Place:Handsworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

Alt namesHandesuuordsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 316
Handesuurdesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 316
Frechevillesource: hamlet in parish
Gleadlesssource: hamlet in parish
Gleadless Valleysource: hamlet in parish
Intakesource: hamlet in parish
Richmond in Handsworthsource: hamlet in parish
Woodhouse (near Sheffield)source: hamlet in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district, Suburb
Coordinates53.367°N 1.389°W
Located inWest Riding of Yorkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inSouth Yorkshire, England     (1974 - )
Yorkshire, England    
See alsoSheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, Englandancient parish of which it was part
Strafforth and Tickhill Wapentake, West Riding of Yorkshire, Englandwapentake in which it was located
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, Englandcity of which it was a part until 1974
Sheffield (metropolitan borough), South Yorkshire, Englandmetropolitan borough of which it has been a part since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

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 was originally an ancient parish in the Strafforth and Tickhill Wapentake of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It became a civil parish in 1866 and from 1894 it was an urban district within the West Riding of Yorkshire. Handsworth became part of Sheffield in 1921.

The hamlets listed by Wilson in the excerpt below have been redirected here.

St Mary's Parish Centre in Handsworth holds displays of artefacts, documents, records, photographs and maps relating to Handsworth and its history. Handsworth Parish Registers, dating back as far as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I still exist. There are written documents from 1558, the year that Elizabeth I ascended the throne, recording all baptisms, marriages, and burials which took place in the Parish of St Mary's.

image:Sheffield-wards-wikipedia numbered.png

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:

"HANDSWORTH, a village, a parish, and a sub-district in Sheffield district, [West Riding of] Yorkshire. The village stands near the Midland railway, and near the boundary with Derby, 2 miles WNW of Woodhouse [railway] station, and 4 ESE of Sheffield. The parish contains also the villages of Gleadless, Intake, Richmond, and Woodhouse. Acres: 3,510. Real property: £13,680; of which £1,150 are in mines, and £130 in quarries. Population in 1851: 3,264; in 1861: 3,951. Houses: 864.
"The property is much subdivided. The manor belongs to the Duke of Norfolk. Woodthorpe Hall is the seat of John B. Brown, Esq. There are collieries, quarries, saw mills, and manufactures of cutlery. The living is a rectory, united with the chapelry of Gleadless, in the diocese of York. Value, £589. Patrons, Trustees. The church stands on an eminence; is ancient; has a small tower and spire; and was recently repaired. There are a chapel of ease in Gleadless, Independent chapels in Handsworth village, Gleadless, and Woodhouse, Methodist chapels in Handsworth and Woodhouse, a Quakers' chapel in Woodhouse, national schools in Gleadless and Woodhouse, and charities £20.
"The sub-district is conterminate with the parish."


Gleadless is a suburb and parish within the City of Sheffield, which lies five km (three miles) southeast of the city centre. It is bordered by the adjoining suburbs of Gleadless Valley to the west, Frecheville to the east, and Richmond in Handsworth and Intake to the north. The land to the south is the rural area of North East Derbyshire District which is outside the city boundary in the county of Derbyshire. Gleadless was formerly a country hamlet, then village before becoming part of the expanding city of Sheffield in 1921. The word Gleadless comes from the Old English language and means either “forest clearings haunted by a kite” (gleoda) or “bright clearing” (glaed).

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Gleadless from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"GLEADLESS, a hamlet in Handsworth parish, [West Riding of] Yorkshire; 3¼ miles SE of Sheffield. It forms a curacy with Handsworth; and it has a church built in 1840, an Independent chapel, and a national school. Table-blade forging and coal mining are carried on." (Source: Wikipedia)


Woodhouse is a former farming and coal-mining village, now a suburb and housing estate. The farming village was, until the advent of coal mining in the area, relatively free of any kind of modern post industrial revolution influence. The population was invariably engaged in either small-scale farming or farming-related sub-industries such as early retail and tanning.

The advent of coal mining attracted an influx of young men and families wishing to capitalise on the various local mining ventures. Woodhouse grew quickly into a mining community with the opening of a number of mines within commuting distance. The village expanded considerably to become a 'pit village'. (Source: Wikipedia)

Since 1974 the local importance of Woodhouse and Handsworth has changed. Whereas Woodshouse was originally a village in Handsworth parish; now Handsworth is a part of the Woodhouse ward of Sheffield Metropolitan Borough.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Woodhouse from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"WOODHOUSE, a village in Handsworth parish, [West Riding of] Yorkshire; 1 mile W by S of [Woodhouse] Junction [railway] station, and 4½ ESE of Sheffield. It has a post-office under Sheffield, three dissenting chapels, a national school, and saw-mills; and it does much business in connexion with neighbouring collieries."

Research Tips

Address: 52 Shoreham Street, Sheffield S1 4SP
Telephone: +44(0)1142 039395
  • British History Online (Victoria County Histories) do not cover the West Riding of Yorkshire
  • GENUKI has a page on all three ridings of Yorkshire and pages for each of the ecclesiastical parishes in the county. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. The list is based on a gazetteer dated 1835 and there may have been a number of alterations to the parish setup since then. However, it is worthwhile information for the pre civil registration era. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area. There is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date and the submitter is very firm about his copyright. This should not stop anyone from reading the material.
  • The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851 which gives the registration district and wapentake for each parish, together with statistics from the 1851 census for the area.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time, Yorkshire West Riding, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72.
  • Map of the West Riding divisions in 1888 produced by UK Ordnance Survey and provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time
  • Map of West Riding divisions in 1917 produced by UK Ordnance Survey and provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time. In other counties, the map for 1900 has been used, but it is not coming up in Vision of Britain's list.
  • Map of West Riding divisions in 1944 produced by UK Ordnance Survey and provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time
  • The above three maps indicate the boundaries between parishes, etc., but for a more detailed view of a specific area try a map from this selection. The oldest series are very clear at the third magnification offered. Comparing the map details with the GENUKI details for the same area is well worthwhile.
  • Yorkshire has a large number of family history and genealogical societies. A list of the societies will be found on the Yorkshire, England page.

Finding maps of the Sheffield area has been difficult. The town of Sheffield covered a very large area very early. Whereas in other places settlements became individual parishes, around Sheffield the settlements were all merged into a single urban area. A website produced by the Rootsweb part of Ancestry has a couple of maps that may help.

  • A map of the Sheffield area circa 1990 without boundaries, but indicating many of the smaller places surrounding Sheffield itself.
  • Another indicating parish boundaries as far north as Ecclesfield and as far west as Upper Hallam may also be helpful.

Wikipedia has produced a "book" which is a compilation of all its articles about Sheffield.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Handsworth, South Yorkshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.