Ebenezer Rhodes (1762–1839) was an English topographer, publisher, master cutler and artist. He became a prominent historian of Derbyshire.

Ebenezer Rhodes
Ebenezer Rhodes of Sheffield and Derbyshire.jpg
by Chantry
Died16 December 1839[2]
OccupationCutler and topographer
Spouse(s)Miss Hill of Sheffield
ChildrenSeven (two died as children)
Parent(s)John Rhodes (an iron worker)[3]


Rhodes was born in Masborough[4] near Rotherham, in 1762. He entered the cutlery trade in 1777 and served a seven-year apprenticeship,[3] despite a strong interest in reading and the theatre. He became a senior partner in David Champion, a firm making scissors, to which razors were added later.[3]

Rhodes was elected in 1808 head of Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire and became a Master Cutler. In August, the members gave their president a gold cup in acknowledgment of his public services in the establishment of the Institution.

Rhodes started to become associated with debating societies, one being called The Society of the Friends of Literature, which met in a public house in Sheffield. Rhodes became a conspicuous speaker and Jacobin politician. The groups also included the Rev. John Pye Smith, a theological writer, and James Montgomery, a Christian poet and philanthropist. The groups were eventually suspected of sedition and proscribed.[3]

Peak sceneryEdit

Rhodes made many excursions with James Montgomery, to Monsal Dale, Millers Dale, and other parts of Derbyshire.[1] He would spend days sketching in Dovedale with his fellow artist Thomas Christopher Hofland.[5]

In 1818 he published the first part of his folio edition of his Peak Scenery, or the Derbyshire Tourist, dedicated to the Duke of Devonshire and illustrated by F.L.Chantrey. This was followed by part one of Yorkshire Scenery, although other parts were never published. In 1837 Rhodes issued a small Derbyshire Tourist's Guide and Travelling Companion. All his books involved him in financial loss, although his Peak Scenery remains a standard work.[1] Apart from these ventures, he turned his attention to journalism, and for a number of years he was editor of the Sheffield Independent.[2]


Meanwhile, his business failed, and before his death he became a bankrupt. A fund was raised for his support, to which Montgomery subscribed £100, while Chantrey privately gave Rhodes £50 a year. Rhodes thenceforth made a small income by preparing steel plates for engravers by a novel process.[1] He died a poor man, on 16 December 1839 at his home in Victoria Street, Sheffield.[2]


  • Essay on the Manufacture, Choice and Management of a Razor, by E Rhodes Cutler, Sheffield, 1809
  • Peak Scenery, or the Derbyshire Tourist, dedicated to the Duke of Devonshire and illustrated by F.L.Chantrey, 1824
  • Yorkshire Scenery, Part 1, London, 1826
  • Derbyshire Tourist's Guide and Travelling Companion, 1837
  • The Poets of Yorkshire (Rhodes was included), by William Cartwright Newsam, 1845


  1. ^ a b c d Dictionary of National Biography now in the public domain
  2. ^ a b c The Christian Pioneer, ed by G.Harris. 1840
  3. ^ a b c d The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist,: A Quarterly Journal and Review edited by Llewellyn Frederick William Jewitt, John Charles Cox, John Romilly Allen January 1863
  4. ^ "Rotherham council". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
  5. ^ Hofland, T. C. (1839). The British Anglers Manual. p. 410.

Further readingEdit

  • E. D. Mackerness, "The harvest of failure: Ebenezer Rhodes (1762–1839)", Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 101 (1981), pp. 107–18, ISSN 0070-3788