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An Ancient Lane in Hunshelf

Cherry Tree Cottage




Just off the Underbank Lane is a plot of land which was known as The Carr.  It was also known as Carr Bottom, there being a Carr Top further up the lane. 


By the 1810 Inclosure Award, William Fenton of Underbank Hall was awarded quite a bit of land adjoining Underbank Lane.  One such plot was The Carr.  A building is shown in this plot of land on a map of 1854, but there isn't one shown on the Inclosure map of 1810.  In later years, this cottage was known as Cherry Tree Cottage, and it was the first house you'd come to as you left Underbank Lane and joined Bramall Lane.  This parcel of land was bounded by Bramall Lane, Underbank Lane and fields and "other premises" (not specified) which he already owned.  This land, together with two encroachments, is shown in blue on the map below.  These two encroachments were being used as a plantation and a garden.

1854 map showing The Carr or Carr Bottom

In 1851, the census records a house at "The Carr", which was occupied by John and Sarah Hellewell.  With them were Charles Gill aged 8 and George Beever aged 3, both recorded as  "nurse child".  This can mean a number of things; the children could have been informally adopted or fostered or have been temporarily "farmed out" to family, friends, or close neighbours.  Ten years previously in 1841 the same couple were living at Unsliven Bridge, according to the census.  Sarah died in 1852 and perhaps John moved to Croft Cottage at the southern end of the "new" part of Bramall Lane.  Local historian Joseph Kenworthy [1] mentions a John Helliwell, "who was living at Croft Cottage, In Bramall House Lane, about sixty years ago" [c1856].  In 1861 John was lodging at Horsley House (the other lodger was Joseph Walton, who had been born at Bramall House).


In 1861 the house at "Carr Bottom" was occupied by Joseph and Martha Moxon and their three children.  Joseph was a wire-drawer in Fox's, but by 1871 he had moved to Stocksbridge and become a grocer.  Another Moxon family lived in the same house thirty years later, but I don't think the two were connected.


I can find no record of a house in this location on the 1871 census which is odd - even if the house was empty, it should have been recorded as being unoccupied.[2] 


By 1881 the occupants were George Brearley and family - he had been a farmer up the hill at Horsley House, but was now working as a labourer.  He had a wife Ann and five children ranging in age from 10 to 23 years.  He lived there until his death in 1904 at the age of 83.  In  1891 he gave his occupation as labourer; he was 70 years old, but with two daughters at home who were working in the umbrella department at Fox's, perhaps he could enjoy a retirement of sorts.   Or perhaps not - ten years later, at the age of 80, his occupation was "highway labourer".  He may well have been in receipt of poor relief, and expected to work for his money.  We know from these later census returns that the house had four rooms.  By now George and Ann's daughter Emma had married, and she and her husband Arthur Moxon, a steel roller, were also living at the house at Carr Bottom.  George died in 1904. 


Emma and her husband stayed on at Carr Bottom after the deaths of her parents.  Arthur worked as a clerk in the rolling mill.  I am told by a family member that Arthur died in 1917 of gangrene.  Apparently, he had to have his leg amputated by the ambulance men, but he died on the way to hospital.  I am not sure how true this story is; his death certificate says that he died at the Royal Hospital in Sheffield on the 24th September 1917 of a “sarcoma of femur” [bone cancer].  I would guess he did indeed have his leg amputated in an attempt to halt the spread of the cancer, but that it was the hospital that carried out the amputation.[3]  I can find no report of an accident in the newspapers at the time, and I would have expected to - these cases were routinely reported.  Arthur left over £680, a fair bit of money at that time.  Emma, known as "t'Emma" to her family, moved to live at 861 Hawthorn Brook (Unsliven Road).  She lived with her widowed sister Mary Bradwell and Mary's bachelor son, George Bradwell, who worked in the rolling mill.


It looks as if Emma left The Carr a year or so after her husband died in 1917, because from 1920 the electoral register lists John William and Jane Rodgers as its occupants.[4]  John William died in 1925, and his widow was there until at least 1940. 


John William Rodgers and Jane Clixby had married in 1890 and lived at Wood View, Langsett (I think this was near Alderman's Head).  They later moved to Midhope Post Office (1901, 1911 census) where Jane was the sub-postmistress; her husband's occupations on the census returns were store keeper with the Water Works (1901) and wire drawer (1911), but it is his name over the door on the photograph below.  After this, they lived at The Lain [Lane] in Midhope, (probably Lane Farm in Midhopestones, or the lane it stands on, now called Oakes Lane). 



[1] Kenworthy, J.  The Early History of Stocksbridge & District, Volume 18a, Old Registers and Scholars, 1916

[2] The only possibility is the house listed on the census return immediately before The Barracks.  The Enumerator has noted it as Crimbles; its occupants were William and Sarah Ann Steward but I have not found a connection to the Stewards who lived at Barracks.   Sarah Ann's father was Benjamin Batty, and he farmed at Crimbles, so they could well have been living with him at the farm.

[3] Died 24 September 1917 at the Royal Hospital, West Street, Sheffield: Arthur Moxon of Carr Bottom, Underbank [newspaper report].  Commercial Clerk [death certificate]

[4] John William and Jane were at Midhope in 1918 and 1919, at then at Carr Bottom from 1920 according to the Electoral Register.  The spelling varies from Rodgers to Roger, and was previously spelt Rodger.  The family came from Wellhouses, Hunshelf.

Midhope post office.JPG

John William and Jane had four children; Milton Victor (1893), Doris Winifred (1898), Vernon Stephen C. (1911) and a child who died young.


Milton enlisted in the Royal Horse and Field Artillery in 1914 when he was 21 years old.  He was sent to France in 1915 and was sadly killed in 1917 at the age of 24 years.  He was admitted to the field hospital three times in 1915, for diarrhoea, sore feet, and chilled feet.  He was reported as being wounded in November 1916.[1]  The records are very faded, but it looks as if he deserted in 1916 and was sentenced to 28 days' "Field Punishment."  Field punishment did not require incarceration in a prison.  It was introduced to replace flogging, and was common during the Great War.  Milton would have been handcuffed and attached to a fixed object such as a gun wheel or fence post for up to two hours a day.  This form of punishment was known as "F.P.1".[2] 


Knowing what we do of the terrible conditions these young men faced, it is not hard to have some sympathy with young Gunner Milton, who would, as a gunner, be in the line of fire a lot of the time.[3]  He was hospitalised again, once with sickness and once when he sustained an injury to the leg after being kicked by a horse.  It looks as if he returned to England at some point, but was returned to the Front, and died from wounds to the abdomen received in action in August 1917.  He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.[4] 


Doris Winifred Rodgers married at Bolsterstone 9th February 1918 to Horace Hartley


Vernon Stephen C. married Irene Mickelthwaite in 1933.  They lived at Carr Head, Underbank, before moving to Cherry Tree Cottage (Carr Bottom).  Locals can remember Vernon, and Renee as she was known, and some corgis.  Apparently, he was pretty distinctive, sporting a bald head and a huge handlebar moustache.  He worked in the slag mill - which was handy, it being at the bottom of his garden!  Vernon died in 1989.

This note among the Army records was to add a change of address, and this is the first mention I have found of the house being called "Cherry Tree Cottage".


[1] Sheffield Daily Independent 11 November 1916: Bombardier Milton V. Rodgers, R.F.A., wounded

[2] A second type, "F.P.2" was sometimes used, where a prisoner was handcuffed but not attached to anything, and can still march with the men.  Milton later received a second punishment of 7 days.

[3] He served as temporary acting Bombardier for a while. 

[4] The Inscription is: EVER OF THEE WE ARE THINKING.  Lijssenthoek was the location for a number of casualty clearing stations during the First World War. The village was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations.

Milton army record.JPG
Cherry Tree Cottage2 2002.jpg
Cherry Tree Cottage1 2002.jpg

Cherry Tree cottage in 2002 prior to demolition.  Photo credit: Trevor Hodgkinson

1893 map showing Cherry Tree Cottage.JPG
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