Stoneywood Mill

An unnamed scrogg mill is shown on an estate map of 1793 (updated in 1835) on the south bank of the River Carron at the east end of the area later occupied by the Stoneywood Mill (ie at NS 8008 8282).  Just upstream from it was a chip mill though the two do not seem to have been related – the former dealing with brushwood and the latter with more substantial timber.  They were both then owned by a Mr Benny and leased to tenants.  The scrogg mill must have produced dyes whilst the chip mill manufactured pyroligneous acid. 

Scrogg Mill was part of the lands of Stoneywood and when it was feued it formed a one shilling sevenpenny land with Houses, biggings, yards, tofts, crofts, pendicles and pertinent thereof.  By 1835 the scrogg mill was in the hands of John Gray and Son.  This was a copartnery between John, Charles and Thomas Gray.  They were drysalters – a term meaning dealers in certain chemical products, such as dyestuffs and gums, and sometimes dried food.  The 1841 Statistical Account for Denny parish describes the mill as “A mill for chipping, rasping, and grinding dye stuffs.”  The mill on the Carron was now named as the Stoneywood Mill and the 1861 Ordnance Survey map shows that it was quite extensive.

Illus: Stoneywood Dyewood Mills on the 1861 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Charles died in December 1847 and the business was continued by the other two, though there was an attempt to sell the mill in 1853 (Stirling Observer 27 January 1853,1).  The company imported wood from America and exported some if its products there.  It employed a little over twenty people but in 1862 had to discharge a number of them in consequence of the depressed state of trade arising from the prolonged war in America.  The ancillary works at Garth Mill were closed.  Thomas Gray became the sole proprietor.

Stoneywood Mill had its own fire fighting appliance and team at a time when the town of Denny had none.  Consequently the fire engine was used throughout the area for any building on fire.  Mills had a sort of mutual assistance understanding and in 1870 the Stoneywood engine attended a major fire at the Broomhill Paper Works in Bonnybridge.  Its attempt to save that mill was unsuccessful.  More satisfactory was the result at Stoneywood Farm where the attendance of the Stoneywood Mill Fire Brigade made the difference in saving the steading from destruction in 1890.

In 1876 Stoneywood Mills “the dyewood mills of Stoneywood, situated on the River Carron, lately occupied by Messrs John Gray & Son,” were exposed to sale by public roup “with large stores, stabling, counting house and workmen’s houses. The machinery connected with the mills can either be sold along with the buildings or separately. There is about 8 Acres of Land, including Plantation, with the best Blackband Ironstone and Coal underneath.  There are also 3 falls of water in connection with the mills.”). The following year the machinery was sold off. 

(Glasgow Herald 21 October 1876, 7

The Gray family had built a comfortable house at Stoneywood.  In 1881 Thomas Gray was living there and was described as “retired drysalter” aged 76 (Census).  His nephew, John Gray, drysalter, was living at The Hall in Denny.    William Rigg “formerly drysalter” was also in Stoneywood.  Thomas Gray died at Rothesay on 2 May 1886, aged 81 years.

Meanwhile, in 1878 Alexander Duncan and Sons of the Herbertshire Paper Mill took over the neighbouring Stoneywood dyewood mill and converted it into a second papermill for making coarse paper wrappers, and so on.  See Stoneywood Paper Mill.

Sites and Monuments Record

Stoneywood MillSMR 488NS 800 829

G.B. Bailey, 2022