New reminder of an old abbey

Profs David Luscombe left and David Hey, from Sheffield University, presents a book on the history of Beauchief Abbey,to the ord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley

Profs David Luscombe left and David Hey, from Sheffield University, presents a book on the history of Beauchief Abbey,to the ord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley

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THE history of Beauchief Abbey has been enshrined in a new publication.

From about 1400 the canons of the abbey made copies of all their charters and bound them together in a volume that is now kept at Sheffield Archives.

Now the 225 charters have been transcribed, translated and annotated by Professors David Hey and David Luscombe of the University of Sheffield and Lisa Liddy of the University of York and published as A Monastic Community in Local Society: The Beauchief Abbey Cartulary by the Royal Historical Society.

The publication was presented to Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley, a former colleague at Sheffield University, at the town hall on Monday.

The abbey has had a lasting influence on the city. Beauchief was ‘the beautiful headland’ above the River Sheaf, the valley gave its name to Abbeydale and the abbey’s corn mill is commemorated by Millhouses. Ladies Spring Wood belonged to the abbey, stretching as far as Twentywell Lane.

The charters show that the canons had a deer park, fish ponds and a tannery close to the building. On the River Sheaf they built the Bradway corn mill, the Ecclesall Walk Mill and the corn mill at Millhouses. They also had a smithy which has given its name to Smithy Wood and they made charcoal in Hutcliffe Wood.

The tower of Beauchief Abbey is one of Sheffield’s most striking historic landmarks, viewed by motorists from Abbey Lane, by ramblers on the Round Walk and golfers on the Beauchief and Abbeydale courses.

It has recently been restored by English Heritage and its lower part is still used as a church that was created from the ruins in the 1660s. The abbey was dissolved in 1537.