Pingle Mill

S.D. 979081

Pingle Mill ​​​​ also known as Farrand Mill


Pingle Mill is flanked by the river Tame, and tucked into the hillside below Hollinhey, on the west side of the valley. ​​ An ancient primitive weir still exists some 200yds upstream, and the entrance to​​ a covered goit is easily visible. ​​ The present mill is still working, and has had quite a lot of recent development, particularly a large retail showroom completed some years ago, on the Eastern side of the river.


This map of 1820, does not make clear, from which side of the river the mill was served. We cannot tell even on the 1850 map whether the river had been bridged or not. ​​ The mill was probably served in the early days by way of Butts Lane,​​ to either Delph or what has become Grains Road.​​ 

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The first reference to activity on this site is in the Will of John Gartside of Heys, a clothier, ​​ dated May 20th​​ 1777, which mentions his right to “water cattle or wash wool in the close called Pingle”, which was part of his landholding, a field in the narrow floodplain of the river some feet below the farm.


This date stone from the bridge over the Tame is genuine according to David Gledhill, and would seem to link the mill to Denshaw Road at this time.

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In April 1780, James Gartside, the eldest son of John, leased to John Farrand of Delph, the “south part, containing 3 roods 33 perches, of a close called the Pingle, part of Hollingheys tenement, and liberty to make a weir at a place​​ called the Heybridge, adjoining the north part of the said close, for a mill to be erected in the same close, and liberty to make a goit 4ft wide, through part of a field called the Heystones to the said Pingle……which goit is to be kept securely covered so far as 50yds thereof downwards from the weir, and to have the sides of the goit below and forward from the end of those 50yds kept well walled at all times by the said John Farrand”.​​ 


By 1791 the mill was being used for rasping, scribbling,carding and roving, in the occupation of John Farrand and Samuel Byrom, and on more than one occasion Farrand obtained mortgages on the mill from John Roberts, a clothier of Delph, e.g. January 1796.


An 1803 Lease (Mrs Buckley, Brooklands Lodge) recorded that John Roberts of Linfitts, “did demise, grant and let unto Joseph Lawton of Delph, ground called the Pingle, with the building or water mill thereon erected, and lately used as a rasping, scribbling, carding and roving mill…in the occupation of John Roberts, John Farrand and Samuel Byrom.” ​​ An 1805​​ indenture turned the land over to John Gartside for 20 years, and in 1806 James Lawton (son of Joseph) and John Gartside (son-in-law of Joseph) were in occupation of 2/3 of the mill and using it for cotton spinning.


In 1812 John Gartside, a cotton spinner and merchant, had 2 carding and breaking engines, 1 set frame, 4 mules, 1 rover and £50 in stock of cotton. ​​ The mill was powered by water and heated by three stoves. ​​ It was stone built, with a slate roof and in the tenure of Gartside and Lawton. ​​ Wardle and Bentham’s Directory of 1814 lists John Gartside as a cotton spinner of Delph.


In 1815, John Roberts the elder, of Linfitts, granted to Thomas Shaw of Denshaw Mill “the surviving executor of John Farrand, late of Pingle Mill” the right to “ use and keep in repair, the road from the mill and the bottom of the lane leading from Rye Hole towards the mill, called Stubbing Lane…..” ​​ It is doubtful whether Shaw worked the mill or indeed what the mill was used for at this time, or for the next 20 years or so.


In 1835 James Rhodes and Sons are owners and occupiers according to the Church Rates Book. ​​ They were also at Woodhouse Mill, and had been so since before 1820, so it is possible that they had been at Pingle for some time before 1835. ​​ The mill was still a small mill scribbling and carding wool in 1845, but by 1847 the mill was for sale. ​​ In June the Manchester Guardian advertised for auction ​​ “a woollen mill worked by water power, called Pingle in the occupation of James Rhodes & ​​ Sons. ​​ There was a fall of some 17ft 2in, capable of being increased to 18ft 8in, and held under lease of which more than 860yrs remained”. ​​ The mill rental was £18, and machinery consisted of ….4 scribblers,4 carders, 4 billies and 2 willies.


The mill was bought by George Broadbent, described in 1851 as a slubbing miller of Pingle.  ​​​​ He probably installed the new water wheel in 1851, and effected enlargements to the mill. ​​ By 1858 he was described as a wool carder and spinner. ​​ In 1870 the Rateable Value was £43/4/0 and George Broadbent was still here as a wool carder and spinner. ​​ By 1880 the mill was occupied by John Broadbent, still carding and spinning wool.

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The history of the next 15yrs or so is uncertain, though Thornton does mention that the Broadbent era, was followed by one Eli Green.


The Reporter tells us that the mill was for sale in 1894, plus three water wheels, but was apparently withdrawn. ​​ It was for sale again in 1895 when George Hinchcliffe bought it for £265. ​​ By 1896​​ the mill was in the hands of the Delph Co-operative Society.


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The company was registered in 1891, and in February 1892 began work in premises in Knott Hill Lane, but eventually moved to Pingle Mill. ​​ It was a very small concern and according to the Oldham​​ Corporation Bill employed only 14 people, manufacturing flannel and shawl. ​​ They continued here until the late 1920s, by which time part of the C.W.S. had moved into the Tamewater Mill.



It was in 1934, when he was only 26 years old that Mr. Gledhill, who was a spinner in part time employment, moved into the premises. There was already a small dyehouse in operation on the premises, but the mill’s primary function was now carding, and the spinning of yarn. ​​ Gledhill’s partner was Edgar Bamford who was the​​ carder in the relationship. ​​ Soon a healthy business arrangement developed with Maude & Co. Ltd. with weaving mills in the Barkisland area. ​​ This link was to be maintained until the 1970s.


Soon the dyehouse closed, and Edgar Bamford sold his share in the​​ business to Gledhill. ​​ The company prospered, as “commission spinners” mainly for local and West Riding weaving and knitting concerns. ​​ Throughout the years this has continued to be the main focus of the company’s activities. ​​ In the early days the “waste”​​ end of the market was targeted, but in recent years quality and fineness of yarn have become the predominant feature of production at the mill.


Comparison between this 1968 map, and the 1890 map, shows clearly the expansion of the mill. The millpond has been filled and most available space on the south side of the river has been utilised. ​​ 

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Gledhill’s has remained basically a yarn spinning business and is now run by the three sons, David, Peter​​ and John. ​​ The firm has expanded radically since the 30s with building developments in the decades since. ​​ The old mill pond has been filled in, and built upon, and a new purpose built retailing section was opened in 1995. ​​ The success of the mill is well​​ reflected in the fact that there has been round the clock production here for at least the last 40 years.



In 1996 Gledhills bought the Bailey Mill, in order to expand production of yarn, and in recent months have also become the new owners of Rasping Mill. ​​ The intention is to rationalise production in that building rather than Bailey Mill. ​​ The future for Bailey Mill is uncertain, as David Mallalieu, who is at the moment renting weaving space at Bailey Mill will probably also move to the Rasping Mill site.  ​​ ​​​​ 

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