

On the other side of the green are the remains of the Manor House of Waldershelf, an ancient structure built in the fashion of the church, with bow windows.

In 1580/1581 ‘named lands in Waldershelf’ were conveyed by William Rockley to George, Earl of Shrewsbury.

By 1637 half of the Manor House had been let to Thomas Morton and the remaining half to John Birks and John Swinden.

Hannah Parkin, a widowed pauper, lived there in 1851, and the place was known as Hannah Parkin’s Cottage.

Later it was used as a reading room, then a base for the Church Youth Club, and most recently as a changing room for the Stocksbridge Rugby Club.


Walders Low

The cairn was raised by Charles Macro Wilson, in 1870’s on the spot where the Saxon chief Walder is reputed to be buried.

It stands at around 1,000 feet above sea level on private land but can be viewed from the public footpath that skirts the nearby golf course.

You may wish to read this article about the discovery of remains on the Walders Low site, the article was featured in the Society’s “Paragon” newsletter.



Waldershaigh was built for Charles Macro Wilson in the 1860’s by John Brearley. The Reverend William Reginald Wilson occupied Waldershaigh after his brother’s death.

Later it became the property of the Bruce family. The Bolsterstone Girl Guides occasionally met there in the 1940’s.under the control of Margaret Cobbe.

The WILSONS of Bolsterstone and Broomhead were both descended from Charles Wilson, Vicar of Sheffield from 1631 to 1700 on whom the Broomhead estate was settled in 1659.

The Manor of Bolsterstone was purchased by John Rimington from Lord Melbourne in 1802.

He was married to Mary, sister of Henry Wilson, who bequeathed the Broomhead estate to James Rimington, son of John and Mary.

His son James Wilson Rimington assumed the additional surname Wilson in 1840 and his son Reginald Henry Rimington-Wilson who was born in 1852, became owner of the Broomhead Estate, Lord of the Manor of Bolsterstone and patron of the “Living of St. Mary’s”.

The Reverend William Rimington resigned from the “Living” in 1867 and the Reverend William Reginald Wilson was appointed Vicar of Bolsterstone and moved into the Vicarage.

He and his wife Martha had a large family, while his older brother Charles Macro Wilson and Mary were childless.

Charles Macro Wilson lived at More Hall, then Waldershaigh.

The "living" at Bolsterstone St. Mary's, and most other churches, was the job of Vicar of a Parish and included his accommodation and salary.

Hence the modern day saying of "What do you do for a living”?

As the church was originally the private chapel of the Lord of the Manor he provided the finances for the “Living” and therefore had the power to appoint the priest.

Parishioners were only allowed to use the church with consent from the Lord of the Manor.



As can be seen from these photographs, Bolsterstone has always been, and still remains a rural community. The soil is not particularly fertile in the area, therefore most of the land is used for the farming of livestock particularly sheep and dairy farming.


The Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir

On October 18th 1947 a coach carrying members of the Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir to a musical festival in Holmfirth crashed with the loss of many lives and with many more injured.

The choir which was formed in 1934 has a worldwide reputation and continues to perform both locally and internationally.

To learn more about Bolsterstone, and the area, you may wish to read these articles published in the Society Newsletters in 2003 and which contain articles about the history of Bolsterstone and the surrounding district.

From Waldershelf to Stocksbridge Chapter 2

From Waldershelf to Stocksbridge – The Homesteads of 1851 part 1

From Waldershelf to Stocksbridge – The Homesteads of 1851 part 2

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