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- Category: A
- Date Added: 11/06/1971
- Supplementary Information Updated: 11/11/2009
- Local Authority: Angus
- Planning Authority: Angus
- Parish: Barry
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NO 53411 34966
- Coordinates: 353411, 734966
Rebuilt 1814, earlier kiln, lean-to annex extended 1930s, kiln lowered circa 1940, conservation programme 1988-92 (see Notes). Rare survival of 3-storey, irregular L-plan, water-powered, working meal mill with outstanding Angus-type semicircular kiln (lowered), enclosed iron and wood overshot wheel and remarkable interior in use (2009). Sited in picturesque rural setting with mill dam (fed by Barry Burn) and lade to NW and miller's cottage to SW. Snecked red sandstone rubble with roughly squared dressings, some tooled; small red brick extension.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: symmetrical 2-storey, 3-bay entrance elevation to NW with door in full-width single storey lean-to range. Conical roofed semicircular 2-storey kiln at NE with blocked openings and 'auld wife' type ventilator. Wheel housing to gabled SW elevation and 3-storey elevation to SE.
Small-pane glazing in timber fixed and sash and case windows. Pitched and piended Angus stone slate roof.
INTERIOR: remarkable survival of interior workings to lower ground (meal) floor, ground (milling or stone) floor, 1st (hopper or bin) floor. 2 pairs of millstones for shelling and milling. Milling pair comprising segments of French burr stone, crafted by Messrs J Smith & Son, Edinburgh. Other machinery includes, fanners, elevators, sieves and sack hoist, all powered from the same water source.
KILN: 4.4 metre diameter semicircular kiln with small brick fronted fire at lower ground, access to kiln floor at ground via timber steps, 3 kiln shutes (1 in use) at 1st floor. Some areas patched in brick and metal drying platform. Evidence of lowered wallhead.
WHEEL: 4.7 metre diameter overshot wheel with 30 wooden buckets. Pit wheel by Messrs Thomson, Son & Co of Douglas Foundry, Dundee (possibly 1881). Teeth of other main gears comprise alternating metal and beechwood. Wallhead now of reinforced concrete.
MILLER'S COTTAGE: single storey, 3-bay, slated, stone cottage with lower 2-bay extension. Original cottage with centre timber door and fanlight flanked by timber sash and case windows with 12-pane glazing pattern.
Statement of Special Interest
In the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland.
Barry Mill was formerly known as Upper or Over Mill to differentiate it from the now demolished Nether Mill which was located at the foot of the Barry Burn. Hundreds of water mills across Scotland have fallen out of use or been demolished, but Barry Mill is an exceptional survivor. In full working order, it belongs to a select few water-powered meal mills in Scotland which are still in use in 2009. Barry is a small rural mill in a little-altered picturesque setting with its little-altered traditional miller's cottage, former stable block which has been converted to a reception area, nearby bridge dated 1775 (separately listed) over the Barry Burn and weir for the next mill downstream.
During the 1980s damage to the mill lade led to the end of commercial milling at Barry. In 1988 the National Trust for Scotland purchased the buildings with a bequest from Miss Isobel L Neish. An extensive conservation programme (1988-92) returned the mill to full working order based on its 1814 post fire reconstruction with attached kiln and enclosed waterwheel. The work carried out included restoring stonework, replacing the kiln floor and wheel housing, and re-roofing with Angus stone slate. John Ridley of Blair Athol Mill carried out the machinery restoration. Barry Mill was opened to the public in 1992 with an interior rich in artefacts left by the last miller who took over in 1926.
The lands of Barry were given to the Cistercian monastery at Balmerino, Fife in 1229 and the first mill records date from 1539. Robert Gardyne of Middleton purchased Millhead of Barrie in 1683 and the mill remained in the family until 1811. When new tenants took over the site they were required to insure their property for £440 and the mill retains a replica 'Scottish Union' fire shield with lion rampant showing that the owner was insured.
Barry Mill is the last working watermill in Angus. When operating commercially it produced oatmeal while the former Nether Mill ground barley. The unusual semicircular stone kiln, formerly the same height as the mill and also thought to have been free standing, seems to be peculiar to Angus. Other examples of the Angus-type kiln were at Mill of Peattie and Arbirlot, although the latter was detached. As technological development led to more substantial mill buildings, kilns could be attached with fireproof walls preventing sparking. The Angus type may have been influenced by earlier circular kilns, which were still widespread in 1730, made from a 'framework of boughs (kiln-ribs) which supported a platform of heather or straw (kiln-head) upon which the grain was laid out' (Shaw, p115).
Water-powered horizontal mills for grinding corn have been known in Scotland since the 7th century, with larger mills running vertical wheels introduced in the 17th century. It was not uncommon to find a sequence of mills operated by the same watercourse, and Barry is no exception with evidence of up to five mills having been uncovered along the course of Barry Burn.
The listing for Barry Mill was reviewed in the context of the similarly working Mill of Benholm in Aberdeenshire and in comparison with water mill listings throughout Scotland.
Formerly listed as Upper Mill.
List description revised and category changed from B to A 2009.
National Trust for Scotland Guide Book, Gillian and Adrian Zealand Barry Mill (1992). Information courtesy of Peter Ellis. John Shaw Water Power In Scotland 1550-1870 (1984). Enid Gauldie The Scottish Country Miller 1700-1900 (1981). John Hume Industrial Archaeology of Scotland Vol 2: The Highlands and Islands (1977), pp124-25. www.scran.ac.uk [accessed 15.04.09].
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