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Bradfield to Wakefield Route

Here we describe some features along another old route which ran from Bradfield via the Ewden valley to Bolsterstone then on to Stocksbridge, up Underbank Lane to Dyson Cote and then on to Wakefield via the Willow Bridge at Oxspring.

This route was never upgraded into a Turnpike road which may account for the fact that many of its past features still remain intact.

We start the account of this route at the junction of the road from Bradfield and the road from the village of Brightholmlee heading towards the crossing between the two reservoirs of Broomhead and Morehall.

The following passage is an extract from Joseph Kenworthy’s book The Broken Earthenware of Midhope Potteries relating to the history of the New Mill Bridge which preceded the present bridge which was erected at the time of the construction of the reservoirs at the beginning of the twentieth century.

“John Wilson, who lived 1719-1783, says it received this name from a mill which stood at the North end of the bridge. It was called New Mill in the time of Thomas de Furnivall, the second, who died in 1279. He also supposed that there was a bridge at this place, it being a common way from Bolsterstone to Bradfield, Sheffield, and other places. The old bridge was of wood, much decayed, and a new stone bridge was built over the Ewden by one, Benjamin Milns, in 1734, at the charge of the inhabitants of Bolsterstone, for which purpose twenty lays were collected in the Lordship”.

It is interesting to note that the Cassini Historical Map (Old Series) dated 1840-1844 does not show a Mill adjacent to the bridge as described by Kenworthy.

In 1925 the old bridge was dismantled, stone by stone, prior to the reservoir being filled.

Later in 1929 it was rebuilt in Glen Howe Park at Wharncliffe Side, where it can still be seen today.

These photographs show the bridge, then it being dismantled and then being re-built in Glen Howe Park.

The cost of the dismantling and rebuilding was paid for by Joseph Dixon Owner and Manager of the Oughtibridge Paper Mill who previously in 1917 had presented the Park to the people of Wharncliffe Side.

Sadly Joseph Dixon never saw the completion of his dream, as he died in 1926 at the age of 77 years.

The road then climbs up New Mill Bank past Ewden Village to Bolsterstone and then along Stone Moor Road, Lee House Lane and then New Hall Lane.

This Guide Stoop stands at the junction of Machin Lane and Peg Folley close to the Green Farm Hamlet.

It is inscribed Bolsterstone/Penistone/Uden and was probably erected in 1734, the convention was that the traveller turned right at the inscription to follow the required route

From 1733 the overseers of the highways were directed by the West Riding Justices of the Peace to erect Guide Stoops at remote crossroads, five years later in 1738 a second order stated that distances in miles should also be inscribed on any new Stoops.

A second Guide Stoop stands at the junction of Machin Lane and Clay Pits Lane and is inscribed Midhope Green Farm /Unsliven Bridge.

Again it was probably erected in 1734; it directs the travellers down Clay Pits Lane towards Unsliven Bridge on their way towards Underbank Lane. This particular stoop has been damaged presumably by a collission from a car or farm vehicle and as can be seen from the photograph is in danger of falling over.

Unsliven Bridge was described in a pre 1290 charter and would have been constructed of wood.

Around the 1730s a stone bridge was erected, which was later widened and widened again in 1796.

It is reported that this date is inscribed on the parapet of the bridge but the writer was unable to locate the inscription.

“In 1541 NICHOLAS (GREAVES) & his brother JOHN (sons of THOMAS del GREVE de HUNSHELF) took of the 3rd. Earl of Shrewsbury a piece of pasture land in Hunshelf at UNSHRYVEN BRIDGE called SMYTHGROUND to hold for 30 years. There was a Fulling Mill at SHREVYNHAIGH in 1539 and there was probably a wooden bridge near this mill.

A rent of 34 shillings. was to be paid and they had to find a man and a horse armed for service of the 3rd. Earl when the King shall require”.

The route continues up Underbank Lane where it joins the road from Saltersbrook to Wortley at Dyson Cote where we find this very unusual Hexagonal Way Marker.

Erected in 1734, this stoop is unique in the area having six sides; the convention was the same as for the four sided stoops, in that the traveller turned right at the inscription.

The front face shown directs the traveller to Sheffield and Rotherham via Green Moor, the face to the right is inscribed with Barnsley & Pontefract and the date of 1734, and Doncaster directs the traveller towards Oxspring then via Bower Lane to Coates Farm and then Keresforth.


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