Dean Head

This place has been referred to as 'the best local example of a domestic textile site'. This assortment of stone houses and farm buildings was once a hive of textile workers, known as Dean Head. The buildings include farmhouses and cottages, but also a loomshop and a dye-house.

The stone buildings were mainly built in the mid- to late-1700s, with some later additions at the end of the 1800s. The stone buildings replaced earlier houses. Dean Head is known from Hearth Tax returns as early as 1670.

The settlement here shows us when the wool trade started to pick up, develop and thrive. It shows how the trade provided enough money to invest in handsome new houses in the 1700s. Almost all the rooms have special windows to allow more light in, which show that being able to see was essential for producing good quality textiles.

Find out more


  • Barnes B 1975, Saddleworth Heritage

Articles and specialist reports:

  • Arrowsmith P 2010, The Castleshaw Heritage Trail Project: Preliminary Archaeological and Historical Research – 2010

Places to go

If you want to find out more about these buildings, please take arrange to view the entries in the Julian Hunt Collection at the Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery, which are available to researchers by prior appointment.