Our Heritage: How Wray Mill drove village’s economy

Wray Mill in a dilapidated state, circa 1938. The mill chimney, shown on earlier photographs, has now been demolished. The mill race, which can be seen on the right, conveyed water from the weir-dam, built across the River Roeburn, to a wter wheel, situated in a wheel pit in the basement of the mill. Later, this was replaced by a water turbine and stema engine.
Wray Mill in a dilapidated state, circa 1938. The mill chimney, shown on earlier photographs, has now been demolished. The mill race, which can be seen on the right, conveyed water from the weir-dam, built across the River Roeburn, to a wter wheel, situated in a wheel pit in the basement of the mill. Later, this was replaced by a water turbine and stema engine.

Wray Mill has had a long and varied history. In the early eighteenth century it was used for carding wool for the hat trade.

However, in the latter years of the eighteenth century, the mill was taken over by Thomas Allbright, who used it as a cotton-processing mill.

This stage in the mill’s history only lasted for a short period. The mill was then used for bobbin turning by Thomas Harrison.

However, this business failed circa 1797.

In 1815 Mr Wrathwell took over the mill and installed machinery for the cotton trade. This also failed after only a short time.

The mill was then taken over by Richard Whittingham, who converted it for processing and spinning of silk.

Mr Whittingham, however, suffered a fatal injury when, it is believed, he fell from the riverbank into the Roeburn.

The mill then came into the ownership of John Marr who, with his business partner Mr Jackson, carried on with the silk-dressing business.

On Mr marr’s retirement, the mill was taken over by Messrs Hinde & Co, who continued with the processing of silk and in the 1830s, a 20hp steam engine was installed. Messrs Hinde & Co gave up the mill in 1869 when the mill was put on the market.

In 1870 the firm of Davis and Conder took over the mill and carried on with the dressing and spinning of silk. Next week’s Guardian will continue Wray Mill story.