Some historians suggest that the fact that Attercliffe is mentioned first in the Domesday Survey of 1086 – “Ateclive & Escaveld” – is an indication that Attercliffe was more significant than Sheffield before the building of the Norman castle.
Certainly there was a manor house belonging to the Blunt family by 1176 and this house was rebuilt in 1462 and became Carbrook Hall.
It was purchased by Thomas Bright, lord of the manor of Ecclesall, in the late-sixteenth century and the surviving stone-built wing was built c1620 for Stephen Bright (1583-1642), bailiff of the Earl of Arundel’s Hallamshire estates from 1622 and later lord of the manor of Ecclesall.
Stephen Bright’s son, Sir John (1619-1688) helped co-ordinate the siege of Sheffield Castle in 1644 from the Hall.
The Brights’ Carbrook estate passed repeatedly through the female line, and it seems that later generations let the building from early in the eighteenth century.
The house was more extensive than the surviving remnant: it was surveyed by William Fairbank in 1777, and E Blore’s engraving in Joseph Hunter’s Hallamshire: the history and topography of the parish of Sheffield in the county of York (1819) shows an elaborate jettied timber wing and other outbuildings.
There remain two elaborate interiors with fine oak panelling and plasterwork, possibly the work of the same craftsmen who decorated the Little Keep at Bolsover Castle.
The lower room has an oak chimney piece dated 1623 with Corinthian columns and strapwork and a depiction of Wisdom trampling on Ignorance, with scrolls containing mottoes. A very similar fireplace, originally at Norton House, is now preserved at the Cutlers’ Hall.
The stone fireplace in the upper chamber has, instead of columns, unusual caryatids. In a nearly circular cartouche is an image of the pelican in her piety.
Carbrook Hall became a public house sometime in the nineteenth century – all surviving photographs show it without the timbered wing – and in that guise it became an unlikely survivor of the days when Attercliffe was rural: http://www.sheffieldcamra.org.uk/2016/10/heritage-pubs-with-dave-pickersgill-carbrook-hall.
In recent times it has traded on a reputation as “the most haunted pub in Sheffield”, giving rise to investigations and reports that lose nothing in the telling: http://www.project-reveal.com/carbrook-hall-ghosts/4540202323.
In February 2017 the Carbrook Hall closed as a pub, to the distress of CAMRA and local workers. The new owner, West Street Leisure, did not at first disclose future plans for the building, beyond saying that its status as a Grade II* listed building would be respected. Conservationists are concerned that if it stands empty it will be vulnerable to vandalism: [http://www.thestar.co.uk/our-towns-and-cities/sheffield/fight-to-protect-historic-haunted-pub-in-sheffield-passes-first-hurdle-1-8539851].
This rare survival, a fragmentary reminder of the days when Attercliffe Common really was common land and Meadowhall was surrounded by meadows, contains one of the finest historic interiors in the city.
The next chapter in its long history is a transformation into a Starbucks coffee shop.
The 60-page, A4 handbook for the 2017 ‘Sheffield’s Heritage’ tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.