Porter Mill 18 – Bennett Wheel

Porter Brook

Location of Bennett Wheel

The location of the site of Bennett Wheel
Mill Co-ordinates: 53.37375°,-1.47390°

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Lower Porter Mills

A = Norriss Wheel, B = Bennett Wheel, C = Sylvester Wheel and D = Cinderhill Wheel,
from the 1823 Leather Map of Sheffield

Bennett Wheel Dam shown on the 1849 OS map

Bennett Wheel Dam shown on the 1849 OS map

This mill, located on Little Sheffield Moor in 1542, was probably the first grinding wheel on the Porter. Robert Greenwood of Dore left it to his sons.

In 1587 there was a dispute between the Earl of Shrewsbury and Nicholas Strelley over who had the rights to the rentals for the two wheels in one building at this site.

In 1604 widow Trippett was named as the tenant. She was renting two ‘half-wheels’ which suggests that the two ends of one building were being operated separately, rather than the presence of two water wheels.

The tenancy changed hands several times throughout the 17th century. Under Thomas and Elizabeth Stevin’s term the water wheel was repaired (1664).

George Roberts of Ecclesfield was the tenant in 1701 and remained so until his death in 1727, by which time he had moved to Coale Pit Lane now called Cambridge Street. John Fox took over the tenancy but in 1735 the Bennett family began their long association with the wheel.

In 1754 the dam was enlarged. Edward Bennett jnr. made his fortune from his sugar bakery and other businesses. He died in 1790 and left his house and the wheel to his brother James’ widow, Francis Bennett. Widow Bennett’s Wheel had fifteen troughs and employed fifteen men in 1794.

George Bennett (stationer) bought the freehold of the site in 1803 from the Norfolk estate. The mill was put up for sale in 1817 and sold at auction in 1819. By 1823 the dam had been reduced in size possibly due to the building of the Vulcan Works and steam rolling mill. At this stage George Rock owned the Bennett Wheel site.

From 1810 to 1853 the dam appears to have only been used to provide water for the Vulcan Works boiler house. Thomas Ellin had bought the wheel in 1831.

What is visible now?

The dam for Bennett Wheel is now occupied by retail shops. The road at the side of the buildings is along the edge of the dam.

The Porter Brook flows under the dual carriage way and appears for a very short distance, betwen the car park and Eyre Street before going under Eyre Street heading east.

Location of the mill pond for Bennett Wheel in 2013

Photo pm18-001
Location of the mill pond for Bennett Wheel in 2013
Photo Co-ordinates: 53.373213°,-1.475564°

Location of Bennett Wheel in 2013

Photo pm18-002
Location of Bennett Wheel in 2013
Photo Co-ordinates: 53.373059°,-1.473868°

Porter Brook  flows past the carpark at the site of Bennett Wheel

Photo pm18-003
Porter Brook is visible briefly as it flows past the carpark at the site of Bennett Wheel
Photo Co-ordinates: 53.373293°, -1.473767°