Darley Abbey Mills – a World Heritage Site
Darley Abbey Mills were built on the river Derwent in Darley Abbey village in Derbyshire. Darley Abbey is a small village near the busy A6 just north of Derby.
Originally an Augustinian monastery, founded around 1146 by the second Earl of Derby Robert Ferrers. The Abbey became one of the most important in Derbyshire, but was surrendered during the Dissolution of Monasteries, in 1538, and almost completely destroyed.
The mill area is quite a large complex. The oldest parts, east mill, middle mill and west mill, are 5 stories tall and brick built, and date from 1789-92, the rest are pre 1850. There is also a finishing house which has 3 storeys and sash windows, and an octagonal toll house in the mill yard.
The Evans family built much of the village housing much of which has been restored.
The Evans family were the sole employers of village folk. In return for long hours and hard work, families were cared for with subsidised rent, coal, hot meals for the sick and old. They were provided with warm blankets in cold weather and there was even a convalescent home in Llandudno. Villagers were buried at the expense of the Evans and had memorial tablets erected.
The mill complex now is used by many different businesses (including ours!) and there is a popular restaurant, called The Darleys, which has views over the river.
St Matthew Church was built in 1818-19 by Moses Wood of Nottingham for Walter Evans with help of £400 from Queen Anne’s Bounty for the construction of Churches in newly built industrial districts.