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Captain Bess

A historic tradition, and shrouded in legend, is the story of “Captain Bess”. She was Elizabeth Birley of Middlewood House, who married William Longsdon, a member of an old Derbyshire family. The story is told that during a skirmish in the neighbourhood of Sheffield during the Civil War, Longsdon was seriously wounded. His wife, who had been a spectator of the incident, gallantly rode into the fray and rescued him, despite the fact she was big with child. Even now her courage was not abated, for she returned to the field of battle and resumed command of her husband’s horse. Her exploits earned for her the titleof “Captain Bess”. She carried her husband to Middlewood , where, despite her devoted attentions, he died and was buried under the east window of the Parish Church of Sheffield. A son was born within a few days of his death.

(From ” A history of the Manor and Parish of Wadsley “by the Revd. H Kirk-Smith)

Sent in by Peter Bayliss


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