With the onset of summer the doors to a lovingly restored Manx historical building will be thrown open to the public for National Mills Weekend in celebration of a once burgeoning and important industry.
Organised by the Mills Section of the ‘Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’, Kentraugh Mill based in the south of the Island will reveal its innermost secrets of what was once thought to be an unused garage.
Affectionately referred to as ‘The Little Mill’, it remained with the Qualtrough family for more than 400 years, although it was not always passed from father to son; occasionally ‘arranged marriages’ ensured its continuity within the family.
The surname Qualtrough was a common name in the south of the Island and is said to be derived from the McWhaltrough clan of Kentraugh, historically an important estate in the area. The word ‘Kentraugh’ itself is thought to mean ‘head of the shore’.
Kentraugh Mill was probably a working mill for hundreds of years and believed to have been largely rebuilt about 1832, or earlier, when the current machinery was installed. Prior to this everything was of wooden construction. Although the machinery may look primitive and cumbersome it is in truth a remarkably simple and ingenious concept, demanding dexterity and experience.
Kentraugh Mill remained with the Qualtrough family until 1904 when it was sold to John Woods, a Miller from Ballabeg. It was in use until 1943 when the door was closed for the final time as a working mill and it stayed untouched for more than twenty years. It was subsequently renovated by Mr R. M. Nuttall, the present owner’s father, when he purchased the miller’s house in 1965.
Visitors over the weekend will have the opportunity to take an extensive tour of the three-storey building, see the mill in action, learn more about its interesting history and wander over to the Chapel Garden, once used as a meeting place for the Primitive Methodists before becoming the miller’s storeroom. There will also be chance to reminisce with people of the district who recall being sent to the mill as children for oat or barley meal, sample some delicious home-made refreshments in the miller’s house, and find out why the miller would hang out a red flannel petticoat from an upstairs bedroom window to attract the attention of drinkers at the nearby Shore Hotel!
Admission to the mill is free, but donations towards the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (a mission society of which the present co-owner, Canon Sheen, is a council member and long term representative) will be most welcome.
Further information can be obtained by telephoning 832406, but visitors are reminded that they tour the mill at their own risk.
Saturday 12th May 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday 13th May 11.00am – 5.00pm
© May 2012 (inc photos)
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)