Today, Handsworth is a busy suburb in the south-east part of the City of Sheffield with a population of approximately 15,000. Politically, Handsworth is part of the Woodhouse ward [#28 on the map] in the Sheffield South East parliamentary constituency. Handsworth became part of Sheffield in 1921. Previously it had been an urban district within the West Riding of Yorkshire.
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Handsworth from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
St Mary's Parish Centre holds displays of artefacts, documents, records, photographs and maps relating to Handsworth and its history.
There is little recorded detail about Handsworth before the Norman Conquest. Roman soldiers had a settlement and fort nearby at Templeborough, although no evidence of Roman remains have been unearthed in Handsworth. Names such as Ballifield ("Bale Enclosure") indicate later Scandinavian settlements at the same site.
In the Domesday Book account, Handsworth is spelt "Handeswrde" and is joined to Whiston ("Witestan") to form a single manor. Before the Conquest, Torchil (or Turchil) is reported as being the Lord of the Manor, but following the Conquest lordship was transferred to Robert, Count of Mortain, who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror. Richard de Sourdeval held it for Count Robert. The Manor then passed, through marriage, to the Paynel and Lovetot families. It was a member of the Lovetot family who built the parish church in Handsworth.
In a survey in 1379 there were reported to be 9 smiths and perhaps one cutler in Sheffield, but by that time, Handsworth had 13 smiths and 3 cutlers. Clearly, the ancient parish of Handsworth had its own identity and history, almost as extensive as that of the city into which it became absorbed.
St. Mary's Church
St Mary's was built in about 1170. It was founded by the Norman lord William de Lovetot, or his father Richard, and the foundations were planned by William Paynel. (This church is not to be confused with St. Mary's Church, Handsworth in Birmingham UK).
Close to St Mary's Church is the Cross Keys Inn, a very old building that has not always been a public house. It was originally built in the mid-13th century as a Church House for the chaplains and lay clerks attached to St Mary's Church.