The Flying Fleece pub is within a restored Grade II listed building dating from the 15th Century and is downstream to the famous Bridge House on the banks of Stock Gill in Ambleside.
The site was already a fulling mill before 1454, when listed in the rental of Edmond, Earl of Richmond, and by 1574 it was one of four fulling mills in “Amylsyde”. It was used for pummelling woollen cloths in soapy water to make them clean, shrunk and partly waterproofed before being cut up by the tailors for clothing. The wet clothes were hung out on hooked tenter frames to dry square before being sent off to the market at Kendal.
The mill was re-built in 1795 into a 3 story woollen mill with brand new machinery, belonging to the Cooper family making hosiery goods. The invention of machines and the Lancashire factories brought the local woollen industry to an end and the mill evolved into a sawmill and carriage works, before falling into disrepair.
It is likely that the weir was washed away during the Second World War and was never re-built. During the war, the mill was used as a studio by students from the Royal College of Art who had recognised its extraordinary ambience and light qualities.
The mill was refurbished in 1990 with an imaginative framework of green oak to provide a complex of split level floors from which the fascinating atmosphere of light, timber and machinery can be fully appreciated.