Home Lost Houses Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Hazelbarrow Hall, Eckington

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Hazelbarrow Hall, Eckington

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Hazelbarrow Hall, Eckington
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Like Norton, about which I wrote last year, Hazelbarrow – part of Norton in my opinion, but according to Historic England belonging to Eckington – is one of those places which were included in the considerable chunk of our county which was appropriated by the City of Sheffield in 1936 to boost rate income. 

Hazelbarrow Hall, which Joseph Hunter described as a ‘good old mansion’, was a particularly venerable house, built in the 16th century (probably the 1570s) on an H-plan: that is with a central great hall with entrance offset to one side, flanked by a pair of cross-wings, quite long to the south (entrance front) and ending in coped gables. Of two storeys and attics, the house was constructed of ashlar, partly of coursed rubble and with ashlar dressings of coal measures sandstone, and latterly with a slate roof, although undoubtedly built with a rood of stone slates. At the rear there was a stair tower containing a stone newel staircase, and an entrance there was equipped with a depressed four- centered arch in true 16th century style.

The entrance was not only offset from the centre of the 4 recessed great hall part, but was via an attached and gabled two storey porch facing across the courtyard, rather like one at Whittington Old Hall (now vanished and about which we will write in the future), and also at Barlborough Old Hall, although the latter, housed in a crenelated porch, is now plain. The windows were mullioned and transomed, superimposed eight-light ones gracing the gable ends of the cross-wings with cranked hood moulds, and un-transomed four-light windows to the central section and porch, whilst the attic windows were simple two-light mullioned ones, but still with hood moulds. Ancient panelling apparently survived within, and a bowling alley was listed in a survey of 1635.

The surviving picture (a painting by Miss Pearson of Norton Vicarage done shortly prior to demolition in 1810, and an ink copy by John Fenney Parkin of Sheffield) makes the house look pretty modest, but as tax was paid on eleven hearths in the 1670 Hearth Tax Assessment, it was in fact, bearing in mind its age, getting on for medium sized for a typical Derbyshire Gabled manor house.

The estate was small but ancient, having originally been held by a family who took their name from the estate, but an heiress transferred it briefly to a Lincolnshire family from whom it was purchased by Robert Selioke before 1313. The Seliokes were a local family, taking their name from Selloak in neighbouring Cold Aston, a locale now remembered in Selloak Spring Wood. Indeed, their coat-of-arms includes three oak leaves proper (i.e. in their natural colour), a herald’s take on their surname. These may be seen on an alabaster grave-slab in the church at Norton, which came to light during G E Street’s alterations in the 1880s.


 Newspaper photograph of the farmhouse at the time of its purchase by Sheffield City Council. [Sheffield Archives]

His descendant in the ninth generation, William son of George Selioke, was the supposed builder of the house, but his son mortgated the estate in 1587 to William Dickenson of Sheffield who, after the foreclosure of which, sold it to Peter Frescheville of Staveley Hall, who let it to a family called Beverley, The heiress of Frescheville’s son 1st Lord Frescheville, disposed of it in 1635 for £2,450 to Anthony Morewood of the Oaks, the neighbouring estate. 

Somehow, it has a habit of continually changing hands: in 1670, the Morewoods sold it to lead merchant John Storey (who paid the hearth tax), from whom it passed on his death only four years later to John Wingfield (1651-1732), a descendant of the Wingfields of Leatheringsett in Norfolk and thus distant cousins of the Irish Viscounts Powerscourt. A forebear had obtained land in Derbyshire by marriage with a coheiress of Sir Robert Goushill of Barlborough and John’s mother was the sister-in-law of Lord Frescheville’s co-heiress, demonstrating that the new owners were very nearly ‘family’ after all!  

Wingfieold made various improvements to the house, including the provision of a pair of imposing rusticated gatepiers with large ball finials, the centrepiece of an ornamental timber screen which ran across the front of the house (like the surviving iron one in front of nearby Beauchief Hall) to enclose a cour d’honneur and an ornamental garden. The heiress of John brought the estate to her husband, Robert Newton of Mickleover – and also of Norton House, whom we met when that lost house was being described.


The imposing Restoration gatepiers as sketched by Charles Ashmore, 1910.

With the death of their son, Robert, unmarried in 1790, the Newtons let the house to the Jenkin family. His heirs included William Cunliffe-Shaw whose daughter Priscilla carried the estate to her husband Wingfield Wildman, whose mother had also been a Wingfield of Hazelbarrow.  Wildman’s daughter, Harriet who in 1810 terminated the lease of the tenant Edward Jenkyns and pulled down the old house, this in spite of Robert Newton’s will specifying a legacy of £2,000 ‘to lay out and expend on improvement of the said house and place’. The site, I am told, lies just to the north of the farm, partly covered by tree planting.

Harriet’s heirs continued to own the estate throughout the 19th century, and had developed the closely adjacent home farm, in the rebuilding of which, a mullioned attic window and a Gothic doorcase were incorporated, whilst numerous pieces of walling were retained, along with the imposing gate piers which John Winfield added in the 1680s and which now rather prosaically provide a grand entrance to the stackyard.  The group, including the gatepiers, are now (with the farmhouse) listed grade II by Historic England. 

As regards the present century, the City of Sheffield, once possessed of the parish, proceeded to buy the farmhouse and the remaining estate (by then 250 acres) ‘as part of the green Belt’, which, miraculously, it has remained, with the farm still tenanted and worked. 

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