This is by far the most famous windmill on Anglesey, as it has been restored to fully working order (the only one in Wales) and is now a tourist attraction. Indeed, it is a symbol of Anglesey, along with the Menai Strait Bridges and South Stack Lighthouse, and often appears on tourist brochures, government documents and other publications and web sites about the island.
The mill was built over seven months in 1775 and 1776 on land near Llanddeusant owned by the surgeon Herbert Jones. Many of the original documents related to the building have been preserved, which reveal a wealth of information about it, including all the suppliers of materials and the costs. The total cost was £529 11s (about £53,700 in 2009 money).
The first miller was Thomas Jones, who worked it until his death in his 90th year in 1846. The position of miller was then passed down through the generations, eventually being transferred to a cousin, William Pritchard, sometime before 1881. In 1892 it passed to Robert Rowlands, one of seven brothers who ran various mills around Anglesey. He ran it until 1918 when a storm damaged the cap so that it could not turn to face the wind. For a while it was still operated when the wind was from the right direction (south-west) but it eventually closed. It became increasingly dilapidated (as can be seen in the Muggeridge photos from 1936-1949 below) until another storm in 1954 took off the cap, leaving the skeleton of the sails hanging on from the machinery.
Around this time the Anglesey county council began considering restoring one of the windmills to working order, however nothing concrete happened until the 1970s. A report in 1973 by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments concluded that the tower was in good condition, but the interior was beginning to deteriorate to such a degree that urgent action would be needed to save it. In 1978 the mill and surrounding farm came up for sale and, after a public campaign, the council purchased it (for £10,000) and set about restoring it.
Reconstruction began in 1979 when the machinery and millstones were removed for refurbishment while the structure of the tower was repaired. Over several years the various parts of the jigsaw were brought back together until finally the mill was back in working order. It was officially opened on 11 May 1985. The final cost of restoration was around £120,000.
Today it is a popular tourist attraction, complete with a tea room and shop, where you can buy whole wheat flour ground by the mill. Tours are also given of the mill where visitors can see how it operates. Details of opening times and facilities are on the council's web site. An excellent description of the construction and operation of the mill can be found on Donald Perkin's Llansadwrn weather site.
The site was recently expanded with the addition of replicas of two Iron-age roundhouses. These are similar to those that would have been lived in on Anglesey 3000 years ago. The remains of similar structures can be found in various places around Anglesey, such as Din Lligwy. Photographs of the construction of the roundhouses can be seen on the site of Ancient Arts, the company contracted to build them. The extension of the site also includes trails, a newly planted woodland composed of species common to the area in the Iron Age, and an excavated 19th century bakery.
See the mill in action on a windy day in July 2007:
See other images of this windmill at:
- Windmill World
- Amlwch History
- Gathering the Jewels
- Anglesey Today
- Images taken in 1936, 1939 front and rear, and 1949 front and rear from the Donald W. Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs, University of Kent, Canterbury
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