Abergwenlais Mill

Abergwenlais Mill (Mill at the confluence of the River Gwenlais)

Click here for location map.

Abergwenlais Mill, sits on the Gwenlais south of Cilycwm village. It has been described in Pevsner as being, ‘early nineteenth century, three story, prettily grouped with later house and barn’ 1

In the tithe ‘Abergwenles’   Mill and Land was owned by Daniel Prytherch Price of Abergwenlais and the tenant of the Mill and 27 acres was Evan Davies. An obituary for his son another Evan Davies in 1905 explains that he was,

‘born at Abergwenlais Mill in the year 1849, being therefore, at the time of his death only 56 years of age quite in the prime of life. Being a native of the locality, he was a well-known personage, and by his integrity in business matters, coupled with a very genial disposition, he won extreme popularity, and a host of sincere friends. The deceased carried on an extensive business as a, miller of great repute. He was also an auctioneer of some standing… The departed was particularly a capital seller of stock, and his winsome ways found many a buyer. ’ 2

Cilycwm was well provided with corn mills once, there were,

‘ two flour mills: first Y Felin,  and the second a mile further down at Abergwenlais. They both had water wheels and milled the wheat, oats and barley grown on nearly every farm. Abergwenlais Mill was built over four hundred years ago.

Although just by the river, it has never flooded as the water flows steeply down towards the waterfalls tumbling into the Tywi. It was run by the Morgan family, and continued until just before World War II.

Along the riverside, especially near Abergwenlais Mill, one might have seen the Barlow family cutting and shaping clogs from alder wood. The alders grow along the banks with their roots in the water, and the yellow wood, full of paraffin, is waterproof.’ 3

Peter Pauling the son of Linus Pauling who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 lived at Abergwenlais Mill in the 1990’s.  Apart from Marie Curie, Linus Pauling was the only person to have won two Nobel Prizes in different fields. Peter Pauling was an inveterate collector of old computers, some of which he had invented.  A number were presented to the Science Museum. 

Interesting field names:

Dole y Delyn (Dôl y Delyn), ‘Harp Meadow’

Hirdir ucha  ‘Hirdir’ means a ‘Long piece of land’. In medieval times, when there was an open-field system, serfs were allotted long strips of land, which they shared with other farmers.  This system ensured that no one person would have all the best land, and the long strips were also easier to plough. Dolauhirion (long meadows) farm and bridge share a name that is a reminder that such a system once existed in the vicinity.

Sources:

1. Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion Pevsner by Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach, Robert Scourfield 2006 p165

2. 15/9/1905 Cambrian

3. John Milner, Blaenau Tywi.  Spring 2000

4. 1856 Sale Catalogue Abergwenlais Estate, Carms. 347 Filing Cabinets (NLW)