Milnrow (pop. 12,500) is a suburban town within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the River Beal at the foothills of the South Pennines, and forms a continuous urban area with [[Place:Rochdale, Lancashire, England|Rochdale. It is east of Rochdale's town centre, north-northeast of the city of Manchester, and spans across urban, suburban and rural locations—from Windy Hill in the east through to the Rochdale Canal in the west. Milnrow includes the villages of Tunshill and Newhey, and is adjacent to junction 21 of the M62 motorway.
Until 1974 Milnrow was a part of Lancashire. During the Middle Ages was a hamlet located within the township of Butterworth and parish of Rochdale. It was named by the Anglo-Saxons, but the Norman conquest of England resulted in its ownership by minor Norman families, such as the Schofields and Cleggs. In the 15th century, the descendants of these families successfully agitated for a chapel of ease to be constructed in Milnrow by the banks of the River Beal, triggering its development as the main settlement in Butterworth. Despite this distinction, Milnrow did not increase much further in size or population until the dawn of the woollen trade in the Late Middle Ages.
To supplement their income, the inhabitants of Milnrow produced flannel and woollen cloth in purpose-built weavers' cottages, some of which from the Early Modern period have survived as listed buildings. Coalmining and metalworking also flourished in this period, but the Industrial Revolution supplanted the domestic industries and converted Milnrow into an urban mill town that mass-produced textile goods in cotton mills, such as Ellenroad Ring Mill (now a museum). The Milnrow Urban District was established in 1894 and was governed by its own district council until its abolition in 1974 when there was a nationwide reorganization of municipalities and the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale was formed.
Milnrow has been described as "the centre of the south Lancashire dialect". John Collier (who wrote under the pseudonym of Tim Bobbin) was an acclaimed 18th-century caricaturist and satirical poet from Milnrow who wrote in a broad Lancashire dialect. Rochdale-born poet Edwin Waugh was influenced by Collier's work, and wrote an extensive account of Milnrow during the mid-19th century in a tribute to Collier. Although Milnrow's heavy textile industries declined during the mid-20th century, the town has continued to grow as a result of suburbanisation, urban renewal and its immediate proximity to road, rail and motorway networks.
There are a number of small named-places in and around Milnrow, including Clegg, Firgrove, Gallows, Haugh, Newhey, Kitcliffe, Ogden, and Tunshill. Newhey, at the south of Milnrow by Shaw and Crompton, is the most distinct of these areas, and, with its own parish church and Metrolink station, is invariably given as a separate village. The Gallows public house is said to occupy the land of an ancient execution site; Gallows, a former hamlet at northeastern Milnrow, is named in reference to a baronial gallows. Kitcliffe, Ogden and Tunshill, to the east of central Milnrow, are hamlets that occupy the upper, mid and lower Piethorne Valley respectively.