Sutton Mill overlooker

In affectionate remembrance of
Ann the wife of
Jonas Crossley, of Sutton Mill
Who died Feb 12th 1862
In the 60th year of her age
Also of Jonas, their son, who died June 2nd
1848, aged six weeks

This grave is owned by Jonas Crossley and was initially thought to be unmarked. A little excavation discovered a fallen headstone and all is now revealed.

   Jonas was born in 1804 at Holme House, Keighley. In 1841 Jonas was living with his wife Ann and daughters Mary and Hannah at Mytholmes where he worked in the factory. They had been living in Lidget when daughter Mary was born.

   In 1851 Jonas and Ann were living in Sutton Mill Lane with daughters Mary and Hannah.

   In 1861 Jonas was a worsted overlooker living at Sutton Mill with his wife Ann, daughters Mary, 35, Susannah, 24, Hannah, 18 who were all power weavers, and also son-in-law Jonas, a 23 year old overlooker. After Ann’s death in 1862 Jonas lived at Sutton Mill with his daughter Mary and her husband Edmund Greenwood. Jonas died in Keighley in 1874 aged 70.

Sutton Mill

If you are looking for a pleasant woodland walk then a short amble up Hall Drive in Sutton will bring you in the quiet solitude of Lumb Clough, writes Robin Longbottom. Once across the footbridge over the beck you enter into this pleasant wooded valley with its fast flowing beck and in the spring a carpet of wild garlic, bluebells and wood anemones. However, the lower part of the Clough was not always so, and few visitors today would imagine that it was once the scene of our early industrial history.

Sutton Mill

At the end of the 18th century the lower part of the Clough was owned by the Heaton family who lived at Stubbing Hill, just off West Lane. In 1785 John Driver Heaton inherited the estate from his uncle, and by 1789 he had built a three-storey mill measuring 50 yards long and nine yards wide. It became known as the High Mill and to power it he installed a water wheel 30 feet in diameter and four feet wide, which was driven by water from two mill dams, a large upper one and a smaller lower one.

Heaton was a speculator who invested his newly-inherited wealth in cotton.

   Today we associate the cotton industry with Lancashire and not with the South Craven and Keighley area but during the late 18th century the great majority of our local mills were actually built for spinning cotton. It is not clear whether he ran the mill himself or put it into the hands of a manager, but what we do know is that Heaton did not enjoy his new enterprise for long as he fell ill and died in 1793 at the early age of 28.

   Following his death the mill was managed by his executors on behalf of his young son, Thomas, and after he came of age in 1808 he looked for a permanent tenant to take over the responsibility of the mill.

Thomas Driver Heaton successfully let the mill to Peter Hartley. Hartley was originally a Haworth man and in his youth had taken up the trade of wool combing for the worsted trade.

   In 1787 Low Mill at Addingham became the world’s first mill to spin worsted yarn by machine, and in consequence needed a great number of combers to prepare the wool for spinning. Peter Hartley moved to Addingham where he ran wool combing shops for the mill, known in this part of the World as ‘kemming ‘oils’. By 1808 he had moved to Farnhill to meet the demand for combed wool from mills in this area, many of which had changed over from spinning cotton to spinning worsted. In 1810 he took the High Mill together with its “dams, goits, reservoir, water wheel, tumbling shaft, landlord’s machinery and fixtures” and turned it over to worsted spinning. Hartley rented the mill for the princely sum of £68 and 10 shillings per year, and remained in business there until 1824 when he moved down the road to Greenroyd Mill. Despite its early success High Mill had a number of disadvantages. The access was poor, the only road in was via the Ellers and down a steep field and there was no room for expansion, as all the suitable ground space was already occupied by the mill. Nevertheless the mill was offered to let in 1824 and taken by Joshua Clough, a younger member of the Clough family that already had mills in Keighley.

   In 1845 the Heaton finally put the mill up for sale and it was purchased by Joshua’s elder brother John, with Joshua continued to run it for the time being. By about 1860 the mill was unoccupied and falling into disrepair, and within a few years it had become totally ruinous. In the late 1880s John William Hartley, Peter Hartley’s grandson, had the mill demolished to make way for pleasure gardens to his new house.

   Today nothing remains of the mill building and the only evidence that it ever existed are the overgrown embankments of the upper dam and two stones along the beck side that once held the sluice gate into the goit that fed the dams.