A Brief History of Grenoside

In prehistoric times flint from the Yorkshire coast was made into tools at Deepcar. Two thousand years ago, Wharncliffe was the site of one of the largest Quern manufacturing sites in Europe.

The most obvious sign of Grenoside’s antiquity is the Birley Stone which has stood, commanding a splendid view over Sheffield, since before 1161. We have a little knowledge of the Norman overlords but then comes a long period of when a number of isolated hamlets existed by farming later helped by nailmaking once the harvest was gathered in.

Two main routes have run through the area. One from Ecclesfield Priory to Bradfield and one from Sheffield to Wortley and beyond. Near where they crossed was to become the focal point of Grenoside, particularly in the 18th century when the Walker brothers established a rudimentary iron founding business using crucibles. This was so promising that they eventually moved to Masbro’ where it was hugely successful. In the meantime other foundries had sprung up and during the 19th century the village developed into a busy cottage-type industry based on iron and steel. As the nail industry died, so its place was taken by filecutting and similar trades such as shuttle parts, springs, tips, butchers steels and cutlery.

The other major trade in the 17 and 1800s was quarrying. Vast quantities of local sandstone was shipped out for use as building stone, grinding wheels, furnace lining, cementation chests and so on. Over the years various other trades have flourished and then disappeared such as rug making, basket weaving, linen weaving, charcoal burning and forest management.

Today the village retains much of its Victorian character, and its stone buildings looking much as they did over a 100 years ago.

To the south and east lie the great Sheffield estates but to the north and west, open fields and dense forests give some idea of the rural almost isolated village of yesteryear.