Listed Building record MDR9990 - Rock House, Mill Road, Cromford

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to 21st Century - 1776 AD? to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Built in 1776 by Peter Nightingale for Richard Arkwright, Rock House became his home during his time in Cromford. It was extended in the 19th century. A three-storey brick and ashlar house constructed on a cliff, it overlooks the Cromford Mills in stark contrast to Willersley Castle which, though constructed in an elevated location, is entirely hidden from the mills and almost entirely from the village. It has been converted to flats. (1) Substantial cliff-top house, built by Peter Nightingale for Richard Arkwright. It was extended in the 19th century. A three-storey brick and ashlar house constructed on a cliff, overlooking the Cromford Mills. The grounds of Rock House slope down towards the canal where a private boathouse gave direct access to the winding hole. On the road, side steps lead down the side of the cliff to a gateway and bridge over the canal feeder to the road (reputedly the Arkwright family's route to church). The building is now converted into flats. (2) Rock House was the home of Sir Richard Arkwright from 1776 until his death in 1792. The house was already in existence before Arkwright moved to Cromford, and there may in fact have been a house on the site prior to 1749, as an engraving of that date shows a building in the right location. The present house is essentially a refashioning of 1867 but as far as can be ascertained from the surviving fabric and from two late 18th century watercolours, Arkwright's Rock House was a very eccentric design. It was double pile, but instead of the usual two parallel pitched roofs with a valley gutter between, it had a single very large pitched roof. Even more unconventionally for the 18th century, it had an asymmetrical fa├žade. Significant changes to its external appearance in the 19th century have resulted in Rock House having more the appearance of a Victorian building than a Georgian one. The house was converted into six flats in the 1930s; however, the conversion largely respected the internal layout of the house as it was in the 19th century, and possibly before. (3) From the National Heritage List for England: '1. MILL ROAD 1390 CROMFORD Rock House (Flats, Nos 1 to 9) SK 2956 1/69 II 2. Circa 1780. Built by William Arkwright. Ashlar; 3 storeys; 5 sash windows (no glazing bars); single-storeyed bay on right-hand side with central Doric portico; pier at left-hand side; moulded cornice; parapet. 3-storeyed stuccoed wing to rear of left-hand side has 4 sash windows. High brick wall extending forward on west side links to, and extends beyond, former stable block having 3 later casement windows; sill band extending overall; plain pediment enclosing stone-faced clock and bellcote with wind vane. Listing NGR: SK2993456948.' (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 49.
  • <2> Index: Mansel Architects. 2004. Cromford Canal Survey. Feature number: 14.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Joyce, B. 2009. Rock House, Cromford.
  • <4> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference Centred SK 29932 56946 (35m by 24m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR3983
  • EDR1807

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Record last edited

Aug 19 2020 12:14PM

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