Gauxholme Fold


Map Ref. SD 929230


Known occupiers

[1430?] 1626

RATCLIFFE Savill, corn


FIELDEN Nicholas, corn

[1769?] 1794-1873

HARDMAN Robert, corn






PARKIN Bell, corn


PEARSON James, corn


THOMPSON, James, malt


EUBANK Richard, corn


Todmorden Flour Mill Society, corn




HARGREAVES William, shuttle maker










STANSFIELD Lells & Co., picker makers


DUGDALE John & Co., picker makers


Burnt down, derelict in 1901


The illustrated history


There was a corn mill at Gauxholme from before 1626, possibly as long ago as the 15th Century. A Rochdale Manor Survey in 1626 records:

Several closes being so much of Gauxholme as lyeth in Walsden with a water corn mill on ye stream, parting Walsden and Todmorden. 55 acres. Freehold.

Many years later, Gauxholme had a considerable population, much more so than Todmorden. The village stands at the junction of the road from Bacup and had half a dozen roads leading out of the village to various places. The old corn mill was an integral part of Gauxholme Fold, next to an old inn, the Black Bull, and both were situated on the old highway. When the railway was constructed in the late 1830's, a viaduct was necessary to carry the railway over the roads, canal, river and village. The positioning of the viaduct meant that the old mill had to be taken down and rebuilt a little further back.

Gauxholme Fold would originally have been an arrangement of old cottages built in a square, with the mill and inn included within the square. The mill and inn have gone, but a couple of the original cottages remain today.

One of the early 18th Century owners of the mill was Nicholas Fielden, the Quaker son of Joshua and Martha Fielden of BOTTOMLEY. Nicholas married Ann Helliwell and lived at Edge End farm in Todmorden. Ann died young, leaving Nicholas with three very small children. He married again but died himself shortly afterwards, in 1714, leaving the three children in the care of their new stepmother. His brother, John Fielden of Todmorden Hall, took responsibility for the orphaned children by continuing to run the corn mill at Gauxholme and putting all the profit in to a trust fund for them. There is more about this family HERE.

A later owner was Robert Hardman of Butcher Hill in Walsden. He seems to have owned a considerable amount of land and buildings at Gauxholme, Watty and elsewhere. He left part of these assets to his son, Robert junior, born 1785.

Gauxholme corn mill in the foreground


Robert junior became wealthy, having the freehold on most of Gauxholme, including the corn mill with a croft, reservoirs and banks, a cotton mill, the Black Bull Inn, the NAVIGATION INN, two blocks of cottages and a quantity of land, barns and stables.

He was a tall, portly man, an English Country Gentleman, often seen walking about wearing yellow-topped boots with spurs. His great hobby was the local militia, a sort of olden day Home Guard. He was a Captain and led the troops on many celebrations. He spent most of his time playing at being a soldier, to the detriment of his estate. Whilst he was not a spendthrift, he was happy to devolve all his business responsibilities to others.

This neglect caused concern within his family, as the wealth was disappearing because of his inattention. Robert's younger brother James was the local surgeon, and in the end, Dr. James Hardman took the Gauxholme estates away from Robert, paid off the debts, and allowed Robert a pension for the rest of his life. In 1851, Robert is living at Millwood, described as an annuitant. He died in 1861. Dr. James Hardman died in 1873 at his home on York Street, and the mill changed hands at that time.


During the Hardmans' time as owners of the mill, there were various tenants. John Bottomley and his wife Mally were there until John died in 1787. The widow Mally continued for a while, employing Bell Parkin as her carter. Eventually Bell took over and by 1794 he was the miller. He and the widow Mally married and moved to INCHFIELD CORNMILL about 1800. They were followed by a malster, Richard Eubank.


In 1855, the Todmorden Flour Mill Society was established at a public meeting held in the Oddfellows Hall. Mr. T. Barker, a bookseller, was in the chair for the occasion. This was a new sort of co-operative and was supported by the Bridge End Co-Op. The Society immediately took on the tenancy of Gauxholme Corn Mill.

At the time it was a normal practice (although illegal) to add a small amount of alum to the flour to make it white. This was more popular than the natural darker colour. The first manager of the Todmorden Flour Mill was a Mr. Hawkes. He instigated the practice of adding alum to the flour, but after some misdemeanour, he was sacked and replaced by Thomas Fielden who continued with the practice. Mr. Hawkes reported Thomas to the police, and in December 1857, Thomas Fielden was brought before the Magistrates at Todmorden, charged with adulterating flour. The case was proven and Todmorden Flour Mill was fined £10 plus costs.

Although the Society reverted to milling pure flour, its reputation never recovered and it went bankrupt in 1861. I have no idea about the safety of the flour produced at the mill, save to say that in 1859, a local girl wrote in her diary:


Isaac Fielden of Shade died June 2nd. with eating Gauxholme flour. 

There were no further tenants until 1866 when William Hargreaves ran a business making shuttles, but almost immediately, Wheelhouse & Shaw took over as corn millers, and then changed to Wheelhouse & Howarth. During their time, the miller was George Taylor from Sowerby Bridge, helped by his son Joseph Taylor. The Taylor family lived next to the mill at Gauxholme Fold.

Gauxholme Fold. The mill is next to the first chimney. Photo by kind permission of Frank Woolrych


James Howarth was the next tenant from about 1867. James was the last to run the mill as a corn mill, finishing in 1881. He was married to Betsey, daughter of James Hardman. After he finished, he moved to LYDGATE MALTKILN.


The mill remained empty for about 10 years, after which it was converted to picker manufacture, run by Stansfield & Co. and then John Dugdale & Co. until 1899. On 15th December 1899, there was a serious fire, reported as follows:


Leeds Mercury 16th Dec 1899

Destructive Fire at Todmorden.

A disastrous fire occurred at Todmorden last night. Two men observed a light in the picker works at Gauxholme Fold of Dugdale and Lolo. An alarm was raised, and the Corporation Fire Brigade quickly appeared on the scene. The premises, three storey buildings were then enveloped in flames, and it was impossible to save them. A good supply of water was obtained from the river close by. The brigade rendered good service, and saved the adjoining property, but the premises was completely gutted. Several cottage houses were threatened, and furniture was got out. The final damage was about £3,000, not insured. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.

(submitted by John Alan Longbottom)


This was the sad end to the checkered life of one of the oldest mills of the town. It was never re-built as a mill, although a relatively new red brick building now occupies the site. Just a small handful of the original cottages of the Fold are still there, neighboured by other cottages built at a later date.


Additional information

Notes by John Travis, contemporary historian:

Gauxholme Fold Corn Mill also takes the Dulesgate water, stood empty for many years after Wheelhouse and Howarth gave it up. It was let to John Dugdale & Co. as a picker manufactory. Continued until the fire in December 1899. The mill now stands derelict without a roof or floors.


researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Rochdale Survey 1626 page 2

Several closes being so much of Gauxholme as lyeth in Walsden with a water corn mill on ye stream, parting Walsden and Todmorden. 55 acres. Freehold. (Held by deed dated 1st December 1430 but not stated if corn mill was there then.)

Rochdale Survey 1626 page 10

Water corn mill lying in the hamlet of Todmorden called Gauxholme Mill, and all the Socome suite, tolls, moulter and service. (Held by deed dated 24th Feb 1564 but not stated if mill was there then.)

Will of Nicholas Fielden, clothier of Edge End dated 9th November 1714.

Bequests include: to his son Nicholas, £90 with all that right and title to a drying kiln and water corn mill called Gauxholme when he attains the age of 21.

Pigot & Deane Directory 1824-25

Robert Hardman, corn dealer

Baines Directory 1825

Robert Hardman, corn dealer

Pigot’s Directory 1828-29

James Thompson, maltsters

James Pearson, corn millers and dealers

Leeds Mercury 29th May 1830

Gauxholme Corn Mill to let.

Parson & White 1830

Richard Eubank corn millers and dealers

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser January 1855

Todmorden Flour Mill Society Meeting to establish above in Odd Fellows Hall. T. Barker bookseller in Chair. Addressed by Isaac Clissit and Mr. Burrow from Halifax. Every member pay 1s. on entrance fee towards preliminary expenses. Shares £1 each. No-one to have more than one. Can be paid in weekly instalments of not less than 6d. a week. 56 shares taken up. Now increased to above 100. Mill of Dr. Hardman at Gauxholme. He will put it in good working condition without charge to the Company.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser March 1855

Todmorden Flour Mill SocietyWanted by above, a Head Miller to buy in and superintend. Apply T. Barker, Brook Street.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser May 1855

Todmorden Flour Mill SocietyFlourishing. Commenced working. Can supply public with flour, malt, beans etc.

Walsden Rate Book 1860-63

Occupiers Flour Mill Society, owner James Hardman, Gauxholme Corn Mill, RV £93.6s.8d.

Halifax Courier 20th July 1861

Mill dam burst when men digging for foundations of new engine bed at the flour mill, Gauxholme.

Halifax Guardian 5th March 1864

To let yearly or for a term, Gauxholme Corn Mill, cottages and out buildings near Todmorden. Present tenancy ceases 2nd April next. Worked by water and steam power. Apply owner, James Hardman, surgeon, Todmorden.

Walsden Rate Book 1864-66

Empty, owner James Hardman, Gauxholme Corn Mill. (1863 engine house and boiler house RV £5.17s.10d.)

Todmorden Rates Book 1865

Owned and occupied by James Hardman, Gauxholme Corn Mill, RV £93.6s.8d. engine house, boiler house RV £5.17s.0d.

White’s Directory 1866

William Hargreaves Gauxholme, shuttle manufacturerWheelhouse & Shaw, corn millers and maltsters.

Walsden Rates Books 1866

No occupier but full rates paid, owner James Hardman, corn mill and power, Gauxholme, rateable value £77.4s.0d.

Walsden Rates Books 1867

Wheelhouse and James Howarth, owner James Hardman, corn mill and power, Gauxholme Fold, rateable value £77.4s.0d.

Walsden Rates Books 1868-79

Occupiers Wheelhouse & Howarth, owner James Hardman, corn mill and power, Gauxholme Fold, rateable value £77.4s.0d. (1874 two new offices, £9.0s.6d.)

Kelly’s Directory 1871 and 1877

Wheelhouse & Howarth, corn millers and maltsters.

Halifax Courier 30th Aug 1879

Partnership dissolved between Wheelhouse and Howarth, millers of Todmorden.

Census 1881

James Howarth, Bank, aged 46, corn miller.

Walsden Rates Books 1880-81

Occupier James Howarth, owner James Hardman, corn mill and power, Gauxholme Fold, rateable value £103.

Walsden Rates Books 1883

Dilapidated, owner James Hardman, corn mill and power, Gauxholme Fold.

Walsden Rates Books 1885-90

Empty, owner James Hardman, corn mill, steam and water, Gauxholme Fold, rateable value £90.15s.0d.

Walsden Rates Book 1892

Occupiers Stansfield Lells & Co. Owner James Hardman, picker works, steam and waterpower. Gauxholme Fold, RV £20.5s.0d. (Corn mill and steam power empty, RV £57.)

Kelly’s Directory 1897

Stansfield Lells and Co. picker manufacturers

Todmorden in Coronation Year of Edward VIII 1902

Councillor John Dugdale, picker manufacturer, living at Copperas House Terrace, Walsden.

Kelly’s Directory 1908

Dugdale and Lello & Co. (Walsden) picker manufacturers.