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The PeaceHavens Project

Smelthouses and other mills

in Nidderdale likely to have seals.





  The purpose of this page.  Ged Dodd didn't have time to metal detect these mills ... so ... what are you waiting for ... the seals are out there ... go get them ... but please submit pictures to the PeaceHavens database at ...


  Smelthouses was where lead ore from monastic mines was once smelted.

  In 1795 a flax mill was built beside the Fell Beck Mill at Smelthouses. The site of this is in front of Glen House. This was the first spinning mill for flax in Nidderdale. It was burned down in 1890 and not rebuilt. Later there was a Bobbin Mill farther down the beck, known as Little Mill, now a private house. Towards the bottom of the Lane, you can see the "goit" ( A term used in Yorkshire, and Lancashire for a small artificial channel carrying water. Usually used with respect to channels built to feed mils) built to divert water to Knox Mill and down below the wall, by the side of the stream, there are the remains of former water control systems. Knox Mill, now converted into houses, started as a flax mill in the early 19th century, with a water-powered, external wheel. It later became a twine mill and in the 1920s was used as a sawmill and had been driven by a diesel engine.



  The former Fell Beck Mill, which was once a corn mill converted to hemp spinning and rope making in the 19th century. The water powered Little Mill made bobbins for the textile industry and Knox Mill which once produced twine became a sawmill currently selling a huge range of wooden products.

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Woodfield Flax Mill, Colber Lane, Bishop Thornton

Woodfield Water Mill, now disused. Late 18th century, rebuilt 1831.The wheel does not survive, but there is some machinery remaining. In 1805 Samuel Gratton had a mill on this site, with 6 flax-spinning frames. In 1831 the mill was rebuilt and was in use for flax-spinning as well as containing 3 pairs of grindstones. The wheel (breast- or over-shot) was 40 feet in diameter. The mill remained in use into the 20th century, a turbine having replaced the wheel at about that time. The mill-race, pond and sluices remain to the north and west of the building. Two other buildings on the site were probably a smithy and a warehouse and granary.

   A mill pond with mill race and dam are visible as earthworks on historic and recent air photos at SE2354 6344. The pond sits on the north side of Woodfield Mill. The pond was fed by a mill race that diverted from Thornton Beck some 300m to the north-west. Both the race and the pond were supported by a long dam. Although the mill complex has undergone some renovation and redevelopment recently these elements appear to survive intact.

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Video history concerning Smelthouses Mills.






More mills in the area worth looking into for lead flax seals

 Bishop Thornton Shaw Mills.


 Castle Mill, Scriven


 Crimple Mill, Crimple Lane, Scriven With Tentergate, Harrogate. - Post Medieval Textile Mill


 Dacre Banks rose to prominence during the Industrial Revolution when the waters of the Nidd were put to good use powering flax-spinning mills. This tiny Dales outpost created its own bit of history in 1800 when it became the first place in the country where tow - short flax fibres - were spun by machinery invented by a local man, Charles Gill. In 1825, Gillís grandson established New York Mills on the Pateley Bridge side of Summerbridge to build on the familyís success..


 Plompton Mill, Scriven


 Scotton Flax mill was erected in 1798 and run by the company Eteson Dearlove until it ceased operation in 1851. Although this mill was classified as being in Bilton, there was actually another Bilton Mill on the other side of the weir, which shared the Scotton weir with Scotton Flax mill as its source of power. Most evidence of this mill has since disappeared, while the 'Scotton' mill still stands, although it has been deindustrialised and now exists as a private residence.





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