B22 Water driven mills

Grenaby Mill
Grenaby Mill c. 1886

Canon John Quine writing in 1896 notes some 40-50 water corn mills, at that time falling into disuse - added to which would be many other water driven woollen and threshing mills as well as many water wheels providing power for mining activities - he states that some 31 of these water-corn mills are to be found in the earliest Manorial Roll (1511-1515) which mills would date from considerably earlier.

In his 1911 book "The Isle of Man" he states:

A picturesque feature of the Manx rivers to be noted is the number of old cornmills and woollen mills along their banks. There are four on the Sulby and three on the Glen Auldyn Rivers. On the Rhenass River there are eight; on the Foxdale, three; and three more on the lower course of these united streams. There are nine on the various streams that unite to form the Douglas River, six on the Silverburn, three on the Colby; and every considerable stream generally has one or two mills. But with the altered conditions of modern life this industry has decayed, and in many instances the mills are idle or even in ruin.

The Manx section of the International Molinological Index is discussed elsewhere - I have started to use this as an index to various pages dealing with specific mills or uses of water wheels - the few windmills are considered elsewhere.


The Mill Archive holds many photographs, documents &c relating to Mills
Leslie Syson The Watermills of Britain Newton Abbot : David & Charles 1980 ISBN 0-7153-7824-3

References to Manx Mills

T.A.Bawden, L.S. Garrad, et al The Industrial Archaeology of the Isle of Man Newton Abbot: David & Charles 1972 (ISBN 0-7153-5440-X)

Cregeen, S. M & I. Shields Investigation and Partial Excavation of the Druidale Horizontal Mill Proc IoMNH&ASoc Vol X No. 3 pp255
Garrad, L. S. Items in the Collection of the Manx Museum Likely To Be From Horizontal Mills Proc IoMNH&ASoc Vol IX No. 2 pp251-256
Jones, D H Manx Water Mills Journal Manx Museum VII p11 1966
Jones, D H The Water-Powered Cornmills of England, Wales, and the Isle of Man, A Preliminary Account of their Development - Chap 27 (pp302/354 of Transactions of the Second Symposium on Molinology, Denmark 1969
Qualtrough, J. K. Introduction To Manx Watermiills, Proc IoMNH&ASoc Vol VII No. 2 pp248-263
Quilleash, M. Last of the Sulby Mills. Proc IoMNH&ASoc Vol VI No. 4 pp503-508

Proc 12th Mill Research Conference (ISBN 0-9509758-7-7) 1995

J Quine Sketches of Locality Ramsey Church Magazine 1896-7
J Quine History of Manx Milling Milling June 1925 - part of a special Edition concerning the rebuilding of the Laxey Mill after a fire
other references in Cubbon Bibliography p55

Specific Site References

BallaSalla Cotton Factory
Colby Mill

Lady Isabella Wheel (Laxey)


Andrew Scarffe The Story of Laxey Flour 150 memorable years of Laxey Flour Mills Douglas: The Manx Experience 2010 (ISBN 978-0-9564553-2-1) - published in conjuction with Laxey Glen Mills Ltd and the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2016