Welsh Mills Society • Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru

Esgair Moel Woollen Mill at St Fagans

History

This building, from Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, is typical of the many small woollen factories which were once found throughout Wales, where farmers brought their wool to be processed into cloth for their own use.

The mill, built in 1760, was extended to accommodate new machinery in the 19th century and continued in production until 1947.

All the processes of wool production were undertaken under one roof, from dyeing the fleece to finishing the fabric.

The building was moved to the museum in 1949 and was opened to the public as a working exhibit in 1952.

Both handlooms date from the mid-18th century, being converted to flying shuttle shortly afterwards. The spinning jack, probably the only one in its kind still working, was made by John Davies of Llanbrynmair in about 1830 and the carding engines were purchased second-hand at the same time from a mill in Yorkshire.

The internal water wheel, which powers all of the machinery, can be seen on the ground floor, next to the hammers of the fulling stocks.

The mill continues to produce traditional shoulder shawls and Welsh carthenni (blankets), which are often to be seen stretched on the tenter frame outside.

The products are for sale.

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