The sum of £103.6s. was spent on millstones for Cardigan in 1197. King Edward I farmed out the town’s three mills in 1275 for £6 annually and in 1280 for £6.13s.4d. In 1298 only two mills were being farmed out, paying £5. Two mills were listed again in the Minister’s Accounts for 1299. From 1301-05 and 1307 the three mills at Cardigan were rented to David Hickman and Adam le Mouner for £6.13s.4d. per annum. David Hickman passed his lease on to Walter Malleye in 1314. For 1316-17 the lease was held by Walter Gobach and passed to Geoffrey Beaufou on 20th January 1328. For 1391-93 two pairs of millstones were ordered for Cardigan at a cost of £5.6s.8d. Perhaps only two mills were in use at that time. Two mills were being rented out from 1409-11 for £19 per annum.
In 1415-16 Robert ap Gwilym ap Philip supervised some repairs to the mills. More extensive repairs were conducted from 1429-32. David Baker transported 12 trucks of timber from Cilgerran for use on a Cardigan mill. Owain Mortimer of Coedmore, Llechryd, who leased the two Royal mills of Cardigan (with Waretrehill), bought a stone of tallow wax and carried four timbers from Cilgerran Forest for use in the repairs. In 1431-32 Owain Mortimer purchased new millstones for the two mills, which were valued before repair at £5.6s.8d. In 1432 following repair, the value was £15.13s.4d. Robert Delamer was employed laying lead pipes at the mill pond. The lease remained in the hands of Owain Mortimer and, whilst Mayor-escheator of Cardigan in 1434, he had further repairs conducted to the waterworks, mill-wheels and mill-pond at a cost of £11.11s.11 ½ d.
In 1441-42 Robert ap Gwilym ap Philip supervised repairs. At Michaelmas 1445 Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Llywelyn, gentleman, took up a 12 year lease of the two Cardigan mills for £5.13s.4d. per annum. On 16th December 1448 Geoffrey Williams, a page in the Queen’s kitchen and master-carpenter, was granted the profits of two mills and the water course leading to them at Cardigan for life, though this probably never took effect due to the aforementioned lease. In 1452 the Crown inadvertently allowed Edmund Wyggemore a dual lease for £8 per annum, but this was cancelled the following year. In 1457-58 Rhys ap Mauredudd ab Owain of Towyn, Ferwig, farmed the mills of Cardigan for £12.6s.8d. per annum. At Michaelmas 1458 William Harry acted as a pledge for Dafydd ap Dafydd Person and Philip ap Maredudd, who farmed the two Cardigan mills for seven years from this date. In 1474-75 Dafydd ap Robin and Maurice Madog jointly farmed the two mills. In 1475 Maurice Madog was the Mayor-escheator of Cardigan and William Harry again acted as a pledge for the mill farm.
Between 1485-87 John Blakeney acted as approver of repairs being carried out to the mill. In 1514 Philip Bennayth was bailiff itinerant of Cardigan, farmer of Gerardston, Tremain, and possibly the Mayor-escheator of Cardigan. He leased the mills for six years from that time. By Michaelmas 1525 Philip Bennayth had re-acquired the mill farm. On 4th May 1551 the two water mills of Cardigan were demised to Thomas Brine, repairs estimated at £4 were requested. He paid £4 in rent per annum and took up a 21 year lease. The lease must have been broken quickly – on 20th April 1552 William Partrich was demised the mills for £9.13s.4d. On 29th June 1566 Lewis Lloyd leased the two mills. The town mill is illustrated on John Speed’s map of 1610. In 1636 Watkin ap Jevan may have been the miller. In 1676 Thomas William may have been the miller.
On 2nd February 1767 Nicholas Morgan, miller, probably at the town mill, was included on the burgess list for Cardigan. The mill was mentioned in a deed of 1782. Reference was made in 1830 to Williams & Jones, corn-millers, Mwldan. In 1834 the building appears on John Wood’s map of Cardigan as “Grist Mill”, the property of Philip John Miles, part of the Priory estate. In 1839-47 David Jenkins was the miller and a burgess of Cardigan. In 1841 David Jenkins, 30, miller, occupied Mill House with his wife, Margaret Jenkins, 20; son Evan Jenkins, 1; and Eleanor Rowland, 15, servant. On 16th February 1843 Thomas Davies was christened at St. Mary’s Church – the son of Herbert & Mary Davies of ‘…the Cording Mill in Mwldan Street…’ A field by the Mwldan called “The Millfield” was leased to David Jenkins by Rev. Robert Miles of the Priory in 1847. On 23rd November 1849 Thomas Jenkins of the Mill was buried at St. Mary’s Church, having died aged just 1 year and 4 months.
In 1850-68 William Jenkins was the miller. On 25th February 1851 Jane Jenkins of the Mill was buried at St. Mary’s Church, having died aged just 1 month. In 1851 Mill House was occupied by William Jenkins, 37, miller; Abigail Jenkins, 34, his wife; their daughters – Mary Jenkins, 10; Elizabeth Jenkins, 8; Eleanor Jenkins, 6; and son – John Jenkins, 4. The whole family were Cardigan born. In 1861 Morgan Bowen, 38, was the miller and lived in Mill House with Ann Bowen, 38, his wife; Ann Bowen, 8, their daughter; John Bowen, 5, their son; and Thomas Bowen, 2, another son. All were Cardigan born. On 3rd September 1869 Thomas Evans, the miller, died aged 49. Abraham Morgan (“Abram y Felin”) was the miller in 1871-74. The following persons lived here in 1871: Abraham Morgan, 64, miller; Margaret Morgan, 75, his wife; Gwilym Morgan, 33, their son (all the family were Cardigan born); John Davies, 17, servant (b. St. Dogmaels); and Mary Frances, 30, servant (b. Nevern). On 8th December 1874 Abraham Morgan, miller, died aged 69.
On 10th August 1875 the mill, referred to as a tucking mill, was severely damaged during the Mwldan flood. William Morgan was the miller in 1875-85. In 1878 William Morgan owned shares in ‘The Cardigan Mercantile Co.’ In 1881 William Morgan, 46, merchant, lived at Mill House. On 3rd March 1885 William Morgan, corn merchant of Cardigan Mill, married Miss M. E. James, milliner, Paris House, No. 30 High Street. In 1895-1901 Daniel Luke, weaver, was operating the mill. On 31st July 1897 the mill and dwelling house were sold as part of the Priory estate. In 1901 the following persons lived at the Mill House: Daniel Luke, 75, weaver (b. Bridell); James Lewis, 38, son-in-law, carpenter (b. Cardigan); Mary A. Lewis, 36, daughter (b. Castellan); Dinah Luke, 32, daughter (b. Castellan); Elizabeth Lewis, 6, grand-daughter (b. Cardigan); and Martha Thomas, 20, domestic servant (b. Llanfihangel Penbedw). All were bilingual. On 25th February 1903 Eliza James, wife of carpenter Benjamin James of The Mill, died aged 59. In 1905 David Roger Davies lived at the Old Mill. On 20th July 1908 Elizabeth Evans of Old Mill House died aged 39. In 1910 Griffith Phillips lived here. The mill was sold, again as part of the Priory estate, on 15th February 1919. It was sold to Stephen Morgan of No. 21 High Street.
On 4th February 1928 the funeral was held of Nancy Wilton, daughter of Mrs. Wilton of the Mill, who had died in London. In 1937-48 Mr. & Mrs. W. James lived here. On 18th July 1944 Ivy James, youngest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William James, Mill House, married Gordon Titchmarsh of Staffordshire. On 8th January 1945 Cardigan Borough Council authorised the demolition of the old mill. In May 1946 D. R. Morgan lived in the Mill House, having served in the army during World War II. On 29th August 1947 the property was advertised for sale. On 6th November 1948 the Old Mill Building adjoining Mill House was auctioned together with Mill House which had recently been vacated by William James. On 28th January 1949 the Old Mill and Mill House were offered to Cardigan Borough Council with a view to demolition. On 9th November 1951 reference was made to the Old Cardigan Mill as a ruin. The ruins, described as a danger in November 1953, were removed soon afterwards.
NLW Eaton, Evans & Williams MSs;
‘Cardigan Shyre’ John Speed 1610
NLW Minor Deposit 490-9
Pigot’s Directory 1830; 1844
Map of Cardigan, J Wood 1834
Census Returns 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1881; 1901
Tithe Map for St. Mary’s 1847
St. Mary’s Parish Register, Cardigan
Slater’s Directory 1850; 1868
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1869; 1874-75; 1881; 1897; 1903; 1905; 1908; 1919; 1928; 1937
1940-41; 1944-46; 1948-49; 1951; 1953
Post Office Directory 1871
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1884; 1895
Cardigan Observer 1877; 1885
List of Voters – Cardigan 25/07/1910
Minister’s Accounts For West Wales 1277-1306, Myfanwy Rhys 1936
Records of the Court of Augmentations Relating to Wales & Monmouthshire, E A Lewis & J Conway Davies 1954
Trade & Industry in Some Cardiganshire Towns in the Middle Ages, I J Sanders, Ceredigion 1959
The Principality of Wales in the Later Middle Ages, R A Griffiths 1972
Info. from Lecture, Canon Seamus Cunnane 1994
© Glen K Johnson 20/08/2013