This mill stands on a rocky outcrop on the shore of Llyn Frogwy, near Bodffordd. At the bottom of the outcrop stands a watermill that was driven by water from the lake. A watermill has stood at this site since at least 1352 when the Extent of Anglesey mentions that Llywelyn ap Dafydd Fychan owned Melin Bodffordd.
The land on which the mills stand was once owned by Jesus College, Oxford. The college was gifted the land by the Bishop of Bangor, Henry Rowlands, in 1609. The proceeds of the estate supported fellowships for Anglesey students to study at Oxford.
In 1735 the miller of Frogwy, John Davis, was convicted of killing his maid. He was given the relatively light punishment for the time of being burned on the hand with hot irons. Tragic death also came to the mill in 1909 when the miller Hugh Hughes was killed when his clothing got trapped in a moving cable that ran from the waterwheel to farming machinery some distance away.
The windmill was built sometime in the 19th century, but it's not clear when. The censuses through the decades never mention either mill specifically, nor are any people living locally listed with the occupation of "miller" (except for John Hughes in 1851, who is also listed in the Slater's 1850 directory as a miller). The running of the mill must have been just one of many duties of the owner farmers and their assistants.
The 140 acre farm on which both it and the watermill stand, Frogwy Fawr, was occupied by William Jones and family in 1841, then by his widow Ann and two sons William and Richard in 1851. By 1861 William had married Grace Evans from Aberffraw and they had a growing family.
They looked to have been well off, as in 1871 they had a governess living with them, M.E. Oliver from Liverpool, as well as a domestic servant. William must have put great store in the value of education, as in 1863 a newspaper advertisement for a schoolmaster for the Bodfordd British School gives William's name and address as the contact for applications.
William died sometime before 1891 and the farm passed to his son-in-law William Roberts. The windmill had fallen into disuse by this time and William Roberts converted it into a dwelling. It is listed in the 1901 census as "Tower Frogwy Mill", where the unfortunate Hugh Hughes mentioned above lived, giving his occupation as miller. After his death David Jones took over as miller and occupant of the tower.
The watermill was closed in 1948 and it too has now been converted into a dwelling. In the time before closure the supply of grain from local sources was not enough to fully employ the mill so grain was imported, some from as far away as Romania.
The photo to the right, taken in 2009, shows the superb views across Anglesey to the Snowdonia mountains. It also shows the mill under scaffolding while being renovated. Both it and the watermill below it can be rented as holiday accommodation. For more information see the owner's web page.
See other images of this windmill at:
- Windmill World
- Images taken of the front in 1936 and, in 1939, of the wind mill rear and the water mill, from the Donald W. Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs, University of Kent, Canterbury
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