Lumbutts Clough


Map Ref. SD951237


Causeywood Upper Mill and cottages


Known occupiers


FIRTH Joseph









Notes of John Travis, contemporary historian

The principal feature of the Lumbutts valley for manufacturing purposes was the constant supply of waterpower without which it is extremely doubtful if there would have been any manufacturing concerns of that magnitude in the district.

At Oldroyd and Causeway Wood there are two derelict cotton spinning mills where a fair amount of work has been done in a space of sixty or seventy years. These mills have long been out of use. Foley Mill was the lowest of these two mills, and was built on part of the Oldroyd Farm with Causey Wood Mill the next in order up the valley.

Then Midgehole or CAUSEWAY MILL, one of the Fielden group. Then next up the hill was the Uttley’s Mill in Lumbutts proper, with one on either side of the road higher up, both belonging to Messrs. Fielden Bros. of WATERSIDE. 

All those mills were run by the same power, the water passing from one to the other and so on down the long range of Causey Wood and the Folly.




Two young men rose in the hierarchy of the Fielden Empire in the early 1800's to become managers at WATERSIDE MILL. They were Joseph Firth and William Howarth, who turned out to be very able managers and favourites of the Fielden brothers. The Fieldens built a row of three substantial houses next to their mill at Waterside, known as Bankfield Buildings. This is where William Howarth, Joseph Firth and John Firth (another employee) lived for many years.

Joseph, John and William left the employ of the Fielden Brothers to set up their own business as cotton manufacturers, and in 1826 they built Causeywood Mill.

John Firth died before 1841 when the firm became known as Firth and Howarth. Joseph Firth died between 1851 and 1861. His place in the firm was taken by his son, also Joseph. William Howarth died between 1861 and 1871, his place in the firm taken by his spinster daughters Mary and Sarah Howarth. There is more information on the Firths and Howarths in the story on ALBION MILL.


Reconstruction drawing of Causeywood Mill

by kind permission of the widow of Lawrence Greenwood.


Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group

Conveyance of Bankfield Buildings from schedule of Fielden Deeds.

27th June 1823

Lease for 999 years, Mr. Samuel Fielden to William Howarth, Joseph Firth and John Firth.

31st December 1824

Demise. Samuel Fielden to William Howarth, Joseph Firth, John Firth.

12th April 1826

Assignment. Mr. John Firth to Mr. Edward Dearden

Assignment and remainder of lease, Mr. William Howarth to Mr. Edward Dearden.

30th April 1835

Re-assignment: Messrs John Fielden, William Barker and Richard Ingham to William Howarth, Joseph Firth and John Firth.


Bankfield Buildings


Extracted from Fielden papers.

Joseph Firth and William Howarth, both Quakers, built Causeywood Mill (or New Mill as it was sometimes called) and had the site of the mill and water rights given to them by Mr. Hanson who owned Causeway Farm on condition they built a mill on the site and constructed a road to it. Mr Hanson and William Howarth were friends, both being Quakers. Mr. Hanson died and left William Howarth a trustee for the property.

Firth and Howarth first constructed a road down from Nuthill Dam, and having been former favoured servants of the Fielden brothers, were allowed free use of Jackley Road. They got the stone for the retaining walls of the road and the inside walls of the mill from Paradise Wood, at that time belonging to the Hanson family. This wood and Causeway Farm were later sold to the Fielden brothers.

Firth and Howarth worked this mill for several years, all the raw material and produce going along this road past Jackley. The coal also came this way from FOULCLOUGH MINE at Inchfield in Walsden.


Pigot 1828-29

Joseph and John Firth & Co; Lumbutts; cotton spinners and manufacturers.


Parson & White 1830

Firth, Howarth & Firth; Causewaywood Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers.


Factories Commission 1833

Firth, Howarth & Firth; mill built July 1826; water twist; steam 8hp; water from Lumbutts Clough 5hp; 54 time workers and 5 piece workers.


1841 census

William Howarth, Bankfield, aged 50, cotton manufacturer.

Alice Firth, Bankfield, aged 30, independent means. (widow of John Firth)

Joseph Firth, Bank Buildings aged 50, cotton spinner.


White 1842 and 1843

Firth and Howarth; Causeywood, Oldroyd and Roomfield Lane; cotton spinners and manufacturers.


Walker 1845

Firth and Howarth; Causeywood, Oldroyd and Roomfield Lane; cotton spinners and manufacturers.


White 1847

Firth and Howarth; Causeywood, Oldroyd and Roomfield Lane; cotton spinners and manufacturers.


Langfield Highway Rates November 1849

Owned and occupied by Firth & Howarth; Causeway Wood Mill; rateable value £109.4s.0d; 7hp water £57.9s.9d; 6hp steam £4.3s.2d; gas works £5.2s.0d.


White 1853

Firth and Howarth; Folly and North View Mills; cotton spinners and manufacturers.


Langfield Rates Book 1856-81

Owned and occupied by William Howarth; Causeywood; mill; 7hp water; 6.5hp steam; gas works; £175.18s.11d.1865 – re-valued £133.9s.0d.


White 1866

Firth and Howarth; Causeywood, Oldroyd and Albion Mills; cotton spinners and manufacturers; Joseph Firth’s house, North View.


Leeds Mercury 1st November 1878

Messrs Firth & Howarth, Albion and Folly Mills, 320 looms and spinning running 4 days a week.


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Causeywood Lower and Higher; 13,408 spindles; 10,792 spindles working 3 days, rest idle.


Langfield Rates Books 1884-93

Occupied by Pilling and Sutcliffe; owners Firth & Howarth; mill, steam and waterpower; Causeway; rateable value £96.


Slater 1887

Pilling & Sutcliffe, cotton spinners and manufacturers


Manchester Examiner 22nd July 1887

Pilling & Sutcliffe; Albion and Causeywood Mills, 12,000 spindles; 300 looms; part standing, others working full time.


Factory Inspectors prosecution  26th September 1889

Pilling and Sutcliffe, cotton spinners – Causey Wood Mill, Todmorden.

Case heard before Rev. T. Sutcliffe, J. A. Ingham and D. J. Crossley Esqrs at Todmorden Police Courts.

Employing a child more than seven days without a certificate of fitness.Penalty 5s and Costs 8s.


Worrall 1891

Pilling & Sutcliffe, Albion, Causeywood and Oldroyd Mills; 12,000 spindles, 324 looms, drills, T cloths and shirtings.


Langfield Rates Book 1895

Owners Firth & Howarth; mill, steam and waterpower; Causeway; dismantled.