Staley-bridge, Mossley and Hartshead 1795

The following is an extract taken from Aikin's Book "Forty Miles around Manchester", 1795

Staley-bridge, near two miles above Ashton-under-Lyne, has an excellent stone bridge across the Tame. A little below it another was lately built by the late John Astley of Dukinfield, Esq. for the convenience of his own estate. The place is now a very large and extensive village, the houses well-built, some of stone, but the greatest part brick. On an eminence stands an octagon chapel of the church of England, in which is an organ. Part of the village is on the Cheshire side of the Tame, but by far the greatest in Lancashire, in a continued street for half a mile, well paved. The greatest part of this village, as well as the chapel, has been built in the last eighteen years.

This place has been famous, for a great length of time, for woollen cloth, dyers and pressers, as well as weavers. These branches still continue to flourish. Here and in this neighbourhood commences the woollen manufactory, which extends in various directions as we proceed to Saddleworth. Here is an old hall (Castle Hall), long in the possession, of a family of Kenworthy's, who are principally concerned in the clothing business, but the great support of the place has for some time past been the cotton trade.

On a high ground on the Cheshire side of the Tame, about two miles above Staley-bridge, is situated Staley-hall, the old family seat of the Staleys. It is a roomy spacious house with extensive barns and stables of modern date. In the background is a distant view of Buckton Castle. The stabling etc. forms a wing on the left, but being of great extent could not be brought into so small a compass. It is now a farm-house in the occupation of a Mr Morse, with very extensive possessions belonging to it, bordering on the Yorkshire moors. A new turnpike road from Staley-bridge, passing this hall and into Yorkshire, is nearly finished, and the canal from Ashton, running up this valley at the side of the Tame, is carrying on with speed.

A little above Staley-hall, on the Lancashire side of the Tame, stands Scout Mill, a place well known to the surrounding neighbourhood, partly from its rural and romantic situation, and partly for its meloncholy and unfortunate inhabitants. For many years it has been in the occupation of Mr Wilson, a respectable man, now very far advanced in life, who has long had care of insane persons, but has now in great measure declined it. A few still under the care of his son. The mill is now used in the cotton branch. It is descended to from the turnpike road near Mossley, by a long steep hill, with a lofty broken ground, nearly perpendicular to the river, over hung by a fine wood.

Mossley is a comfortable village, with upwards of 100 houses, many of them large and well built, chiefly of stone. It is about three miles from Ashton, in the high road to Huddersfield, with a large chapel in the gift of or under the rector of Ashton.

Near this stands Hartshead Pike, a favourite and well.known object for the surrounding country, which is seen at a considerable distance, and in general has been supposed to be a sea mark. It is situated on very high ground betwixt Oldham and Mossley, from whence the traveller has a most delightful view of the surrounding country. We have ascertained, from very good authority, that it was formerley used as a beacon, and there are others in the area to answer it. It was rebuilt of solid stone in 1758, and is of considerable height and circumference. It is now split from top to bottom near half a yard in width. A few pounds laid out in repairs, if done in time, might preserve this pile for a century to come. On the top are the small remains of a weather cock, probably a hart's-head.

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