Last weekend was National Mills Weekend so I combined my regular trip to Lampeter to collect Felin Ganol flour with a visit to Y Felin in Mydroilyn, owned by Sue and Glen James. Tucked in directly behind the chapel, the earliest records for the mill date to 1740 and Sue told me that alterations were made to raise the roof in the late nineteenth century. This may well have been to accommodate a second millstone.
Lots of the old machinery is in place, and the timber looked in really good condition for its age. The millpond was full of irises just coming into flower and I had to leap across the channel feeding the wheel in order to see inside the wheelhouse. Apparently it’s rare for wheels to be encased like this; Glen thought it might be to protect it from the wind as it whistled down the valley. The mill represents the boundary of the James’s property so unfortunately they don’t get to see the handsome arch of the wheelhouse but you can see it in this picture on the National Mills Weekend website.
The waterwheel drives the pitwheel, which in turn rotates the ‘wallower’. This drives two smaller wheels (stone nuts) that each turn a millstone on the floor above.
The stones at Mydroilyn were covered in debris but the hoppers and other accessories were easy to see. To the left of one stone nut there was a spout to bring the ground meal back down from the stones before it was sieved. There was also a trap door for hoisting grain sacks up to the hoppers.
It was great to see this machinery up close and be able to visualise how the traditional milling process works. Sue and Glen have done some substantial work in securing the building, and Glen’s ambition is to get the wheel turning again but getting the stones to work would be an almighty task!