The Order Books record a new mill at Denshaw in 1796, and this is probably a reference to Longroyd Mill. There is however slight doubt cast on this reference by an advertisement in the Manchester Mercury, on October 9TH 1804 which mentions that the mill was built, “six years ago”.
A scheme for a mill was however mentioned in a Deed of 1791. In that year James Whitehead of Denshaw, John Shaw of Dumfries, James Mills of Wood, and John Whitehead of Denshaw, lease part of the ground 600sq. yds in area, near a waterfall on Denshaw Brook. They also had the right to cut a goit from the stream to a reservoir, and construct a road to a mill. Also “when there is corn growing on the long road, then during that time to hang cloth on the Springfield, and when there is corn growing on the Springfield, during that time to hang cloth on the long road.”
The above map, of 1820, shows the mill marked but not named. The turnpike road can be clearly seen running close to the mill. This road was re-routed higher up the valley side at the time of the reservoir construction. (See map overpage)
Another Deed also refers to “a goit 5ft wide along the bottom of a close called Brow, to the weir of Longroad Mill, carrying water from New Bridge Mill to that weir”.
When the mill was built it was used for fulling and scribbling. In a Deed of 1802 James Mills was mortgaging the mill, but two years later was bankrupt, and the Manchester Mercury on 9th October, advertised the sale of his share in “3 fulling stocks, 2 scribbling engines, 2 carding engines, 2 billies, 1 wheel with a fall of over 20ft. The mill is three storeys high and 18ft x 27ft”.
The turnpike road to Huddersfield was built to pass the mill in 1806, and in the same year James and Thomas Whitehead acquired James Mills’ share of the mill. The Whiteheads and a member of the Shaw family continued in occupation of the mill until around 1820. A Deed of 1821 however describes the mill as in the occupation of Robert, James and John Byrom. These brothers also had interests in New Years Bridge Mill at this time.
The mill continued as a fulling and scribbling mill through the 1820s and was probably being worked again by the Whiteheads and Shaw. The Whitehead family also had interests in Calf Hey Mill at this time. James and John Whitehead were declared bankrupt in 1835 at a time when they were described as “merchants, dealers and chapmen”.
The 1836 Reservoir Bill describes the mill as having a head of water of 17ft, generating 5 h.p.
According to an 1845 Deed the mill was occupied by Thomas (half share), and James Whitehead (1/16th share), and James Shaw of Westhead, (7/16 share). The first and last mentioned still had interests in New Years
Bridge Mill. They continued here fulling, spinning and scribbling cloth until the early 1870s. From 1865 part of the mill was occupied by Heap & Co. clothiers and fullers, and these occupied the mill until it closed in the late 1880s. It was the last fulling mill in Saddleworth, and the only mill to be used primarily for fulling.
The mill only became steam powered in the later years of its existence, and a Deed tells us that this was as late as 1871. The mill was bought by Oldham Corporation in 1877 in preparation for reservoir construction.
None of the buildings remain but there is evidence that the mill did exist in the valley between the alignment of the old turnpike road and the stream. The outline of the millpond is clearly visible from the reservoir bank, on the right of the stream.