Farfield Mill

Industrial Heritage - the History of Farfield

The first mill at Farfield was built in 1837, the year Queen Victoria came to the throne, by Joseph Dover. Joseph was originally a merchant from Keswick, but for many years he worked as manager of Hebblethwaite Mill in the valley of the Rawthey. This was one of five mills that ran in Sedbergh during the 19th century. His ambition in life was to own his own mill. In 1836 he bought 9 acres of land for 490 on a bend of the River Clough and the town's labourers suddenly found there was work aplenty, carting stone from a local quarry, building a dam and constructing a huge wooden waterwheel.

Two years later he died, but his two sons James and John carried on the business which stayed in the family for 100 years. The family eventually owned a great deal of land, building themselves two pleasant houses close to the factory. Farmland was paid for in fleeces which were delivered straight to the mill. Although spinning and weaving was done in the factory, for a long time the cottage industry carried on. Handloom woven goods made in the farmers' back parlour, using Farfield wool, continued into the 20th century. Wool spun at Farfield went out to knitters from Dent to Howgill.