Mellor, Greater Manchester

Mellor, Greater Manchester

Coordinates: 53°23′49″N 2°01′43″W / 53.396926°N 2.028534°W / 53.396926; -2.028534

View of Mellor 2008.jpg
View of Mellor from Mellor Churchyard
Mellor is located in Greater Manchester

 Mellor shown within Greater Manchester
Population 2,394 
    - Density  2,771 /sq mi (1,070 /km2)
OS grid reference SJ990880
Metropolitan borough Stockport
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SK6
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Hazel Grove
List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester

Mellor is a village within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, in Greater Manchester, England. Mellor, situated between Marple Bridge and New Mills, runs along a tributary of the River Goyt. It extends from the start of the old turnpike road at the boundary of Marple Bridge to the current county boundary with Derbyshire.[1] Mellor no longer has any shops, so people now shop in Marple Bridge, Marple or further afield. It has a church, primary school, golf course, sports club and a riding school. There are three pubs in the village, The Royal Oak,[2] The Devonshire Arms,[3] and The Oddfellows Arms.[4] There is also a fourth pub, the Hare and Hounds[5] in the hamlet of Mill Brow, which was formerly part of the civil parish of Mellor. An independent census from 1891 lists several of these pubs and a complex of shops and industries which no longer exist.[6]

As with virtually all towns and villages in Britain, there is a World War I memorial, situated in a small park at the very heart of the modern village. Farmland takes the bulk of the remaining space, although with the decline in the farming economy in recent years, much of it is now given over to non-agricultural uses: horses, golf, and a scout camp. A number of farm buildings and Mellor Hall date back to the late 17th century, and were built on ruins of earlier buildings, illustrating the long-standing importance of agriculture to Mellor. The village was a civil parish in the county of Derbyshire until 1936, when it was transferred to Marple Urban District in Cheshire; in 1974 it became part of Greater Manchester.



The ancient past of Mellor is slowly being discovered as a result of a long-term archaeological survey of the area by means of excavations and geophysical surveys, including ground-penetrating radar. Although some history had survived by means of written records and local tradition, it has become clear that such knowledge only scratched the surface and that the extent of Mellor's past had passed from such memories.

The origin of the name "Mellor" is uncertain. In one Celtic dialect, the term would translate to "the bare (or rounded) hill". The name "Mellor" does not appear in the Norman-era Domesday Book, although the neighbouring town of Ludworth (recorded as Lodeuorde) is listed.[7] It is possible that Ludworth originally included Mellor and that they split into two distinct areas at a later date.[citation needed]

The Saxons built a church at the southern-most end of the Iron Age settlement some time in the 7th or 8th centuries. The church was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt, possibly several times.[citation needed] St. Thomas Church has the oldest known wooden pulpit in Britain, possibly the world.[8] Dating from the reign of Edward II (1307–1327), it is ogtagonal and carved from a single piece of wood.[9] The church also has a 12th century font.[10]

According to local legend, Mellor Hall is built on the foundations of the house of a Norman nobleman.[citation needed] During excavations of the Iron Age hill fort, a 13th century hall was discovered.[11][citation needed] By the time of the English Civil War, Marple had become totally dominant in the region. So much so that John Bradshawe, Lord President of the High Court of Justice and Lord of Marple Hall was the first to sign the death warrant of King Charles I.[citation needed]

Samuel Oldknow[12][13] was a significant businessman[14] and mill owner[15] in Mellor during the Industrial Revolution. Just across the River Goyt, there are the "Roman Lakes".[16][17][18] These are not Roman, but were water reservoirs for Samuel Oldknow's Mellor Mill[19] cotton mill, a major employer in the area in the Industrial Revolution.

One of the local stories involves the fate of Samuel Oldknow's mill at the Roman Lakes, which was destroyed by fire in November 1892. Accidents at such mills were common, but so were violent rivalries. There have been claims made for both cases. The only thing that can be stated with any certainty is that the mill was gutted by the blaze.

The other major figure in Mellor at this time was William Radcliffe,[20] a mill owner who invented many devices[21] for improving the textile industry.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, coal-power supplanted water-power as the driving force and minable coal seams were found in Mellor. Relatively recently, the British Coal Board strip-mined those seams that still had sufficient coal in them.


Mellor lies in the foothills of the Pennines, just outside the area of Derbyshire known as the High Peak. Nearby villages include Rowarth, Marple Bridge, Ludworth and Mill Brow. The town of Marple lies across the River Goyt. A little further away are the towns of Romiley and New Mills and the villages of Hayfield and Strines. Mellor Church and Mellor Hall are situated on the top of a ridge that is separated from the bulk of the village of Mellor by a gully and stream.

The oldest part of inhabited Mellor runs alongside the river Goyt, stretching from the oldest parts of Marple Bridge up the hill, spreading out where the slope becomes gentle. Newer parts of the village run down Longhurst Lane, the old turnpike road, and into former farmland released for building by Townscliffe Farm. At the very top of Mellor is the junction of Five Ways. One of these roads runs to Mellor, a second to Rowarth, a third to Strines and New Mills, the fourth to a water treatment plant and a fifth to many farms on the edge of Mellor. Spoil heaps indicate mining operations here and coal was mined in the general area during the Industrial Revolution.

Because of the topology, Mellor lies on one of the easier points for entering the Pennines from the Mersey Basin by road or foot. It is also on the flight path for air traffic into Manchester Airport, formerly known as Ringway.


Mellor is located on a gritstone area in an area of the Peak District referred to as the Dark Peak. (In contrast, the limestone region of the Peak District is referred to as the White Peak.) The underlying geology of the area belongs to the Carboniferous Millstone Grit series which are outcrop as the Middle Grit. Below this are shales and mudstones and older Gritstones such as the Kinder Scout Grit which forms the Kinder Plateau to the East. Small seams of coal have been located in Mellor, over the gritstone. Boulder clay, left from the Ice Age, can usually be found just below the surface-level soil. At one point, all of the Peak District - Mellor included - was submerged beneath relatively warm waters. Evidence for this is the limestone region, with the limestone containing fossils of coral and other shallow-depth warm-water creatures.

The gritstone comes from deposits laid down about 300 million years ago over the limestone. Shallow coal deposits lie on top of the gritstone, although most of these have long since been mined. Very deep coal deposits do exist further into the Pennines, but again many of these have been worked out. Although evidence exists for volcanos elsewhere in the Peak District,

The soil in Mellor is fairly rich in peat and can bog easily, but there are no permanent peat bogs within Mellor itself. The only other noteworthy detail on Mellor's geology is the almost complete absence of iodine, particularly in the water of the River Goyt. If no other source of iodine is in the diet, drinking the river water can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, a condition is known as "Derbyshire Neck", or Goitre.


On the creation of Greater Manchester, Mellor became a part of Stockport metropolitan borough.

The voters of Mellor consist of, in almost equal numbers, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. Labour have never done well here. Mellor is not noted for being particularly active on the political front. Nonetheless, turnout for elections is often very high.


Mellor compared
2001 UK census Mellor[22] Stockport (borough)[23] England
Total population 2,394 284,528 49,138,831
White 98.2% 95.7% 90.9%
Asian 1.4% 2.1% 4.6%
Black 0% 0.4% 2.3%

According to the Office for National Statistics, at the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, Mellor had a population of 2,394. The 2001 population density was 2,771 inhabitants per square mile (1,070 /km2), with a 100 to 92.1 female-to-male ratio.[24] Of those over 16 years old, 18.8% were single (never married), 54.6% married, and 6.6% divorced.[25] This was significantly different to the borough and country figures, with a higher rate of marriages, and fewer single people.[26] Mellor's 1,070 households included 27.4% one-person, 43.5% married couples living together, 5.7% were co-habiting couples, and 5.9% single parents with their children.[27] Of those aged 16–74, 20.9% had no academic qualifications.[28]

As of the 2001 UK census, 88.4% of Mellor's residents reported themselves as Christian, 1.0% Muslim, and 0.2% Hindu. The census recorded 5.8% as having no religion, 0.2% had an alternative religion and 4.4% did not state their religion.[29]

Population change

Population growth in Mellor from 1861 to 1931
Year 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931
Population 1,733 1,447 1,242 1,096 1,218 1,711 1,876 1,712
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time


Mellor compared
2001 UK Census Mellor[30] Stockport (borough)[31] England
Population of working age 1,789 151,445 35,532,091
Full time employment 38.8% 43.3% 40.8%
Part time employment 12.0% 12.5% 11.8%
Self employed 12.4% 8.4% 8.3%
Unemployed 1.6% 2.5% 3.3%
Retired 21.7% 14.8% 13.5%

A few small businesses work out of the old mills that scatter the countryside, and there is a limited amount of farming, principally grazing livestock: sheep and beef cattle. A few farms have free-range chickens, but the majority of poultry are battery-farmed. Horses are also common, and horse-riding is a popular pursuit in the area, which benefits from many ancient bridleways.

According to the 2001 UK census, the industry of employment of residents of Mellor aged 16–74 was 18.3% manufacturing, 16.3% retail and wholesale, 12.2% health and social work, 12.0% education, 11.7% property and business services, 6.6 public administration, 4.6% construction, 4.5% transport and communications, 4.2% hotels and restaurants, 2.7% finance, 2.0% agriculture, 0.7% energy and water supply, and 4.2% other.[32] Compared with national figures, the town had a relatively high proportion of people working in education, agriculture, and public administration, and low levels of people working in finance and transport and communications.[33] The census recorded the economic activity of residents aged 16–74, 1.8% students were with jobs, 3.4% students without jobs, 3.1% looking after home or family, 4.1% permanently sick or disabled, and 1.1% economically inactive for other reasons.[30]


Sport in Mellor is taken seriously and, despite its size, the village boasts a number of clubs that ensure physical activity all year round.


Mellor is probably best known for being a hotbed of lacrosse.[34] The club has enjoyed great success in its 80 year history, winning the North of England men's championship on many occasions, the most recent being 2006. The club has three men's senior teams and a thriving junior section and has recently created a ladies team. The club also regularly plays host to touring teams from the USA at junior and senior level. The success of the club can be gauged by the fact that many Mellor players have gone on to play at international level. Although recantly relegated for the first time since the War, Mellor is still considered by many in the country to be one of the most dangerous competitors in lacrosse.


Mellor Football Club[35] was founded in 1923 by members of the Hambleton Family. Mellor FC's home ground is Wood Lane in Marple, and the club currently boasts four open-age teams. Mellor 1st XI are currently in the Premier Division of the Lancashire and Cheshire League and won the Stockport Senior Cup in the 2004/05 season.


Mellor Cricket Club[36] had two senior teams that played in the Derbyshire and Cheshire League having previously played in the Glossop and District League for many years and before that, in the High Peak League. They now play in the Cheshire County League 3rd XI Saturday Division 2[37] under "Marple-Mellor" having resigned from the Derbyshire and Cheshire League in 2008[38]


The tennis club[39] was formed around the end of the Second World War, between 1945 and 1950. It originally had only one grass court. This was later extended to include two shale courts and later to include two all-weather courts. These were then replaced with astroturf. It has three men's and three ladies' teams in the Slazenger North East Cheshire League.


Mellor's badminton club[40] has eight teams - two teams in the Tameside Badminton League, three in the Stockport Badminton League and three Junior teams in the Stockport Badminton League.


The Golf course[41] runs through a sparsely-populated section of the oldest inhabited part of Mellor. The course offers a very clear view over Greater Manchester and on a clear day the Welsh Mountains can be seen. The 15th hole is regarded by some as the signature hole, a double dog leg par 5.


There are a number of additional societies within Mellor, ranging from church activities to painting to rambling.

Some of these societies run charitable events in the area. For example, Every four years the local residents open a number of private gardens during an event known as the Mellor Open Gardens day. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and the support of the local Parish Centre.[42] Another event is the Mellor March, in which ramblers carry out a sponsored walk to traverse the boundary of Mellor[43]

Legends and Mysteries

As with all towns and villages of this age, there are legends, myths and mysteries.

Case of Thomas Brierley

One local mystery involves Thomas Brierley, the treasurer of the freemasonry lodge in Mellor around 1785. He had his gravestone carved, using a masonic cipher called 'Pigpen', some years prior to his death. The text at the head of the stone says "Thomas Brierley made his ingress July 16, 1785". The cipher at the foot of the gravestone says "Holiness of the Lord". The Pigpen Cipher was used by Freemasons in the 18th Century to keep their records private and surprisingly the cipher on Thomas Brierley's grave seems have a non-standard symbol for the letter "S". It is possible the variation in the cipher is a clue to or a key to documents that he dealt with as the treasurer but more likely a simple error.

According to some, Thomas Brierley fell to his death from the church tower, but other sources disagree so this story may be an urban legend. To add to the mystery, a bronze plaque was added to the stone in recent times with more cipher upon it, the cipher used being similar but not identical.


  1. ^ Peak District View - Mellor
  2. ^ Marple Pub Guide - The Royal Oak
  3. ^ Marple Pub Guide - The Devonshire Arms
  4. ^ Marple Pub Guide - the Oddfellows Arms
  5. ^ Marple Pub Guide - the Hare and Hounds
  6. ^ Kelly's Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland published London (May, 1891) - pp.262-4
  7. ^ National Archives page for the Domesday book entry for "Ludworth in Mellor"
  8. ^ Richards (1947), pp. 232–234.
  9. ^ Pevsner & Hubbard (2003), p. 279.
  10. ^ St Thomas, Mellor, Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture of Great Britain and Ireland,, retrieved 2007-12-30 
  11. ^ Discovery of Medieval Aisled Hall
  12. ^ Background on Samuel Oldknow
  13. ^ Summary of Samuel Oldknow
  14. ^ Samuel Oldknow's Business Records
  15. ^ Oldknow's Mellor Mill
  16. ^ Mellor Mill & Estate
  17. ^ Roman Lakes Leisure Park
  18. ^ Photographs and Paintings of the Roman Lakes
  19. ^ Photographs and Paintings of Mellor Mill
  20. ^ William Radcliffe short biography
  21. ^ Inventions of William Radcliffe
  22. ^ KS06 Ethnic group: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 25 January 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  23. ^ Stockport Metropolitan Borough ethnic group,,;jsessionid=ac1f930d30d6634a72ac71084a38a5caf7eb75fa9131?a=3&b=276782&c=Stockport&d=13&e=16&g=354915&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&r=1&s=1239656585684&enc=1&dsFamilyId=87&nsjs=true&nsck=true&nssvg=false&nswid=1280, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  24. ^ KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 7 February 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  25. ^ KS04 Marital status: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 2 February 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  26. ^ Stockport Metropolitan Borough marital status,,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  27. ^ KS20 Household composition: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 2 February 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  28. ^ KS13 Qualifications and students: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 2 February 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  29. ^ KS07 Religion: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 2 February 2005,, retrieved 13 April 2009 
  30. ^ a b KS09a Economic activity - all people: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 3 February 2005,, retrieved 17 April 2009 
  31. ^ Stockport Local Authority economic activity,,, retrieved 17 April 2009 
  32. ^ KS11a Industry of employment - all people: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas,, 3 February 2005,, retrieved 17 April 2009 
  33. ^ Stockport Local Authority industry of employment,,, retrieved 17 April 2009 
  34. ^ Mellor Lacrosse Team
  35. ^ Mellor Football Club
  36. ^ Mellor Cricket Club
  37. ^
  38. ^ [1]
  39. ^ Mellor Tennis Club
  40. ^ Mellor Badminton Club
  41. ^ Mellor and Townscliffe Golf Club
  42. ^ Mellor Open Gardens
  43. ^ Mellor March
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus; Edward Hubbard (2003) [1971], The Buildings of England: Cheshire, New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-09588-0 
  • Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford 

External links

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Historical information for Mellor

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