The Old Mill at Melin Y Wern
The River Wheeler running in front of The Old Mill and Cherry Pie Inn once fed, through sluices and a mill dam, the now silent breastshot mill wheel at the adjacent Wern Mill. From early times when every country estate had its mill, local tenant farmers would bring their corn to be ground. Melin y Wern; the “Mill on the Alder Marsh” belonged to the nearby Gledlom estate.
Dorothy Mostyn of Cilcain Hall was the widow of the last Wynn of Gledlom. Some years after her death in 1725, both of the estates enjoyed common ownership through her descendants and the mill was put up for auction. The sale particulars of 1873 refer to “Wern Mills”, covering four acres, having existing right of water and with buildings and a “new house” on the site. The oldest building on the site is the Mill itself, Wern Mill which is believed to have been built in 1805, the same time that the road through the valley was constructed.
This building is understood to have replaced a wooden mill and the earliest reference to a miller is in the Ysceifiog parish records of 1663 when a baptism of a daughter of Hugh Jones, miller, was recorded.
The last family to work the mill were called Jones and they remained living at the mill complex until 1935. They had come in 1853 when John Jones took out a forty year lease on the property. As well as being a miller, he was an accomplished mathematician and a keen astronomer who is known to have produced almanacs for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. When corn grinding ceased in 1925, the last actual recorded miller was Mr. Richard Williams, although Albert Jones, grandson of John was still living there. After the 1930’s the buildings fell into disrepair but, during the last war and up to 1947, the mill wheel was in use again for charging wireless batteries.
Descendants of the Jones family are still living in the nearby village of Lixwm today and can tell the story of the table given to cover the corn grinding debt and carried by the miller John Jones from Rhesycae back to Melin y Wern. Furniture from a sale held at a now demolished house on the site in 1935 is still in Lixwm homes today and includes the gateleg table. The cottage to the left of the mill was once a collection of buildings, housing either mill workers or being used as a mill office. Immediately behind the Mill itself, there used to be a four storey brick building which was used to dry the grain. The walls were hollow and the heat from coal fires was directed through the centre of the walls to heat them up. This building became dangerous and was demolished in about 1970.
The five storey building to the right of the watermill was built by John Jones at a cost of 600 Pounds Sterling. The construction date of 1886 appears high up in the stonework on the south facing wall. This building was a granary but has since been used for many things. During the last war the Ministry of Food used it to store sugar and later it was used by a firm making paper products, followed until 1966 by one manufacturing fire lighters.
The smaller two storey property was originally the mill stables. It later became a warehouse and then craft studios, known as Craft o’ Hans after its Danish owner. It was purchased in 1988 by the previous owners Mr & Mrs Evans who converted it into a successful B&B which traded for 25 years, until their retirement in June 2014.
The site is now owned by Liz and Simon Stack who converted the old mill stables into self-catering cottages in 2015. For more information or to book one of the cottages please refer to the Visitors section of the website.