The waterways were also constructed by Andrew to carry water from the weir, on the River Etherow, to turn the mill wheels, which stood where the car park is today. A water wheel called "Big Lily" was the largest in England when it was built in 1839. The former millpond forms part of Etherow Country Park, one the oldest country parks in England.
Compstall was first noted as place where farmers would meet to trade and sell their sheep. The sheep were held at Barlow Fold, Greave Fold, Ratcliffe Fold, Beacom Fold and Lower Fold. In the market place today can be seen the touch stone where deals were made. The touch stone is a glacial erratic deposited during the last ice age. The deal having been agreed, the parties would spit on their hands, and hit the stone, sealing the deal.
In 1804, the Andrew family established a water-driven calico printing business downstream from the present mill site. In 1815 Thomas Andrew died, his son George Andrew I reorganised the business. He built a water-powered cotton mill, and a reservoir to power the wheels. He had a steam engine to provide backup power. The earliest workers' cottages had been built in the southern side of the bridge in 1806; in 1823 cottages were built along Market Street on the north side, and this became the heart of the village. With further mills, further houses were added to the north of the village, and by 1839 the village was almost complete.
A Co-op store was opened in 1851, and further shops followed. The first church was the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. The Andrews family built the multipurpose Athenaeum in 1865. St Paul's Church of England church was built in the Early English style.