Relationships Between the Mill Owning Families of Glossopdale.

When one starts to research the mill owners of Glossopdale it soon becomes apparent that many of the families involved were inter-related by marriage. Not surprising, perhaps, as it is often said that if you can trace your ancestry back in Glossop for two or three hundred years then you are related to all those who can do the same.

Another reason it is unsurprising is that the families which built up the resources to afford to build mills, and were willing to take the risks involved, were those which had been successful as farmers and small scale clothiers in previous generations. Naturally the families knew each other socially as well as through their work. Many of them shared the same nonconformist religious convictions, being worshippers at the independent churches at Tintwistle, Charlesworth and Littlemoor, and many of them were heavily involved in civic life.

The Robinson family (see The Robinsons of Gnat Hole) had been amongst the early mill owners of Glossopdale with their woollen mill at Jumble, replaced in 1790 by Gnat Hole Mill. Gnat Hole was run by John Robinson's son, Joseph, and his descendants until it closed when John's great grandsons decided to emigrate to Tasmania. Of John Robinson's other sons, George moved into cotton, working Turn Lee, Robert married into the Shepley mill owning family (see The Shepley family of Old Glossop and Brookfield) and James had two sons (Joseph & William) and a grandson (Thomas) who managed mills; William also ran Warth Mill for a while.

The Kershaw family (see The Kershaw family of Hurst and Whitfield) originally came from Hollingworth to Glossop to work Hurst Mill. Later the brothers worked Turn Lee and then, through the marriage of one of them to the daughter of George Robinson, they became involved with Charlestown Mill. At first glance there seems to be no reason why a Frederick Buckley from Saddleworth should take over Hurst after John Kershaw junior died. It becomes quite plain, however, when research shows that he was a nephew of John's first wife (both families worshipped at Tintwistle) and that all John's sons had pre-deceased him. Descendants of the Kershaws also married into the Platt and Bennett families.

The Platts (see The Platt family of Glossop), originally from Mottram, had farmed Mouselow and Shaw for several generations. George Platt (born 1774) moved to Padfield where his sons and grandsons were to become the biggest cotton manufacturers on Padfield Brook. Two of George's sons married daughters of John Garlick, landlord of the Anchor Inn at Hadfield (see The descendants of John Garlick of Padfield and Waterside). John's third daughter married John Handforth of Shepley Mill and their daughter married Thomas Robinson, mentioned above. George's grandson, William, married a granddaughter of William Hadfield who built Cowbrook Mill.

William Hadfield (see The Hadfield family of Cowbrook) moved to Cowbrook from Padfield but his ancestors had lived at Wash near Chapel en le Frith. Cowbrook was another mill which stayed in the family until it closed, when it was bought by Edward Platt. In addition to the Platts, the Cowbrook Hadfield family had marital links with the Bennetts, the Robinson's (twice) and the Shepleys.

William Barber (see The Barber family of Hilltop and Padfield), who also worked mills at Padfield, had four sons who worked Shepley Mill before John Handforth. His sister married Robert Lees from Ashton under Lyne (see The Lees family of Padfield and Woolley Bridge mills), their descendants marrying into the Bennett family and into the major mill owning families, the Woods and Sidebottoms.

The Bennetts, mentioned several times above, were an old established family in Glossopdale, having been small scale clothiers for several generations before becoming involved with most of the mills on the Gnat Hole Brook (see The Bennett family of Turnlee).

William Wardlow (see The Wardlow family of Charlesworth and Bridgefield) was a mill owner at Charlesworth who took over the Bridgefield Mill built by a John Garlick. Bridgefield was later worked by William's son in law and grandson, Joseph and John Howard (see The Howards of Ludworth and Bridgefield). It is not certain which John Garlick built Bridgefield Mill but it was probably either Joseph Howard's brother in law or the John Garlick who built the Junction Inn. Both were the grandfathers of John Howard Garlick, another who married a descendant of John Robinson (see The Garlick family of Pikes and The Junction).

Bridgefield Mill was built on land owned by William Hadfield, a farmer at Whitfield (see A Hadfield family of Whitfield) and not the William of Cowbrook. He owned Cross Cliffe Mill at one time, leaving it in his will to his four sons. One of William's great grandson's also married a descendant of the Robinson family, the younger sister of John Howard Garlick's wife.

The Shepley family (see The Shepley family of Old Glossop and Brookfield) was another of the long established Glossop families. One son, John, and some of his descendants built and worked mills on Shelf Brook, at one time in partnership with members of the Fielding family, another which had been small scale clothiers in the area for several generations (see Descendants of John Fielding of Whitfield 1674). Robert Fielding, cousin of John Shepley's partners, was one of the lease holders for Bridge End Mill. John's youngest son, Samuel, established and worked Brookfield Mill. His granddaughter, Mary, married Thomas Rhodes of Hadfield and Mersey Mills (see The Rhodes family of Tintwistle and Mersey Bank).

Working out how to present the links between the various families in more detail was not simple matter. Varying levels of detailed family histories can be found in the several linked web pages above. Somewhat simpler, though still complex, is a “family tree” chart. It was, unfortunately, not possible to draw the chart without two crossing lines. They are the ones in blue. The chart, which is in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format can be viewed on screen by clicking here and using the zoom tools.

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Last updated: 10 October 2020