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The river name was carried into Old English from Brittonic branch of Celtic words: ro- 'over, chief' and duβr 'water', thus 'main river'; a similar size namesake is in East Sussex, see Rother.

It was the first brick building in what is now South Yorkshire and taught theology, religious chant and hymns, grammar and writing.

The central assets at the time were medium in rank among manors: eight adult male householders were counted as villagers, three were smallholders and one the priest, three ploughlands were tilled by one lord's plough team and two and a half men's plough teams were active.

The manor's other resources were a church, four loosely called 'acres' of meadow, and seven of woodland.

Rotherham received national and international attention in 2013 as a result of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal which involved the sexual abuse of at least 1400 children, most of them white girls aged 11–15, between 19 by predominantly British-Pakistani men.