Wickersley is one of the manors that are recorded as being completely waste and valueless. The manor had belonged to Halfdan and Aestan and there had been arable land for three plough teams. William I had given Wickersley to Roger de Busli and he in turn had granted it to his tenant Roger. In the late 14th century, Wickersley society was headed by John de Bossevill, franklin, and his wife Elizabeth who were assessed at 4Od in the 1379 Poll Tax return. Just below them was John de Wykerslay, merchant, who paid 2s. Altogether there were 53 Wickersley people prosperous enough to pay the tax. The total population was probably c.90.
The family of de Wickersley descended from Richard fitzTurgis, one of the co-founders of Roche Abbey. In 1230 Robert de Wickersley gave the advowson of the parish church to Worksop Priory. In 1315 the lords of the manor of Wickersley were returned as Thomas de Wickersley, Jordan de Idle and Richard de Dred. By the 16th century the de Wickersleys were living at Broomhall, Sheffield. The male line of the de Wickersleys came to an end in 1528 with the death of Nicholas de Wickersley. The manor passed via his daughter Ellen to her husband Robert Swift jnr, son of Robert Swift of Rotherham. On his death in 1561 the Swift estates were partitioned between his three daughters, Wickersley being among the estates awarded to Frances who married Sir Francis Leake of Sutton. Leake sold Wickersley to Richard Smith of London in 1577. Over the next two centuries the lordship of the manor passed through a number of hands. By the 18th century the manor had passed into the hands of the Sylvester family. Later in the century Capt. Thomas Gilbert, William Bumford and Mrs Reve are recorded as holding Wickersley at various dates. George Rooke of Langham was lord of the manor in 1810. His daughter Charlotte married Rev. John Foster who was rector of Wickersley from 1804 unti1863. In 1841 the lordship passed to William Warde-Aldam family of Frickley Hall.
Manor Farm Church Lane
Little remains of Wickersley's medieval church apart from the tower, the lower part of which dates from the 15th century .The upper part of the tower dates from the 18th century and the top from the 1950s. Hunter speaks of a church at Wickersley c1150. The earliest recorded clergyman was Guydo who was rector in 1240. This church seems to have been rebuilt in the late 15th century possibly by Roger de Wickersley who died in 1472. His tombstone lies in the centre aisle. The late medieval church, apart from the tower, was demolished by Rev. John Foster, who erected the present nave in 1834-6. The chancel was added in 1886 by Rev. Frederick Freeman who was also responsible for all the stained glass. The east window is said to be a replica of its 15th century predecessor. A document of 1419 refers to "the lamp of St Nicholas in Wickersley Church." This seems to have been a light in the tower to guide travelers at night. There is a ring of three bells in the tower. The tenor bell dates from the rectory of John Elcock (1438-91). The others date from 1781 and 1799 and were re-cast in 1952. A choir was instituted by the curate, Rev. Gladwyn Jebb, in 1861. This did not meet with universal approval and Dr. Holt Vates felt so strongly that he threatened the quarry masters who leased land from him with eviction if they allowed their children to sing in the choir. The choir supporters solved the problem by moving to quarries held from more lenient landlords.
One result of the dissension over the choir was the foundation of the Christian Institute on Morthen Road by Dr. William Holt Yates. Opened in 1862 at a cost of £1.500, the Institute contained a library, lecture hall, reading room and secretary's residence. Its purpose was "the diffusion of general and useful knowledge, thereby to increase the respectability, happiness and welfare of Society, also to encourage the real interests of the inhabitants of Wickersley and its vicinity." The Institute was non-denominational and the discussion of politics was forbidden. The Church Hall was converted in 1930 from the tithe barn, erected in the early 19th century.
There must have been nonconformists in the parish by the beginning of the 19th century but they probably worshipped at the Methodist chapel at Bramley. In 1806 John Styring's house at Wickersley was licensed as a place of worship for "protestant dissenters" and a Methodist chapel was built on Wood Lane in 1828. A Primitive Methodist chapel was erected on Bawtry Road in 1842 and re-placed with a larger building in 1876. The two congregations remained separate after the Methodist Union of 1932 until the present chapel was built in 1967. The Catholic Church on Northfield Lane was opened in 1961.
The Church School can be traced back to 1714 when Leonard Purseglove was master. The early school was conducted in private houses and in a small building near the main road. A new National School and master's house was erected in 1855 at a cost of £750. On the death of the master, Thomas Shaw, in 1864 a dispute arose between the Rector and the Vestry Meeting over the right to appoint a new master. The Rector prevailed but the Vestry attempted to keep the old school going by appointing a master of their own. This breakaway failed after a few years for want of pupils and the old school was converted into a stable and then a blacksmith's shop and a storeroom before being sold by the Parish Council for £45 in 1911. By the 1890s the National School housed c150 pupils with three teachers.
With the growth of population in the village, the church school became overcrowded and in 1909 a temporary tin school was erected on Bawtry Road. The temporary school was replaced by the Bramley and Wickersley Council School in 1911. These buildings now form the nucleus of Wickersley School. The building of houses at Listerdale led to a great increase of children at the Council School which was not relieved until the opening of Listerdale School at Dalton in 1938. This enabled the Wickersley schools to be re-organised and the Council School became a senior mixed school. The Church School became Voluntary Controlled in 1947 and a new Church school was erected in 1965.
The village stood close to the main road from Sheffield and Rotherham to Bawtry which was formerly an important inland port, exporting cutlery from Sheffield and lead from the Peak District. Originally the road ran south of the church but when the road was turnpiked in 1759 it was diverted onto the present route. The main village hostelry, the Needless Inn, stood on the old main road. The building was later a farm and finally (from 1928) the Wickersley Working Men's Social Club. The Wickersley toll bar stood at the Brecks at the western boundary of the parish. The turnpike was also used for transporting Wickersley's main export. In the 18th century the Wickersley stone was found to make excellent, fine-grained grindstones for which there was a great demand from the Sheffield cutlers. Land to the south of the village was purchased by the Cutlers' Company and a number of quarries were opened up. By 1800 some 5,000 stones were being sent to Sheffield and exported to Northern Europe and America each year. The Cutlers' Company sold the quarries in 1828 but production continued and around half of the male population of the parish were engaged in quarrying in the 1830s.
The 1871 Directory lists 28 quarry owners in the parish. Appropriately the local lodge of the Oddfellows, which met at the White Swan, was called the "Ouarryman's Pride". A very severe frost early in 1895 caused quarrying to be suspended and led to great hardship among the quarrymen's families. One of the first tasks of the newly elected parish council was to arrange relief for the families. With the opening of collieries at Canklow, Silverwood and Thurcroft, many quarrymen turned to mining as offering a more certain income. The demand for grindstones from the cutlery industry was declining as the use of emery wheels increased. The final nail in the coffin of natural grindstones was the passage of the Silicosis Act in 1914, although the outbreak of war delayed its implementation and it was not until 1927 that the cutlers finally abandoned natural stones. By 1939 there was only one quarry still producing grindstones for the export market.
Trolley Bus - Bawtry Road
As early as 1903 Rotherham Rural District Council was proposing to introduce piped water to the village. This met with little support from the villagers who preferred their well water. The scheme was resurrected in 1910 and approved in 1912. Many villagers expressed their objection to the new mains water on the grounds that it "had no life in it". The parish council supported Rotherham Corporation's scheme to run trolley buses to Maltby. When this service started in 1912 it greatly improved the public transport available to the villagers. In 1921 the parish council agreed to participate in the West Riding's scheme for village libraries. Gas lamps were introduced to Wickersley's streets in 1927.
The 1930s saw a great expansion in the village of Wickersley. In 1921 Joe Lister had built himself a house on a plot of land overlooking Denes Plantation. In subsequent years he acquired other land in the area and began to build bungalows and houses, aided by a government subsidy of £100 per house and a loan from his employers. In the 1920s and 1930s he erected the Listerdale housing estate consisting of 650 semi-detached and 40 detached houses. As a result of this and other building, the population of the parish rose from 1,004 in 1921 to 1,809 in 1931 and 3,185 in 1951. Further housing was developed in the Northfield area from 1958 leading to population increase to 5,029 in 1961. The demand for services from the increased population led to the development of the Tanyard shopping centre on the main road in 1966. Continued development of the land around the village has seen the population rise to 6,819 in 1981 and 7390 in 1991.
(Taken from ‘ A Patchwork of Parishes’ Parish Council’s Centenary 1894-1994
Published by Archives and Local Studies Section, Rotherham Central Library 1997)