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Foster Beck Hemp Mill

and Wath Flax Mill in Nidderdale





  The purpose of this page.  Ged Dodd didn't have time to metal detect the fields around this old hemp mill ... so ... no seals were found. Well worth a visit as the Bridge Inn watering hole is in the same car park.


 A Grade II listed hemp mill with a 34ft diameter wheel. It later became a public house and then a residence. Built 1864, wheel installed 1904. Coursed squared gritstone, grey slate roof. 2 storeys, 12 bays. C20 gabled porch bay 9; glazed carriage arch to right. C20 20-pane centre-hinged windows to ground floor, with two 4-pane sashes far right. 16-pane centre-hinged windows to first floor, all with projecting sills, plain lintels. Stone gutter brackets. Gable coping, end stacks and ridge stack bay 9. Large water- wheel attached left gable end, with stone steps giving access to hub and header tank. The building was formerly known as Foster Beck Mill and was newly built in 1864. The wheel is a 30 horse-power high-breast shot wheel with a rim drive, 35 x 5 feet. The mill was built for spinning twine or linen yarns and was later producing twine. It closed down in 1966 by which time the wheel had been driven by a diesel engine.

Click on the thumbnails

This impressive waterwheel is situated near to The Bridge Inn, just outside Pateley Bridge. Built in 1887, which is late for a water powered mill, this mill produced linen until the 1960's. The 34ft diameter wheel was supplied with water from nearby Foster Beck. The building was once the 'Watermill Inn', but that has since closed and it has been converted into houses & flats. Anyone desperate for a drink need only go a few yards to the Bridge Inn.
Foster Beck Mill which was producing linen until the mid-1960s when it became the Watermill Inn, still sporting the 34ft-diameter water wheel that produced the energy to drive the machines. The mill/inn is now apartments and the house next to the road, where the mill manager used to live, has become The Bridge Inn - rather aptly, as it stands beside the bridge!


Video history concerning Foster Beck Hemp Mill.






Wath Flax Mill

(the New Bridge Mill) just up the valley from Foster Beck Mill.



  The purpose of this page.  Ged Dodd didn't have time to even visit this old flax mill ... so ... no seals were found. Well worth a visit.



     Wath Village lies about one and a half miles north of Pateley Bridge, and approximately half a mile south of the dam that impounds Gouthwaite Reservoir. It lies on the valley floor just to the east of the River Nidd and the road from Pateley Bridge to Middlesmoor. The road passing through Wath to Pateley Bridge, via Pie Hill Green to the east and steeper side of the valley, is very narrow in parts and hence the village has little through traffic

    Wath Mill is a late 19th century mill built on the site of an earlier 16th century mill. It nestles between the Sportsman’s Arms Inn and a terrace of early 19th century cottages, and is built partially into the hillside. A large mill pond is located above the mill. The name Wath probably derives from the Scandinavian meaning ford, and it is likely that this refers to the crossing over the Nidd at the site of the present bridge.  The mill pond is fed by Dauber Gill beck, which marks the historic boundary between the township of Bishopside, lands granted to the Archbishop of York before the Conquest, and those given to Fountains Abbey which eventually formed the township of Fountains Earth. The building is two storeys high and five bays long. It has a steeply pitched grey slated roof with a ridge top cupola and a bellcote with bell on the gable end facing the road. Much of the machinery within the Mill is intact. On one of the cast iron girders, to the south-facing elevation, is stamped ‘Mill rebuilt 1880’. The millwrights are also noted on this gable with a plaque inscribed ‘Crossleys of Cleckheaton’.

  The mill has an in situ millstone, stone nut and forked lever for lifting stone nut out of mesh with the lay-shaft bevel gear. The production as a flax mill ceased around 1840 because of the first American depression .. so there is every chance of finding standard pre-1840's type Russian flax bale seals here.

   From the 1770s, Nidderdale was a major centre of flax spinning, and a flax mill, the New Bridge Mill, operated at Wath until around 1840. The present mill building was used as a corn mill, fed by the large pond to the north east. It was rebuilt in 1880, but no longer operates. There are records of a corn mill at Wath around 1500.

Behind The Sportsman’s Arms is the disused Wath corn mill, the largest building in Wath, of two storeys plus an attic and five slate roof has a small ridge top cupola and a bellcote with bell on the gable end facing the road. A cast iron beam above the gable end doorway carries the inscription “Rebuilt 1880”. Attached to the mill is a lower two storey wing with an external stair, and attached to this building is a terrace of cottages, Mill Cottages


Photos by

Alan Murray-Rust

Click on a thumbnail




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