Colby Mill

The following description was in Milling for 24th December 1904 accompanied by 2 small photographs

An Old Isle of Man Mill

Colby Mill
Colby Mill, near Port St. Mary
The Tail Race, Colby Mill
The Tail Race, Colby Mill
[looking south towards the bridge]

The two small photographs on another page, taken during the latter end of August of the present year, and representing Colby Mill, and the tail race of the same, are typical illustrations of what may still be seen at numerous places in the Isle of Man. The subject of the present photograph is situate upon, and derives its motive power from, the little Colby River; which, rising in the neighbourhood of South Barrule, pushes its way to the sea through the somewhat dreary upper lands about the "Round Table".

From here the stream enters Colby Glen, a pleasant, though comparatively small avenue of trees upon the hillside. At a convenient spot amongst these the water necessary for operating the mill-wheel is conducted away from the main stream in the usual long wooden channel, from whence it reaches the dam. The latter situate at the edge of a small road leading upwards through the hills to Peel, is a small one and, as far as can be judged from appearance, is not likely to contain many fish.

Skirting the back wall of the mill the water falls directly on the wheel, and "duty done" is discharged at once into the main stream. Passing under the "Miller's Bridge", shown in one of the photographs, its onward path is overhung with trees, upon emerging from which it empties itself into Poolvash Bay - a part of Chapel Bay upon which Port St. Mary stands - after a preliminary passage through comparatively uninteresting surroundings. Here, however, it is said to furnish good sport to the angler, although admittedly far inferior in this respect to its neighbour the Silverburn; upon whose banks the monks of old reared the Abbey and Bridge of Rushden [sic - Crossag Bridge]. Delightfully situated, the mill is a small one, being constructed of the hard, weather-resisiting limestone rock found so abundantly in the neighbourhood, and which is invariably used in this district for building purposes.

The mill is at present owned by the Rushen Waterworks Company, and grinds for a very considerable area surrounding it. It forms part of the village of Colby, the stream here being about two yards wide, and is situate within the parish of Rushen [sic - Arbory though in Sheading of Rushen]. Practically devoid of any pretensions to architectural beauty, the builders were probably content to rely for appeal to the aesthetic taste of the visitor rather to the exquisite wildness and grandeur of the immediate rock bound coast

"Industrial Archaeology of IoM". published 1972 describes it as a small slated building of whitewashed local stone typical of the upland group of Manx Mills - there was a mill here in 1511 but never seems to have had a substantial dam; last worked by Thomas Cubbon(d. 1927) who held it for 54 years.


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)


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