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Mortimer Road

Another old route which was upgrade in to a Turnpike road, is known as Mortimer Road.

It was named after Hans Winthrop Mortimer of Caldwell Hall in Derbyshire, Lord of the Manor of Bamford and Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury he died in 1807 in poor circumstances having previously disposed of his Bamford Estate, and this road that bears his name was also a commercial failure.

He was the son of Cromwell Mortimer who was at one time Secretary of the Royal Society.

He was instrumental in the passing of the act in 1771, for the repair and widening of the road.

Before Mortimer Road was improved and made into a Turnpike it existed as an old trading route between Grindleford in North Derbyshire and Penistone in the then West Riding of Yorkshire.

This old route was originally known as Halifax Gate, and the upgrade to Mortimer Road followed much of the old route, particularly through our district.

We pick up the route where it enters the district on the southern side, at the junction of the road from the Strines and the road from Bradfield, where this old Guide Stoop can be seen located at the side of the road.

The road then passes alongside the Broomhead Estate and down in to the valley where it crosses the river via the Ewden Bridge which was widened in 1776 to carry wheeled vehicles.

The road then takes a steep climb, passing Garlic House Farm, Thomas Jeffreys 1771 map of Yorkshire shows that the old route went straight up the hill, but the new road took a slightly less difficult route with a sharp bend at the bottom and also at the summit of the hill.

After passing over the brow of the hill, the road descends alongside Barnside Moor towards Midhopestones, where it crosses Midhope Bridge, which was built over the Little Don river in the 1770s, and was then modified in 1783, with the addition of parapet walls.

The bridge is a Grade II listed structure.

After crossing the main road to Manchester, which was constructed after an Act of 1805, Mortimer Road now takes a detour and follows a slightly easier route up to Cranberry Crossroads at Sheephouse Heights, the original pre Turnpike route went straight up the hill via Judd Fields.

The road then proceeds via Cubley in the direction of Penistone

There is a "Take Off" stone built into the Boundary wall at the top of the hill close to Sheephouse Heights, after assisting in pulling the waggons up the hill from the valley at Midhopestones, the horses were unhitched and then returned to the bottom, ready to do the same task all over again.

As stated previously, the old route went straight up the hill via Judd Fields, most of this part of the old route can still be walked as a public footpath, but parts are now overgrown with Holly and other types of trees.

This photograph, taken in 2011, shows the route as it starts its climb towards Penistone, starting from behind Midhopestones Court which was previously the Rose & Crown public house.

This photograph shows the route soon after the start, as can be seen there are no obvious sign as its previous use as a well used trade route.

This photograph shows the route about a third of the way up Judd Fields as can be seen this section is so overgrown that the present path takes a detour via an adjacent field.

On this second part of the route there are signs of its previous use as an old road, which has been eroded by the constant passage of traffic, it has the characteristic shape of a “Holloway”, and the Causey stones which formed the base of the track can just be seen.

These photographs show the route as it approaches the end of the climb; here there are still signs of its previous use.

This early photograph, taken from a Joseph Kenworthy Handbook, shows the "Causey" stones which were placed across the track to protect it from the wear and tear of vehicles and the effects of rain and snow.

This photograph shows the route after it has passed the brow of the hill and is heading off along Judd Field Lane towards Penistone.

The original Mortimer Road finished at Bridge End in Penistone but on the last part of its route some of the sections have been renamed as the Market Town developed in recent years.


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