Location: High Bradfield, Sheffield, UK [MAP]
Project Type: Cemetery, Religious, Rural
Completion Date: 1480s with elements of an 12th C. church(1)
Access: Take the blue tram(2) from Sheffield city centre to Malin Bridge and walk up the Loxley Valley (4.3 miles, 1 hour 15 mins) or take the bus no.61/62(3) to High Bradfield. The church is located on a public right of way.
The quintessential english village of High Bradfield is nestled on the Northern hillside of the Loxley Valley, 6.5 miles from the centre of Sheffield. The gem of the village is the Church of St. Nicholas(1), built in the 1480s. However it is thought that the site was once used as an Anglo Saxon place of worship(1), dating back to a much earlier time.
The Church can be reached via a public right of way that passes the old Church gate house that guarded the cemetery from the infamous “body-snatchers”. It is connected to a traditional stone stile that was designed to prevent grazing sheep from escaping whilst allowing ramblers and church-goers to pass-through.
On entering the church grounds, you are rewarded with spectacular views of the churchyard set against the backdrop of valley. To the West you can see evidence of ancient field patterns, which could possibly date back to the time when hunter-gatherers originally started to make clearings in the woodland for the first fields.
The village’s high position and prospect over the Loxley Valley is no accident. Located on either side of the village are two Norman Motte-and-bailey Castles [MAP], which are surrounded by steep slopes, earthworks and far-reaching views for protection.
East of High Bradfield, on the same side of the valley, is Loxley Common [MAP], an area of heathland, pioneering birch and oak woodland and quarrying from the industrial revolution. Although the site is of man-made influence, it is thought that this is what the valley would have looked like shortly after the most recent ice age (the time of hunter-gatherers).
The village of High Bradfield and surrounding valley are scattered with intriguing historical gems, revealing a fascinating slice of British history that dates from the last ice age to the industrial revolution.