Burnley Road



Map Ref. SD934247


Inside Ferneylee Mill


Known occupiers








CRABTREE Charles Ltd.

Partly demolished for housing


Additional information

partly researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Notes from John Travis, contemporary historian:

In 1853, iron founder James Nuttall bought Ferneylee meadows and began the erection of Ferney Mill, a large spinning and weaving shed. His partner was William Dewhirst, late schoolmaster at VALE ACADEMY. Mr. Dewhirst died and James Nuttall continued on alone for several years.

oil painting of William Dewhirst

kindly sent by Paul Dewhirst


Stansfield Rates Book 1860

Owned and occupied by Dewhirst & Nuttall; Blind Lane; mill and power; rateable value £227.16s.0d; boiler house; Blind Lane; rateable value £42.


Todmorden Post Office Directory 1861

Nuttall and Dewhirst – cotton spinners & manufacturers – Ferney Mill


1861 census

James Nuttall, Wellfield House, iron founder employing 60 hands and also a cotton spinner and manufacturer.

William Dewhirst, Vale House, cotton manufacturer employing 160 hands.


White 1866

Nuttall & Dewhirst, Ferney Mill, cotton spinners & manufacturers.


Stansfield Rates Book 1867-68

Owned and occupied by Dewhirst & Nuttall; Ferneylee Mill; mill and power; rateable value £257.16s.0d.


23 March 1869

Mr. William Dewhirst, Vale House, died from the effects of a fall while returning home through Stansfield Hall fields. He broke his back.


one of William Dewhirst's own paintings


Stansfield Rates Book 1869-78

Owned and occupied by James Nuttall; Ferneylee Mill; mill and power; rateable value £257.16s.0d.


Census 1871

James Nuttall, Wellfield House, aged 65, cotton spinner & manufacturer


Kelly 1871

James Nuttall, cotton spinner & mfr, Fearnlee Mill


Slater 1875

James Nuttall, Fernley Mill, cotton spinners & manufacturers


White's 1877

James Nuttall, cotton spinner & manufacturer, Ferney Mill


Halifax Guardian 6th April 1878

James Nuttall, Ferneylee Mill, running 4 days a week.


The Leeds Mercury Friday November 1st 1878

Todmorden trade depressed Mr. James Nuttall, Ferneylee, 10,450 spindles, 176 looms, running daylight only.


Halifax Guardian 15th March 1879

Reduction in wages of 10%, James Nuttall, Ferneylee Mill, second reduction in past few months. The first ranged between 5% and 10%.


Halifax Guardian 28th June 1879

Nuttall, Ferneylee Mill, closed.


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Ferney Mill, 12,044 spindles and 176 looms closed.


Halifax Guardian 23rd August 1879

James Nuttall, Ferneylee Mill, cleaning and putting machinery in running order as entire works have been shut about 2 months.


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 27th February 1880

Ferney Mill, Burnley Road, Todmorden to sell by auction – mill and machinery.


Stansfield Rates Book 1880-81



Will of James Nuttall registered for probate 1st April 1880

Will dated 26th August 1872

James Nuttall, late of Wellfield House, Todmorden, cotton spinner and manufacturer. Which will bears the date the 26th August 1872. Whereby inter alia, he devised all his dwelling houses and cottages situate at or near Ferney Mill, near Todmorden, some of which adjoined the Turnpike Road. And also his dwelling house called Wellfield House. Also the Mill called Ferney Mill with the steam engine, boiler, outbuildings and appurtenances thereto belonging. And also all other his real estate unto his Trustees …


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 31st December 1880

Sale by auction of Ferney Mill, late in the occupation of James Nuttall.


18th January 1881

The Ferney Mill property, land, engines etc. of the late Mr. James Nuttall offered for sale at the White Hart Hotel. Bidding reached £3,500; withdrawn – reserve £5,000.


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 21st January 1881

Ferney Mill sold for £4,200; 800 powerlooms.


Halifax Courier 13th September 1884

Electric light at Charles Crabtree, Ferney Lee Mill, Todmorden.


Stansfield Rates Book 1884-1899

Owned and occupied by Charles Crabtree; Ferneylee; mill and power; 50hp steam; rateable value £234.15s.0d.


Charles Crabtree


Halifax Courier 24th October 1885

Charles Crabtree, owner of Ferney Lee Mill, burgled.


Slater 1887

Charles Crabtree, Ferney Mill, manufacturer of cotton goods


Manchester Examiner 22nd July 1887

Charles Crabtree, 500 looms working full time.


Worrall 1891

Charles Crabtree, Ferney Mill, 700 looms, domestics, drills, grey cloths etc.


Kelly 1893

Charles Crabtree, Ferneylee Mill, Burnley Road, cotton spinner & manufacturer


Slater 1895

Charles Crabtree, 672 looms, Ferney Mill, cotton manufacturer


Kelly 1897-1908

Charles Crabtree, Ferneylee Mill, Burnley Road, cotton spinner & manufacturer.


30th June 1911

The work people of Ferney Lee Mill made an interesting presentation to Mr. Charles Crabtree on his completion of 50 years as a cotton manufacturer.


3rd September 1912

Death of Mr. Charles Crabtree, cotton manufacturer, Ferney Mill, aged 80 years.


Obituary of Charles Crabtree from the Todmorden & Hebden Bridge Almanac 1913, kindly sent by Ian Crabtree.

For a typical example of a self made man we would recommend our readers to the late Mr. Charles Crabtree of Cross Street, Todmorden, head of the firm of Charles Crabtree Ltd., Ferney Mill, whose death occurred on Tuesday 3rd September 1912 at the advanced age of 80 years. Beginning life in a humble way, with no apparent advantages over his fellows, he rose by industry and enterprise to a position of a large employer of labour. He was born at High Cote, Eastwood, his father being engaged in the handloom weaving trade. Very early in life he was found a job with that particular trade, and later he became a powerloom weaver at Eastwood until he was 26 or 27 years of age. Then for a short period he acted as overlooker for Mr. Barker Sutcliffe at Nanholme Mill, and in December 1860 he first launched out as an employer. Along with Mr. John Marshall he commenced running a few looms at BURNT ACRES WOODBOTTOM. About 1868 they moved to HOPE STREET, and in 1870 Mr. Marshall dropped out and Mr. Crabtree continued the business on his own account, finishing there with 112 looms. In 1872 he removed to ANCHOR MILL and about 10 years later he rented some looms with room and power at Rochdale. About the same time, he bought the looms at SANDHOLME MILL and in 1884 he acquired Ferney Mill, where the firm now has 614 looms.

Last year, on the attainment of his jubilee as a manufacturer, Mr. Crabtree gave a treat to his employees, and they in return made a presentation to him of a walking stick, and of an umbrella to Mrs. Crabtree.

Although quite a busy man, Mr. Crabtree devoted much of his time to the interests of the public weal. For several years he served on the old Todmorden Local Board, being first elected a member in April 1886. He had a good deal to do with the agitation for the charter for the incorporation of Todmorden, and was one of the witnesses called for the enquiry held at the Town Hall at the direction of the Privy Council in October 1886, in reference to the application for the charter. Mr. Crabtree also performed much useful work on the Board of Guardians during a period of 7 years from 1877 to 1874. He represented Langfield Ward, and from 1879 to 1884 he was honoured by being chosen Chairman. In 1889, Mr. Crabtree consented to stand as a candidate for the West Riding County Council, but was defeated at the poll by Mr. Caleb Hoyle. He took no active part in politics and always put himself before the electorate as an Independent nominee.

For a long number of years, Mr. Crabtree attended Heptonstall Parish Church and officiated as sidesman for Stansfield. He was also identified with St. Paul’s Church, Cross Stone, and he had close ties with Eastwood Congregational Church, where he had been baptised.