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Mills in Laxay
Mills in Laxay
This article was published in the December 2004 issue of Dusgadh (North Lochs Heritage Society).
Years ago, the people of Laxay did not have a lot of money or land. They grew barley which had to be blended down or milled to make bread.
To begin with, they had their own home-made quern stones to grind the barley. Then the landowner took away their quern stones, so they had to use the mills owned by the landowners. They had to pay to use the mills and as they had no money, it was paid in barley. The mills used to grind the barley were built of stone and were powered by the water in the rivers.
According to oral tradition, on Abhainn Eailaidh there were three Norse mills; by the shore, Muilean 'an Tharmoid, then A' Mhuilean Mheadanach and Muilean an Tac closest to the bridge. The villages of Laxay and Keose were formerly a Tac (a Farm).
At the Pol Gorm, just at the mouth of the river is Slachd nam Brathan, where the quern stones were disposed of by the tacksman. Coinneach Ban was the tacksman and he charged the people a tithe for the use of the mills on Abhainn Ealaidh where they processed their crop of barley into barley meal. As the tithe was very costly, the people made their own quern stones (brathan) which they could operate by hand. Coinneach Ban ordered that all the top stones (clach uachdar) had to be thrown into the deepest pool at the Pol Gorm. He went around Laxay and Keose in his cart and collected all quern stones and threw them into Slochd nam Brathan.