Several woollen mills were established on the south side of the River Carron at Stoneywood and Randolph Hill in the early nineteenth century by the local landowners to exploit the water power. In 1801 the construction of a lade from Tamaree Lin opened up the way. Tenants, however, struggled to stay in business. One of the Stoneywood woollen mills was already for sale in 1808:
“WOOLLEN MILL AND MACHINERY, near Denny, for Sale… The WOOLLEN MILL at STONEYWOOD, near Denny, which belonged to Alexander Allan, and Whole MACHINERY, consisting of Five Scribbling and Carding Engines, Two Teazers, Three Billies, and several Jeanies and Reels; also the HOUSES and small PIECE of GROUND thereto belonging; which are all in good working condition.”(Caledonian Mercury 2 July 1808, 3).
Just a few years later two of the woollen mills, with their machinery, were on the market – one at Randolph Hill and the other at Stoneywood. Between them they had three water wheels and as a map of 1831 shows two mill lades at Gilchrist’s Randolph Hill Mill we can assume that two of the wheels were located there. The Stoneywood Mill in 1811 had :
“one Teazer, six sets of Cards, three Billies, Reals, & c”(Caledonian Mercury 9 November 1811, 4).
The New Statistical Account of Denny written in 1841 provides an excellent note of the mills on the River Carron. In connection with the textile trade it says:
“There has been a considerable branch of the woollen trade carried on in this parish, for thirty years past. The next three mills are in this manufacture. They are driven by water power, and are extensively engaged at present in the manufacture of tartan and fancy shawls, and linsey-woolsey stuffs, solely upon account of Messrs Wingate and Son and Company of Glasgow. Mr John Wingate of this firm is well known in the country… The quantity of wool wrought up into these goods exceeds 160.000 lbs. annually. The various branches of the manufacture are included, vi. Spinning of the yarns, dyeing, weaving, and the finishing of the goods, which afford employment to nearly 200 persons of both sexes, young and old. The wages paid average L.300 per month. The water of the river Carron being uncommonly pure and soft, is peculiarly adapted for cleaning and dyeing, producing bright fancy colours, so requisite in that description of goods. The three mills are all on Carron, and near each other, two at Stoneywood, and one at Randolph Hill, – lighted by gas, and heated by steam. A recent cut from Tamaree lin supplies plentifully with water four of these mills.”