The Corn Mill has been grinding flour for at least seven hundred years, and owes its foundation to the Cistercian monks of Valle Crucis. It is first mentioned in a 13th Century document dealing with a fishing dispute between the freemen of Llangollen and the Abbot.
The day's catch, in front of the wheel house
- William Miller Jones and two staff in 1937
A freeman of Llangollen outside the
Corn Mill, with fish
The building as it now stands was re-built in 1786 with three pairs of grinding stones, and continued as a working mill up until 1974. By the time Jerry and Graham came across it, however, it was sadly derelict and in danger of falling into the river. It is owned by a friend of Jerry's called Phil Brown, and we ended up leasing the mill from him for fifty years.
We used a very talented chap called Owain Evans as architect, and appointed Read and Co., a decent local builder with a good reputation. Planning permission took years, because of course it's an important old building.
The planning authorities, based in Ruthin, thought the conversion to a pub/restaurant was a great idea and wanted it to go ahead. The conservation officer really wanted the building restored to a mill. The local council didn't want the thing at all, and in addition we had to deal with the Historic Mills people, the River Authority and CADW, (the Welsh building conservation body), each of whom had a different agenda, so at times it was like herding cats.
The Corn Mill in about 1890,
pretty much unchanged since 1790
When we finally re-opened the building in June 2000, lots of people came to see what we had done with it, as there is genuine affection for the Mill locally. There was a lot of excitement when we finally got the water wheel turning again for the first time in twenty-five years.
Mounted on the wall at the top of the stairs you'll find the coracle featured in the following photograph.
William Miller Jones with his dog and
coracle fishing on the mill race in 1947
The place has gone like a train from the very beginning. Mind you, if we'd known how much it was going to cost from the outset, the truth is we probably would never have started.