Skip to main content

Listed Building record MDR688 - Wren Nest Mill, High Street West, Glossop

Type and Period (7)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

A five storey gritstone mill of impressive dimensions consisting of former spinning blocks and weaving sheds lying alongside High Street West. A number of small firms now occupy the site, none of them textile, and there have been small amounts of demolition in recent years [1984]. The first mill on the site was built by Thomas Ellison and expansion was carried out by Francis Sumner, in whose family it continued for the rest of its life as a cotton mill. The scale of the buildings is still impressive despite disuse and neglect and the old system of goits for water power, supplied by Glossop Brook, still exists. The buildings are of various dates, one, visible through the High Street West gateway, with a decorated gable, probably being the oldest survivor (1820s). (1) Wren Nest was first constructed by Matthew Ellison, the Duke of Norfolk's agent, in 1815. In 1829 Francis Sumner inherited the mill, which in 1825 had been converted to steam powered weaving looms. In 1955 it ceased as cotton spinning/weaving mill. Fison's operated a food factory from part of the mill until they were taken over by Heinz who closed it down. Several small firms occupied various parts of the factory as it fell into disrepair. A major fire in 1996 led to the collapse/demolition of most of it. Today, only a small part still stands - listed grade II - along with the chimney of the integral engine house, stone wall and the leat [1991]. (2) Survey and recording work was carried out at Wren Nest Mill in 2002, 2003 and early 2004 prior to proposed development of the site which would involve elements of demolition and conversion. Buildings appraisal included the main mill block, the north-east mill, a brick chimney, a former weaving shed and various features relating to water management, including the mill race and mill pond. (3-6) This was a cotton mill originally built by Lord Howard and later sold to the Ellison family. In October 1822, Francis Sumner moved to Glossop to join his stepmother's family, a branch of the Ellisons. On the Wren Nest Site he built a six-storey cotton mill and warehouses. In its heyday the mill employed 1,400 mill-workers, operating 123,000 spindles and 2,541 looms. After being damaged by fire the mill never fully recovered. The mill ceased trading in 1955. (7) The surviving building at Wren Nest Mill is grade II listed. It was built c. 1840 with late 19th century and 20th century additions. It was damaged by fire in 1996 and was subsequently reduced in size. It is built from coursed millstone grit and ashlar dressings with stone slate and 20th century tile roofs. It is 5 storeys high, with a 22 window fa├žade and irregular 4 window sides, with irregular fenestration. The south front has 22 windows, all under square headed lintels, mainly 8-pane to the lower 4 floors, those to top floors are smaller. There are 2 tall round headed windows to the extreme left which lit the former integral engine house. There is a single storey 1913 extension to the front with single storey weaving sheds under north-light roofs. The block to the left includes a walkway to the adjacent building. There is a surviving tall brick chimney stack dated 1913. Inside there are massive wooden cross beams with joists and compounded double skimmed boards for added strength, supported by circular section cast-iron columns, the upper floors with brackets. The roof is of king post construction with struts. The roof valleys each have internal gutters and originally had a sprinkler system. The doors are on a sliding rail system. There is a later internal hoist. Included in this listing is the stretch of watershot masonry walling to the front of the mill, fronting onto High Street West. The earliest mill on this site was built c1800 for Lord Howard's agent Matthew Ellinson. (8)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D. 1984. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology - A Gazetteer of Sites. Part I. Borough of High Peak. p 19.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Hanmer, J & Winterbottom, D. 1991. The Book of Glossop.
  • <3> Unpublished document: White Young Green. 2002. Structural Report, Wren Nest Mill, Glossop: Mill Race & Mill Pond and Glossop Brook.
  • <4> Unpublished document: White Young Green. 2002. Structural Report on Mill Building next to Chimney at the site of Wren Nest Mill, Glossop.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Woodhall Planning & Conservation. 2003. Wren Nest Mill, High Street West, Glossop. Assessment..
  • <6> Unpublished document: Badcock, A (ARCUS). 2004. An Archaeological Desk-based Assessment and Buildings Appraisal of Wren Nest Mills, Glossop, Derbyshire.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Quayle, T. 2006. The Cotton Industry in Longdendale and Glossopdale. p 126, illus p 125.
  • <8> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1384274.



Grid reference Centred SK 0284 9414 (407m by 177m) Approximate

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

  • EDR2818
  • EDR2817
  • EDR3566
  • EDR2819
  • EDR2820

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jan 18 2024 9:05PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.