Melin Bompren Corn Mill


A two-storeyed water mill built in 1853, and typical of hundreds of mills in Wales built to convert corn to flour. A sluice at the head of the millpond, operated by a lever inside the mill, controls the release of water into a wooden trough and onto the overshot cast iron waterwheel. The axle from the waterwheel enters the mill through an opening in the wall. Inside, the axle supports a large iron pit-wheel which turns at the same speed and in the same plane as the water wheel outside. Set into the rim of this pit-wheel are wooden cogs which mesh with and turn a smaller horizontal wheel known as the wallower which is borne on an upright shaft.

Above the wallower, also on the upright shaft, is the great spur wheel, the main transmission wheel of the mill. This in turn drives a stone nut under each set of millstones. A pair of Welsh stones was used for milling oats, barley or animal feed whilst a pair of harder French burrstones was used to mill wheat to make flour for breadmaking. Built onto one end of the mill is a two-storeyed corn-drying kiln, necessary due to the damp climate. Grain is transferred to the top floor for storage by means of a sack hoist, driven off the waterwheel.

Once on the top floor, the sacks are emptied into hoppers above the stones. From here the grain falls into a smaller feed hopper carried on a wooden frame, the horse, which sits on the wooden casing (or tun) which encloses the millstones. From this lower hopper the grain is fed along a short wooden chute known as the shoe which directs it down into the 'eye' of the runner stone. A device known as a damsel shakes the corn down the shoe and into the eye. The resulting flour or meal flows around the base of the stones, and is channelled down to the ground floor by means of a spout which empties into a meal trough.

Building facts:

  • Original Location: Cross Inn, New Quay, Ceredigion (Cardiganshire)
  • Date originally built: 1853
  • Dismantled & rebuilt at St Fagans: 1970
  • Opened to the public: 1977
  • Visiting information