ROTHERHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.
"ROTHERHAM, is a small and respectable market town and township, in the parish of its name, in the northern division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, and in the liberty of Hallamshire, West Riding, 159 miles from London, 49 s. from York, 47 e. from Manchester, 12 s.w. from Doncaster, and six n.e. from Sheffield. The town is situated partly on the declivity of a hill and partly in a valley on the river Don, at its confluence with the Rother --- from the latter, which forms its western boundary, the town derives its name; and it is washed on the n.w. by the former river, over which is a handsome bridge of stone, connecting it with the village of Masborough, celebrated for its extensive iron works. The period of their first establishment was about the year 1752, by the late Samuel Walker, Esq. who, at the age of twelve years, was left an orphan, with two brothers and four sisters, destitute of property and almost of education; but by attentive industry, and being blessed with superior natural talent, he was soon enabled to commence a school. But this was not congenial to his mind, and he shortly, assisted by his brothers Aaron and Jonathan, commenced a small foundry, in which his genius truly and successfully developed itself, and was, in the course of time, rewarded with a princely fortune, and his manufactures justly esteemed the most extensive in Europe. He died in May, 1782, in the 66th year of his age, after bestowing numerous benefactions on the charitable institutions belonging to the town. Less business is at present done at these works than formerly; this is attributable to the number of similar establishments which have arisen in various other parts of the kingdom, and not to the quality of the articles manufactured being held in less estimation. During the late war, a great proportion of the cannon, for the use of government, were manufactured here, of the largest calibre; also several large iron bridges, particularly that over the Thames, called Southwark bridge, as well as those of Sunderland, Yarm and Staines; and the several establishments in the parish at this period give employment to numerous mechanics, and cause a circulation of money to a very considerable amount. Although the iron trade of Rotherham is its staple, yet there are other branches of high respectability, comprising two extensive chymical works, one each for the manufacture of oil, starch and glass; together with malting concerns, roperies and tanneries. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water : many of the houses are of ancient appearance, but in the neighbourhood of the church are some substantial and respectable dwellings.
The places for divine worship here, are the parish church, and chapels for baptists, Wesleyan methodists, independents and unitarians. The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is a spacious and venerable cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a central tower and spire highly enriched; the exterior of the entire edifice is most elaborately and tastefully sculptured, and the door ways richly moulded; the interior is lofty, and the roof, which is of oak, is profusely carved. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the patronage of Lord Howard of Effingham. The most prominent of the charitable institutions is a free grammar school, originally founded in 1584, and subsequently endowed by government, with a revenue derived from some crown lands; there are besides another charity school, supported by donations, one upon the national plan, and a college belonging to the independents. A dispensary mitigates the sufferings of the sick poor; and a news room and library affords to the respectable class of inhabitants a pleasing relief from commercial application. The library is liberally supported by subscribers, and contains several thousand volumes in the general departments of literature. The weekly market is held on Monday, and one for cattle every alternate Monday. The fairs take place on Whit Monday and the 1st of December. The parish of Rotherham contained, by the census taken in 1821, 9,623 inhabitants, and by that for 1831, 10,417, of which last number 4,083 were returned for the township."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]