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Peak District Towns and Villages: Melandra Roman Fort

Villages around Melandra Roman Fort


Glossop is a busy, bustling former mill town and the largest settlement in the north-western corner of the Peak - though like Buxton it lies just outside the National Park boundaries.

View of Glossop
View of Glossop
The name Glossop is thought to be of Saxon origin, derived from Glott's Hop - where hop is a small valley and Glott was probably a chieftain's name. However, the area was certainly inhabited long before the Saxons, as the Bronze Age burial site on Shire Hill and the Bronze Age remains around Torside testify. When the Romans arrived in 78 AD the area was under the control of the Brigantes, a tribe whose main base was in Yorkshire, and the main purpose of the fort at Melandra was to subjugate this warlike tribe.

The area was settled by the Angles in the seventh century and by the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 there were twelve villages listed in the Glossop parish. However, after the conquest of 1066 the area was confiscated from its Saxon Carl and incorporated into the Royal Forest of the Peak under the stewardship of William Peveril. This set back settlement and farming in the area for several hundred years, for farming and grazing of animals in the forest was forbidden, and much of the surrounding area was recorded in Domesday as 'waste'.

Houses in Old Glossop
Houses in Old Glossop
In 1157 Henry II gave the manor of Glossop to the abbey of Basingwerke, which was based at Holywell in North Wales, and over the next 200 years the monks were responsible for steadily improving the agriculture of the area and encroaching on the royal forest. They also gained Glossop's first market charter in 1290, and one for Charlesworth in 1328.

In the early 14th century the manor of Glossop was leased to the Talbot family, later Earls of Shrewsbury, who retained it until the Dissolution in 1537. In 1606 it came into the ownership of the Howard family - the Dukes of Norfolk - who held it for the next 300 years with Glossop usually being given to the younger son of the family. The town was then based around Old Glossop and in the 16th and 17th centuries it expanded considerably as the wool and cotton spinning industries developed, and a number of old weavers' cottages can still be seen in Old Glossop.

Norfolk Square
Norfolk Square
The next expansion was powered by the machinery of Arkwright and since Glossop had a plentiful water supply the new cotton industry developed rapidly here in the late 18th and early 19th centuries - no less than 46 mills were built in this period, of which one of the first (1785) was Rolfes Mill in Wesley Street, which still stands opposite the school. The railway arrived in the 1840s to complete a period in which the population of Glossop multiplied by a factor of six in less than 50 years.

The town became the Borough of Glossop in 1866 and in this period several fine buildings were constructed around the new centre of the town at Norfolk Square - the Town Hall and the Market Hall to name just two. On the opposite side of the square from the Market Hall lies the Heritage Centre (unfortunately currently closed due to funding issues), which records the history of Glossop.

In the 20th century cotton spinning has declined and most of the mills have closed, the Howard family have left and the railway no longer goes from Glossop under the Pennines. However Glossop is still a thriving, prosperous town with some interesting sights, a good shopping area, a range of accommodation and a strategic position at the western edge of the Peak. It provides an excellent base for accessing and visiting the western parts of the Dark Peak, including Black Hill, Bleaklow and Crowden as well as Chinley and Coombes. The drive west across Snake Pass towards Sheffield is dramatic and beautiful but not to be undertaken lightly in harsh winter conditions.

Melandra Castle
0 - Melandra Castle
Glossop - Chunal View to Bleaklow & Shelf Moor
1 - Glossop - Chunal View to Bleaklow & Shelf Moor
Glossop - Norfolk Lion at railway station
2 - Glossop - Norfolk Lion at railway station
Glossop - Norfolk Square and Market Hall
3 - Glossop - Norfolk Square and Market Hall
Glossop - Star Inn, a railway inn
4 - Glossop - Star Inn, a railway inn
Glossop view
5 - Glossop view
Old Glossop pub
6 - Old Glossop pub
Old Glossop cottages
7 - Old Glossop cottages

Hadfield & Padfield

Hadfield and Padfield are two former mill villages which lie just over the hill to the north of Glossop, overlooking the Longendale Valley. The villages merge into each other and mostly consist of neat terraces of gritstone-built terraced houses constructed in the heyday of the cotton industry in the late 19th century. This area was badly hit by the decline of the cotton industry in the 1960-70s but has recently rebounded, and much of the area is now occupied by Manchester commuters.

The railway which once linked Manchester to Sheffield via Woodhead has now been closed and terminates at Hadfield station - from here the rest of the line eastwards now comprises the Longendale Trail, a cycle and walking trail through this picturesque valley.

Hadfield has recently achieved fame (or maybe notoriety) as the location where the BBC's 'League of Gentlemen' series is filmed.

Melandra Castle
0 - Melandra Castle
Glossop - Norfolk Lion at railway station
1 - Glossop - Norfolk Lion at railway station
Glossop - Norfolk Square and Market Hall
2 - Glossop - Norfolk Square and Market Hall
Glossop - Star Inn, a railway inn
3 - Glossop - Star Inn, a railway inn


Rowarth is a tiny village situated high on the hillside above New Mills in the north west of the Peak District, though it is most easily reached from Mellor or Marple Bridge as the roads from New Mills are rather circuitous.

The village dates essentially from the 1780s, when at least six watermills were constructed along the stream which runs through here. The mills span cotton or made candlewick and some operated until the early 20th century. Their legacy is some pretty stone-built workers' cottages in the centre of the village, plus Atherton House (dated 1787), which was a mill-owner's house, and the Little Mill Inn, a former mill which is now a pub.

Alongside the Little Mill Inn is a working waterwheel, which is usually turning. The original (and the building which housed it) was destroyed by a great flood in 1930, and the current wheel is a reconstruction.

About 2km to the north is Cown Edge, with fine views over Glossop and Manchester and best accessed from the A624 Hayfield-Glossop road, and just to the west of this is Robin Hood's Picking Rods - an enigmatic pair of dressed stones set in a crude stone base. Nobody has any clear idea what this monument is but the stones bear some similarities to the Bowstones above Lyme Park and to Cleulow Cross in Cheshire, which are Mercian or Norse boundary stones or crosses, so the Picking Rods could be something similar.

Between Rowarth and Hayfield is Lantern Pike, a prominent hill now in the ownership of the National Trust. This offers an excellent viewpoint over the Sett Valley, Hayfield, Kinder Scout and northwards.

Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
0 - Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
1 - Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
Robin Hoods Picking Rods near Cown Edge
2 - Robin Hoods Picking Rods near Cown Edge
Hayfield from Lantern Pike
3 - Hayfield from Lantern Pike
Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
4 - Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
5 - Rowarth
Rowarth - restored mill wheel
6 - Rowarth - restored mill wheel


Tintwistle was once a sleepy little village on the River Etherow at the bottom of Longendale but now carries the busy A628, Manchester to Sheffield road. A substantial estate of newer houses has been built below the original village, doubling or trebling its size.

Nevertheless Tintwistle is an excellent base from which to explore the Longendale Valley and the surrounding Dark Peak uplands, which offer excellent and often challenging walking.

The old village is perched on the hillside above Bottoms Reservoir, the last of the Longendale reservoir chain. The main road now bypasses the old village centre, which retains much of its old charm with rows of old cottages, a Methodist Chapel and a pub, the Bull Inn.

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