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Mills around Sedbergh

Hills and Rivers

The landscape of the West Riding of Yorkshire with steep sided hills and fast flowing rivers made these valleys a perfect place for building a mill. Within the Sedbergh area there were seven mills. Many had started as manorial corn mills which developed over time and were used for different purposes. They are all built next to rivers with the largest mills all being based in the town. Farfield Mill is the only one with working looms, with the others being used as warehouses, residential properties or with the case of Dee Mill becoming a ruin long ago.

©Open Street Map

Millthorp Mill

Built orginally as a corn mill, Millthrop Mill was turned it into a cotton mill employing 20 people. In the mid 19th Century it was modernised with new machinary, including carding engines, warehouse, gas house, stables, cart house.

In 1864 the Mill was bought by James Dover from Farfield mill, who had been looking for a mill for his sons. James Junior, Richard and Robert took over the running of the Mill spinning wool. This yarn was used locally to make a range of knitted garmments such as socks, sweaters, Kilmarnock caps and horse blankets.  The Mill closed in 1931 and was eventurally destroyed by a fire in 1960’s.

©National Library of Scotland

Weatmorland Gazette 1849 ©National Newspaper Archive

Birks Mill (water powered carding mill, later spinning)

Built in 1796 this mill was built for spinning cotton. A fire in 1822 destroyed everything except a small writing desk and some account books. The 3 storey Mill was rebuilt and included a house and garden suitable for a manager, three cottages a barn and outbuildings. It was lit by gas, warmed with steam, and had a waterwheel measuring 18ft by 12ft producing 30hp.

During this time, the Mill was used for spinning worsted yarn for local trade, for snuff manufacturing and bobbin turning. Eventually it was bought by the Dover Family in 1893 for spinning yarn.

Textile production stopped in 1909 and part of the mill was used for bobbin and brush head production. Today the Mill has been repurposed for Food production and is used by JMP Foodservice is an independent family run business who deliver to may local businesses including our Tea Room.

Hebblethwaite Mill

Hebblethwaite woollen Mill was built in 1792 by Robert Foster. His son later employed Joseph Dover as manager and then as partner. The Foster family lived at Hebblethwaite Hall. The Mill was described as being ‘well adapted for woollen manufacture’ and on the turnpike road from Brough to Kendal.

Hebblethwaite was let by Joseph Dover and sons Woollen Manufacturers until 1837 when they moved to the newly built Farfield Mill.

Hebblethwaite Mill ©Sedbergh History Society

Howgill Mill ©Cumbria Industrial History Society

Howgill Mill

This mill was one of a series of early fullingmill sites along the western side of the mountain block known as the Howgill Fells. Major becks drain westwards into the River Lune at roughly one per mile, and each had its own fulling and/or corn mill by the late Middle Ages. Howgill Mill is in the area of the prestigious Bland family, and milners of that family have been documented there from the 16th century onwards, but the family itself goes back to 1327AD at least.

A later small mill built early in 19th century, possibly for spinning cotton, but was later used for spinning yarn for local knitting and woolen industry. It is now a private home.

Dee Mill

The mill was built on the river Dee, with its earliest owner listed as Dawson Bannister, who was described as a worsted and stocking yarn manufacturer. There was a nearby weaving shop. The Mill was 3 stores high with an adjoining wash and dye house. It was powered by a water wheel 18ft by 2 ½ ft, which was also used to power a pair of fulling stocks.

At some point the Mill was no longer used and by the 1890’s it had become a ruin.

Map of Dee Mill 1842 ©National Library of Scotland

Rash Mill

Rash Mill orginally an  16th Century  water powered Manorial Corn Mill south of Sebergh on the River Dee, was rebuilt in the early 18th century as a cotton carding and spinning Mill. However it later reverted back to a corn mill and then a joiner’s shop.

Visit https://www.cumbria-industries.org.uk/ to find  out more about mills in Cumbria.

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