Water management at Kirk Mill

Kirk Mill was the perfect site for a water powered mill. Early documents refer to the ‘Water Corn mill‘, which will have relied on the abundant supply of water offered by the Kirk Mill site to run its small wheel. A big catchment area stretching across Saddle Hey and Parlick and comprising of many springs, feeds the two main streams that feed Kirk Mill’s pond. Chipping Brook runs down Saunder Raike and Peacock Brook (now Dobson’s Brook) runs alongside Austin House, Chipping Brook having a huge catchment fed by springs and the vast peat reservoir on the fells.

These streams are clearly marked on the first map of the area, made in 1608. A long footrace meanders through the land and runs out below the mill opposite Grove House.

However, with the erection of the cotton spinning mill in 1785, a bigger, 32 foot wheel was built, requiring a bigger supply of water. In order to ensure this supply of water, the owners, Stirrup, Salisbury, Barrow, Carr and Shakeshaft agreed with the owners of Austin House (do we have names?) to dig up their orchard across the road from the house, and expand what was then a small mill pond. This was when the mill pond, as we know it today, was built.

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