The small village of Mellor’s early history is complex and unclear but had from the Middle Ages been part of Forest of Peak under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Lancaster. By the 1640s the land around Mellor had been surveyed and divided under a process of ‘enclosure’ whereby common land was consolidated into individually owned or rented fields. Mellor with isolated manor houses and farms was separated from adjacent hamlets by boundary crosses.
Following enclosure, agricultural practices and drainage improved the quality of the land, though the higher, steeper, and wetter areas of Mellor Moor and Ludworth Moor remained wild and unmanaged. Most of the farms would have been small cultivating corn, cereals, and hay with cattle and sheep managed away from the farm on common ground and would only be gathered and moved back to the farms following harvest.
Wool collected from the flocks of sheep was used as raw material for the domestic textile industry which was integral to the local economy. This domestic textile industry was so prevalent that in 1770 most of Mellor’s farms and cottagers earned their money from some aspect of textile production. As mechanization improved with devices such as the spinning jenny farms, barns, and cottages and were converted to improve their productive capacity. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, around 1760, Mellor had a population of over 2500 whilst nearby Marple’s was less than 600.
Mellor with its stone built cottages and farms though isolated was a thriving community but very little has been documented about the function of its previous village life. From the scant and sketchy documentation surviving I have tried to pull together a map of what Mellor, which is now mainly domestic accommodation, would have looked like in the past.
My other Mellor related blogs:
Mellor History Maps
Ludworth Moor Colliery
MELLOR – A TALE OF THREE GOLF CLUBS
Mellor Church: Poems & Paintings