A Taste of the Peak District

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Situated close to Manchester on the A57 ‘Snake Pass’ road, Glossop has an long and interesting past.

See the bottom of the page for accommodation in or near to Glossop.

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Another ‘Gateway to the Peak’, Glossop is to be found at the western end of the A57 - Snake Pass road. The A57 has Roman origins but its present line was set in the 1820’s when this turnpike road was constructed across the Pennines. The A57 is usually the first, and sometimes the only, road closed by winter snows in Derbyshire.

Melandra, a Roman site, two miles away from Glossop, disappeared by the 3rd century  and there is no ref. till the 1770s. The only known refs. from inscriptions on stone and tile finds, to units of the roman army are Ist Cohort of Frisiavones and IIIrd Bracara Augustanorum [just one of each].Both these are units of Auxiliaries not 'legionary' soldiers.Both have almost identical find refs from a stone and a tile at Manchester roman fort.

Glossop, ie Old Glossop, developed during the middle ages and 'Howardtown'[sic] grew up next to the bridge at Bridgend where the Chapel en le frith turnpike crossed the the Glossop Brook  and the Marple bridge turnpike coming up the valley also coincided, and also where the 1837 Town Hall was built.Once the market was moved from Old Glossop in 1844 the area developed into Glossop as we know it. Although the original workforce for the early mills came from local farming families there was an influx from Yorkshire and Lancashire but a massive migration of Irish, particularly in the potato famine, and after the arrival of the railway in 1844

Sumner's mill [actually built by Ellison] started to expand over the Wren Nest / Green Vale area and John Wood's move from 3 rented mills at the bottom of Mossy Lea to his site between Bridge end Fulling Mill and Milltown mill  more or less completed the of the growth of Glossop the cotton town

Nearby, The 'castle' on Mouselow has produced no real dating evidence from 2 digs since the 1960s. If its a motte and bailey, there is no written evidence for it, If it was then it may have something to do with Ranulf Earl of Chester - but this is a guess. It could even have been a temporary castle in the civil wars between Stephen and Matilda. The Bronze/iron age finds hereabouts from the 18th/19th century are probably from ploughed out barrow graves rather than, as suggested  100 years ago, debris from a battle.

For those with an interest in the paranormal, the Longendale valley is reputed to be the most haunted in the Peak District and has been the location of several alleged UFO sightings and the ‘Longendale Lights’.

Old Glossop lies on the Eastern side of modern Glossop, centred around All Saints parish church. The latter was extensively rebuilt in the 19th century and little remains of the original medieval building.


The industrialised part of Glossop was known ‘Howard’s Town’. ‘Howard's Town’ does appear on a couple of very old directories but Howardtown is more usual , unfortunately  Directory compilers tended to copy previous ones from othe publishers and  this meant mis-spellings were perpetuated .'B E Howard' was Bernard Edward. He was also responsible for building many of the landmarks in Glossop such as the railway station, market hall and Roman Catholic church (neo-Greek and Tuscan style). The cotton industry has gone but Glossop has remained - a pleasant market town centered on Norfolk Square with an air of jaded elegance.

Glossop Heritage Centre - interesting photos plus information about this fascinating Peak Town on the the Heritage Centre web site. Mike Harding of the Heritage Centre has kindly corrected my originally inaccurate information. Thanks very much Mike, that is appreciated.

Mike has also been able to supply first hand information about the Melandra digs, which may well be of interest to you if you are an archaeologist ...

“I have been on most of the Melandra digs since 1958 -got the rescue digs arranged by the then MoW, prior to the Gamesley Estate being built by Mcr Corporation - P. V Webster Director for MoW, self as site supervisor, because a couple of us had found so many finds in places way beyond the 3 1/2acres of the fort then under guardianship of the MoW. We had pushed the local authority [Glossop Council] and the MoW to do something
before the site [civil settlement] was built over. We had had a long argument with the previous excavator 1930s and 1950s - Dr Petch - who didnt believe there was anything beyond the fort walls.

With help from friends in the council and back up from roman experts John Wilkes [Roman army] and Hugh Webster [Roman Cheshire] Petch gave us a go-ahead in the early 60s due to the masses of finds. After the official 'rescue digs' 65 - 66 when we got the civil settlement and roads and Mansio, I found the extra mural bath-house [1972]on which Prof. J  Wild of Mcr Uni. and his wife ran digs from 1973 -98 as training digs for the University Archaeology Dept. They did further work on the HQ and on links between the extra mural buildings and the fort.

Even with all this the only thing that gave us any further clue to 'occupants' was the section of tegula  rooftile, with most of the III BRAC stamp, I found at the start in '72”

Hotels near Glossop:

There are a number of hotels in the vicinity such as the Davenport Park Hotel at nearby Stockport. Conveniently situated on the A6, within easy reach of the local motorway network and Manchester International Airport. With its friendly atmosphere, the Davenport Park Hotel is a great focal point for both business and family visitors. Glossop is only a short drive away as is the Peak District. Also near Stockport, the Britannia Hotel is set in a residential area close to Stockport town, 8 miles from Manchester City and Airport. Another great base for those travelling from the airport or a base for exploring Manchester and the Peak District.

Other accommodation in and around Glossop:

Woodlands is a detached Victorian House set in attractive mature gardens in a quiet location in the High Peak village of Charlesworth, near Glossop. The house is within easy walking distance ... more or visit owner’s web site

Woodlands guest house bed and breakfast

Moorfield, near Glossop, was built in 1861 by a local family who made their fortune from the many cotton mills in the surrounding area. Nestling amongst the foothills of Kinder Scout the estate’s location is excellent for fell-walking and site-seeing alike.
With the departure of its original residents Moorfield was divided into a number of individual properties including Moorfield Lodge and the Old Billiard Room. Guests are welcome to use the 5 acre grounds of Moorfield House during their stay. The Old Billiard Room is a self-contained flat with its own entrance the spacious interior has a modern kitchen and bathroom as well as a large open-plan living and dining area and a double bedroom. The kitchen is fully equipped ... more information, availability and online booking


Excellent views. Single storey, semi-detached barn conversion for 2. This is a delightful property nestling in an elevated position overlooking open rolling countryside and woods. The accommodation ... more information and online booking.

Hey Cottage, a charming 3 bedroomed semi-detached Victorian cottage (sleeps up to 6) situated at the base of Kinder Scout, is within a few minutes walk of the centre of Hayfield Village, near Glossop. Ideally located for ... more or visit owner’s web site.

Beehive Cottage, Glossop is a special rustic character cottage for modern romantics. This lovingly restored 18th century Grade ll listed building has flagged floors, 18th century furniture and a fantastic vaulted bedroom. It is ... more information and online booking.



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