This is part of a heritage trail around Darley Abbey, taking in some of the key historic areas. You can find a map of the trail, and information on where to find interpretation boards containing more details on the town and its history at www.derwentvalleymills.org/darleyabbey.
The Paper Mill
The present Paper Mill is built on Dean’s Field, once a site of several water-powered mills, including the Evans family’s 1791 Paper Mill which was demolished in the 1930s. There have probably been mills on the site since the days of the Augustinian Canons of Darley Abbey, who would have had a corn mill and probably a forge.
In 1137 Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, gave land to the Church for the building of an abbey, north of Derby. These were added to by Hugh, Dean of Derby, and through gifts and endowments, the abbey grew and became more prosperous. In 1536, the Act of Suppression dissolved all monasteries with an income of £200 per year or more. Darley Abbey survived until October 1538, when it was surrendered by the abbot to the Crown. The buildings were dismantled, except for some on what is now Abbey Lane, and this one, thought to have possibly been a laymen’s refectory.
The building has had a number of uses since then, including housing in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1978/9, in a perilous state, it was fully restored and became a public house.