The Old Mill

The Old Mill

There has been a mill on this site since at least 1693 when the Hearth Tax schedule included one hearth at “the mylne” under Ardkinglas, the miller is given as “Archibald McNilas, miller”. The Valuation roll of 1751 lists the 9 merk land Ardkinglas “and cornmyln thereof”. Duke Niall (10th Duke of Argyll) found a paper at Ardkinglas dated circa 1760 giving multures paid by various farms to the mill. There is also a gravestone at Strachur erected in 1782 by Patrick Martine, milner in Ardkinglas. He is listed as a tenant of Croitachonie and the mill in 1787-8. The current building is a two storeyed mill of late 18th century character burned down in 1843 and recorded as roofless in 1870. The loft for the millstones was to the north end and would have been supported on beams set into vertical slots in the end walls. The small area at the southern end of the east wall is thought to be the kiln where the grain was dried before being shelled and milled. The mill was fed by a lade from a dam about 300m upstream, the route can still be traced today.

Dutch Jean - A Traditional Story

In the late 17th century Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglas had eight daughters and John MacNaughton of Dunderave was very much in love with the second daughter, Jean, but according to tradition the eldest daughter should always be married before her siblings. Sir James was at first determined that this should happen but in the end seemed to give in and agree to the wedding. The ceremony took place at Ardkinglas with a heavily veiled bride and much feasting thereafter. In the morning MacNaughton found that he was sharing a bed not with his love but with the eldest sister. However the younger sister was often in the house and soon became pregnant. Suspicion fell on John and he was imprisoned in Inveraray. His young love with the help of a local fisherman brought a barge into the bay and John escaped and they made their way to Ireland. They moved on to Holland were they had a girl who before she could speak was sent back to Ardkinglas with a Dutch servant. She was called Sìne Dhuidseach – Dutch Jean.

When Jean grew up she married Duncan of Achacharn and Ardkinglas gave them a lease of Ardnomhar, which was to last “as long as the woods grew and the water flowed”. However sometime later he seized the lease and tore it up, turned them out but gave them this mill by the Kinglas for their livelihood.

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