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Sheffield Manor Lodge and Turret House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Manor Castle

In the civil parish of Sheffield.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Sheffield.
1974 county of South Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK37558650
Latitude 53.37385° Longitude -1.43796°

Sheffield Manor Lodge and Turret House has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


The ruins of a manor house, built circa 1510 for the Earls of Shrewsbury; demolished in 1706; restored circa 1910 and again in the late C20. It is constructed from coursed rubble, dressed squared stone and brick but is roofless. The ruin is of a rectangular plan running north-south, with kitchens at the south end. (PastScape)

Sheffield Manor Lodge stands in the middle of the great deer park of the Lords of Hallamshire which extended over the whole of the Park Hill from Heeley to Darnall and Handsworth to the River Don. Covering an area of nearly 2,500 acres, with a boundary fence about eight miles long, this was one of the largest parks in England. At this highest point within the Medieval deer park some sort of lodge was built, probably in the 12th century. Its prominent position, commanding a fine prospect of most of the park and much of Hallamshire beyond, would suggest that this was more than simply lodgings for the keeper. Excavations during the 1970s revealed the footings of these early buildings which were regularly extended, for at least six building phases have been identified prior to the early 16th century. By the end of the 15th century quite an extensive complex of buildings were in existence, no sign of which today exist above ground. (Welcome to Sheffield Manor Lodge)

The ruined manor-house is sited on a high point at the centre of the medieval deer park of the lords of the manor of Sheffield. The house began as a hunting lodge which in the sixteenth century was enlarged into a more splendid residence. Archaeological excavations are carried out annually by Sheffield City Museums as part of a long-term programme of restoration sponsored by Sheffield City Council.
The Talbot family, the Earls of Shrewsbury, were lords of the manor from the early fifteenth century to 1616 and though the castle was their principal Sheffield seat, they were responsible for considerable building operations at the manor. The earliest documentary references are to repairs being carried out to the 'lodge in the Park' in 1479-80. In 1529 Cardinal Wolsey, as a guest of the fourth Earl, stayed at the manor on his journey south from York, shortly before his death, and an account describing the visit survives, reputedly written by his gentleman usher George Cavendish. Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment in Sheffield (1570-84) was taken to stay at the manor on a number of occasions and addressed several letters from there. A number of documentary references to building and repair works at the manor date particularly to the last half of the sixteenth century. George, the sixth Earl (1560-90), seems to have preferred this house to all his other properties.
Remains of the medieval hunting lodge are few and form an incomplete picture. The evidence suggests the buildings were extensive, of at least five phases and in part followed a different plan from that later adopted. They included a rectangular structure in the outer courtyard with corner towers at the north ends, which were demolished in the second half of the sixteenth century, as well as successive structures found by excavation under the sixteenth-century cross wing and southern courtyard. The lower stonework of the northern half of the west front, known as the long gallery, is also of late medieval date, as is the remains of a cruck framework encased in later stone walling in a service building lying to the east of the main house.
Cardinal Wolsey in 1529 was lodged in 'a new tower', thought to be the tower block at the north end of the long gallery. Rebuilding of the upper storey of the long gallery was contemporary. The double courtyard layout evolved fully during the sixteenth century, with a smaller service court to the east. Much of the standing stonework in the south wing dates from the last half of the sixteenth century but is likely to overlie and incorporate earlier structures. The cross wing, dividing the two courtyards and investigated solely by excavation, has been shown to have undergone several stages of rebuilding and alteration during the sixteenth century.
Remains of the southern half of the west wing, also revealed by excavation, are unusual in that they represent a total rebuild sometime in the last half of the sixteenth century. The scheme was grandiose and included an imposing new front entrance flanked by brick-faced octagonal towers and a new courtyard and garden layout. The latter involved total demolition of extensive medieval buildings and incorporated an entrance road and a gatehouse. It is tempting to suggest the controlling hand of an unknown architect at work and to equate these developments with the period of Mary Queen of Scots' imprisonment in Sheffield, when the Earl would have had the incentive both to enlarge the accommodation available and to improve the appearance of his house. Bess of Hardwick, married to the sixth Earl, and with a well-known interest in building, could also have had an interest in such a scheme.
The gatehouse, known as the Turret House from the staircase turret on the roof, is the only roofed building surviving. In the nineteenth century the idea was put forward that it was built as a prison for Mary Queen of Scots, but its location on the garden boundary wall adjacent to the entrance gate would make such a purpose unlikely. The building's architecture and ornate internal plaster-work have been published in detail. A building account in the notebooks of William Dickinson dated to 1574 may refer to its construction.
Following failure of the Talbot male line in 1616 the new owners, the Howard family, allowed their Sheffield properties to fall into disrepair. In 1708 the Duke of Norfolk had a large part of the manor-house demolished and leased the site piecemeal to tenant farmers, craftsmen and labourers. In the first half of the eighteenth century these included a potter John Fox, the remains of whose kiln and workshops have been found in the ruins of the Wolsey Tower. Around 1907 the site was cleared of all buildings except the sixteenth-century structures. (Beswick 1981)

In Ingham's list of fortified houses who seems to imply that this or the pavillion/hunting lodge 150m west, called Turret House, was fortified but there is no suggestion that the turrets on the building were anything other than decorative. However the site of a important medieval hunting lodge and grand late medieval residence certainly of importance in comparative study with castles and palaces.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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