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Monument record MDR4742 - Makeney Iron Mills (site of), Makeney Road, Milford

Type and Period (1)

  • (Tudor to Georgian - 1500 AD to 1800 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

Makeney Iron Mills were among property 'demised to Percival Willoughby for twenty years' by John Zouch in 1588. (1) Burdett's map marks two mills on opposite banks of the Derwent at Milford in Duffield parish, the one on the west bank being 'New Mills'. The early history of the site is not yet completely clear but the newer mill appears to have been that established by Sir John Zouch, c. 1582, in connection with his blast furnace at Codnor: the forge was at Hartshay and the mill at Makeney was used as a wiremill. The Zouch works were leased to Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton in 1594 and remained in use in the lessees' hands until at least 1611. The later history of the Makeney site is obscure but the mill appears as a forge in all three Hulme lists, described in each as New Mills. In the second half of the 18th century the twin site was leased by Walter Mather who appears as occupier in the 1794 list, when the forge was said to consist of two fineries, a chafery, a melting finery and balling furnace, plus a rolling and slitting mill. In fact, this must be an entry from a part of the 1794 list based on unrevised older material, since the Makeney site was disposed of by Mather in 1777. It was then fully described in the sale notice as two mills at New Mills and Makeney, situated on both sides of the Derwent, with extensive forge and mill buildings. The advertisement does not, however, mention the melting furnace, which is the only such furnace at any East Midlands forge in the 1794 list and the only indication that the potting process reached the region before its supercession by puddling. The forge site was bought by the Strutts and within a year the first of the Milford cotton mills had appeared there. The sale of the Makeney site and its conversion from the iron industry to cotton-spinning is paralleled at several other forges in the region. Apart from the weir and associated works, all surviving remains at Makeney today date from its cotton-spinning period rather than any earlier. (3) The Strutts started purchasing land in Milford in March 1781 and immediately began to construct the first structure in what was to become a complex of cotton mills and bleach works. At this point along its course the river had long been put to use to provide the power for industrial processes and Strutt's first acquisitions were two of these sites, the New Mills and the Makeney Forges and the Hopping Hill Meadow, which included a fulling mill. The industrial sites which were for so long the economic hub of the community have been reduced by the clearance of c. 1960 to a handful of later buildings and a range of archaeological features. To the south of the former cotton mill site, the Strutt's flour mill built on the Makeney forge site to replace the Duke's corn mill which they had demolished, remains. (4) The forge at Makeney predated the onset of large scale industrialisation. It was active in 1581 under Sir John Zouch of Codnor making wire which fed the nailmakers of Belper. Although this initial enterprise was short-lived, operations were revived in the later 17th century and continued until the site was sold to the Strutt partners in 1777 for conversion to cotton mills. (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Article in serial: Jenkins, R. 1933-34. 'Historical notes on some Derbyshire industries', Transactions of the Newcomen Society. pp 163-177.
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 JB 10-OCT-66.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Riden, P. 1982. The Charcoal Iron Industry in the East Midlands - A Gazetteer of Sites.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 70-1.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 12.



Grid reference Centred SK 350 450 (102m by 201m) (Approximate)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR972

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Sep 28 2016 2:53PM

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