Melin Rhos Fawr (Mona Mill)
This mill, located in Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf near Brynteg, has a literary connection as it is mentioned in George Borrow's book Wild Wales, his account of a tour around Wales published in 1862. The description of his visit is in Chapter XXXII, when he is looking for the birthplace of the Welsh poet Goronwy Owen. He meets the miller of Melin Rhos Fawr, John Jones, who invites him for a meal and accompanies him in his tour around the area to see Owen's house and the local church.
Despite what some accounts say, the book doesn't refer to it as "Mona Mill", just "the mill". He does, however, pronounce his gratitude for the hospitality shown to him with "Honour to the miller of Mona and his wife", which probably simply refers to the "miller of Anglesey", as Borrow uses Mona and Anglesey interchangeably.
The mill itself was built in 1757. The above mentioned John Jones was the miller from the mid 1840s until his death in 1877. He was born in 1819 at Glan Rhyd, Ceidio, son of the miller John Jones. He was probably running the adjacent Melin Rhodogeidio, a corn watermill later converted to a fulling mill. The younger John was a miller's assistant at Melin Manaw, working for Richard Williams, before taking over Melin Rhos Fawr.
John had four sons who followed him into the milling trade (if just briefly for one). They learned their trade at Rhos Fawr, but in the 1870s John also took over another mill, Melin Gallt y Benddu. Three of his sons, Edward, John and Hugh took it in turns to run it; Edward left to run mills on the mainland and John became a preacher. After their father's death Hugh returned to Rhos Fawr help his mother Martha run the mill, along with another brother William.
Martha probably died in 1897, after which Hugh became a grocer in Bodwrog and William may have gone to America. An advertisement appears in the North Wales Chronicle in 1898 advertising the availability of the lease of mill (with three pairs of stones), house, outbuildings and 20 acres of land. The mill was apparently in poor shape, and the new proprietor, a Mrs Hughes, asked the millwright Isaac Roberts to assess it for repairs. This turned out to be far too expensive, but the mill continued working for another decade until it closed around 1910. The cap was soon removed.
When the photographs on this page were taken the mill, along with the adjoining house, was just changing hands. The previous owner, who had inherited it from his father and grandfather, said that his grandfather had stripped out the machinery for scrap metal for the war effort. At that time the adjoining building was a storehouse but the owner later converted it to a house. He had also obtained planning permission to convert the mill but was never able to, and the permission had lapsed. The new owner was intending to reapply for permission, but by August 2011 there was no sign of any renovation occurring yet.
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
More information at:
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