The site of Nether Cut Wheel. [Photo: Sue Shaw, June 2015]
The site of Nether Cut Wheel. [Photo: Sue Shaw, June 2015]

Introduction

Nether Cut Wheel dates from around 1719, but was completely rebuilt after about 60 years. It was used for cutlery and scythe grinding, which continued until at least 1939. It was the last mill in the valley to be worked by waterwheel. The building was demolished as late as 1956 – all traces of it have been removed but the large mill dam has been preserved for fishing

History (c. 1719–1950s)

Also known as: Kay Wheel, Marshall Wheel, New Wheel, Nether Cutford Wheel.
Main trades:Cutlery and scythe grinding.

Nether Cut Wheel, known as Marshall’s Wheel in 1726, is thought to have been built around 1719 and completely rebuilt around 1777. It originally ran four trows, but in 1794 had nine trows, employing 15 men. The mill suffered a rattening* incident in 1850 for using non-union labour – most of the mills in the valley used non-union labour but Nether Cut seems to have been singled out for special attention and was attacked on several occasions. The Sorby family leased the site for many years until 1920, when it moved into the hands of the Kay family who carried on grinding work for the Sorbys.

Nether Cut was the last mill in the valley to be worked by waterwheel; scythe grinding at one trow continued until at least 1939. The building was demolished as late as 1956 – all traces of it have been removed but the large mill dam has been preserved for fishing.

Nether Cut Wheel (New Wheel), Rivelin Valley. Rivelin Cottages and Rivelin Glen United Methodist Church on hill, in background. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives
Nether Cut Wheel (New Wheel), Rivelin Valley. Rivelin Cottages and Rivelin Glen United Methodist Church on hill, in background. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives

There was no weir, the mill dam being fed directly via the tail goit from Upper Cut, now running through a tunnel under Rivelin Valley Road. Water from the mill dam outfalls into the river in two places: (1) mostly over an overflow and down a narrow stone channel and (2) culverted beneath the slope and into the tail goit, which runs between the two paths to feed directly into the Little London mill dam near the weir.

During the 1920’s an artist’s colony was based at the Rivelin Corn Mill, Nether Cut Wheel was one of the working mills during this time and an inspiration to the artists.

Nature and wildlife at Nether Cut Wheel

The Nether Cut mill dam was cleared and dredged in 1967, at which time it was stocked with Roach and Tench. It is still largely open water, now with Trout and Perch, and with a variety of wetland plant species such as Angelica, Bitter-cress, Creeping Buttercup, Figwort, Horse-tail, Reedmace (Bulrush) and Water Mint. This is a popular spot for the Heron to fish and Grey Wagtails can often be seen on the exposed mud patches. In 2012, the RVCG undertook repairs to the stonework along the top of the dam wall near the overflow after some of the capping stones were stolen. Look out for a patch of Wild Garlic on the bank to the left of the path up to Rivelin Valley Road, and another near the fork in the path.

The Nether Cut mill dam. [Photo: Sue Shaw, June 2015]
The Nether Cut mill dam. [Photo: Sue Shaw, June 2015]

Location