Watermills and Windmills

Water Mills - Mills were very important both socially and economically in local areas in the past and they have clearly left their mark on Meath’s landscape and fields. There are over 200 references to mills in the Meath Field Names Survey. A great deal of information on Meath mills is also available in the Meath Industrial Heritage Survey[1] and in William Hogg’s book publication[2].

The Meath Field Names Survey has identified about 90 fields with ‘Mill’ mentioned in the actual field name. In all, there are over 200 references to mills in fields surveyed. As well as fields with names such as ‘The Mill Field’, ‘Millers Field’, ‘Mill Hill Yard’, or ‘Mill Road Field’ much information about features including mill races, mill weirs, mill ponds and mill stones is also given.

 

We are told about water mills that were along many of Meath’s rivers including the Boyne, Blackwater, Inny, Skane, Delvin, Nanny, Dee, Tolka, Mattock and Causey rivers. Most mills were corn mills although we also have mentions of saw mills, flax mills, linen mills and woollen mills.

 

For many of the mills mentioned, they were named after the family who owned and managed the mill or who leased it from the local landlord.

 

389 -Newhaggard Mill 288 - Martry mill 4

Newhaggard Mill at Trim (photo supplied by the Conservation Office at Meath County Council)

A close up view of the working mill wheel at Martry Mill.For several generations now this mill is in possession of the Tallon family. It is a fully operational corn mill and one of the very few in Ireland which continues to manufacture stone ground wheaten meal for baking (photo by Frances Tallon) 

465 - Old Mill at Clowanstown Killeen Dunshaughlin

Old watermill at Clowanstown, Killeen, Dunshaughlin. The old miller’s house is just beside the Mill (photo by Joan Mullen)

 

 

Windmills - In thinking about Meath fields and common features, windmills are certainly not a feature that spring to mind. The Field Survey has mention of 10-12 windmill sites in fields around the county. In some cases the field name is the immediate tell tale sign with a name like ‘Windmill’ ‘Windmill Field’ or ‘Windmill Hill’. In other cases the field has a different name entirely but we are told about the remains of the old windmill. Many of these windmills worked to supplement the nearby watermill.

 

163 - MH17HEAD004 - Headfort Windmill - Photo 1

Ruins of a windmill in a field at Headfort, Kells (photo by Eamonn Courtney)

Ruins of windmill at Bartramstown, near Ardcath. “The tower windmill in Bartramstown was built in 1837 and contained all the milling machinery in the domed top to which the sails were attached. This was the only part that revolved. The sails were made of canvas or sailcloth, laced over wooden latticework and arranged so that they could be unfurled.”(photo by James Gargan, courtesy of Frances Lee Gargan from ‘The Parish of Ardcath Clonalvy: A History’, 2012).

165 - ruins of windmill at Bartramstown

 

 



[1] Antoine Giacometti & Steve McGlade, Meath Industrial Heritage Survey, (Meath County Council, 2010)

[2] Willam E. Hogg, The Millers and the Mills of Ireland – a database list (1700-1900), (Dublin 2010)