Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Llynnon Mill and the Roundhouses

Today was beautiful with a blue sky and sun. It was windy though, which gave a real bite. Last year we had planned to visit Lynnon Mill when it opened this year. It would be even more interesting this spring because during the winter two items of experimental archaeology had begun to appear. They were reproduced Iron Age Roundhouses.

Lynnon Mill is a renovated windmill still standing on its original site. However, as the County Council owned the land it was decided that, from an educational point of view, it would be suitable for the location of two roundhouses to show how such houses were built during the Iron Age. The site has a sizeable car park with overflow if needed and is accessed through a shop and cafe. Believe it or not the entrance fee is only £2.00! For the first time since Pauline's 60th birthday on 19th March we were both able to go in at the concessionary rate of £1.00 each!!

Firstly, we walked over to the roundhouses where we were met by the miller. He told us about the houses being built in oak which had to be imported from England. Now that is something rare in Wales! Some of the joiners working on the project were learning "on the job" and they were fascinated by this way of building a house. At the end of the day this is a truly experimental form of archaeology. Judging the size of the building is something that post holes on actual archaeological sites have provided. The problem is that, except in the case of wetland sites like Flag Fen, nothing remains of the original wooden structure after more than three thousand years. We can only judge size from the size of post holes. There are always two sets of post holes - one inner circle and one outer circle. Additional evidence is that of the ring on the ground made by water dripping from the edge of the roof for many years. This is called the drip ring.

The site of the roundhouses is protected by a ditch from which the filling acts as part of the defensive wall of earth. At the appropriate place there is a gap for access within the group of house. Inside the house are shelves carrying spare thatch for the roof. There are wooden beds and skins lying on the floor together with tools for cutting and scraping. In the centre of the floor is a rudimentary hearth - a ring of stones inside which a fire would burn. There was no chimney or vent in these places. The smoke was simply allowed to drift away through the roof at will. Even in early mediaeval times there were very few fireplaces set under chimneys.

The low walls of the house at Llynnon are almost authentic in that they are wattles filled with lime and straw. The original way was to use cow dung which aided the going off of the lime. This has not been used here because of health and safety. However, it is an excellent demonstration of such dwellings and very educational indeed. For a County Council whose population numbers only 67,000 it is a credit to them.

The mill itself is well preserved and maintained. I climbed up as far as the public are allowed to climb and looked at all the various aspects of the mill's working parts. Through a window I was able to photograph the distant wind turbines generating electricity above Cemaes Bay. On the ground floor of the mill there are some information signs which tell of the use of the building. They include a recipe for Bara Brith, the Welsh Tea Bread.

After the tour we returned to the shop and climbed the stairs to the cafe above. We ordered Afternoon Tea for two and it was to die for! I can thoroughly recommend the catering at this establishment where the welcome is genuine and very warm. Those cream scones tasted like none I have had before. How can you tell we are into good food?

If you happen to be visiting the area at any time I can recommend this place without reservation. The goods on sale were value for money as well as the interest provided by the buildings.

To get there take the A5025 from the Valley traffic lights towards Amlwch. As you approach Llanfaethlu take the road on your right by the Black Lion pub and follow your nose.


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7:56 am  

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