Talk:Barry Mill

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Ok, I have no idea what Barry Burn is reading this article, and it isn't linked. okay Barry Burn is a river, I get it now, but is it big, little, short, long and where does it go.... Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:43, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

    • It's pretty small. A burn is a narrow stream rather than a river. Barry Burn rises in the hills North West of Monikie, where it's called Pitairlie Burn, and flows through Carnoustie Golf Links into the Firth of Tay at the East side of the Buddon Ness. Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 11:53, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Until 2009, the mill was one of the least visited of the Trust's properties.. - does that mean more folks are visiting it now since the threatened closure? Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:47, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Hm, the sources don't say. I'll dig further. Thanks.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:53, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

PS: Ye'd want tae make the lead a wee bit bigger, big man. Casliber (talk · contribs)

  • Also, looking at Corn, I wonder whether that meant the grain maize or a more general term (mentioned with the Nether Mill). Been interested in grains since reading Jared Diamond....Casliber (talk · contribs) 15:00, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Probably the later (indeed certainly). The sources just say "corn" - I'm afraid in the Scottish context, they see no need to disambiguate. I'm trying to think how we do that here without being clumsy.--Scott Mac (Doc) 15:18, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
      • It's most likely to be wheat, as in Britain "corn" is usually used to refer to the dominant cereal crop; oats would be the other likely candidate in Scotland, but since that has its own mill.... Maize is highly unlikely as it is native to Mesoamerica, and Columbus had only arrived there 40-odd years before the mill was in operation. I think that even now maize in the UK is mostly grown for animal feed. Not that my rambling is of any use to you in resolving your problem in the article (I suggest leaving "corn" as "corn" and let the readers draw their own conclusions), but it might be a starting point for Casliber's grain-fetish (and I'll add a :) here to avoid misunderstandings...each to their own). Long Shrift (talk) 16:11, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
        • I think that "corn" in this instance is almost certainly "wheat". Now, do we have a width for th waterwheel, and is it undershot, breastshot, pitchback or overshot? Any sources for the size of the various gears in the mill? Mjroots (talk) 16:45, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
          • It's "overshot". The only technical information I know is here [1]. Is suspect there may be no other material in publication, unless there's some specialist work somewhere.--Scott Mac (Doc) 17:05, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Barry Burn photo[edit]

The photo of Barry Burn in the article doesn't appear to be particularly representive... was this taken further downstream (nearer Carnoustie) when the burn was in spate? Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 12:04, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


A couple of potential issues with this. The way it's written suggests that Balmerino Abbey owned Barry Mill until 1688... the abbey was dissolved in 1587... I believe the lands were granted to the First Lord Balmerio (James Elphinstone).


(Difficult to read, even in translation.)

The other issue I have is with the 1539 date. That is what it says on various websites, but I find it doubtful. The earliest records I've found relating to the use of land in this area are the Chartularies of Balmerino and Lindores and Balmerino and its Abbey: A parochial history,GGLD:2005-07,GGLD:en&q=balmerino&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wp

There is mention of Ravensby (neighbouring the Mill) being fued in 1539, but no more than that.

Furthermore, the Canmore records for the site make no mention of an early date:

Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 13:07, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, all we can do is follow the sources. The NTS and other reliable sources give the 1539 date. You may convince me to doubt it, but it is original research and unless the doubt is published in some reliable source we can't record it. As for the Balmerino Abbey issue, you are correct. But I don't know how else to word it. The sources say it became the property of the Lord in 1688, it may well have had a previous owner (I was going to say a "prior" owner, but that too confusing) - but we've got no source to tell us. We have to follow the sources.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:03, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Could you direct me to the part of the NTS site that claims the 1539 date? It's not jumping out at me.
(Edit: Got it here... )
The other reference listed cannot be considered a reliable historical source. Looking at their entry for Carnoustie, it is full of errors. For example it claims that the town was founded in the 18th century when the Earl of Dalhousie sold the Links to the town's people. The town was founded in 1797 but the Earl of Dalhousie didn't sell the Links to the town until 1891. It also claims Panmure dates to the early 11th century and the Battle of Barry. The Battle of Barry was not an historical event, and historical records of Panmure date only to the late 12th Century when it was granted to Philip de Valognes.
If you're happy for me to reword the section on the transfer of ownership from Balmerino Abbey to Elphinstone following the dissolution of the monastries, I'd be glad to do it, but I don't want to tread on any toes given the great job you've done on the article so far. Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 15:26, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Go ahead and edit it. If I don't like, we can discuss and change it again. Alternatively, post your suggestions here and I can comment. Thanks.--Scott Mac (Doc) 16:09, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
The 1539 date is in multiple media sources, the Gazzateer and the Undiscovered Scotland site (which is the most comprehensive write up I have). However, most of these are likely to be relying on the NTS information, I suspect. There is an NTS book on Barry Mill in print, which I would think is probably the original source lying behind all of this. [2] I don't have any access to it. Also [3]--Scott Mac (Doc) 16:14, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the mill got a lot of coverage when it was threatened with closure. I'll see if I can find a copy of the Barry Mill book. I have a feeling that the primary source will be this:
(which I haven't seen yet)Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 19:08, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

I've rewritten that paragraph, taking the ownership of James Elphinstone into account. I've played down the 1667 date slightly because it's not clear whether it refers to the date of sale to Robert Watson, or whether John Elphinstone had bought/claimed it back in 1667 following a previous sale. I suspect it's the latter.

Robert Watson was the owner of Woodhill, and apparently bought the whole of Grange of Barry:

Good work. No objections.--Scott Mac (Doc) 12:00, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


Is there a close-up photo of the kiln and its cowl available? Mjroots (talk) 10:26, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Here's one I took a year ago:
Barry mill barry.jpg
(I think that's the kiln!) Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 10:32, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
There's also a couple on the Undiscovered Scotland site:
Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 10:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Would that photo be of more use in the article than the one of the Barry Burn? Mjroots (talk) 10:50, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I was intending on replacing the burn photo with one that was taken at the mill. There's an amazing 18th century bridge next to the mill that should be mentioned in this article, and could be illustrated in the same photo.
I have photos of the bridge, but they're all blurred. I'll see if I can get some more at the weekend. Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 11:08, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
See if you can get some good internal shots while you are there. The curator/miller is quite an enthusiast, and I'm sure if you speak with him he'll be helpful. He'll also have plenty more information, the problem will be sourcing it.--Scott Mac (Doc) 11:58, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I didn't get any photos this weekend (too rainy), but I've been in touch with Peter Ellis, the manager of the mill, who has provided me with some fantastic information, including a photograph of the original charter for the mill dating from 1539, which lists the miller at the time as William Clark. I'll be visiting the property this weekend (probably) and will try to take some decent photos while I'm there. Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 10:04, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

1539 date and 'corn'[edit]

I've replaced the information-britain website reference with one that I feel is more reliable. The authors of the book are Bruce Walker (an architect for Historic Scotland) and Graham Ritchie (head of archaeology for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland).

They also answer a question that was posed earlier about 'corn':

Barry Mill is a typical 19th century water-powered corn mill standing on a site documented as a mill stance from 1539. It was one of two corn mills occupying this section of the Barry Burn. When both were operating the present mill was known as the Upper Mill or Over Mill of Barry. The other, slightly further down stream, almost within the village of Barry, was the Nether Mill of Barry. Oats formed the corn crop in Scotland and the mill produced oatmeal. The form of the earlier mills on this site is not known, but the present mill originates from a rebuilding after a major fire in 1814. It also incorporates subsequent alterations resulting from increasing grain yields as agricultural practices improved.

I suggest that we change 'corn' mill to 'grain' or 'cereal' mill to remove any ambiguity.

Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 09:06, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. Excellent work and well-referenced research. I think the above quote should certainly be included in a footnote. I'm slightly reluctant to retitle them as grain/cereal mill, although that clarifies the use for the international reader, it obscures the fact that it was known as a "corn mill". Might be use "corn mill" in scare quotes, to indicate this is the designation, and then footnote the details as a qualifier.--Scott Mac (Doc) 12:06, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

That's fair. The rest of the article goes as follows:

The mill building is a three-storey sandstone rubble structure with basement (meal floor), ground floor (milling or store floor) and attic (hopper or bin floor). The building is roofed with Carmyllie grey slate. The kiln and mill were originally under a single roof but the kiln roof height was reduced about 1940 giving the roof line a stepped profile. The original stone built lean-to annex along the back of the mill was extended in brick about 1930 to accommodate the growing output from the local farms and to provide an office for the miller. The overshot water-wheel is contained in a wheel ark at the south end of the mill.

The lade, serving the water-wheel, runs from a natural rock shelf half-a-mile upstream from the mill. There the water was held in a dam which in itself represented a considerable outlay. The lade was damaged in a flood in 1984 and the cost implications of repair brought the milling to a halt. Mills of this type were by that time considered obsolete and any additional financial burden normally resulted in their closure. The Nether Mill of Barry was demolished in the 1960s when a great many of the other mills in the region also closed. Barry Mill was in fact the last water-powered corn mill to work in Angus, producing oatmeal until the late 1970s and animal feed until 1984. Aberfeldy Meal Mill (NO 855490) in the burgh of Aberfeldy held a similar distinction in Perthshire (it has also been restored and is open to the public). The Barry buildings deteriorated until 1988 when the NTS purchased them with the aid of a generous bequest. The original machinery has been fully restored and is working again (milling demonstrations normally take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and for pre-booked parties). Alas the product can only be used for animal feed as present hygiene regulations make it difficult to produce meal for human consumption.

Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 12:41, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Corn mill is the general description in the UK of a mill that grinds wheat and produces flour. These are also known as flour mills but the former is the more usual term. Corn in the USA means something else. Mjroots (talk) 05:33, 27 August 2009 (UTC)