The Woodhouse and District Community Forum was set up to promote and further the interests of this area. After discussion, the committee decided to take up a Coat of Arms as the Forums emblem and this was to be researched and provided by Local Historian K.F.Coupe who took the original image from an old pottery vase made in the early part of the 19th century. This Coat of Arms was in fact a plagiarised copy of the Duke of Norfolk’s family crest. Consequently this could not be used. In view of these unusual circumstances it was agreed to make a new emblem/coat of arms incorporating features of the past history of the Handsworth Woodhouse Parish.
Following negotiations with the Earl of Arundel, The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Legal departments, the Company of Cutlers of Hallamshire and the Bishop of Sheffield, permission was obtained to create a new Crest/Coat of Arms on behalf of the Woodhouse and District Community Forum.
The Lion and the Crown - Historical Background
The Dukes of Norfolk ancestral lineage has been associated with the ancient Parish of Handsworth Woodhouse since the Norman Conquest. The Ducal estates being one of the major landowners in the Sheffield region The Fleur de Lis on the Crown denotes the Norman ancestry.
Woodhouse was once part of the ancient Parish of Handsworth Woodhouse. The nearby Handsworth Hall being the seat of George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, famous for his association with Mary, Queen of the Scots and her sojourn /imprisonment in the Manor Lodge Sheffield. Adjoining Woodhouse Mill there is a place named Hail Mary Wood. Records from the Duke of Devonshire archives say that the Queen and her entourage was associated with this area during her journey South.
The Horse - Historical Background
The horse shows the importance in its use in the farming community over the centuries. It is also to commemorates the “Sport of Kings” when a racecourse ran from the now West End recreational ground, Stradbroke Road to Richmond. This course being only one of three in the Sheffield region dating from a time unknown, yet it is believed there are commemorative cups still in existence. The Racecourse ceased in 1799 when the Enclosure Land Acts where introduced. The horse is also associated with the Barlow Hunt and the Shire Brook Valley. Legend says that the traditional Stirrup Cup was taken in the village at the Cross Daggers Inn.
The Bishop’s Mitre and the Plough - Historical Background
The mitre is to illustrate the Parish Church of St Mary at Handsworth, which was the Parish church for Woodhouse for centuries, with the Parishioners walking through the Shirt cliff Woods and fields until the building of St James Church in 1878. There is an historic religious link between the Church and the developing agricultural community from ancient times. The Church being
Catholic until the Reformation, its role was of paramount importance in organising the seasonal activities and sustaining its festivals i.e. Spring, May, Whitsuntide. Harvest and Christmas festivities and also establishing and developing in the early era a moral caring code within its Parochial administrative duties. This was not without difficulties as, following the Reformation, Woodhouse became in the early 1600s a stronghold of non- conformity with the growth of the Quaker movement. The Woodhouse Quakers built their Chapel circa 1666 and over the centuries nearly five hundred have been interred in the burial ground including the co- founder Sir Cecil Rhodes Baronet and other distinguished personages.
It is important to note, that Church and the other emerging non- conformist Churches and Chapels who, during the industrial revolution, established an educational role with Church Bible groups. The Wesleyan, the Literary Society, and the Quakers instituting a library before the 1880s and by their efforts, promoting education and family values.
The three Sheaves on the lower right of the armorial shield is taken from the Sheffield Coat of Arms - Historical Background.
The Sheffield Coat of Arms was designed for the building of the New Town Hall in 1897. Queen Victoria and the Duke of Norfolk who was then the first Lord Mayor of Sheffield opened it.
The Crossed Swords shown on the shield are from the Company of Cutlers of Hallamshire Crest - Historical Background.
The Parish of Handsworth-Woodhouse has been associated with cutlery from the 13th century and later during Tudor times in the nearby Shire Brook Valley.
The world-renowned Staniforth’s of Hackenthorpe and Hutton’s of Normanton Spring, Woodhouse, were noted for their manufacture of edge tools and were members of the august body: The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire whose origins date from the early 17th century.
It is by coincidence that the oldest dated building 1658 in Woodhouse village square is the Cross Daggers, dating from the Commonwealth Period, although legend says Cromwell’s troops visited here, there are no records of this event.