This is the most easterly of the Gaerwen-Pentre Berw mills, set a little way back from the A5 in the village of Gaerwen. Both this and the nearby Melin Sguthan (also known as Union Mill) have both been called Gaerwen Mill at different parts of their lives (or sometimes just "windmill" in the censuses), making research difficult. The 1899 OS map labels this mill "Maengwyn Mill" and Sguthan/Union as "Gaerwen Mill", but censuses in the later half of the 19th century has the property called "Gaerwen Mill" next to the properties called "Maengwyn", so clearly the usage of the name differs between map and census.
This mill was built in the early 19th century, as indicated by a stone tablet with the date 1802. The tablet also has the initials H E W, in honour of H.E. Williams, the first miller at the site. In the 1841 tithe map and apportionment the land and mill was owned by Hugh Pritchard and occupied by Robert Hughes. The actual miller was William Pritchard, who lived across the road at Tyn y Felin. He ran the mill until his death sometime in the 1850s.
By 1861 John Hughes from Amlwch had taken over as the mill agent, living across the road at Ty Newydd. The mill house was occupied by the widowed Calvinist Methodist preacher Robert Hughes, who may be the same person as mentioned in the 1841 tithe apportionment. The actual millers in the village were brothers William and Joseph Williams, sons of Owen Williams of Melin Orsedd in Rhoscefnhir, Pentraeth. William lived at 1 America Street (part of the main road through Gaerwen, just across from the mill), where he lived until his death in 1900. Joseph was living at Tan y Felin near Melin Sguthan, so it is likely that he ran that mill while his brother ran Maengwyn.
Joseph had moved on to run the watermill at Pwllfanogl by 1871, and it appears that brother William took over Sguthan/Union mill. Maengwyn mill was then being run by brothers Rowland Williams and Owen Rowlands, two of the seven miller sons of Williams Rowlands of Melin Drylliau. After a few years Owen moved on to Dulas watermill, leaving William Williams and Rowland Williams as the two main millers in Gaerwen.
In 1890 Rowland Williams moved to Llanfairpwll where he set up a corn and flour merchant business on the High Street. Melin Maengwyn was then taken over by Hugh Williams, nephew of William Williams of America Street. Unfortunately the transfer of the business didn't go as smoothly as it could. A few months later Rowland Williams sued Hugh Williams for compensation after Hugh assaulted him in an argument over some hay and other items that Rowland had left behind and came back to collect.
The next year Hugh Williams married Laura Pritchard, daughter of Hugh Pritchard, a farmer at Ty Gwyn in Llanddaniel and owner of the windmill and land around it. Hugh Pritchard and his sisters Emma and Margaret were born in Liverpool, but the family moved back to Anglesey with their father (who was born in Amlwch) to a farm in Llangeinwen when Hugh was just 10. Hugh then moved to Ty Gwyn in his 20s. His sister Emma married the baker Owen Owens, who died young. She spent the rest of her life in one of the houses next to the mill, running a grocer and flour dealer shop, while her niece Laura's husband ran the mill.
Like many Anglesey mills, in the last years of its working life it was powered mechanically, in this case by a steam engine. It was finally closed after being hit by lightning and damaged by a storm, just after the First World War. The tower, although roofless, still seems to be in good condition.
See other images of this windmill at:
- Windmill World
- Images taken in 1934, 1936 and 1939 from the Donald W. Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs, University of Kent, Canterbury
More information at:
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