Friday photo: Milling around the grounds

In 1816, the Stewart-Mackenzies built a new water mill in the Castle Grounds in Stornoway for the grinding of corn.  The mill features in a detail of this hand-drawn map of the Burgh of Stornoway made in 1850.

Map showing site of the water mill 1850

On the drawing you can clearly see the “Road from Uig, Lochs etc”(now Willlowglen Road running up to Marybank), the wooded nursery trees that have been planted and the stream running through the small valley.  You can also see the various leat that diverted water from the main stream to the mill to wind the gear that operated the mill stones.  Sadly, the original mill burnt down in 1890.

The OS name books used to compiled the first edition name books in the late 1840s give a rather lovely description of the mill.

“A Corn mill worked by water, built of stone two stories high slated and in good repair erected about 30 years ago and in the property of Mr Matheson. It was for a number of years rented by Mr Lotto who carried on the business (corn) but he died about 6 month ago Since then it has been carried on by his sister who occupies the adjacent Cottage The Mill is chiefly used for grinding Corn and Barley and it was for a long time the leading one in the Island until that at the distillery was used for these purposes.”

Keen eyed readers may notice that this is the site of the reconstructed mill erected by the Stornoway Trust which is now a popular visitor attraction with in the Castle Grounds.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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