Southwest view of Beauchief Abbey, Beauchief Abbey Lane, Beauchief, near Sheffield, 1727
Miss Frances Webb
Beauchief Abbey Lane
About this image
The village of Beauchief was transferred from Derbyshire to the city of Sheffield in 1934.
Norton Church (St James' Church) can be seen in the distance, to the right.
In 1170 Robert Fitz-Ranulf, the then High Sheriff of Nottingham and Derbyshire, funded the building of an abbey on land he owned in the north corner of Derbyshire. The French based brothers of the PREMONSTRATENSIAN order called the area Beauchief, (Bee-chief) meaning Beautiful Headland.
The officially recorded opening of Beauchief Abbey was 21st December 1183 and by that time Robert Fitz-Ranulf had gifted most his wealth and lands to the abbey, renounced the temptations of the world and joined the order as a priest.
Over the next few hundred years the community and the acreage of land owned by the abbey at Beauchief continued to grow until by the 16 century they, along with other monastic houses, attracted the attention of King Henry 8th.
In 1536, Abbot John Sheffield surrendered the Abbey to the kings commissioner, Thomas Cromwell. The few remaining brothers were pensioned off, the abbey was partially demolished and the land on which it stood, along with the surrounding 260 acres, was sold to Sir Nicholas Strelley for a sum around £233.
Around 1662 parts of the original nave was rebuilt as a private family chapel for the then owner, Edward Pegge. Over the next few hundred years the estate containing Beauchief Abbey changed hands several times until in 1943 the abbey, now an listed ancient monument, was gifted to the people of Sheffield by Frank Crawshaw. The chapel is in almost the same condition as it was in the 17th century and is still in use today.
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county. The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.