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Authority Historic England
Date assigned Thursday, May 29, 2014
Date last amended


SUMMARY OF MONUMENT Lumsdale Mills is a multi-period, multi-industry complex dating from at least the beginning of the C17. REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The standing and buried remains of Lumsdale Mills and the associated water management features which date from C17, are scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Survival: for the exceptional standing remains and buried deposits which depict the continuity and change in the form and function of the industrial landscape within this section of the Lumsdale Valley; * Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which retain considerable potential to increase our understanding of the buildings and their associated industries. Such deposits can not only identify the sequential development of the individual industries but can also reveal the intricate network of water management features which physically linked, and were integral to, the functioning of all the industrial processes. In all its guises, the archaeological evidence has the potential to aid the understanding of the significance of the valley in the social and economic structure of the communities within the wider landscape; * Group value and Diversity: for the range, complexity and number of industries represented here but also for the diversity and extent of archaeological features which link the industries not only to each other but also to the water source offered by the Bentley Brook; * Historical importance: for the historic association with Richard Arkwright and the Watts, Lowe and Co. who spread Arkwright’s revolution to the valleys with water power; Lumsdale was caught up in the ‘gold rush’ which followed Arkwright’s loss of patent on his machinery and was part of the first wave of expansion of the Arkwright factory system in 1783-84. HISTORY The origin of the name Lumsdale is debatable. Some believe it derives from the Scottish word 'Lum' meaning chimney, implying this was a 'valley of chimneys', a likely reference to the intensive industrial activity recorded in the valley. Others prefer an explanation based on Lumb to which the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names gives the meaning pool. Lumsdale would therefore mean valley of pools of water. Lumsdale has been the home to industry from at least the C17 when the available water power was used for the smelting of lead. Two lead smelting mills are documented in Lumsdale dating from this period; one on the site of what is now known as the Bone Mill and the other on the site of the later Paint Mill. To these were added two cupolas where lead was smelted into the C18. When the building was converted to cottages (now Pond Cottages) in the 1780s the cupolas were long out of use. During its lead smelting days the Paint Mill was owned by the Trustees of Bonsall School but was later leased to Watts Lowe and Co and bought by Gartons in 1830. Over time the Paint Mill was variously used for bleaching, corn grinding and latterly barytes grinding. It is understood that the Paint Mill was also used as a residence in the past. It was Watts Lowe and Co. who built the mill dam, adjacent to the Bone Mill, in the 1780s to create a water supply for their cotton mill further down the valley. The dam survives almost intact and the pond, known as Pond 1, remains as a silted area encroached by vegetation. A second pond, known as Pond 2, was also part of this phase of re-development in the valley. Located immediately north of Pond Cottages the southern tip of the Pond 2 retains a sluice gate but the head of water was not used to provide power; the pond acted merely as a reservoir. This pond remains water-filled but is heavily silted, and is the subject of a current (2014) Heritage Lottery Grant bid to reinstate it. Approximately 30m to the south-west of the Paint Mill is the Grinding Mill, understood to have been built in the 1770s by the Trustees of Bonsall School, it has been used at various times for grinding corn, red lead and minerals. This mill was fed by water flowing directly from the Paint Mill tail race achieving close to maximum efficiency. The water, having been used, was discharged directly to the head of the next mill and that in turn to the head of the next. From c1850, when a further mill was added below pond 3, five mills worked in line, the water passing from tail to head before the water was eventually returned to the stream. The first purpose-built cotton-spinning factory was developed by Richard Arkwright in 1771 at Cromford (Derbyshire) and the Lumsdale and Tansley (which lies south of the monument) textile mills and associated textile industries developed almost simultaneously. Towards the end of the C18, following the cessation of Arkwright's patents (1785), there became a high demand for water-powered sites which could be converted to textile use, and the industrial remains which are visible above ground in Lumsdale today owe their basic forms to the first wave of expansion of the Arkwright factory system. Watts and Lowe had taken a real risk, if Arkwright had won his case they would have been prosecuted. The earliest purpose-built cotton mill within the Lumsdale Valley was a three storey building now known as Gartons Mill, located at the southern end of the monument. The mill was built in the 1780s by Watts, Lowe and Co., but their success was short lived and the firm was bankrupt by 1813. Soon after the company's interests in the valley passed to John Garton, a bleacher. Garton developed other interests in mineral grinding and, as mentioned above, used several sites in the valley for this purpose. The upper part of the valley remained in Garton's control until 1907, when it was taken over by the Farnsworth family. Business continued until 1929 but since that time the buildings have been out of use. The cotton mill is now known as the Lower Bleach Works with the Upper Bleach Works on the north side of the road; the two are linked by a tramway across the road which survives as visible stone runnels. A number of the original stone bleaching vats survive at the Lower Bleach Works, rendering it one of the last surviving examples in the country. The Saw Mill was the last major addition to the valley; constructed in 1850, it was built as a grinding mill for processing minerals for paint, but later became a saw mill. A French Burr mill stone is still evident on the surface but it is thought there were probably 3 or 4 pairs of stones inside the mill. At around the same time the successors of Watts, Lowe and Co. created Pond 3 from a former quarry just north-east of the Saw Mill. A metal pipe took water to what is understood to be an overshot wheel. The pond also ensured a reliable source of water for the mills further down the valley. Since the mills fell out of use there has been a gradual erosion of the standing fabric, both by natural degradation, vegetation growth and some robbing of stone. Surveys were carried out in the 1960s by Nottingham and Cambridge Universities. In 1976 the Arkwright Society leased the land and in 1979 a Committee of Lumsdale residents formed with an aim to conserve the character of the valley. In 1980 the Lumsdale Conservation Area was approved by the Council, and by 1981 work began on restoring the lower pond (Pond 3), a task completed in 1983. Work has recently begun on dredging and restoring Pond 2. Clearing vegetation growth surrounding the buildings is planned. DETAILS Upper Lumsdale is a steep sided valley cut into the Millstone Grit geology, a characteristic of this southern tip of the 'Dark Peak' area of Derbyshire. The main attraction of industry to the valley was the readily available power source provided by the fast flowing Bentley Brook which bisects the valley and provides a series of dramatic waterfalls along its course as it travels south. PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS The scheduled monument includes a series of mills serving a number of different industries, which follow the line of the Bentley Brook to the south. The remains of buildings survive as ruinous structures, some up to roof height level, and well defined earthworks. Each cluster of buildings is linked by lengths of paths, walls, leats, culverts, head and tail races, ponds, flues and pipework relating to the water management systems and the process flows of each industry. Grit stone 'squeeze stiles' are also evident marking route ways around the site, again linking stages of the industrial processes. DESCRIPTION At the northern end of the monument is Pond 1 which survives as a silted but seasonally waterlogged area, lined by trees and bounded on the southern side by a large dam. The dam dates to the 1780s and is built of coursed limestone grit blocks and survives up to c. 2.5m in height. Immediately south of the dam wall are the remains of the Bone Mill; low walls are evident above ground but most of the remains are earthworks surviving up to 1.5m high. Evidence of the wheel bearing suggests the wheel was only approximately 4.30m in diameter and was either overshot or breast shot. The energy was needed to power the bellows for smelting and was originally provided by leats that carried the water to and from the mill; these are still evident as earthworks. The seasonally waterlogged silts of the pond have a high level of potential for preserving organic artefacts and for the preservation of botanic remains which could enhance our understanding of the historic environment. South of the Bone Mill is a footpath crossing a small brook but was originally a road running from the stone quarries, which lie to the north-east of the monument. Stone was taken to Matlock Station to be dressed before being exported all over the world; it was an important source of Millstone Grit building stone used in Lumsdale's industrial structures. Further south is Pond 2, this remains water filled but the profile has been altered through silting and the encroachment of vegetation. A stone-wall lining to the pond is evident on the southern edge and south-east corner and would have helped to revet the pond around the sluice, which is still visible in the southern wall. Immediately south is the terrace known as Pond Cottages; the buildings are not included in the scheduling but the ground beneath is included because of the archaeological potential of the buried remains of the lead cupola for which the structure was originally constructed. Pond 3 lies south of Pond Cottages; this was part of the later phase of development in the valley. The sluice at the southern end controlled the flow of water to the mills further downstream. It is understood a circular gate in the centre of the pond allows water to be emptied out. This pond was restored in 1983 including some of the visible stone work on the western side. Below Pond 3 is the Saw Mill which stands as a ruinous building with the earthworks of various leats and features surrounding it. Remains of a metal pipe which brought water from the centre of the pond to the overshot wheel is evident. The wheel pit survives, its size suggesting that the wheel was between 4.6m and 6.10m in diameter. An iron stanchion, associated with a hole in the wall, provided the drive for three or four pairs of stones inside the mill. A French Burr stone lies adjacent to the path. Water from the Saw Mill directly powered the mills below. To the south of the Saw Mill is the Paint Mill thought to be the oldest mill in the valley, possibly dating from the 1600s. It was last used for Barytes grinding; a white mineral is still visible on the floor of the mill. Pairs of stones ground minerals in a building close to the brook which were then dried inside on the metal floor by hot air flowing beneath. Channels from the heating system are evident on the surface. An excavation in 1986 exposed the floor and a red brick hypocaust drying system. The building partly stands to roof level, with various openings and blocked openings serving as a testament to former uses and adaptation. It is believed a wooden launder carried water from the Saw Mill to an overshot, or possibly back-shot, water wheel at the Paint Mill. Another visible feature is a metal plate which was used for adjusting the flue. Changes in use over time have resulted in the remodelling of the building and power systems, and different phases are clearly visible in the standing structure and the surrounding earthworks. Outside the mill is a large, circular stone trough. This was used in an early method of bleaching. It is thought that hanks of yarn were hung on a rack inside the trough and turned by means of a handle in a soda-lye solution; a hinged lid kept the rain out. A drying ground or 'bleaching croft' lies on the opposite side of the brook and would have been reached by a path and bridge. A blocked gateway in the stone wall on the opposite side of the brook aligns with probable footings of a bridge immediately adjacent to the Paint Mill. The bleaching process was completed using sunlight. These features are linked by paths at different levels and channels which presumably carried water to and from the mills at different times in the past. The site of the Grinding Mill, c.30m south of the Paint Mill, has witnessed several changes in use from corn, red lead and mineral grinding, evident in the standing structure. The wheel pit housed a large overshot wheel which, according to photographic evidence, originally sat within a roofed structure with castellation that has since been removed. The building abuts the natural rock face, but there is some evidence of movement away from the rock. Evidence for a pair of grinding stones can be seen in the horizontal curved shaping at the top of the wheel pit. The farm complex south of the Grinding Mill dates to the late C19, and once supported Lumsdale House, an early-C19 house understood to have been built for the mill manager. The group of farm buildings has undergone considerable alteration, although the farmhouse does survive as a roofed building. Neither Lumsdale House nor the farm buildings are part of the monument. At the southern end of the monument lies the Upper and Lower Bleach Works, the most substantial buildings within this section of the valley and considered by many to give the valley additional importance. The building survives as a ruined structure with evidence of several rooms or compartments with characteristics of different stages of the bleaching process. The Upper Bleach Works was thought originally to have been a corn mill with a very primitive wooden wheel and metal lattice work. The wheel is understood to have been early-C18 in date, although this no longer survives. Water reached this site via a wooden launder directly from the base of the waterfall. Structural and archaeological evidence for this is likely to survive in places along the valley. The Upper Bleach Works probably dealt with the final stages of the bleaching process including drying, finishing, packing and dispatch. Here there was a drying room, and the archaeological potential for evidence of the metal floor for drying candlewick cotton is high. Heat was produced by a boiler, the position of which is still evident. Stone runnels are visible either side of the current road, it is possible that these continue below the modern road surface linking the Upper and Lower Bleach Works. These served as a railway which carried wagons, pulled up from the Lower Bleach Works by a pulley system and let down again by gravity. The metal parts and boilers were removed from the site to help with the World War II effort. The Lower Bleach Works were built as a cotton mill in the 1780's. The mill stands to two storeys but is a roofless ruin. It is typical of a smaller mill, originally three storeys and eight bays with little architectural embellishment. It is built of roughly coursed rubble gritstone with wedge lintels and keystones to the now blocked windows. The multiple rows of closely spaced windows provided an even light. Early-C20 photos show it with a graduated stone-slate roof. A smithy which has been restored by the Arkwright Society for future use as an interpretative centre, survives within the range of structures and retains its hearth. A boiler once stood close to the smithy and from here a flue ran underground to a tall chimney c165m north-east of the bleach works. The chimney served a number of flues which are known to run underground from a variety of industries within the valley. This system is very likely to survive beneath the ground surface and has the archaeological potential to significantly enhance our understanding of how the valley functioned at the height of its industrial past. The Lower Bleach Works were established as a result of the cotton spinning industry and required a huge amount of water to power the wheel and for the bleaching process. The water wheel was enclosed within the building and powered from the waterfall via the Upper Bleach Works. Water from the other side of the road to the Lower Bleach Works supplied two stone-lined reservoirs, used as part of the bleaching processes. It is likely that the archaeological evidence for the water supply system to the reservoirs survives beneath the ground. Within the Lower Bleach Works building is a pair of large stone bleaching/souring tanks with space beneath the floor that acted as a reservoir or dump for chemicals. EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The scheduled area begins at the footbridge just north of Ivy Cottage, it follows the northern edge of the footpath (marked by a fence) to the east. Where the path turns south its eastern edge marks the monument's boundary and it continues in this direction for approximately 80m. At this point the boundary turns to the south-west cutting through the wooded area until it meets Bentley Brook immediately north of the northern end of the dam wall. At this point the line follows the eastern edge of the brook until it meets the footpath (and former track from Lumsdale Quarries) where it then follows a field boundary wall to the south, on the east side of the brook. It continues along this boundary until it meets the road leading to Lumsdale Farm. It crosses the road, and again joins the boundary wall to the west of the farm, continuing along this line to the south until it meets the road known as Lumsdale. Crossing the road the line continues in a westerly direction along the western edge of a paved footpath. At the south-west edge of the garden belonging to Lumsdale House the monument's boundary follows the garden boundary back to the road known as Lumsdale. After crossing the road the line follows the eastern edge of the road until it turns to the south-east to follow the northern edge of a track. The monument's boundary then turns to include the field containing the chimney before rejoining the road leading to Lumsdale Farm. Here it turns to the north following the western edge of the road before crossing the road and skirting around the garden boundary to the properties known as The Willows, Pinecroft and Ivy Cottage until it meets the northern extent of the monument's boundary. EXCLUSIONS All modern road and path surfaces, signs, railings and viewing platforms are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included. The Smithy, located at the southern tip of the monument, is a roofed building with potential for adaptive reuse and as such is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included. Pond Cottages are in use as dwellings and are excluded from the scheduling but given their historic context and potential for the survival of archaeological deposits relating to the cupolas, the ground beneath these buildings is included.

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2014. Scheduling notification: Lumsdale Mills and associated water mamangement features. List entry no. 1417570. SM Cat. No. 551.



Grid reference Centred SK 3130 6084 (169m by 700m)
Map sheet SK36SW

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Record last edited

Jul 25 2023 4:39PM

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