Dating from around 1600, Rivelin Corn Mill was one of the earliest in the valley to be built and was always used for the grinding of corn. It had fallen into disrepair by 1709 but was rebuilt again around 1711. By 1830, there were two waterwheels and six pairs of millstones, but in summer there was often only sufficient water to grind corn for only four hours a day. It remained working until the 1920s and was demolished in the 1950s. Following the collapse of the mill dam wall in 2001, the long, narrow mill dam was reconfigured to leave two ponds separated by a meadow.
History (C 1600s-1950s)
Also known as: Rivelin Mills
Main trade: Corn mill
The Rivelin Corn Mill and a hamlet of houses stood on the site of the Rails Road car park. The mill was always used for the grinding of corn and is believed to date back to around 1600 (making it one of the earliest in the Rivelin Valley), at which time it was owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury. The first clear reference to it shows Robert Rawson, John Swift & Edward Adamson as the tenants in 1632. In 1711 a lease was taken for 21 years by four men, all from Bradfield: James Crapper, William Ibbotson, Rowland Revill and Edward Barber. The lease was underwritten by 44 inhabitants of Bradfield who were responsible for the rent should the millers not fulfil their commitments.
By 1830 the mill was prospering and running two overshot waterwheels, one 15ft x 4ft and the other 14ft x 4ft, each wheel driving three pairs of millstones. However, in the summer months, shortages of water meant that out of the six pairs of stones only one set could be run up to four hours per day. Following the building of the Rivelin Dams upstream in the 1840s, after which the water supply improved, the mill was then sold to Sheffield Waterworks Company in 1856. It remained working until the mid-1920s and was still in working order in 1934, although in a poor state of repair by 1939; it was demolished around 1950.
The mill dam is fed through the head goit from a weir about 300 m upstream (on the south side of the A57 Manchester Road); the head goit was bridged by the ‘Glossop Turnpike’ in 1824. The long, narrow mill dam was reconfigured in 2006–2007, leaving two ponds linked by a culvert through the infilled section, but the re-built overflow remains in its original position. The tail goit runs under Rails Road directly into the Upper Coppice head goit near to the weir.
Nature and wildlife at Rivelin Corn Mill
The original long, narrow mill dam was reconfigured in 2006–2007 to leave two ponds (linked by a culvert) separated by a meadow, which are now a haven for wildlife.
The ponds are home to a range of pond insects and molluscs as well as various water birds including Mallard and Moorhen. These birds, as well as more usual species such as Blue tit and Great tit, regularly visit the bird feeding station nearby. Also look out for Long-tailed tits in this area. In 2010, RVCG planted around 1000 willow-whips at the side of the meadow to create a 50 m long willow tunnel (possibly the longest in the country).
Art at Rivelin Corn Mill
The corn mill was the base for the Rivelin Valley Artists colony and there are several paintings of this small industrial settlement. Scott-Temple lived there throughout the 1920s. W R E Goodrich’s painting of the corn mill cottages, Ben Baines’ watercolour viewed from the bank of the Rivelin, and Vernon Edmunds’ view from down-stream of the Rails road all give a flavour of the picturesque setting that inspired so many of the artists. The Goodrich oil painting of cows wandering down nearby Lodge Lane and Scott-Temple’s picture of the natural swimming pool a little downstream show just how unchanged this part of the valley remains, even today.