Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
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Whilst at The Manchester Histories Fair at Manchester Town Hall Samuel was invited by Didsbury Councillor Andrew Taylor to visit the Inner Courtyard. Later on he was to meet Queen Victoria to discuss the meteoric rise of the entrepreneur. The Queen didn't think there was a credible challenge to the landed gentry and commented, "It is all a question of breeding my dear".
Oh dear! No digging for me tomorrow.
We have spent today setting out our stall for tomorrow's Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day 2014. Samuel Oldknow will be there at Manchester Town Hall from 11 am to 4 pm. The event is free to the public and there are some 68 stalls to visit - I think it is going to be very exciting. In the picture we have Ann and John Hearle, Nick Smith and Fiona Turpin busy putting up our great selection of photographs taken by Arthur Procter the Revealing Oldknow's Legacy project official photographer. More news for the diary tomorrow.
Now that Spring has arrived and our HLF funding is about to come on line we are looking to increase our activity down at Mellor Mill. There are a number of tasks, which do not involve excavating on your hands and knees, which need to be done and we are looking for volunteers to help out. Can you spend a few hours at weekends making a contribution to this locally important project?
Tasks which immediately need addressing include:
1, Strimming of undergrowth around the main mill area
2. Cutting of ivy growth around trees
3. Additional guides to show visitors around the site
4. Pathway preparation
5. Clearing an area ready for temporary toilets and welfare cabin
6. Recording and bagging of finds
7. Topographic survey of remains uncovered so far
Appropriate training will be given to enable you to carry out these tasks. All equipment supplied.
Of course, we are always ready to welcome volunteers who want to be involved in the archaeological dig as well.
Rachel Miller recently made contact, via Facebook, with a lady from Glossop whose Great, great, grandfather was an overseer at Mellor Mill. As a result, Rachel and I went to visit the Great great, granddaughter at her house. She told us a story about her family research which had led her to William Willis. William along with his wife, Charlotte and their children, lived on Royal Oak Row and more specifically the cottage immediately to the right of the pub. He was an overseer at Mellor Mill having worked his way through the system from being an apprentice brought up from London and possibly a Clerkenwell Orphan. Rachel and I went to search for a possible grave for William Willis at Mellor Church. My first stop was to ask Ann Hearle if I could borrow the transcripts of the grave at Mellor Church, (below). A quick search shows that there is a simple small stone,(above) in the graveyard, marked W Willis. I think it is reasonable to believe this is the same man.
Samuel Odknow visits his father's grave. The inscription on the gravestone reads:
"Here lieth the Body of Samuel Oldknow of Nottingham late of Anderton who departed this life Aug 7th 1759 Aged 25 yrs Likewise Eliz. his daughter who died March 12th 1762 Aged 4 years."
He lived at Roscoe Low Farm, Anderton and was reputedly the first man in England to manufacture muslin, a fine cotton having previously been woven in the East. He came to the district in 1754, and married and prospered, leaving a son Samuel who worked with Richard Arkwright near Stockport. According to John Rawlinson, however, muslin was first produced by the widow of Samuel the elder, and a partner in the business, in 1764. Samuel Oldknow's mother Margaret after becoming a widow married for the second time to a farmer, John Clayton with whom she had three children Margery, Samuel and John.
For the pdf file of the letters and paintings from the children and staff, of the school, click on picture below.