Some of you out there seemed intrigued by Sheffield Manor and so here we go again...
In the past, ancient sites and ruins were not venerated by local people. There was no National Trust nor English Heritage running around protecting old castles, monasteries, abbeys or city walls.
When old stone structures fell into disuse, the ordinary populace saw these historical sites as fair game. Many viewed them like stone quarries - places you could go to collect building materials. It seems almost unbelievable now but that is how it was. It is why the huge medieval castle here in Sheffield disappeared almost entirely and it is why Victorians had the unenviable job of trying to rebuild Hadrian's Wall near England's border with Scotland.
I once observed the same phenomenon in Kos, Greece. There the ancient Greek medical school, the Asclepeion, was vandalised in the fourteenth century by medieval knights in order to construct a fortress at the entrance to Kos Town's harbour. Even today you can still see writing carved into some of the stones by ancient Greeks a thousand years before the fortress was built.
All of the above is mere preamble before going back to the subject of Sheffield Manor. As soon as this impressive stone settlement on a hill fell into disuse a hundred years after Mary Queen of Scots's sojourn, local homeowners, farmers and builders pillaged the site on a regular basis until a lot of the original stonework simply disappeared.
|The Turret House - shown from a different viewpoint yesterday - is the |
only complete building on the site of Sheffield Manor
If each lost stone had a DNA signature you could easily track them down and find them in a wide array of newer structures in the vicinity of the old manor complex. Once that complex was embedded in countryside with swathes of green forest and heathland where stags, wild boar and game birds flourished.
Now what remains of Sheffield Manor finds itself stranded in the heart of an urban landscape - not leafy suburbia where middle class committees and volunteers would no doubt cradle it - but in a part of the city where there is industry and street after grim street of low-cost social housing - where survival understandably matters more than heritage.
|20h century gates with Sheffield's coat of arms|