Cowmouth Farm, the last of the Norton Dairy Farms


‘Cow Mouth Farm’ or ‘The Old Dairy’ is on Hemsworth Road, opposite  Graves Park and has been a dairy farm and dairy in its time . The old farmhouse is still intact and there are  old farm buildings that require closer investigation

. The earliest reference I have found at present is in 1584 when John Trikett was born to Leonard Trikett and Elisabeth Burnell from Bolehill al Cowmouthe, Leonard Trickett born 1563. Possibly born in Norton Lees.

There was a nearby farm at the top of Cobnar Road – Bolehill Farm – and these two are sometimes confused in the records. Bolehill farm buildings still stand but are now private  dwellings at the edge of Graves Park.

In the 1800’s when it was owned by Offley Shore who owned  much of Norton  manor including what is now Graves  Park  . It is know that the farm‘s  tenancy was occupied by the Linleys at least from that date from the parish records. Thomas Linley of Cowmouth died in 1800 and there are other Linley deaths and births recorded  for the Cowmouth Linleys.

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England),
Saturday, January 06, 1844

More Fowl Plundering.- On the night of Christmas-day, the hen roost of Mr Thomas Linley, of Cow Mouth Farm Norton, was again plundered of fifteen fine fowls. Only a short time before, the premises were robbed of a number of fowls and rabbits. Altogether, Mr Linley has been robbed of about thirty fowls within four months.


Due to the collapse of the Parker Shore bank Cowmouth farm was put up for sale by the receivers in 1850. The farm was described as having a rental value of £170 and being  120 acres. A bid was put in for £4’000 by a Mr. Shortridge  but the bid was deemed as insufficient and  the farm was  withdrawn. The Linleys moved to a farm in Eckington and Cowmouth was bought by the Rev Henry Barlow of Christchurch Pitsmoor in 1853

In 1857 Elijah Wragg was the tenant there. From 1861-it became the tenancy first of  Joseph Carr, then by other members of the Carr family.

The Rev Barlow died in 1878 and an attempt was made to sell the farm to develop the land for housing on. It is not known why this did not happen although some parts of the farm was sold off in a piecemeal fashion. The farm continued to remain in the Barlow family. In 1909 Henry Barlow’s great nephew sold three fields and the top part of Warminster was developed for housing.


In 1881 Mr Carr was a 57 year old widower with 3 sons and 3 daughters There was a local scandal when 22 year old Frederick Fox Carr ran away with Clara Robinson of Bolehill Farm and they were married in Matlock! Frederick came back to Sheffield to be a butcher with a shop on Chesterfield Road, but became a milkman and, on his death in 1921, 2 of his children – JW Carr and Doris M (Carr) Widdowson took over the milk round. The business was sold to Amos Knowles in 1959 who was then living at the farm and  this became Express Dairies when Mr Knowles retired and then the Association of  Co-Operative Creameries and the Dairy Farmers of  Britain until the site was sold and planning permission for a housing development was sought.

From the Norton Free admission books, a child Jenkinson was at Cowmouth Farm in 1904 and a child Knowles in 1914. In a 1948 Directory, both Avery Knowles and Amos Wiliam Knowles are listed as milk dealer, Cowmouth Farm.

When  the Carrs ran their dairy farm they had the following fields –The Spring field, The Footway field, The Long field, The Square Bent field, The Croft, The Ponds , The Garden field, The Turnpike field, and the farmhouse, yard and garden and a Plantation. It comprised 43 acres, 2 roods and 22 perches. Warminster Road only reached as far as Carr’s Hill – the steep part of Warminster just above Mount View Road. The top part of Warminster was built on between 1909 and 1939.

In July 1950 the Sheffield Astronomical Society drew plans for a proposed observatory and presented to the Council. This was a very difficult time for any sort of building work, owing to the shortage of materials after the end of the war and any plans were surrounded by red tape and limitations of how much one was allowed to spend within a certain time. Eventually, the plans were passed and the construction took place at a cost of £150. This was a substantial sum in those days and was raised entirely by regular donations of 5p and 10p from members. A deed for the lease of the land at Cowmouth Farm was signed and included the stipulation that the Society provide a fence to prevent the cattle getting too near the Observatory.

In 1956 the “Bramley fields”  from the farm were  made into playing fields for Sheffield University.