On Sunday 2nd July Dr Tim Haines and Dr Melanie Walters welcomed twenty-four members of the Field Section to their delightful home, Coed Trewernau Mill, situated between Crossgates and Abbeycwmhir. The cornmill, and its adjoining cottage, lies beside the bank of the Clywedog Brook, and is surrounded by a beautiful garden on different levels, with a summer house and various outbuildings, one of which is a converted pigsty.
Mel welcomed the members, and explained that we would divide into two groups, one of which would be led by Tim to look at the probable site of the mill pond, to explore the mill, and to hear about its history, while the other group would indulge in the delicious cream tea that was spread before us and have time to explore the garden. Then the groups would swap over.
While enjoying the tea we were invited to look at a letter which was posted in Penybont to a Miss Fencott sometime between 1818 and 1821. Only the address and postmark were visible, though there was evidence of writing on the reverse of the address. Mel asked if anyone could decipher any of the writing. This, and another letter, is discussed in a paper describing the history of Coed Trewernau Mill, written by Melanie and Tim in the 2022 Transactions of the Radnorshire Society. A most interesting article, well worth reading.
During the tour of the mill, Tim described the purchase of the property and some of the restoration that had been carried out. Mention is made of Coed Trewernau Mill in documents dating from the early seventeenth century. Tim described where the original mill leat would have run and showed us where the mill pond might have been located. We then looked at the side wall of the mill where the waterwheel would have been fixed, though there are now only a few small fragments of the wheel arranged by the wall of the mill building. Next, we explored the lower floor of the mill, where the mill machinery is in reasonably good condition. A series of photographs were on display showing stages of the restoration of the mill. Another point of interest was an ancient beam by the door, which is thought to date back to the origins of the mill. On the first floor there were two mill stones laid side by side. One, the bed-stone, would have been fixed to the floor, and the second one, the runner, would have rotated around the bed-stone to grind the corn. There were other interesting artefacts and old farm machinery on display.
At the end of the afternoon, the Chairman, Mike Reynolds, gave a vote of thanks to Mel and Tim for a fascinating visit.