This week, our trip around the villages and suburbs of South Yorkshire takes us to the far reaches of the city with a visit to Oughtibridge.
Standing five miles outside the city centre, it lies alongside the River Don and boasts a population of more than 3,500 people.
Its origins date back to the first part of the 12th century when a ford existed in the area over the Don.
The ford was managed by a man named Oughtred who resided in a nearby cottage. When a bridge was built on the spot in approximately 1150 it became known as Oughtred’s Bridge or by his nickname of Oughty’s Bridge and the small settlement around the bridge adapted the same name.
The hamlet grew up as a focal point for local farming communities and the first documented mention of Oughtibridge occurred in 1161 when one of the signatories of an agreement on the grazing rights of Ecclesfield Priory was “Ralph, the son of Oughtred”. The name Ughtinabrigg, meaning Oughtred’s Bridge in Middle English, was used. The priory’s grazing rights included Beeley Wood, a remnant of which still exists to the east of the village. Oughtibridge Hall was built on the high ground to the east of the hamlet in the 16th century; it still stands today and is a Grade-II-listed building.
Oughtibridge remained a small isolated rural hamlet over the centuries and even by 1747 it was made up of only five families. However, the population started to rise in the latter part of the 18th century as a result of the Industrial Revolution and a further expansion in farming. Oughtibridge’s position within the Don valley made it a prime location as the water power of the river could be used to drive the machinery of the early and mid-19th century.
In 1841 the population had risen to 1,005 with Oughtibridge forge being the main industry in the village. The forge still stands today on Forge Lane and is a Grade-II-listed building.
During the second half of the 19th century Oughtibridge reached its height as an industrial centre with the opening of Oughty Bridge railway station in 1845 on the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway. By 1891 the population had grown to 1,784.
The modern-day development of Oughtibridge has seen it become a commuter village with many of the residents working in nearby Sheffield and much of the local industry having given way to private housing development.