River Beal

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
The River Beal at Firgrove

The Beal is a small river in Lancashire, and is a tributary of the River Roch. It rises in the Beal Valley in green space between Sholver and Royton, before continuing northwards through Shaw and Crompton, Newhey, Milnrow and Belfield.


From its source at Beal Valley, it flows north through Shaw and Crompton, soon joined by Old Brook and Pencil Brook as tributaries. It continues north through Newhey and Milnrow before joining the River Roch at Belfield.

In part, the river forms a boundary between Oldham on one side and Royton and Shaw and Crompton on the other.[1]


The name Beal is said to come from the old British language word "Bel" meaning "raging torrent". That does not describe the river today.

1212 : The Beal valley was recorded as part of the thegnage estate of Kaskenmoor, held on behalf of King John by Roger de Montbegon and William de Nevill.[2]

1892 : Ellenroad Cotton Mill was built on the bank of the Beal, and made fine cotton yarn by mule spinning.[3]

During operation of a bleaching and dying works, discharge to the river of used dyes and waste would cause it to change colour from one day to another.[4]

c. 1997 : Littlewoods PLC changed the course of the river slightly to allow development of their Shaw National Distribution Warehouse Centre.

2005 : Raw sewage was discharged to the river, killing thousands of fish and raising health fears among local residents.[5]




  1. A History of the County of Lancaster - Volume pp92–108: {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)
  2. A History of the County of Lancaster - Volume pp108–12: {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)
  3. Ellenroad Steam Museum
  4. Mersey Basin Campaign. "Local Action / Action Irk & Roch". merseybasin.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20070814055616/http://www.merseybasin.org.uk/page.asp?id=2864. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  5. 'Leak turns Beal into dead river' - Manchester Evening News, 3 August 2005