Harthill, population c 1,600 (1991 census)
Woodall, population c 300 (1991 census)

Harthill is a typical dormitory town: it has little industry or places of employment for its inhabitants, just a few shops, small businesses and farms. Most must travel to nearby towns and villages for work, plus the city of Sheffield 10 miles to the west.

A ‘hart’ is a female deer, and this village is on the top of a hill, so maybe that’s the name derivation? According to the Domesday book, in 1086 it had 13 freemen and 11 villagers, presumably plus wives and children and servants. In 1822 it had about 650 (although this may include the then smaller settlements of Woodall and Kiveton in the same parish). In 1991 it had about 1,600 inhabitants. In 1086 it was a small component of the estates given to William de Warrenne as part of his reward for his role in the Norman Conquest.

There are open fields between Harthill and Kiveton because the Duke of Leeds who basically owned the place until 1922 refused to allow houses to be built on his Harthill estate, which was sold off in 1930. The village has always been agricultural, but also contains old disused quarries for ‘whetstones’ used to sharpen knives – in the early 19th century production was 40,000 stones a year.

Mentioned in the Domesday Book commisioned by William the Conqueror in 1080. The church is well over 900 years old with Saxon and Norman masonry, and has the 1st Duke of Leeds (Thomas Osborne, ex of Thorpe and Kiveton Halls) in its the crypt (the family burial place at the time).

Sir Walter Scott wrote Harthill into his book Ivanhoe as part of his Sheffield walk (Normans v Saxons – see the Kiveton pages for more details of the Saxon pub!). In 1940 the Luftwaffe dropped 19 bombs between Harthill and Kiveton – although they were after the steelworks of Sheffield (the bombers natural run in to Sheffield was over this area). Also in world war II in 1944 some of the first air launched ‘cruise missiles’ the V1 ‘doodlebugs’ passed over harthill (launched at night from a bomber over the North Sea 100+ miles to the east), one of which came down just 3 miles away near Killamarsh!

Woodall is separated from Harthill by about a mile of open farmland. It’s a part of the parish of Harthill and is technically a hamlet as it has no church (or pub for that matter). It was once just a few farms and workers cottages but now has some 20th century residental housing. It would be a near flawless English hamlet on a par with the village Thorpe Salvin for prettyness, but for one thing – it’s only 400 metres from the M1 motorway which dominates the western horizon, and generates a constant noise (though I’m told that you just get used to it after a while and it fails to register). The M1 service station between juntions 30 and 31 is about a quarter of a mile away and is called the Woodall Services.

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