Porter Mill 19 – Sylvester Wheel

Porter Brook

Location of Sylvester Wheel

The location of the site of Sylvester Wheel
Mill Co-ordinates: 53.37418°,-1.47087°

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Lower Porter Mills

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

Sylvester Wheel ponds on the 1849 OS map

Sylvester Wheel ponds marked as reservoirs on the 1849 OS map

The mill can be located in the ‘Pastures’ during the late 16th and early 17th century, paying rent to the Shrewsbury and Arundel estates.

In 1676-7 John Barber and John Greaves took over the tenancy of the wheel, then  known as Hind Wheel, followed by Field Sylvester in 1697. Sylvester died in 1716 and the tenancy passed to David Fullilove and then two years later to Thomas Wilson, a shearsmith. The site was small, comprising of three troughs and one ease (spare trough).

The Wilsons remained as tenants for the rest of the century.

During their tenancy the dam was enlarged and a second dam was constructed. By 1794 they were operating twenty troughs with twenty workers.

Sylvester wheel was sold by the Norfolk estate in 1811 to Thomas Holy who, in turn, sold it to Thomas Ellin (cutler) in 1814. The wheel is referred to as Ellin’s wheel from 1827.

By 1830 a Boulton and Watt steam engine had been installed with a larger iron water wheel. Water power had stopped being used by the beginning of the 1850s and the dams were then used as reservoirs for the steam engine boilers.

Both dams had been filled in by 1864 and the property had been divided up for redevelopment.

What is visible now?

Part of the site of the dams is currently in use as a temporary car park.

The Porter Brook emerges from under the car park for a retail outlet and flows along the southern edge of the neighbouring car park.

The site of the Sylvester Wheel dams

Photo pm19-001
The site of the Sylvester Wheel dams
Photo Co-ordinates: 53.37357°,-1.471237°


The Porter Brook flows past the site of the Sylvester Wheel ponds

Photo pm19-002
The Porter Brook flows past the site of the Sylvester Wheel
Photo Co-ordinates: 53.37357°,-1.471237°