Parys Mountain Windmill
Melin Llynon may be the most famous windmill on Anglesey, but the Parys Mountain mill runs a close second. It is also the most visible as it stands on top of Parys Mountain, one of the highest points on Anglesey, at an altitude of 138 meters (450 feet) and can be seen for miles around.
It is also the only remaining industrial windmill. Instead of grinding grain, this windmill was used to pump water out of the copper mine on Parys Mountain. Copper had been mined at a small scale at Parys Mountain as far back as Roman times, but it was in the 1760s that interest in the mineral wealth increased. In 1768 a rich vein of copper ore was found and within a few years it had become the world's largest copper mine.
At first the mine was opencast, as the ore was near the surface, but as that was mined out, and as mining techniques were improved, deep mining took over and shafts were sunk. These needed to have water removed, which was initially done with buckets and windlass. Steam engines were later used, but these required coal to power them. In order to save on the costs of coal this windmill was built in 1878. It was connected to the same pumping gear as the steam engine and could assist in the pumping when the wind was up.
The windmill was unique on Anglesey, not only for its purpose but for the fact that it had five sails rather than four. The windmill was suited to its purpose and in 1901 a mining survey noted that the windmill was working well at pumping. By this time deep mining had ended and the copper was being recovered through precipitation by pumping water out of the mine and into ponds. Copper production further declined and the mine eventually closed in 1904. By 1929 the windmill was an empty capless shell, which it remains to this day.
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
- Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (aerial photos)
More information at:
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