Three of the best converted mill properties in Knaresborough and Nidderdale
Converted mill properties tend to be highly prized, and it’s easy to see why. They tend to be built to last and are often in pretty waterside locations.
They come in all sorts of sizes and styles, depending on whether they were cornmills, flax mills, sawmills or textile mills. They can be large and detached or small and part of a huge industrial unit.
Water-powered mills have existed since at least Roman times, and at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 there were 5,624 mills in England – roughly one for every 300 people – including ones at Ripon, Spofforth and Wilsill (between Low Laithe and Glasshouses). By 1300, there were about 17,000 of them.
With industrialisation, many of the old-style mills were made redundant and replaced with large new mills that could employ hundreds, but in time these too were replaced by mains-powered equivalents.
So it’s a happy irony that many old mills are now being fitted with hydroelectric turbines to harness the power of the millstreams once again, often enabling the owners to sell electricity back to the grid.
None of the following three properties has a mini power station installed, but they all benefit from an interesting history and that ever-popular waterside location.
The Old Mill at Hampsthwaite solid-looking Grade II listed property dating from the early 19th century. According to its listing, the mill was built over Cockhill Beck but the wheel was removed when the building was converted to steam power.
Nowadays, it has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a 42-foot open-plan dining kitchen / family room, utility room, two more reception rooms, study, cellar and double garage with attached office and large gardens to the side and rear.
In Knaresborough 3 Castle Mills is part of a 1980s conversion of a Grade II listed former linen mill, and has been in the same family for well over 20 years.
The mill was built in 1791 as a cotton mill but converted to flax in 1811. By 1851 it employed 423 workers, and it continued spinning flax right up until 1972.
Today, this part of it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sitting room on the upper floors, and on the ground floor, an open-plan kitchen and dining area. Outside, there’s a terraced garden that slopes down to the river, where it also has boating and fishing rights.
Finally, back in Nidder-dale (which was the centre of Yorkshire’s flax and linen industry in the early 19th century), 5 Glasshouses Mill is part of a huge complex which was built on the site of a former water corn mill around 1812 and processed first linen and later hemp. So big that it had its own gasworks, rail stop and reservoir, the mill employed hundreds of people, but business slowly declined, and it eventually ended up producing rope and twine until 1972.
This three-floor property has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an open-plan dining kitchen / living room, which opens onto the patio and garden beyond. It also has an allocated parking space.