History

Glossop is a town that is bursting with history; there are many interesting things that have happened over the years that we feel you should know…

There’s been a community in Glossop for well over 1000 years. In fact the remains of the Roman Fort of Melandra can still be seen in Gamesley today. The original fort dates back to the 1st century and was made of wood. This was rebuilt in the early 2nd century with stone walls and towers.

Early Anglican settlers came to live here and at that time the land was covered with dense thick forest. The surrounding areas above 1000 feet were inhospitable peat moorlands, which have changed little since these early days. One of the early settlements was called Glot in Anglosaxon times. The Anglosaxon word for valley was Hop and the area became known as Glots Hop. It is said this is where our modern variation of Glossop derives its name.

Slowly the forests were cleared for more settlements and in a small Doomsday survey of England in 1086, Padfield, Hadfield, Dinting, Whitfield, Glossop, Chisworth and Charlesworth were all mentioned. The area was granted to William Peveril who built his castle at Castleton and then later to Abbots of Basingwerke in Flintshire. These lords did not live in the valley but they continued to clear the area of forest for cultivation to increase the profits from the land. They used the profits to build a church and the hamlet of Glossop (now Old Glossop) became the natural centre of the area.

In the 16th century experiments in textiles began, first in wool and then in cotton. The use of domestic spinning wheels and hand looms grew increasingly, and by 1700 the population had risen to 1000. The development cotton led to the expansion of the town. Over 100 hundred houses have survived from the 16th to 18th century period built in the sturdy local grit stone. Church Street in Old Glossop is one of the best examples with stone mullions and date stones. An ample supply of fast running streams, damp atmosphere and close to the growing commercial centre of Manchester, made the area perfect for the new cotton industry.

New techniques developed by Crompton in Bolton and Arkwrights in Cromford were sufficiently accessible to mill owners and there was a period of rapid development between 1785 and 1831 with 48 mills built along the streams that provided them with power. Between 1801 and 1861 the population of Glossop grew six fold, from 3,625 to 21,000! The original farming community could not support the growth of this industrial revolution. People flocked to Glossop from Ireland and Yorkshire to work the mills and the town of Glossop was created as we know it today.

Lines of stone terraces were built for the mill workers as the development of the steam engine led to the growth of industrialisation. Instead of its many small mills, by the mid 19th century, Glossop had just a few enormous mills. New turnpike roads provided a convenient focus for Howard Town to become the new centre after the Lord of the Manor the 12th Duke of Norfolk. The 12th Duke built the Town Hall in 1837 and the local government moved in. Further buildings we recognise today were built during this period, the Market Hall in 1844, The Railway Station in 1847 with its Howard Lion situated above the entrance, and where it still sits today. As the ancient village of Old Glossop went into retirement the rich Victorian mill owners built their big houses at Howard Town House, Talbot House and Whitfield House. On the 19th October 1866 there was a Royal Charter creating the Borough of Glossop and Francis Sumner, the owner of Wrens Nest Mill became the first Mayor. Improvements and facilities were built, all by public benefactors – the Woods Hospital, Victoria Hall, Victorian Baths, The Grammar School and Howard Park was given by the Wood family who owned the biggest mill.

In 1927 there was a new park, Manor Park, formerly the gardens of Glossop Hall, the home of Baron Howard. The Hall itself was demolished in the late 1950s.

By 1st April 1974 the Borough of Glossop became part of the Borough of High Peak, the authority still in existence today…

More history about Glossop can be found on the Glossop Heritage website.