Bishops House stands on land known once known as Colliteland that was given to the John de Blythe by William Chaworth in 1377. The land which was later called Coltyard was in continuous ownership by the Blythe Family till the property was sold by Samuel Blythe junior some time after the death of his father Samuel in 1737. Evidence suggests two Bishops, John Blythe of Salisbury and Geoffrey Blythe Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry were born in a house on this land, but the present house is thought to be of too modern a construction to be that house. The windows were originally unglazed with wooden shutters or fabric to keep the weather out. The windows were also used to let smoke out from the fire and tallow (animal fat) candles. Window glass was rare in ordinary houses until the late 1500s. In the mid 1500s the west wing was rebuilt with a second storey with oak flooring. There were four rooms; a parlour and a buttery on the ground floor and two rooms upstairs. The second floor was probably reached by ladder like stairs coming up from the parlour. The parlour would have been mainly used as a bedroom, with the upper rooms providing additional sleeping space and storage. The buttery was used to store butts (barrels) of beer. Most people at this time drank small (weak) beer as water was usually not safe for drinking.
After 1600 improvements were made to the house making it a more comfortable place to live in. Windows and fireplaces were added to improve the light and warmth within the house. Wooden panelling and plasterwork were added to make the rooms less draughty and for decoration. Two fireplaces were added into the west wing, in the parlour and the chamber above. Around the same time a new window was put in each room. Decorative plasterwork was also added over the fireplace of the chamber. It is decorated with popular designs of the period including grapes, vine leaves and figs. The ceiling in the parlour was also decorated with Tudor roses. The hall was split into two storeys with the addition of a floor. The new room could have been used for storage as it would have been the warmest and driest in the house. Two windows on this floor were added to improve the lighting and a new door connected it to the west wing. The next phase of alterations to Bishops’ House were probably completed by the second William Blythe, son of the first known owner of the house. He built a stone two storey extension to the back of the west wing. This added two extra rooms, a cellar and a new staircase. The original timbers on the ground floor were replaced by stonework. Wooden panel walls were added to separate the rooms and decorative plaster was inserted over the fireplace in the New Chamber.
William Blythe died in 1665 having received a free pardon from Charles II for his part in the English Civil War against the Royalists. A copy of the inventory produced on his death also survives. It shows more furnishings than in the previous list, and extra items, including books, time-pieces and close stools (toilets), appear. He also possessed more silver than his father. After 1753 the house was let to a farmer and his labourer. The house was divided into two separates homes. In the east wing the alterations included adding an extra staircase, a dairy, new windows, partition walls and fireplaces. All the current external doors were present at this time. There is no wheelchair access to the museum owimg to the nature of the historic building. There are no accessible toilets (although they do have standard toilets). There are tactile displays.
Location : Norton Lees Lane, Sheffield, S8 9BE
Transport: Dore (National Rail) or Sheffield (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 18, 20, 745 and 788 stop closeby.
Opening Times : Saturday/Sunday 10:00 to 16:00.
Tickets House: Free.
Tel: 0114 255 7701