It is mentioned in the Domesday Book and became the property of the monks of Basingwerk Abbey in North Wales. Later on, it became the property of the Dukes of Norfolk. In the nineteenth century it became an important cotton 'mill' town as part of the Industrial Revolution. One of the mills was owned by Edmund Potter, the uncle of Beatrix Potter.
In the early part of the 20th century, the Glossop Estate was sold by the Dukes of Norfolk, and Glossop became a town in its own right.
Nearby, in Gamesley, there are the remains of a Roman fort, named Ardotalia by the Romans, but renamed Melandra by a 19th-century amateur historian.
North of Glossop is the Longdendale Valley, with a chain of five reservoirs and the Longdendale Trail, a long distance footpath.