Melin yr Ogof (St. George's Mill)
Like Melin Drylliau, this mill was visible from the sea off the west coast and is marked on Capt. Beechey's sea chart from 1840. It is also notable in that it has most of the original machinery still intact inside the tower, the only one in Wales other than the restored Melin Llynon. There have been plans and campaigns over the years to restore it to working condition but none have come to fruition. It stands in Kingsland, just outside Holyhead.
The mill was built around 1825 on land belonging to the Stanley Estate, by the farmer Hugh Hughes of Ty Mawr Mynydd, near South Stack. He owned it up to his death in 1869, when it and most of his other lands were passed to his daughters Mary and Margaret. Before then, in 1858, he mentions the mill in a letter to his son (then living in Iowa, USA) in which he bemoaned the fact that Stanley had raised land rents and had taken land from the mill, stating "I would never [have] built the mill if I knew he would take the land".
He doesn't seem to have been directly working the mill, as the 1840s tithe apportionment books show that the occupier of the mill and the surrounding Ogof farm was Henry Williams. Hughes was presumably an intermediary, renting the land from Lord Stanley and then renting it out to Henry Williams.
By 1851 the Ogof farm had been taken over by Henry's children, Hugh, Owen and Elizabeth. In 1861 Hugh was still running the farm, but the mill was then being run by John Williams, who lived next door at Ysgoldy Cweryd, assisted by Thomas Grey and his son Hugh (brother and nephew of John Grey of Melin Llanddyfnan). By 1881 the mill was occupied by Owen Owens, assisted by John Williams who was still living nearby. Owen died in 1884 and his wife Mary took over the running of the mill. She was initially assisted by Hugh Grey, who had returned to Kingsland after running mills in various places, including Llanrug, Caernarfonshire. He was probably only there for a short while, as his family remained in Llanrug. Later Mary's son William took over the milling. She lived there until her death in 1924
In its later days Melin yr Ogof faced stiff competition from a nearby steam-powered mill, but it managed to continue working because, unlike the steam mill, Melin yr Ogof allowed customers to pay for the grinding by allowing the millers to keep part of the flour rather than take payment in money.
The mill ceased working sometime around 1920 after a crack was discovered in part of the structure supporting the windshaft, which proved too costly to repair. In 1939 a storm shifted the remnants of the cap and sail so that they were in a dangerous position. The cap was removed, using both block and tackle and explosives, the later of which left bits of the cap scattered over 200 yards away. After this the top of the mill was concreted over, thus protecting the machinery inside.
See other images of this windmill at:
- Windmill World
- Images of tower, 1936, tower, 1939, tower, 1949, Luffing gear, 1939, and stones, 1939 from the Donald W. Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs, University of Kent, Canterbury
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