This book does not claim to be
anything so dignified as history. It is only a gathering together of
the various threads out of which history is woven—threads which,
if not seized and put into tangible shape, quickly escape
Our local annals afford many illustrations of the
loss that has been sustained through want of persons who would
take the trouble carefully to chronicle small details, and no
one can be fully conscious of that misfortune until he rises
from the compilation of such a work as this.
each past generation for (say) a hundred and fifty years, had
possessed its Cap'n Cuttle, who would not only have made a note
of what he found, but have left that note where others could
find it, my labours would have been greatly lightened.
I used the word "compilation"
advisedly just now, for this book is nothing more ambitious. It
had its origin in a very widely expressed wish that a number of
articles and letters which appeared in The Sheffield and
Rotherham Independent in 1872 and 1873, should, as contributions
to our local folk-lore, be reproduced in a form more readily
accessible, than scattered through the files of a newspaper.
My duty has thus been the modest
one of collating, arranging, and (wherever that was possible) of
verifying what more competent hands had written. To them, in the
first instance, belongs any merit the book may possess.
If I have thrown too flimsy a veil over the
individuality of any member of this amicable
confraternity, I must trust that the exigencies of
editorship will form a sufficient excuse.
But Hallamshire men will feel that
an additional value has been given to this gossip by the fact
that most of the proof sheets have had the advantage of careful
revision by the late Mr. William Swift.
I am quite conscious that not
unfrequently events are mentioned in these pages which can
hardly be considered properly to belong to "Old" Sheffield. Some
of them have occurred within the memory of those amongst us who
have not yet reached middle age.
R. E. LEADER