Loxley (Sheffield)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 53.405684, -1.534973
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity c. 5 km NW of Sheffield
Type Settlement
Interest Literary locale
Status Extant
First Record c. 1600
Loading map...
The Sheffield suburb of Loxley seen from Stannington / Loxley.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-07. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-05-31.

The village of Loxley, now a suburb of Sheffield, is first mentioned (as "Lokkeslay") in 1329. There are references also to Loxley Firth, Loxley Plain and Loxley Chase etc.; the latter still survives.[1] The etymology of Loxley is "Locc's forest-glade". Locc was an Old English personal name well-attested in both place-names and on coins. This is the Loxley most generally believed to be the locality connected with Robin Hood.[2] Smith notes simply that "[t]his Loxley is the one associated with the Robin Hood ballads".[3] Although there must have been local traditions connecting Robin Hood with Loxley by the late 16th century, only a few late ballads associate him with the area. The first known source to connect Robin Hood with Loxley is the Sloane MS Life of Robin Hood from c. 1600. Some 37 years later, John Harrison in his survey of Sheffield lands knew several Robin Hood place-names and localities, including the house in which Robin Hood was born. Loxley is indicated on H. Moll's 1724 map of the West Riding of Yorkshire.[4]

Robin Hood's connection with Loxley was later taken up by Walter Scott in Ivanhoe (1820) where Robin Hood figures as Robert of Locksley. Ivanhoe has had a strong influence on Hollywood's portrayals of the outlaw, and many films make Robin Hood earl of Loxley. A number of Robin Hood-related localities exist or existed in or near Loxley.


1637 - Robin Hood's Bower (Loxley, Sheffield)

Imprimis Great Haggas Croft (pasture) lying near
Robin Hood's Bower & invironed with Loxley
Firth & Cont.                                                                                   1—2—27
Item little Haggas Croft (pasture) wherein is ye
foundacion of an house or Cottage where Robin
was borne this piece is Compassed about
with Loxley flirth [sic!] & Cont.                                                  00—2—13
Item Bower wood lying betweene Loxley firth East
& ye lands of Mr Eyre in part west & Cont.                                 4—1—5
Item Bower field (arable) lying betweene ye last
piece East & ye lands of Mr Eyre North & west
& Loxley firth South & Cont.                                                      2—1—5[5]


1819 - Hunter, Joseph - Hallamshire

But a small portion of the course of the Loxley is within the parish of Sheffield. It rises near the village of Bradfield, and flows through a thinly-peopled country, which in the memory of man was wholly uninclosed and uncultivated, called Loxley-Chase; a district which seems to have the fairest pretensions to be the Locksley of our old ballads, where was born that redoubtable hero Robin Hood. The remains of a house in which it was pretended he was born were formerly pointed out in a small wood in Loxley called Bar-wood, and a well of fine clear water rising near the bed of the river has been called from time immemorial Robin Hood's Well. This well is included within the grounds at Cliff-Rocher, a place not inaptly named by its late proprietor Little-Matlock, as it bears no mean resemblance to some parts of the beautiful valley of Matlock in Derbyshire. The walks which that gentleman cut in the boldest part of the cliff, and along a natural terrace extending to that part of Stannington in which are the chapel and minister's house, were thrown open to the public, and much frequented during several summers by the people of Sheffield.[6]

1837 - Holland, John - Tour of Don

A little to the north of the spot where this river [River Loxley] unites with the Rivelin, lies an extensive plain called Loxley Chase, and traditionally pointed out as the birth-place either of Robin Hood, who was sometimes called Locksley, from the place of his birth—or at least one of his followers, whose name in sound if not in spelling is identical with that of the place referred to; though what grounds of identity are traceable between our Hallamshire locality and the "Sweet Locksley [p. 177:] town in merry Nottinghamshire," where, according to the ballad, "bold Robin Hood was born and bred," it would be difficult to say. The question has its interest with ballad-antiquaries: but evidence that proves too much will be received with suspicion—the story, therefore, that some fragments of a building formerly pointed out were the remains of the early dwelling of the Sherwood royster, or the fact that his well is still pointed out in Cliff Rocher, are circumstances rather amusing than elucidatory.[7]

1845 - White, William - General Directory of Town and Borough of Sheffield (1)

There is an Unitarian Chapel at Stannington; and an old Independent Chapel at Loxley, near which is the romantic Cliffe Rocher, or Little Matlock, in the heart of Loxley Chase, now enclosed, and said to have been one of the haunts, if not the birth-place, of Robin Hood.[8]

1864 - Harrison, Samuel - Complete History of Great Flood at Sheffield

We now reach Little Matlock, one of the most romantic and picturesque scenes in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, a place to which, it is said, Robin Hood and Little John used frequently to resort. At the bottom of the valley, near the bed of the river, were the tilts and forges of Messrs. Chapman, and of Mrs. Denton, and also a row of strongly-built and good-looking stone houses inhabited by the Chapmans. The grounds of Little Matlock, and the Rock Inn, lie above, on the precipitous and finely wooded declivity of a steep hill, a scene of beauty unsurpassed in the neighbourhood, and which in summer attracts thousands of visitors to enjoy the sequestered walks, to ramble among the rocks, or to descend into the beautiful valley where the river Loxley ripples and foams along in its rocky and shady bed.[9]





Also see


  1. See for instance 6" map Yorkshire 288 (1855; surveyed 1850-51) and the maps listed in the Maps section below.
  2. Smith, A.H. The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire (English Place-Name Society, vols. XXX-XXXVII) (Cambridge, 1961-63), pt. 1, pp. 225, 226; pt. VII, p. 73.
  3. Smith. op. cit., pt. I, p. 225.
  4. Whitaker, Harold, ed. A Descriptive List of the printed Maps of Yorkshire and its Ridings, 1577-1900 (Yorkshire Archæological Society. Record Series, vol. LXXXVI) (1933), plate XIV.
  5. Addy, Sidney Oldall. 'Robin Hood's Bower in Loxley', Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society, vol. II (1920-24), pp. 201-202, p. 201, citing: Harrison, John. An Exact and Perfect Survey and View of the Manor of Sheffield with Other Lands by John Harrison, 1637, transcr. and ed. James George Ronksley, introd. by R.E. Leader (Sheffield, 1908), p. 32.
  6. Hunter, Joseph. Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York (London, 1819), p. 3.
  7. [Holland, John.] The Tour of the Don. A Series of Extempore Sketches made during a Pedestrian Ramble along the Banks of that River, and its Principal Tributaries (London and Sheffield, 1837), pp. 176-77.
  8. White, William. General Directory of the Town and Borough of Sheffield, with Rotheram, Chesterfield, and all the Parishes, Townships, Villages, and Hamlets, within a Circuit of Twelve Miles round the Capital of Hallamshire (Sheffield, 1845), p. 369.
  9. Harrison, Samuel. A Complete History of the Great Flood at Sheffield on March 11 & 12 (London and Sheffield, 1864), p. 32.

Image gallery

Click any image to display it in the lightbox, where you can navigate between images by clicking in the right or left side of the current image.