Anglesey was known as the "Granary of Wales" because of the large quantities of barley and oats once grown here. At one time there were about 50 working windmills and nearly as many watermills, today Llynnon Mill is the only working windmill in Wales.
Llynnon Windmill being
prepared for new opening season
The first mills in Anglesey were constructed during the late 13th and 14th Centuries, the earliest record is a Newborough Bailiffs Accounts in 1303 where the cost of erecting a wooden post mill was £18.03. With the island naturally exposed to westerly winds, it seemed ideal to use windmills to drive machines for grinding corn, oats and barley. However there is one windmill (now in ruin) on Parys Mountain, part of the Almwch Copper Kingdom, that it is known was used for powering pumps to extract water from the mines, so not all windmills were necessarily used for producing food stuffs. The mill stones for the grinding mills generally came from the quarries on the eastern side of Anglesey, near Pentraeth and Penmon. A survey carried out in 1929 listed over 30 windmills, but few were still working and by 1934 only one mill was still working at Treaddur Bay, the Stanley Mill, which was the last working mill of this period to work in Wales and the West of England.
Llynnon Mill or Melin Llynnon
This is a gristmill located on the outskirts of the village of Llanddeusant. It is called a tower mill because the machinery is within a stone tower, which has 4 storeys and a boat-shaped moving top that turns so that the sails can catch the wind from any direction. It was built in 1775 at a cost of £550 to drive machines for grinding corn, oats and barley. It was fully operational up until 1918 when it was severely damaged by a storm. It continued in use up until 1924, although it did struggle during this six year period due to the fact that the machinery inside had been badly damaged and it could only run when the sail's were facing a south-westerly wind. Also at this time the process had become fully industrialised and therefore the need for the windmill to function had diminished.
It remained unused and deserted from 1924 until 1978 when the local council bought it and re-built and restored it. Restoration was completed in 1986 and it was opened as a fully functional operating mill that produces stone-ground wholemeal flour for sale at the mill, as well as being an agricultural museum.
It has three pairs of millstones, one pair French Burrs for wheat flour, one pair Anglesey stones for general milling, and one pair open for viewing.
Working Millstones Photo by Jim Woodward-Nutt
Today the mill is kept clean, but don't be surprised if you see the odd spider's web. Historically millers did not keep the mills as clean as we do today and there would have been many spiders webs, as the old millers knew that spiders were an essential ally in keeping down the weevil population, as weevils liked to lay their eggs in the ground flour.
On a visit today you can see:
The bakery is about 200 metres from the mill and was in a state of ruin for nearly 60 years. Then in 2003, it was excavated and restored. At one time it would have been pivotal, linking the flour produced at the mill with the needs of the local community. Today it holds an exhibition where you can learn more about the rural traditions of Anglesey during the 19th and 20th centuries.
There is a 3 mile trail linking Llynnon Mill and the nearby Howell Water Mill, you can pick up a guide from the mill or tearoom and it will take about 1.15 hours to walk. Leave the car park and about 200 metres you will get pass the restored local bakery. From here you will enter the quiet village of Llanddeusant and will find the path to the fields a little obscure, as it runs past a private property and is hidden by dense tree coverage. Having negotiated some styles and crossed open farmland, you will eventually approach the sole surviving watermill on the island, Howells Mill.
Llynnon tearoom - Serves up a traditional Welsh tea and fine home cooking with a varied menu including cakes made using flour from the mill.
Llynnon shop - Selling gifts, books, toys, art works as well as unique gifts and a wide range of craft work.
Anglesey Craftworkers’ Guild Shop - The Craftworkers’ Guild shop stocks an array of products hand crafted on Anglesey.
Also on the same site two roundhouses have been constructed near the windmill to reflect a late prehistoric settlement typical of what is believed to have been on Anglesey around 3,000 years ago.
The Roundhouse Photo by Stephen Roddick
They have been designed and constructed as to what archaeologists believe would have been typical of the Bronze Age and very early Iron Age period. They are each 10m in diameter and built from timber with wattle and daub walls with a thatched roof of water reed. One has been furnished and decorated to look and feel like what it is thought it would have been like in it's day, with a fireplace, tools and cooking utensils and the other is an educational facility.
During the summer months re-enactments take place showing visitors how it is thought it would have been like to live and work that long ago.
Inside the Roundhouse Photo by Robin Drayton
Photo by Ray Blow
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