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Clydesdale Mills

Clydesdale’s heritage is fundamentally linked to the River Clyde.  As a source of water and food and as a communications route the river, its tributaries and their valleys have served the region since Palaeolithic times.  The waterways have also served as a major source of power.  The hydro-electric power stations at Bonnington and Stonebyres have catered for our modern power needs for almost a century but the flow of the Clyde has powered industry since at least medieval times.  The construction of mills on our waterways meant that our agricultural produce could be processed much more efficiently than at home and therefore contributed greatly to our well-being.

It was because of that historical importance that the Clydesdale Mills Society was formed in 2007.  In the past five years the society has documented 165 mills in South Lanarkshire and that does not include farm threshing mills of which there are several hundred.

CMS’s first assignment was to excavate the remains of Hyndford Mills at Cobblehaugh Farm. 

Hyndford Mills


Hyndford Mills are recorded on Pont’s map of 1596 as Coblehauch Mil and since then corn, meal, lint, bone and shell have been processed on site.  Excavations continue at Hyndford Mills but restoration of the most vulnerable structures has been completed and an award winning wildflower meadow has been sown around the site.

From Leadhills to Rutherglen the remains of our water powered industrial  heritage have been researched, located and photographed.  Ken Fawell, Jim Ness, Jack Hoxley and Margaret Lancaster have spent four winters scrambling through mud, ice and snow to eke out what evidence remains.  First reference is to historical maps. 

Blau’s map of 1654 is based on Pont but incorrectly transcribes Coblehauch Mil as Coulenauch Mill.  Aurd mil to the west is Tullieford Mill.

From Pont’s map of Clydesdale to the Ordnance Survey maps of the twentieth century mill locations have been traced and identified.  Some such as Dripps Mill near East Kilbride are still in working condition and could still be used to produce flour today.  Others, like an unnamed mill to the west of Craig Bridge on the Avon Water, have only scant map references.  This one only shows up on Roy’s map of 1747 and no field evidence is left.  Additionally field evidence has been found for mill sites which up till now have no historical references like a site on the Corehouse Burn.  Others such as Cleuchbrae Mill have historical references1which have been backed up by field evidence but no map records.

Dripps Mill on the White Cart Water near East Kilbride


Old post cards and photographs have been another valuable source of information and provide a unique  insight into mill architecture and work.

A corn and calico mill on the Kype Water near Sandford. Courtesy Wm. Fleming


For further information including the South Lanarkshire mills database visit the Clydesdale Mills Society website at

A distribution map of South Lanarkshire mills can be found at

1 Commissariot Record of Lanark, Register of Testaments 1595-1800, Edinburgh 1903.


Jim Ness


4 Responses to “Clydesdale Mills”

  1. Avatar Eddie Dodd says:

    I am trying to find out about the history of Wandel mill we bought Wandel farm cottages about a year seems to be haunted I wonder if you have any information or how I might obtain ii thanks Eddie Dodd 07792556040 ml126rp

  2. Avatar Stuart Turner says:

    Hi, I am working on my family tree currently and have learned that my ancestor, Robert Turner, was a miller at Hyndford, Lanarkshire. He apparently lived from 1750 to 1796 when he died “Doing a brave deed (Saving a child from drowning),” during the celebrations after the naval Battle Of Campersown. Strangely, the battle was in late 1797! Anyway, Robert married Mary or Marion Cleland in 1773 at Pettinain, Lanarkshire. I don’t know which mill Robert worked at or owned. I was wondering if you had any information about Robert?
    Thanks for your time,
    Stuart Turner

    • Avatar jimn says:

      Hi Stuart,

      The Turner family leased Hyndford Mills from Bonnington Estate for about 100 years from the late 1700s. I had heard the story about the drowning incident before but could never find an original source. You will find a full history of Hyndford Mills, including the role of the Turner family, in my book ‘The Lost Mills of South Lanarkshire’ which is available from Atkinson Price Books, Biggar.

      Jim Ness

      • Avatar Stuart Turner says:

        Hi Jim,

        Please accept my sincere apologies for not replying sooner. I didn’t see your reply two hours after my post!!

        Thank you for pointing me in the direction of your book. I will try for Atkinson Price Books website now.

        Stuart Turner

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