Rivelin Valley Conservation Group and Ruskin In Sheffield LogoSwallow Wheel

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Introduction

Dating from at least 1692, Swallow Wheel appears to have been used continually for grinding cutlery and razors until it fell into ruins in the early 20th century.

The weir is in poor condition. There is water in the mill dam, but it is shallow and heavily shaded with trees. The remains of the wheel pit, the line of the buildings and parts of the stone floor are partially visible amongst the encroaching vegetation.

Image of The Swallow Wheel marker post is located below the mill dam wall, where the grinding hull used to be.

The Swallow Wheel marker post is located below the mill dam wall, where the grinding hull used to be. Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2016.

Image of a small grindstone, found nearby in the river, is set into the bank next to the main overflow of the Swallow mill dam.

A small grindstone, found nearby in the river, is set into the bank next to the main overflow of the Swallow mill dam. Photo: Sue Shaw, September 2011

HISTORY (1690s–1900s)

Also known as: Lockwood Wheel.

Main trades: Cutlery and razor grinding.

Swallow Wheel dates from at least 1692, at which time Hugh Lockwood paid a rent of £1. It was occupied by Joseph Swallow (a cutler from Stannington) in 1699. In 1745 there were four trows. Nathan Dixon held the lease in trust for the Swallow children in 1766; by this time the rent had increased to £4 and the mill to five trows.

There were further increases over the next few decades such that by 1794 records showed 13 trows employing 18 men and around 1814 there were ten cutlers’ trows and four razor trows. The wheel pit had a fall of some 16 ft 4 in (c. 5 m) at this time and in 1858 the waterwheel was noted as being 12 ft in diameter by 7 ft 5 in wide (c. 3.6 m x 2.3 m). The Wheel was in ruins by 1905. The drawing below shows the mill building in the late 19th century.

In 1936 the Swallow mill dam was recorded as “empty and grass grown”, but it was apparently reflooded by local anglers in the 1940s. In 2002, the RVCG cleared vegetation at the upstream end of the dam and dug out three large ponds, after which water was re-introduced via a modern shuttle gate.

Image of Swallow Wheel in about 1860, by Mr A. Chattle.

Drawing of Swallow Wheel in about 1860, by Mr A. Chattle. Courtesy of M. Chattle.

Image of RVCG Task Team fixing the new gate to the main overflow at Swallow Wheel in 2002.

Members of the RVCG Task Team fixing the new gate to the main overflow at Swallow Wheel in 2002. Note the size of the stones that were dug out and cut to re-build this overflow – a really heavy and smelly job. Photo: Keith Kendall 2002.

Image of inlet to Swallow Wheel head goit.

Inlet to Swallow Wheel head goit, with Wolf Wheel building behind. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s10373. (Image undated)


Other Mills
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