Notes for a Mills Walk (A) NB This page is under construction!
by Julian Carr
Ripponden - Slitheroe - Bar Lane - Swift Place - Clough and Clay House - Millbank - Kebroyd - Ripponden
( numbers given to each mill correspond to the Key in ‘Mills of the Ryburn Valley’, published 2018)
19 mills excluding Thorpe and others close by.
3 paper, 3 silk, all pre-1790 were woollen and 3 corn initially, 18 cotton at one time or all of the time.
Built between 1790-1880 though earlier fulling mills at some sites. 4 fires 1790-1850
Section 1: Ripponden to Slitheroe 19th Century cotton and water
Village buildings of different ages, eg c1450 pub, 1533 1st bridge … 1700s, early 1600s Chapel Farm, 1772 road,
Contrast: 7 mills, remains of 6, all existing are 1800-1880, cotton revolution. (5 had been fulling, 4 of them occupied
by Sam Hill …)
Only complete Smallees almost, and 3 of Commercial.
Water. Positive -3 weirs, 1 pond, several goits, embankment walls and sluices. Massive retaining walls towards
Slitheroe. Negative. Floods 1722 church and graveyard, 1857 most of valley, JWHoyle Wheelwright, 1866 stepping
stone disaster, next to Smallees.
Ripponden village – what we see today coming into Millfold carpark.
Packhorse bridge: 1313 Robert of the Brigg. First stone bridge probably 1533, William Firth of Field House Sowerby
bequesthed 7s.6d. for ‘the making of one stone bridge’. Repaired 1610. Probably rebuilt in 1700s and restoered in
Road bridge 1772 = Elland Turnpike Bridge (replacing earlier turnpike route down from Golden Lion through present
vicarage garden, this being an improvement of the old packhorse route).
Pub – church property until 1897 having passed into church hands in 1653 by Richard Firth of Ripp fulling mill with
land given to church in 1593. There was a building here in 1313. First documentary evidence of pub in 1450.
Chapel Farm early 1600s. Ripponden Farm early 1700s. Arched building, barn (was museum) recently converted to
house with big window also early 1700s as were smaller cottages recently converted.
Church 1868. Chapel Field, now pub carpark, site for fairs and festivals.
21 Ripponden Barkisland Weir
1479 earliest definite fulling mill (but Soyland had corn mill in 1275 and probably later a fulling mill).
Possibly the site of a fulling mill in the 1300s occupied by John the Milner. Part of the Royd estate.
Firths of Barkisland, S.Hill 1739-1759, Allenson, Hoyles, Edwards, Bottomleys – until WW2 ?
Big mill built 1793. By 1798 all processes of cloth-making – teasing to fulling, cotton and wool. 1808 described as a
Fulling Mill and Woollen Factory’.
1876 fire destroyed most of it; rebuilt.
Smock Alley – Irish workers – their dress – but probably named after Dublin theatres.
1970sTyne and Clyde mail order, Provident account-holders. Mill pond in-filled and caravan site.
1980 most destroyed in fire. Present – mill kitchens and office special school.
1852 Robert Holt (husband of Ruth o’t’Waterloo) James Blackburn and Robert Culpin. Holt and Culpin directors of
Ripp Spinning Co – Victoria Mill. ‘Up the Johny’ = Johny was the brother of Robert Holt BUT it could instead be
named after Johhnie Shaw, engine tender of Chapelfield Mill.
1929 all of the old mill (6 storeys) destroyed by fire (whilst owned by the Ryburn Mill Co.) The 4-storey newer mill
Sometime after 1852 -at right angles and alongside the road lost top 2 floors. 3 floors of the corner of the old mill
survive integrated into Harry Travis premises.
1931 onwards many uses: library, woodwork classes, Beaumont Bros haulage on part of demolished site, British
Road Services; 1969-1977 Dependable Packaging 30-40 empl., (packing Vileda, mag inserts, etc.) became Alphapaks
in a mill off South Parade, Halifax.
1986 Tysons. Corner – Booth’s Foundry then Travis.
20 Smallees weir, mill pond
1768 probably a fulling mill and older, rented by John Hoyle of the Royd.
1801 Elkanah Hoyle built large cotton m.
Estate had been owned by Samuel Hill, surrendered in 1759 by Richard (bought it from father in 1744). 1805 on
death of George Stansfield, final trustee, bought by John Holroyd of Ryburn House. 21ft water wheel. Sons added
steam engine. 1838 his 2 sons went bankrupt, estate sold, 30+ individual lots were auctioned in their own pub,
Stansfield Arms = Queens Hotel.
1843 John Wilkinson Wheelwright. Now included weaving.
1844 made own gas lighting (superseded by Sowerby Bridge supply ?when). Various addition, including doubling in
1931 closed. WW2oyal Engineers. 1946 approx Pancreol from Hull – bombed. Chemicals for leather. Taken over.
Late90s closed moved to Beverley. 2000 flats.
1722 flood. Ryburn rose over 6 feet. Included in devastation was the church and graveyard. Tombstones tossed like
pieces of wreckage ans a coffin lodged in a tree, 2 dead torn from their places of rest” (2nd chapel built 1610. Third
built 1729 after flood. 4th 1868.) Cob Clough
1857 flood, road washed away, boiler house …quickly repaired. Almost every mill affected.
1866 flood stepping Stones 3 girls died. Pretoria Bridge not yet built.
** Pretoria Bridge- not on 1894 map
1788 Elkanah Hoyle, spinning cotton. Used the tail of goit from L. Dyson Mill. Later used by Edwards of L.Dyson.
Probably same as Treadmill (1894 map) and 3 Northcliffe Mills.
19 Commercial Massive retaining / riverbank walls
1855 Shareholders, £10, group of men … Coop Mill. Cotton. Directors paid £7.00 pa. Bought, L.Dyson and Hollins.
Extended L.Dyson site of Excelsior 1856, beginning 1857. First Limited Liability Joint Stock Co.in Yorks.
1862 new mill from road to river, 115 yards with 6 storeys.
Original mill burnt down 1880 replaced by Excelsior. Smaller older sections near road
1898 new 2-storey building.
WW2 storing foodstuffs.
1959 closed BUT sometime after 1957 James Mac Alistair King moved in to Excelsior – from Ryburn. Foam products.
1970 Scientific Packaging. Died in 1984. Ceased trading in 1998.
17 Lower Dyson Weir under Trestle bridge/ road bridge. Mill pond.
1672 Holroyds. Also Northcliffe /Treadmill.
1702 John Wheelwright. 1723 leased to Sam Hill. Fulling variety of woollen cloth for many clothiers. (1776
charges).Edwards tenants 1779-1841 when they went to S.Bridge, Wakefield Road site.
Before 1841 Edwards used the Shoddy for weaving (1851 Census, called Shoddy Row.)
1851Dysons, joined by Wheelwrights ‘Worsted Mill’, still called this in 1934.
1867-1927 Nathan Whiteley, then Sam Dugdale, cotton. 1927 bought by Commercial – again?. Empty in 1934 JHP.
Railway: opened 1878.
1929 passengers stopped. 1952 last freight to Rishworth. 1958 last to Ripponden.
Trestle bridge demolished 1953
1640. Wheelwrights from 1684 – Michael and John. Sam Hill tenant, fulling 1723 (with 2 in Soyland). Various tenants:
Riley, Edwards, Richardson, Edwards again – until 1841. 1849 cotton by Holt, Culpan and Blackburn – later at
1800 re-built with cottage.
Wheelwrights got £250 for land sold for Oldham Turnpike.
By 2nd half of 19th Century, various buildings including converting cottages; paper by 1873 Whiteley brothers from
Barkisland. New buildings.
1919 most destroyed by fire except roadside and cottage. Much rebuilt by Eli and Edward W.
1960-70s grandson of Eli – auto components. David Brown tractors. Stopped 1990.
Section 2: Bar Lane to Swift Place Whiteleys and water
5 mills but only small parts of 2 and a mill cottage / office BUT 2 blocks of houses built for workers.
Whiteleys: father died in 1858 and 6 sons. 3 mills.
Also sites of 2 old fulling mills, one part remaining and one was paper 1876-1990.
4 mill ponds. Bogden = Ryburn Res 1933; Baitings Res 1956
1800 approx. Land owned by Wheelwrights Charity. No Bar Lane then.
1809 Thomas Stead had recently built Stones House and leased it with cotton mill.
John Whiteley 1820s and made present road with consent of Wheelwrights.
Water wheel plus steam engine in 1840. 1855 enlarged. John and wife Elizabeyh lived in Stones House.
1858 son Joseph. 1882 fire; rebuilt.
1914 new mill, by Crawshaws. Work finishing late 50s. Upstream mill housed chickens.
1992c downstream mill demolished. Mill office converted to a house 2018. Chimney base now as roundabout in
14 Ryburn mill pond
1850 John Whiteley. Died 1858. Cotton.
Son Peter (lived Swift Place) then his sons, Peter and John.
1894 bankrupt. 1895 Ryburn Mill Co. Also bought Chapelfield.
1933 liquidation. New Ryburn Mill Co.Ltd, doubling.
Extra water for sprinkler system from small pond above Dyson Lane Mill.
By 1950 Harry King with sons Gordon and James Mac Alastair, worsted and cotton spinning and doubling. Approx
150 in early 50s.Alastair started as doffer then overlooker then spinning nylon for parachutes and …. inventing! In
small mill alongside road, next to surviving Mill Cottage. Lived in Whiteley Terrace. Molly Brown with 8 siblings also
Alastair moved to Excelsior c1957, after fire in small mill.
By early 1950s Gordon already keeping battery hens and egg production, selling to Wickham in 1966. More hens …
13 Lower Swift Place mill pond (* numbers 12 and 13 on pages 32, 62 and 63 are the wrong way round)
1685 Elkanah Hoyle came to Swift Place, included fulling mill below. And from 1717 2 mills documented. 1787
Elkanah Hoyle leased to David Dyson of Barkisland Hall. 1790 grandson passed to James Hoyle with access to new
road, Dick Lane.
On of 2 main buildings now cottages.
12 Upper Swift Place then Ryburnedale Paper Mill. Mill pond
Also fulling, as 13. 1848 OS map still fulling. Then cotton.
Burnt down 1860. Rebuilt . 1876 paper began. 1884 leased then owned by Owens of Cardiff; 1894 calling it
Ryburnedale Paper Mill.
1901 fire. Rebuilt. High class paper, eg bible paper. Railway brought wood pulp and China Clay.
Portells until 1985 then an Indian firm based in Nottingham. Closed 1990.
11 Swift Place Mill pond and ornamental stones fro chimney.
1803 cotton spinning. Then John Whiteley. By 1836 a steam engine + 4 new cottages. Then his son Peter.
1872 machinery moved to Ryburn Mill and demolished.
Section 3: Swift Place, Stanningden and Lightazles (above Wood End on Calderdale Way)
Saxons to 19th Century cotton. Medieval names, 17th Century Clothier’s houses,
1 mill +1 upstream. 19th Century housing, Hoyles, Holroyds and Sam Hill
Stanningden High, Beehive 790ft, Blue Ball 990ft.Mostly S-facing but far from Wakefield – Manorial court, waste.
Springs, Spa Green, wells, shaw, Hollins, mirey bent grasses.
3 Mills higher up Rochdale Road but no more until we get to Blackshaw Clough and Lumb Clough and tributaries
which flow east from Flints Moor. Roman / packhorse route to Lancashire.
Swift Place: Swifts 1306, Dysons 1624 Abraham Dyson’s son Simeon, also a Greave, … property; rebuilt or encased
house – SMD 1626 (wife = Martha). Quakers of Lower Goathouse next generation. 1669 York list of Recusants.
1690 sold to Elkanah Hoyle. Married and living there in 1685. Datestones: 1698, 1704,1714.
The 4th Elkanah lost it in 1830 to Joseph Bates as security in loans, re Smallees Mill and other mills.
Iron-working. Smithy on 1894 and 1854 maps, Smithy Clough, Smithy House, Forge House, Farrar Height and House.
(1314 John Culpon, Manorial Survey and Court Rolls.) Farra – smith or worker in iron, similar but not same as farrier.
Great House. 1624. Probably a John Whiteley; Whiteleys until 1742. (In 1878 there were 7 Whiteley cotton spinners)
1785 Elkanah and James Hoyle. 1805 Scipio Dyson. 1837 Edward Hoyle Stead. Lots of owners and tenants.
Low Cote. Re-built 1671 IH = Joseph Holroyd; possibly 1631 IMH? 1602 Crossley then George Riley, then Joseph
Holroyd – clothiers. Back to Rileys of Clough until 1830. A Holroyd daughter married Sam Hill.
Plinths, finials, hoof moulds, decorated label stops, spandrels, double-chamfered mullions, transom, string course,
Tudor arched lintel, rainwater chutes.
Star pub 1822. EAW 1859: Ellis and Ann Whiteley. Closed 1909 following Licensing Act of 1904 (yo reduce the
number of licensed premises in congested areas.)
Lower Cross Wells and Wells Bottom. Abandoned cottages on right descending to Clough Bridge, 1866.
Causey Bottom: 20 people, 3 families, one 11-year old cotton winder. Clough Mill one 12-year old cotton. Cl ‘House’
5 families Clough Mill: Josiah Learoyd Cotton Manufacturer. 1851 James Learoyd ret lived in Cl House. 24 lived in m.
Approx 70 people total.
Clough 26 weir and foundations by river
1578 John Hoyle, fulling. 1608 son Michael also had Greave Head or Tom Hole.
Then Rileys and then Elkanah Hoyle 1700. Added raising or gig mill.
1730 Sam Hill. 1782 Learoyds. By 1822 cotton spinning. 1841 water wheel and steam engine.
Extension then new mill 1855.
Fire 1875 destroying old mill, new mill mostly intact. 100 workers.John Learoyd had changed insurance company due
to higher rates and new co would not pay damages. Rebuilding started by Learoyds but no floors put in … derelict
then demolished. Stone used for Belmont terrace by Crawshaws.
Flints Reservoir. land bought for £150 in 1835. 5 mill owners and 2 farmers. 1867 repairs, 4 more mills – Stansfiekld,
Watson, Asquith Bottom, Damside. 1928 finished.
Clay House "S C " rebuilt 1662 1915 (date inscription). gabled porch with inscribed Tudor arched door lintel
doorway with inscription, chamfered surround and carved spandrels over which is hoodmould with finely carved
Gateway initialled and dated "S C" , and attached single storey wall of former 1690 house with 10-light double
chamfered mullioned window with decorated label stops and king mullion. Gateway initialled and dated "S C" , and
attached single storey wall of former 1690 house with 10-light double chamfered mullioned window with decorated
label stops and king mullion.
Great House another one!
Section 4: Wood End to Kebroyd
Water. Medieval to 21st Century.
5 mills. (Sam Hill 3). I complete, 2 remains. Holroyds, Hill and Hadwens. Hadwen’s footbridge.
27 Severhills 1799 can see supplementary mill pond from top of woodland path
Cotton. John Broadhead of Upper Lumb. with John Holroyd of Ripp Wood. Hadwens 1800.
Various owners and tenants, incl 1822 silk and wool
Paper briefly Ed and Eli Whiteley, 1873-1877. 1907 map paper and twine. Demolished unknown.
28 Damside or Soyland weir / mill race. Water wheel and steam engine. Goit / weir / 1947 flood and Mrs Brown -
from higher up Lumb Clough
1846 cotton spinning and doubling. 1849 extended by George Hinchcliffe 6 storeys high , 11 windows (Tyrant of
Cragg Vale, 1833).
1880 fire, never re-built. £14000 damage, only insured for £11000.
29 Lower Soyland infilled mill pond end newer, originally water wheel then steam engine?
1275 corn, manorial. Probably fulling, evidence 1378. Also probably one on each side of the present bridge (1775
map). On packhorse route Ilkley- Manchester via Sowerby and Luddenden and near Elland to Baitings and
Manchester via Old Lane. Diversion via Soyland Town and Blue Ball Lane.
1621 decree relaxed 2-mile rule.
1675 John Holroyde. 1752 Sam Hill.
c1817 cotton spinning, bigger mill. Many owners since then making: cotton, silk, wool, worsted, (all spinning)
woollen cloth – blankets, knitwear. Outworkers 1973 closed by Paton-Baldwins.
32, 33 Kebroyd (pasture or clearing for sheep / lambs)
1666 Lower mill site probably, John Holroyd. 1739 John Holroyd built new mill, probably site of Dene Mill (called this
Sam Hill 1739 2 fulling mills.
1782 (Sam Hill’s estate sold.) Lower mill bought by John Denton - converted from corn to cotton.
New mill 1800 Dene Mill John Hadwen, cotton, also called Middle Mill. John and Thomas. Silk there from 1822.
(Lower Mill mostly gone by 1930, probably earler.)
1833 Kebroyd Mill for silk; enlarged in 1840 and 1855 – Back Mill. He’d been travelling in Italy. 4 sons.
Partnerships with Wilsons and Dentons and each other.
Dene Mill cotton, rest mostly silk, +lacevelvets, high class, …
Grandson, Frederick Walter built footbridge – late 1800s.
1895 500 employees.
1901 bankrupt. 1903 re-star as ublic company.
1904 fire – much of Middle and Back mills. Bible in office survived., now in St May’s Cottonstones.
1936 Hadwens closed, decade of losses.
1936 Lee brothers.
1938 leased by Blackburn and Sutcliffe, dyers and blenders.
WW2 Royal Engineers.
1906 new building
Thorpe 34 weir, goits, mill pond
1731 Fulling. Sam Hill. 1782 new mill John Priestley. Fire in 1824. Re-built then. Woollen 1833 – from carding to
1858House and mill passed to Frederick Rawson who had married Harriet Priestley. Still woollen until c1900 – cotton
WW2 Royal Engineers. Derelict until 1962, Jack Smith bought it.
Section 5: Kebroyd to Victoria
1st cotton to finish, last new one to be built.
2 mills. Also weir, goits and sluices for Mill 34.
Water only, steam and electricity.
Ryburn House 23
Before 1792 very early – and small – cotton mill. Carding and spinning. 22x2ft waterwheel.
John Learoyd to John Holroyd for £7.08
He built Cliffe Cottage, reflecting his status. Also owned Kebroyd (Wwith John Denton) and Smallees for a while.
Finished early, before 1843 by when had been converted into a house for Hadwens, until 1891.
Can still outline of mill pond in shape of terrace back garden and stream, channelled.
Victoria 24 weir for condensing water for steam engine only
1862 Ripp and District Spinning. Built 1863. Bankrupt. In hands of Whiteleys and Lawtons until 1901.
Meadowcrofts from 1915 until closure in 1982. Cotton doubling. 100 employees. Sold to John Laithwaite. Sold in
(Sam Hill - 8 fulling mills. At time of death:32 farms, 33 cottages, 4 mills.
Rivalled by Wheelwrights and Hoyles – especially Elkanah.)