Buildings Places

Beauchief Abbey

The painting of Beauchief Abbey was by Reuben Bower (1828-1912) and is the property of Museums Sheffield.

In another post, we looked at the history of Beauchief Abbey and now we look at some of its romantic legends and secret tunnels.

It is said that an underground passage runs between Beauchief Abbey and Norton Church. About halfway between the two buildings is an iron box full of treasure which can be removed only by a white horse with his feet shod the wrong way; furthermore, he must approach the box with its tail foremost.

Then there is a supposed passage between the mill house at Millhouses and the Abbey, where gold plate belonging to the Abbey is reputed to have been hidden at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537.

Finally, there is another legend attached to Lees Hall, a mansion that once adjoined Lees Hall Golf Course and dated to 1626. Before that the site was thought to have been occupied by the White Canons from Beauchief Abbey, and that an underground passage went from one of the cellars in the house to the Abbey.

Local legend said that Lees Hall was used as a place of refuge for Mary Queen of Scots in her flight from Elizabeth I, and that there was also another secret passage leading to Manor Castle.

The mansion was demolished in 1957, described as “one of the tragedies of urban development in Sheffield,” and all traces of it reclaimed by nature.

Unfortunately, excavations at Beauchief Abbey during the 1920s didn’t reveal any evidence of the tunnels, but stories persist that the secret passages are still waiting to be discovered.