From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search

Hallamshire (or Hallam) is the name for an area of Yorkshire around the city of Sheffield.

The origin of the name is uncertain. The English Place-Name Society describe "Hallam" originating from a formation meaning "on the rocks". Alternative theories are that it is derived from halgh meaning an area of land at a border,[1] Old Norse hallr meaning a slope or hill, or Old English heall meaning a hall or mansion.[2]

The exact boundaries of this historic district are unknown, but it is thought to have covered the parishes of Sheffield, Ecclesfield, and Bradfield. Later descriptions also include Brightside and the parish of Handsworth.[3]


Anglo-Saxon Hallamshire

In Anglo-Saxon times, Hallamshire was the most southerly shire of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Its southern border with Mercia was already fixed and may have Celtic origins. The Domesday Book states that the manor of Hallam ("Hallun") included sixteen hamlets or settlements and had existed before the 1066 Norman conquest as part of the lands owned by Waltheof, the Earl of Huntingdon, who had an aula or hall located in this district.

The earliest known use of the term Hallamshire—"Halumsire"—is found in a deed of the house of Saint Wandrille in Ecclesfield dating from 1161.[4] Historically, the term shire would simply mean the district appropriated to some city, town, or castle, and did not necessarily refer to a county. Hallamshire could therefore be assumed to be the district associated with a town ("vill") called "Hallam", although there is no known record of such a town's existence.[5]

One possible location for Waltheof's aula and the surrounding settlement is Sheffield Castle. The Domesday book states that the manor of Sheffield had once been inland of the manor of Hallam—that is, land reserved for the Lord of the manor. This has led to the suggestion that the Sheffield of the Domesday book only encompassed the area that later became known as Sheffield Park, the historic town and castle being in Hallam.[6][7] Indeed, an early 20th-century excavation at the site of Sheffield Castle found evidence of an Anglo-Saxon building on the site.[8] However, a number of alternate sites have been suggested in and around the Rivelin valley.[9]

Local historian T. Walter Hall (in 1931[10]), following Sidney Addy (1893[11]), suggested that the district's original settlement was at Hallam Head, above the River Rivelin, and that it had been destroyed during the Harrying of the North. As evidence, he noted that the location lies by the ancient Long Causeway route and that the name of the neighbouring Burnt Stones Common referenced its destruction. This theory is rejected by David Hey, who notes that there is no evidence of any settlement larger than a hamlet ever having existed at the site, and that evidence suggests that the Harrying of the North did not affect the Sheffield area.[1] Addy himself preferred a location just outside the village of Stannington, where there is evidence of a large manor house surrounded by a moat.[12]

After the Conquest

Waltheof initially submitted to William I and was allowed to keep his lands. He took part in a failed uprising to support the 1069 invasion by Sweyn II of Denmark and Edgar Ætheling (including an attack on York), but then once again submitted to the William and was married to Judith of Lens, the King's niece. However, after taking part in a conspiracy against William in 1075 Waltheof was executed.

Initially, Judith retained his lands (including Hallamshire), but after Judith refused a second marriage to the Norman knight Simon Saint Liz, William confiscated much of her lands and handed them to her eldest daughter Maud, who then married Saint Liz in Judith's stead. After the death of Saint Liz, Maud married David, the heir to the crown of Scotland, and Waltheof's lands and Earldom were passed to him.

It is possible that Hallamshire was exempted from this transfer and remained in Judith's hands. The Domesday book states that the manor of Hallam was held by Roger de Busli "of the Countess Judith". The exact nature of the arrangement between Judith and de Busli is unknown, however there is evidence that such an arrangement may have continued for a number of centuries—an inquisition following the death of Thomas de Furnival in 1332 found that his ancestors had held the manor of Sheffield "of the King of Scotland", paying a yearly service of two white greyhounds.

During this early period, the name Hallamshire was retained for the Norman lordship. It was administered from Sheffield Castle, at the confluence of the River Don and the River Sheaf. A smaller castle was built at High Bradfield.[1] During the 12th century, William de Lovetot acquired most of the land within the Sheffield area including the old manors of Hallam, Sheffield, and Attercliffe. He constructed a more substantial castle in Sheffield, establishing the town as the dominant settlement within Hallamshire. Sheffield gained a sizeable parish, split from the large parish of Ecclesfield, and a larger manor which encompassed most of Hallamshire. A charter of 1268 describes Hallamshire as containing just three manors: Ecclesfield, Sheffield and Bradfield. However, confusion arose later, as Sheffield acquired other manors outside historic Hallamshire, such as that of Handsworth.[1][3]

Modern Hallam

Hallam has come to mean, broadly speaking, that area of Yorkshire in the foothills of the Peak District and southwest of the River Don. The region includes much of western Sheffield, and the parish of Bradfield. Suburbs and villages within this area include Bradfield, Broomhill, Crookes, Fulwood, Hillsborough, Loxley, Stannington, Strines, and Walkley.

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 David Hey, Historic Hallamshire
  2. Goodall, Armitage C. (1913). "Hallam". Place-Names of South-West Yorkshire; that is, of so much of the West Riding as lies south of the Aire from Keighley onwards. Cambridge: University Press. p. 156. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 See chapter I of Hunter (1819) for a discussion of the boundaries of Hallamshire.
  4. Transcribed in Hunter, Hallamshire, p. 28.
  5. Hunter, Hallamshire, chapter 1
  6. Leader, John Daniel (1897). The Records of the Burgery of Sheffield. Sheffield: The Sheffield Independent Press, Limited. pp. xix–xxii. 
  7. Charlesworth, F. "Hallun—Sheffield". Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society 5: 61. 
  8. Accounts of the 1927–1930 (and more recent) archaeological investigations of Sheffield Castle can be found on the Sheffield Markets website and at the Sheffield Galleries & Museums Trust archaeology website (both accessed 13 August 2005).
  9. A discussion of possible locations of the aula can be found in chapter II of Hunter (1819)
  10. Hall, T. Walter (1931). South Yorkshire historical sketches; the aula in Hallam, a seneschal of Hallamshire, Tickhill castle, Owlerton manor in Sheffield. Sheffield: J.W. Northend Ltd. OCLC 14508892. 
  11. Addy, The Hall of Waltheof, Chapter XXIII. "Ibi Habuit Wallef Comes Aulam"
  12. Addy, The Hall of Waltheof, Chapter XXXV. The Stannington Diploma—The Stone Villa—The Hall


  • Addy, Sidney Oldall (1888). A Glossary of Words Used in the Neighbourhood of Sheffield. Including a Selection of Local Names, and Some Notices of Folk-Lore, Games, and Customs. London: Trubner & Co. for the English Dialect Society.  (wikisource)
  • Addy, Sidney Oldall (1893). The Hall of Waltheof. Sheffield: William Townsend and Son. OCLC 12239309.  (wikisource)
  • Hunter, Joseph (1819). Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mayor & Jones.  (wikisource)

Outside links