The Obituary of James Hinchcliffe aka Jemmy Queer - Sheffield 1864

There is a very interesting blog regarding a Sheffield Victorian Diary. One of the later entries refers to the following death in Sheffield

1864 January 8th.
Decease of James Hinchliffe "Jemmy Queer" aged 86, Drummer in the Loyal Independent Volunteers 1794.

I had never heard of the Loyal Independent Volunteers but a search of the internet added the following which is taken from the Yorkshire Volunteers web-site

"In 1793 the judicial murder of the French king, followed by that country’s declaration of war against Britain and the Netherlands, caused great alarm in England. The state of the professional armed forces was lamentable and there was a wave of amateur recruitment to volunteer forces. One of these was the Sheffield Artillery Volunteers, in its first form, which was raised in April 1794, as the Artillery Company of The Loyal Sheffield Independent Volunteers. It lasted only as long as the immediate crisis and was disbanded in 1802. This is of interest today only because the two original bronze guns with which the force was armed are still extant. They are now in the possession of the Sheffield Town Trustees, and are known as the ‘Town Guns’. They are stored at Kelham Island Museum, in Sheffield. Another surviving artefact of that period is a portrait of Captain James Shemeld who commanded the unit at that time. It now hangs in the Gunner Room of the Officers’ Mess of the TA Drill Hall at Endcliffe Hall, Sheffield"

The only other reference I could find is the following taken from Eric Youle's site


WRAGG: Tom Smith, whom I have named, subsequently kept the Blue Boar, in Westbar, and afterwards the Royal Oak, King street. He accumulated considerable wealth; but Hinchliffe, his senior, a fellow constable and fellow publican, the father of "Jemmy Queer," was not so successful.He ended his days in the Shrewsbury Hospital. His family appears to have been in the scissor trade for more than a century, one of them, Mr.Robert Hinchliffe, having produced the first pair of hand polished scissors in 1761."

Initially I had a bit of trouble locating the obituary but the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 16th January 1864 contains the following notice

I felt that this obituary was the last information I was going to obtain on James, but in October 2010 I had the good fortune to see the following report. The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 1st June 1876 ran a column which was called "Local Notes and Queries". Under the former there was this note


It was repeated two days on the papers Saturday edition. Again I thought that this was all the information I was going to obtain, but nearly  three years later on 24th April 1879, the same newspaper carried a "query" which is as follows

"JAMES HINCHCLIFFE ALIAS "JEMMY QUEER" In one of the Sheffield papers of 1864 there appeared the following :-Decease of  James Hinchliffe, Jemmy Queer, aged 86, Drummer in the Loyal Independent Volunteers 1794". I believe he was of the same family as Robert Hinchcliffe who about 1760 made the first pair of hard-polished scissors; of Joseph Hinchcliffe who was one of the three Sheffield constables in 1794: of John Hinchcliffe, who was constable in the years 1797, 1800, 1803, 1805 and 1808. Also of Daniel Hinchcliffe, scissor manufacturer of the Nursery (row), the first gratuitous teacher for 30 years in the first Sheffield Sunday school. I feel inclined to believe James Hichcliffe was the son of the above John Hinchcliffe, the constable, but if I am wrong in my supposition , whose son was he?. James Hinchcliffe, in his day must have been a strange character; besides there is generally some fitting sobriquet given to people. How was it that James Hinchcliffe the drummer, was so well known by the name of Jemmy Queer? T O NICHOLSON

A week later the same newspaper in its "replies" column, further information on the life of "Jemmy Queer" was revealed.



Sheffield Victorian Diary

The Yorkshire Volunteers web-site

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 16th January 1864 - 1st June 1876 - 24th April 1879 - 1st May 1879

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This page was last updated on 19/10/10 10:05