Melin Drylliau (Caerau Mill)
Melin Drylliau, near Rhydwyn, overlooks Church Bay/Porth Swtan on the west coast of Anglesey. As a result of its proximity to the coast it not only provided power for milling grain, it also acted as a landmark for sailors. It was marked on sea charts of 1840 and 1881. On the later chart it is called Rhyddlad Mill, being in the parish of Llanrhyddlad.
The exact date of its origin is not know but it was probably in the early 1800s. Another windmill also stood nearby in Rhydwyn but it has long since been demolished. In the 1840s the land on which the mill was built was owned by John Williams, and the mill was occupied and run by William Rowlands, who also occupied the nearby Caerau farm.
William was the founder of a dynasty of millers. He had seven sons who survived to adulthood, all of whom went on the run mills and be corn and flour merchants. They worked at the windmills at Gaerwen, Cemaes, Caergeiliog, Llanfacraeth, and Llynnon, as well as the watermills at Dulas and Llangefni. Seven of his grandchildren were also millers. His wife Elizabeth Williams also came from milling royalty, with her father being Rowland Williams, whose family had been running the Hywel/Selar watermill in Llanddeusant for generations.
After William's death in 1877 the mill and farm was run by his second eldest son Richard, assisted by his brother John. In 1879 the freehold to the mill and farm was auctioned, but the Rowlands continued to work the properties.
After Richard's death in the 1890s the mill was run by John and his son Rowland William Rowlands. They rechristened it Caerau Mill. The windmill was destroyed by fire in 1914. Three years earlier Rowland's two-year-old son William Rees Rowlands was killed at the mill when he was hit by the rotating sail.
After the fire Rowland continued operating as a corn merchant out of the granary and his nearby house, Glanywerydd. The mill has been an empty roofless shell ever since but still appears to be in good structural shape, and in 2020 planning permission was granted to turn it into a holiday home. The current name, Melin Drylliau, was probably given to it after the fire, as "drylliau" can mean broken or wrecked in Welsh.
See other images of this windmill at:
- Windmill World
- Image taken in 1936, from the Donald W. Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs, University of Kent, Canterbury
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