Robert Tunaley’s ownership of the William Snape Mill, at Nuns Green, Derby

(location of mill close to site of an old nunnery).




Robert Tunaley took ownership of the mill from his father-in-law William Snape following Robert’s marriage to

Constantia Snape in 1800. The mill was alongside Markeaton Brook rather than the Derwent River.

By the end of the eighteenth century there were at least two silk mills adjacent to the brook additional to

pre-existing corn mills.

Nuns Green was an area of Derby that today contains the following streets: Nun Street, Mill Street and Brook


From Derby Mercury, 8th January 1801

(this information kindly provided by Dr. Jane Holmes, Auckland)


“To be let by Auction, on lease for 21 years.

At the Wheel Inn, in Derby, on Thursday the 12th day of February 1801, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, on such conditions as shall be then produced (unless sooner disposed of by Private Contract, of which timely notice will be given) and entered upon at Lady Day next:

ALL that WATER CORN MILL situated near Nuns Green, in the Borough of Derby, together with the following Premises, viz. a Capital Messuage, two smaller Messuages, a large Blacksmith’s Shop, with Store Rooms over it, a Stable with a Barn or Workshop adjoining it, a Dovecote, a good Garden, and 3A, 1R, 0P of rich Pasture ground; which Premises are contiguous, and now in possession of Mr. Tunaley and Undertenants.

The head and fall of water is now 12 feet 1 inch, and may be improved to 13 feet 6 inches. The Stream is constant and sufficient to work a much larger Mill or Manufactory of any description for which the Premises are very eligible – the Lessee may be accommodated at a fixed rent at will, with any quantity not exceeding 25 Acres of rich Pasture and Meadow Land, adjoining said Mill and Premises.

Attendance will be given the day preceding and morning of the Auction, at the Wheel in Derby to persons who wish to see the premises.

For further particulars apply ro Mr. HEWITT, Markeaton, near Derby, and Mr. MOSDALE, Millwright, Nuns Green, Derby.

Markeaton, 6th January, 1801. “

N.B. 3A,1R, 0P = 3 Acres, 1 Rood, 0 Square Poles or Perches (a rod or rood is one quarter of an acre and equal to 40 square poles or perches)


One important item regarding the William Snape Mill is that this mill, along with several others, was not built adjacent the Derwent but alongside Markeaton Brook, a tributary of the Derwent River. Markeaton Brook starts at Hulland Ward several miles north of Derby, flows through the Kedleston Estate and what used to be the Markeaton Estate before entering Derby and meeting the Derwent via a mill race at “The Holmes” close to Cockpit Hill. The Holmes is an area in Derby part of which was later owned by Michael Bass (click here) owner of the famous Bass brewery. Bass subsequently donated this land to the Derby Corporation and the area became better known as Bass’s Recreation Ground..

Whilst nowadays Markeaton Brook disappears underground as it enters the centre of Derby (this culverting, itself a considerable feat of engineering, started in 1837), this was not the case in the eighteenth century with boats using the stream right up to St. Werburgh's Church. However, the final mill race is still visible as it enters the Derwent close to Cockpit Hill.


The Tunaleys, Markeaton Brook, and the Derby Canal (completed 1796)

Robert Tunaley’s Nuns Green mill lay alongside Markeaton Brook just to the north of Derby. The approximate location of Thomas Tunaley Snr.’s dye-house on "the Holmes" prior to 1809 is as shown on the map. Thomas Snr. had already moved to Tenant Street when this previous property was auctioned 1809.

Click here for details


Click here or on image to enlarge


Click here for information regarding Thomas Snr.'s premises on "The Holmes".

Click here to go back to the Robert Tunaley web page





The Tunaley Family History

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