Memories of the Mill

The Mill at Leggin:

“My earliest recollection was going there with corn to have it ground into flour. To do this was a whole days job. When I went with the corn I had to bring turf as well to use on the fire. I was about sixteen at the time (circa 1935).  A Mr Armstrong owned the mill and he used to help as well. I had to spread the corn onto a fine wire mesh floor which was high up in the building.

I had to bring sacks of turf with me and we lit a fire underneath the wire mesh floor. The heat from the fire dried the corn. We had to turn the corn every 15 minutes with large wooden shovels so that all the corn got dried evenly so that it could be ground into flour. It was really hot work turning the corn over the fire. Everyone doing this work ended up with a cold afterwards due to getting so hot and going out into the cold after.

We then had to shovel the corn down a chute where it was put into sacks and put on a conveyor belt to the mill which was in another part of the same building. There was a huge big water wheel turning outside. This was driven by water fed from the pond to turn the grinding stones, one on top of the other, to grind the corn into flour. The water in the pond would last all day and the pond would fill again overnight.

I did this for about three years running in late August or September. It was a full days job. I would go there on a horse and cart and go home in the evening with about six bags (cwt) of flour which would last the Magraths for a year.

This was a full time job for Mr Armstrong. Everyone used him. Mr Armstrong was an elderly man at that time and when he stopped working no more milling of corn was carried out. When Mr Armstrong died Johnny Rutledge bought the mill and it was then used as a saw mill for cutting timber.”

William (Bill) Magrath was born in 1919 and lived on the family farm in Kinawley. He now lives in Dorset, England.

This is a transcript of a statement by William Magrath, recorded by Neil Magrath on 23 October 2010.