Biography of Samuel Mitchell 1803-1868

Samuel Mitchell 1803-1868 is in Antiquaries.

On 13 Feb 1803 Samuel Mitchell was born to Samuel Mitchell of Sheffield and Whiteley Wood and Elizabeth Brightmore.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. [Fol. 43.] June 1st and 2nd 18241.

The large barrow [Gib Hill Barrow [Map]] situate 4 or 500 yds. from Arborlow, in a field called Gib hill [Map], belonging to Mr. Thos. Bateman of Middleton by Youlgreave, was opened by Mr W. Bateman (age 37), and myself, by driving a level through the S.E. side to the centre. The first covering which was about 2 yard in depth consisted of loose stones and earth, (but not so stoney as the Arborlow) under which a thin layer of tuft stone. Beneath this was a stratum similar to the first of about 1½ yards in thickness with a second thin bed of tuft stone. To this succeeded a stiff reddish brown clay, completely saturated with what we supposed to be animal matter, and having evident marks of fire. This clay was laid on the natural soil, about 1½ yds. in thickness, and 3 or 4 yards in diameter, and was throughout its whole circumference full of burnt bones and charcoal, disposed apparently in layers. A stratum of tuft stone which we supposed had been changed into a yellow ochry substance by the action of the fire, was placed under this; beneath which we penetrated to the solid rock 5 or 6 yds. in perpendicular height from the summit of the mount. We carefully examined the clayey stratum but could find no traces of an urn having ever been deposited; we found in the clay a small arrow head of flint, and a stone of somewhat peculiar shape, much broken, which might have been made use of as a hatchet2, some pieces of burnt bones (whether human or not cannot be ascertained) and a (very) few bones of rats were found3.

The mount has, no doubt, been raised over the funeral pile of some family, in which the bodies were entirely consumed, perhaps before the introduction of urn burial. The tumulus has evidently been connected with the adjoining temple by a small rampire of earth which runs Southward from the vallum of the Arborlow, round this barrow to the Westward; but may not be coeval with the original foundation of the temple. The remains found are in the possession of Mr. W. Bateman of Middleton.

One of the men employed in this excavation stated positively that he and a John Broomhead, had, under the direction of Mr. B. Thornhill, of Stanton, dug down into the centre of this barrow many years before, when they found the bones of a human hand, and several Coins, some of which were silver, and that on their arrival at some large stones, they desisted. The coins were taken away by Mr. Thornhill. The stones appear to have been considerably above the stratum of burnt bones, &c. mentioned. On Mr. Bateman's application to Mr. Thornhill on the subject, he denied having any recollection of opening the barrow at all.

Samuel Mitchell (age 21) Junior.

Note 1. Vestiges, pp. 31-2, and briefly in Ten Years' Diggings, pp. 17-20, in both of which the above exploration is attributed to Mr. W. Bateman only. These pages in Ten Years' Diggings record the opening of this great-barrow by Mr T. Bateman, January 10th-17th, 1848, when a huge cist containing burnt human bones and a vase were found near the summit.

Note 2. "A battered celt of basaltic stone"- Ten Years' Diggings, p. 20. In addition to the "finds" enumerated above, a small iron fibula was found in the upper part of the mound.

Note 3. Mr. Mitchell's account of the opening of this barrow is valuable, as his description of the construction is more detailed antl explicit than that of Vestiges, p. 31. The exploration of 1848 proved that the upper portion of the mound had been raised over four small ones of clay, placed square-wise. The present writer has recently suggested that these may simply represent the mode of constructing a square mound like that near the south-west side of the great circle at Dove Holes [Map], and that the upper material of stones and earth represents a subsequent enlarging of the barrow when the cist was introduced (Reliquary, 1908). Derbyshire has supplied other examples of barrows which have been raised or otherwise enlarged upon the occasion of later burials.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. [Fol 38.] Strawberry Lee, &c

"July 1824, by permission of B. B. Steade Esqr of Beauchief Hall (agent to Peter Pegge Burnell Esqr) I opened a remarkably ccnspicuous and well shaped tumulus at Strawberry Lee1, near Totley, in Derbyshire, which was supposed to have been a barrow. We dug through the side to the centre withoout discovering the least sign of its being a funeral mound.

"The same day, I opened several of a great number of small tumuli near the Carle's Wark [Map], close to the Burbage Brook, and near the road from Fox house to Hathersage, without finding any thing of interest. These were certainly not barrows2."

S. Mitchell (age 21) June 1824.

Note 1. 11½ miles west of Totley. No barrow is here marked on the Ordnance Survey

Note 2 A good day's work, truly! Even with a large gang of labourers it would be impossible to satisfactorily prove whether all these mounds, including that at Strawberry Lee which is about 4 miles away, were or were not burial-places, in so short a time; but a similar haste was characteristic of much of Thomas Bateman's work, the result being that nearly all the barrows which he opened, and which have since been further examined, have yielded internents which escaped his spade.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. May 19th 1825. We opened a barrow composed principally of stone situated on the top of Cronkstone Hill1. It is on a farm belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, called Cronkstone Grange, in the Parish of Hartington, and is about three miles N.W. of Arborlow, which can be distinctly seen from it. We have discovered the remains of a human skeleton, deposited in a cist, formed of Stones, widely piled together, and about 4 feet in length. The body could not, of course, have been laid straight, but was doubled up with the knees towards the chin and breast, and reclined on the right side. This mode of interment is not very unusual in the Derbyshire barrows, and is supposed to be of the most remote antiquity. Under the head of the skeleton was placed the part of the horn of what I imagine to be the red-deer, and apparently must have been of large dimentions. It measures 9¼ inches round the base or root.

I have before noticed in my essay on Arbor-low that it was not uncommon to bury the horns of Deer with human bodies in these sepulchral tumuli. There was the usual accompaniment of rats' bones in this barrow, which I conceive, from analogous examples, should be referred to a very early date among the ancient Britons.

The top of Cronkston hill2, which is of great elevation is surrounded by a vallum and rampart of earth and stones, of no great height, ranging about 100 yards on every side of the barrow, and apparently intended solely to enclose and protect it. On the East side of the Hill is an amphitheatre, which has been formed by the excavation of the earth from the sides of the hill in a semi-elliptic form. There is a low bench of turf running quite round the amphitheatre, which has clearly been used as a seat for the principal spectators. It is about 15 or 16 yards across, and to the eastward, which is the side open, a space of the same width, and perhaps 100 yds. in length has been carefully levelled, and may perhaps have served as a cursus. This place is very similar to the semi-circular cove of earth mentioned by Stukeley, in his 2nd Itinerary as existing at Staden Low, near Buxton, and which he, with great probability, imagined to have been used for shows. Whether these remains at Cronkstone have served as a place of common amusement for the inhabitants of this district, or have been used for games instituted in memory of, and to the honour of the warrior or hunter buried in this barrow, whose remains we have deterred, must, of course, be quite conjectural."

Samuel Mitchell Junior (age 22).

Note 1. Vestiges, p. 125.

Section I Tumuli 1827. In 1827 and 1828, Mr. Thomas Birds, of Eyam, opened several tumuli on Eyam Moor and on Leam Moor (adjoining), but never found anything more than rude urns and burnt bones. The barrows on Leam Moor, Abney Moor, and about High Lowe are very numerous, and many of them have been explored by Mr. John Oxley, of Sheffield (the then possessor of Leam Hall), Major Rooke, Mr. Samuel Mitchell (age 23), of Sheffield, and others, and many of them remain untouched. There are also numerous barrows upon Shalton Edge, overlooking Castleton and Hope. Some years ago some fragments of a very fine urn were found by a man engaged in planting, upon the side of Win Hill near to the summit. At the same time were found many ashes and some stags' horns.

In 1829 Samuel Mitchell (age 25) and Eliza Riddell were married.

Stephen Glover 1831. Between two and three miles north—east of Newhaven, at a little distance beyond the Roman road from Buxton to Little Chester, is one of the most remarkable monuments of antiquity in Derbyshire. This is the Arbor-Low or Arbelows [Map], a druidical circle, surrounded by a ditch and vallum. Its situation, though considerably elevated, is not high as some eminences in the neighbouring country ; yet it commands an extensive view, especially to the north-east. The area, encompassed by the ditch, is about fifty yards in diameter, and of a circularfurm ; though, from a little declination of the ground towards the north, it appears somewhat elliptical, when viewed from particular points. The stones which compose the circle are rough and unhewn masses of limestone, apparently thirty in number; but this cannot be determined with certainty, as several are broken. Most of them are from six to eight feet in length, and three or four broad in the widest part; their thickness is more variable, and their respective shapes are different. They all lie on the ground, and generally in an oblique position; but the opinion that has prevailed, of the narrowest end of each being pointed towards the centre, in order to represent the rays of the sun, and prove that luminary to have been the object of worship, must have arisen from inaccurate observation: for they almost as frequently point towards the ditch as otherwise. Whether they ever stood upright, as most of the stones of druidical circles do, is an enquiry not to determine; though Mr. Pilkington was informed, that a very old man living in Middleton, remembered, when a boy, to have seen them standing obliquely upon one end. This secondary kind of evidence does not seem entitled to much credit as the view of the stones themselves and their relative situations are almost demonstrative of the contrary. Within the circle are some smaller stones scattered irregularly and near the centre are three larger ones erroneously supposed to have once formed a cromlech The width of the ditch which immediately surrounds the area on which the stones are placed is about six yards the height of the bank or vallum on the inside is from six to eight yards but this varies throughout the whole circumference which on the top is nearly two hundred and seventy yards. The vallum seems to have been formed of the earth thrown up from the ditch. To the enclosed area are two entrances each of the width of ten or twelve yards and opening on the north and south. On the east side of the southern entrance is a large barrow standing in the same line of circumference as the vallum but wholly detached excepting at the bottom. This barrow was opened in June 1782 by H Rooke esq and the horns of a stag were discovered in it and June 1 1824 by Mr Samuel Mitchell (age 27) of Sheffield and the engraving here inserted is copied from an accurate drawing made by that gentleman.

Thomas Bateman 1845. The 23d of May, 1845, is an important day in the annals of barrow-digging in Derbyshire, as on that day was made the discovery, so long a desideratum, of the original interment in the large tumulus [Map], which forms one side of the southern entrance to the temple of Arbor Lowe [Map], and which had been unsuccessfully attempted on previous occasions by three parties of antiquaries: first, about 1770, by the occupier of the land whereon the temple is situated; secondly, in 1783, by the celebrated archaeologist Major Rooke (see p. 31, 1st Jun 1824), who laboured with no effect for three days; and thirdly, on the 1st and 2d of June, 1824, by Mr. Samuel Mitchell (age 42) and Mr. William Bateman, who succeeded no better (see p. 31). But, to return to the narrative. Operations were commenced on the day before mentioned, by cutting across the barrow from the south side towards the centre. A shoulder-blade and an antler of the large red deer were found in this excavation, which also produced an average quantity of rats' bones. On reaching the highest part of the tumulus, which owing to the soil and stones removed in the former excavations, is not in the centre, but more to the south, and is elevated about four yards above the natural soil, a large, flat stone was discovered, about five feet in length by three feet in width, lying in a horizontal position, about eighteen inches higher than the natural floor. This stone being cleared and carefully removed, exposed to view a small six-sided cist, constructed by ten limestones, placed on one end, and having a floor of three similar stones, neatly jointed. It was quite free from soil, the cover having most effectually protected the contents, which were a quantity of calcined human bones, strewed about the floor of the cist, all which were carefully picked up, and amongst them were found a rude kidney-shaped instrument of flint, a pin made from the leg-bone of a small deer, and a piece of spherical iron pyrites.

At the west end of the cist were two urns of coarse clay, each of which was ornamented in a peculiar and widely dissimilar manner. The larger one had fallen to pieces from the effects of time and damp, but has since been restored, and is a very elegant vase; the smaller was taken out quite perfect, and is of much ruder design and workmanship. In addition to these urns, one piece of the ornamented upper edge of another, quite distinct from either of them, was found. The floor of the cist was laid upon the natural soil and the cist was strewed with rats' bones, both within and without.

Preface. The writer has met with but little assistance by being favoured with the sight either of antiquities, drawings, or manuscripts. But his thanks are especially due to Samuel Mitchell (age 44), Esq., of Sheffield, for the account of his barrow-digging excursions in the north of Derbyshire; and to the Rev. Willoughby Rooke, for the loan of the correspondence of his relative, the late Major Rooke; his thanks are also due to Robert Gamer, Esq., of Stoke; and to the Rev. Matthew Freeman, of Mellor, for various useful communications.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. 1856. In politics, Mr. Mitchell (age 52) was a Liberal. For many years he took an active part as an Improvement Commissioner and a guardian of Ecclesall Union, and was one of the most regular attendants at the meetings of the Literary and Philosophical Society, a body over which he was president in 1856. On the formation of the Sheffield Architectural and Archaeological Society, at the beginning of this year, Mr. Mitchell, though in failing health, came forward to assist, and was appointed one of the vice-presidents. He married, in 1829, Eliza, youngest dauqhter of Thos. Riddell, Esq., of Hull, who survives him."

On 14 Sep 1868 Samuel Mitchell (age 65) died.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. 15 Sep 1868. The following biographical sketch is taken from The Sheffield and Rotherham lndependent of September 15th, 1868:

The death of Samuel Mitchell (deceased), Esq., which took place at an early hour yesterday morning, will be learned with regret by a wide circle of friends. Mr. Mitchell was born on the 13th February, 1803, and was the son of Mr. Samuel Mitchell, of Sheffield and Whiteley Wood, merchant, by Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. William Brightmore and grandson of Thomas Bolsover, the inventor of the useful art of silver plating. When quite a young man he evinced a decided taste for antiquarian pursuits, and subsequently became one of our best known students of the Past.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. In 1831, he [Samuel Mitchell] was spoken of by the late Rev' Joseph Hunter in his History of the Deanery of Doncaster as 'a young and zealous antiquary,' a tribute to which he, was justly entitled, for he had then discovered an important fact in connection with the history of Sheffield which had entirely escaped Mr. Hunter's notice when preparing his History of Hallamshire. Mr. Mitchell, in turning over the records in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, found in the 40th vol. of Dodsworth's collection evidence of the fact that Sheffield had been destroyed by fire during the civil wars in the reign of Henry III. So extensive was the destruction that Thomas de Furnival, then Lord of the Manor, claimed £3,000 as damages for burning his house and taking away his goods, and for years afterwards the inhabitants of the town were in the habit of dating events by the year of the great burning. About this period, Mr. Mitchell was actively engaged with his friend, the late Thomas Bateman, Esq. of Lomberdale Honse, Youlgreave, in exploring the barrows of North Derbyshire. The result of their joint labours was published by Mr. Bateman, in a very readable volume, and the well-known Museum of Lomberdale was greatly enriched by the trophies of their skill and perseverance. The friendship then formed between these two men of kindred tastes continued intimate and unbroken until Mr. Bateman's death a few years ago. Mr. Mitchell contributed various valuable articles to antiquarian publications, and formed a large and important collection of original documents and other things relating to family and local history in this neighbourhood. It was his intention, an intention unfortunately never fulfilled, to publish a history and topography of the, Hundreds of High Peak and Scarsdale in the county of Derby. The collections he made for this purpose form no inconsiderable portion of his literary remains, and if they fall into the right hands may still be made available for those who are glad to know something of the past history of places among which their present lot is cast.

Harold Gray 1902. On the south-east, adjoining the external face of the vallum and partly resting on it, a tumulus [Map] stands, the summit 7½ feet above the surrounding turf-level (see photograph, plate II.). This barrow was first attacked in 1770 by the then occupier of the farm, without success. Likewise to 1782 by Major Rooke, assisted by John Manders, and in 1824 by William Bateman and Samuel Mitchell, of Sheffield. A fourth attempt, made in 1845, by Thomas Bateman and Rev. S. Isaacson, resulted in the discovery of a limestone cist, which has been frequently described1. It contained calcined human bones, a bone pin2, pyrites and flint, and two small urns3, differing considerably in style and ornamentation, but undoubtedly of Bronze Age manufacture, and probably rather early in that period4.

Note 1. "Arbor Low," by Sir John Lubbock, the Reliquary, xx. 8l-85; Bateman's Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, 64-66 and 74; and Winchester Volume of the British Archrological Association (1845), 197-204.

Note 2. Figured in Fergusson's Rude Stone Monuments, r4r, and Vestiges, 65,

Note 3. These relics are in the Sheffield Museum. The urns are reproduced by kind permission of Mr. E. Howarth, the curator.

Note 4. Dr. Brushfield calls my attention to the very misleading representation of this urn in Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, p. 65.-Ed. D.A.N.E S

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. On the 10th October, 1828, he [Samuel Mitchell] read before the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society a very interesting paper on 'The history of the Burgery of Sheffield, commonly called the Town Trust,' which was afterwards published in the Independent.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. Notes of some Derbyshire Antiquities from Samuel Mitchell's Memoranda by John Ward F.S.A.

Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Volume 30 1908 Page 155. Among the many papers that he [Samuel Mitchell] read before the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society, the following related wholly or in part to Derbyshire: "On the Druidical Remains at Arbor Low" (November 5th, 1824); "On Druidism " (June 3rd, 1825); "On the Peak of Derbyshire at the time of the Conquest " (December 4th, 1829); "On the History of the Manor of Ashford-in-the-Water " (March 7th, 1834); " A Sketch of the History and Castle of High Peak" (December 1st, 1848); and probably another, "On Ancient Modes of Sepulture " (November 5th, 1847), related to our county.