Sheffield history group celebrate story of Wincobank Hill and Iron Age hillfort

A group who look after one of Sheffield’s most ancient landmarks are organising events to celebrate its unique history.

By Julia Armstrong
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 2:42 pm

The Friends of Wincobank Hill work to help preserve an Iron Age hillfort that stands on top of the vantage point that now looks over the city of Sheffield.

They also trace the history of the area, which includes the story of Mary Anne Rawson, a woman pioneer in the fight against the Transatlantic slave trade. She was a member of the Read family who owned nearby Wincobank Hall in the 19th century.

The first events take place this weekend.

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A view from the top of Wincobank Hill, which has the remains of an Iron Age hillfort, over Sheffield, in 2011

Conservation and Coffee on the Iron Age Hillfort on Saturday, January 29. Meet at 10am at the pillars at the top of Jenkin Road to help cut back the new growth on the hillfort.

The group say in their publicity: “This is a really important task required by Historic England to prevent hillfort disappearing into a forest of self-set saplings.

“All tools and training will be provided by our friendly Woodland Ranger James Smith. Refreshments, usually including delicious cake, will be magically produced by the hard-working North Sheffield Conservation Group.

“Please come and fly the flag for Wincobank and meet some lovely people. Please bring your own gloves and wear sturdy shoes.”

A track leading across Wincobank Hill, Sheffield, near the Iron Age hillfort

The group are also taking part in Sheffield Heritage Fair at the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield city centre. It runs on Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 11am to 4pm

The fair gives a chance to find out about the fantastic range of heritage sites across the city. This inspiring free event is organised by local history enthusiasts David Templeman and Ron Clayton and involves hundreds of volunteers who all have great stories to tell about Sheffield's history.

The group say: “Don't forget to drop in and say hello at our stand just by the entrance.”

Next Thursday, February 3, there is an illustrated talk about Zion Graveyard in Attercliffe.

The headstone of Mary Anne Rawson at the Zion Graveyard, Attercliffe, Sheffield, which was uncovered in 2017. Mary Anne was a member of the Read family from Wincobank Hall

Penny Rea from the group will be talking about developments since the grave of the Read family of Wincobank Hall was discovered in 2017.

Since then, volunteers purchased the site to save it from development, then uncovered and researched many other interesting graves.

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Admission to the talk, which starts at 7pm, is £2. Refreshments will also be on sale from 6.30pm. It takes place at Upper Wincobank Chapel, Wincobank Avenue.

On Sunday, February 13 from 2-4pm there’s a Zion Graveyard Open Afternoon.

There will be an opportunity to explore the forgotten graveyard described in Penny’s talk. The site is normally locked and opened every second Sunday afternoon of the month.

On March 3, the group turns to more modern times and the history of the Flower Estate, High Wincobank.

Historian Robin Fielder will talk about the origins of one of the first urban social housing developments outside London, created after a 1907 architecture competition. The group say: “Robin has an amazing collection of images that will interest anyone interested in architecture or the area.”

Full details of Robin’s event will be announced nearer the time.

The group meet at the chapel every first Thursday of the month. For more details, go to wincobankhill.chessck.co.uk or call or text 07980 143776.