Recent work at Pont Faen Mill, Brecon
The Trust has just completed a detailed measured survey of The Old Mill in the small village of Pont Faen, near Brecon. The mill was built in the early 19th century on the northern bank of the Ysgir Fawr, and operated as a working cornmill until the 1950s. Originally, the mill had two pairs of mill stones, one for grinding flour and the other for animal feeds, although only one would have been in operation at any one time. A wooden overshot waterwheel powered the mill machinery, fed by a leat which carried the water from a weir higher up the river. The waterwheel was replaced around 1950 by a cup turbine, but unfortunately the small reservoir which had been built over one end of the original wheel pit proved insufficient to run the turbine for any length of time and the mill soon fell into disuse.
Right: The mill house
Earlier this year the mill was sold after remaining in the ownership of the same family since at least 1876. The new owners, who live in the adjacent Mill House, plan to convert the old mill into dwelling and before any construction work began CPAT were asked to undertake a full survey of the mill. Much of the survey was done using a digital theodolite, which records measurements by bouncing a laser beam off whichever object it is aligned with, the data then being recorded directly onto a notebook computer, producing an image on screen as the survey progresses.
Left: Timber supports for the milling machinery
The three-storey mill has been little altered externally since it fell into disuse, although unfortunately all of the internal machinery has already been removed. However, the survey was able to record a number of interesting features, including the setting for one pair of mill stones as well as the timber structure which would have supported part of the milling machinery.
Nigel Jones, 13th October 2000