Joseph Hunter


The Society is named after Joseph Hunter (1783-1861) who is, perhaps, best known locally for his publications Hallamshire: The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York (1819) and the two volumes of South Yorkshire: a history of the Deanery of Doncaster (1828 & 1831). They form indispensable sources of reference for all historians of the county.

He was born on 6 February 1783 in Sheffield, the son of a cutler.  There is a plaque on the wall of Sheffield Town Hall on Surrey Street recording the place of his birth. Raised by the Rev Joseph Evans of Upper Chapel on Norfolk Street, he was educated at Attercliffe and later studied theology at New College in York, becoming a Unitarian Minister in Bath in 1809. He never again lived in South Yorkshire though often returned in the course of his researches into the area.

His early interest in antiquarian studies covered a wide field and this interest became his professional career when, in 1833, he was appointed a sub-commissioner of the Records Commission and moved to London. In 1838 he became an Assistant Keeper of the Public Records and is particularly remembered for his work in classifying the Exchequer records. He was Vice-President of the Society of Antiquaries.

He died on 9 May 1861 in London and is buried in a place he selected at St Mary's, Ecclesfield.