Mills & Factories

Corn Mills
Corn mills were important and were to be found in every parish close to a source of water (to power the mill). Here farmers could bring their cereals to be dried first in the kiln and then ground in the mill. Some of the flour would be kept for their own consumption while the rest would be sold at market. The corn mills would usually provide work for no more than two people. Corn mills are recorded in the in parishes of Clunoe (western shore), Aghallon and Glenavy (east shore), at Milltown (south shore) and Ballyronan (west shore); the last two being associated with distilleries. In the parish of Montiaghs (south shore) it was noted that a kiln was attached to a corn mill in Derryadd townland. (Image: Corn Mill, Salterstown)

Flax Mills
As mentioned elsewhere the rural textile industry was an important source of income to many living around  Lough Neagh, most especially on the east and west shore. Below is the distribution of flax mills around the shore of the Lough during the early part of the 19th century.

North Shore
There were 2 flax mills within the parish of Duneane; 1 cotton and 1 beetling mill in Randalstown; 2 cotton mills and 2 bleach mills within Antrim parish. Randalstown had been a major centre of the linen industry in 18thcentury but it was soon overtaken by nearby Ballymena and the numbers of pieces of cloth produced dropped dramatically from 2,589 in 1836 to 820 pieces in 1837.

East shore
There were 2 flax mills in Camlin parish; 1 cotton and 1 bleach mill near Glenavy; and 1 flax mill in Kilmore townland.  Women from Camlin parish would sell home-spun yarn at the Crumlin market where it was bought by merchants from Belfast.

South shore
The southern shore was dominated by the linen mills of Lurgan town where there were five major factories. However despite this, weavers in rural areas continued to flourish. The Ordnance Survey Memoirs for the parish of Aghagallon record that there were 209 weavers in the parish (mainly women) producing cambric, linen and cotton in 1838 and that much of this work was carried out by small farmers and cottiers. Fine linen and cambric were produced also by weavers from Shankill parish and sold at the Lurgan market.

Western shore
There was a flax mill in Clintycracken td (Clunoe parish); 1 flax mill in Brookend td (Ardboe); in Ballinderry parish there was 1  flax mill at Ballyronan Beg td, and 5 in Ballymultrea td; in Ardtrea there were 1 flax mills each in the townlands of Aughrim, Derrygarve and Carrolan.  Some prosperous farmers in the latter parish bought in yarn which they gave to weavers, paying them for their work  and selling the cloth at fairs. In Cluntoe parish the weaving of cotton had succeeded that of coarse linen by 1830’s.

Spade Factories
There are two recorded spade factories for the Lough Neagh area. The first, located in the townland of Aughrim (Parish of Ardtrea, northwest shore), was owned by Patterson’s but by 1836 the factory was in ruins as the company had moved to the Templepatrick area.  The second  factory was located in Cluntoe parish and was probably the source of agricultural and turf spades sold in the shops in Coagh as mentioned in the1840’s  Ordnance Survey Memoirs for the area  (O.S. Memoirs, Tyrone II). There was also a spade factory at Ballyronan, owned by Messers Gaussen who owned the quay there; when it went out of use is at present unknown.