What’s in a name?

Pitsmoor Road - Ray Black

Story by Saleema Imam | Photos by Ray Black and Graham Jones

What is a ‘greave’, and why did we burn it? If you’ve ever wondered how some of our local place names came about, wonder no more! Many are from old Anglo-Saxon or Viking words, which have evolved over the years into their current form.

Shirecliffe

  • SHIRECLIFFE
    In Anglo-Saxon, scir meant bright and cliffe a gleaming steep slope – or, to put it another way, a Bright(hill)side.
  • NEEPSEND
    In Old English ‘hnip’ meant steephill (the area was known as Nipisend in 1297), possibly from the Old Norse ‘nypr’ meaning a peak
  • WARDSEND
    Recorded in 1161, ‘Wereldesend’ meaning the end of the world between Sheffield and Ecclesfield (all Anglo/Saxon)
  • PITSMOOR
    This is derived from ore pitts, meaning the pits where ore was dug. Pitsmoor was once the site of iron ore and sandstone quarries.
  • BURNGREAVE
    First recorded as Byron Greve in 1440 and a piece of woodland called Burnt Greave on an 1846 map of Pitsmoor parish. It means “Byrons Wood” (“greave” is an old name for “wood”).
  • PASSHOUSES ROAD
    This was named after a small group of cottages known as the Pass Houses. These belonged to William Pass, a colliery owner who lived in Pitsmoor Abbey (what is now Abbeyfield House). Some of the miners who worked in the Pass colliery lived in these cottages (now demolished).
  • SPITAL HILL
    Derived from the word hospital. A hospital was founded in the 12th century by a local lord of the manor. It is thought to have been located somewhere off what is now Spital Street but there is no evidence remaining of the site. Information from “The Lost Village of Parkwood Springs” by Barbara Warsop, 2017 and “Street Names of Sheffield” by Peter Harvey, 2001. What is a ‘greave’, and why did we burn it? If you’ve ever wondered how some of our local place names came about, wonder no more! Many are from old Anglo-Saxon or Viking words, which have evolved over the years into their current form.
  • Osgathorpe Road roadsignOSGATHORPE
    The name means the farm belonging to Osga (itself an Old Norse name, Asgautr) and dates back to Viking times when the area was inhabited by Danes.
  • PYE BANK
    Derived from Pigh Hill (meaning a small enclosure or croft, in Middle English), It was then recorded as Pye Bank on a map in 1736.
  • GRIMESTHORPE
    This is a Viking name, meaning Grims outlying farm.
  • ABBEYFIELD ROAD
    This is derived from the house of the same name built after 1750 by William Pass, the local colliery owner. Although it had no religious connections, it was first called Pitsmoor Abbey but later became Abbeyfield House.
  • CATHERINE STREET
    Catherine Street was built on land belonging to the Duke of Norfolk. There were a number of Catherines in the Norfolk family ancestry, the most famous of which was Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry the Eighth. She was beheaded in 1542. The road name might refer to her or to one of the other Catherines in the family.
  • Passhouses RoadPASSHOUSES ROAD
    This was named after a small group of cottages known as the Pass Houses. These belonged to William Pass, a colliery owner who lived in Pitsmoor Abbey (what is now Abbeyfield House). Some of the miners who worked in the Pass colliery lived in these cottages (now demolished).
  • ORPHANAGE ROAD
    A girls orphanage was originally built on the site of what is now Firs Hill School. It was opened in 1887 but moved to another site in 1895.
  • FIR VALE
    Named after a local house, which took its name because it was below Firs Hill (which probably came from Furze (gorse) rather than Firs.

Information from “The Lost Village of Parkwood Springs” by Barbara Warsop, 2017 and “Street Names of Sheffield” by Peter Harvey, 2001.