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Rainow Mill

Rainow mill, located beside Mill Cottages in Ingersley Vale, this water powered mill was noted in 1806 as being ‘very old’ and had already been converted from cotton spinning to paper making and, in 1801, back to cotton by Lawrence Plant and William Wagstaff. In 1820 Martin Swindells I and Joseph Brooke took over the mill. In 1848 the mill was burnt down and rebuilt, and converted to steam power.

This is also believed to be the site of the first water powered corn mill in ‘Bolyngton’ – In 1353, the Manor of Bolyngton was in the hands of the Black Prince. This passed on to Queen Isabella, and she granted the mill of Bolyngton to William de Shirborne for life. He enjoyed this for only a few months, and then the Black Prince granted it to Robert of Plumstoke his yeoman and barber for life. It then passed to William Soty a yeoman for life.1

A rather poor picture, but the only one we have, showing Rainow mill (top left) before it was destroyed by fire in 1908. The building in front was the original St John’s school in Church Street next to St John’s church. The houses to the left were part of ‘the Square’, very poor quality cottages demolished in the 1960s together with the school, to make space for Shrigley Court and Vine Street.

From 1896 to 1906 Heathcote & Sons were in charge and were processing silk (unusual in Bollington). In 1906 they converted back to cotton spinning. However, they failed to tell their insurers about the change of use so that when the mill burnt down, again, on 11 November 1908, the insurers declined to pay out! The mill was a derelict ruin and was demolished.

In the mid 20thC, the present corrugated iron clad single story (plus basement) building was erected on the mill footprint. This building was used for several decades by the late James McNulty from which he operated his glazing business. This business closed soon after his retirement. The premises have since housed other local businesses.

The rear part of the mill site has been occupied for very many years by Pumping & Technical Services Ltd., a pump engineering company based in nearby Poynton.

The original mill was water powered and the mill pond was located under the area of level ground behind the mill, the pond having been filled in, probably in the mid 20thC. The river passes under the mill and the yard in front of the mill, then under the house opposite before emerging into the Higher mills pond. See the page on mill ponds.

Another mill in Rainow village itself was called Mill Brook or Millbrooke Mill, see below for photo which was taken prior to 1868 when that mill burnt down.


The mill is just on the right in the picture above.

A slightly better photo below


  1. The History of Bollington and the Mills, A.C. Oliver, 1940.


Our thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history that is presented in these pages. Please read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement. Unless otherwise noted, the historical pictures are from the Civic Society picture collection at the  Discovery Centre  and also available online.

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