Mungal Mill

This was the baronial corn mill for West Kerse of which Mungal was a part.  From an early date water was diverted from the Mungal Burn just to the north of its confluence with the West Burn of Falkirk in order to feed the mill and to help with the drainage of Mungal Bog.  At that time the mill stood relatively close to a southward facing loop of the River Carron, but when this was straightened it became more distant and the eastern arm of the loop served as the mill race.

Illus 1: Ordnance Survey Map surveyed in 1861 and published 1865 (National Library of Scotland).

Within a charter of 1552 is found “Ovir and Nethir Mongwell with the mill.”  The charter was granted when John Menteith entered into the family estate of West Kerse.  At some time, for some unknown reason, the mill came into the possession of the nunnery of Manuel.  In 1568 the prioress, Joanna Livingston, was in a position to grant a feu charter of “the corn mill called Mongall-mylne and mill lands” to John Livingston in Dalderse.  As well as the mill he was granted “the thirle multures of the lands of Ovir and Nether Mongallis pertaining to the said mill, with sucken.”  It is shown on Pont’s map in the 1580s.  A kiln is mentioned in connection with the mill in 1618.  Malcolm Lapslie, the first miller (molendario) to be named, was there at that time.  By 1623 it was Thomas Callender.  In 1662 Patrick Cowan was the miller.

The next incident of note was a fire:

About ten o’clock of the night of the 7th inst., the corn and flower mills at Mungall Mill, near Falkirk, were discovered to be on fire, which continued to rage with great violence till three o’clock on the following morning.  The machinery and roof of the flour mill were entirely destroyed, and the corn mill considerably injured.  An ample supply of water having been obtained from the adjoining mill dam, and the night being calm and moist, much greater damage was prevented.  The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.  The mills are insured.”

(British Luminary 16 May 1818).

Immediately to the west of the mill buildings were those of the farm of the same name.  To the east, on the other side of Carron Road, was Mill Flatts.

In 1826 Lillie & Penrice, who were described as “millers and corn and meal dealers at Mungal Mill” had their assets sequestered (Caledonian Mercury 15 July 1826) and the mills were advertised to let:

The MILLS, called MUNGALL MILLS, in the parish of Falkirk, and county of Stirling, with a small piece of land adjoining, for five years after Whitsunday next.

The mills consist of corn, flour, and malt mills; and there is adjoining thereto, a Miller’s House, kiln, Stable, and byre.

There is a good supply of water, and the machinery is driven by two overshot wheels, of large dimensions.

The mills are situated in the centre of a populous grain district, and within a quarter of a mile of Carron Works, and about the same distance from the Great Canal.  The sucken is considerable, and from the population of the district, the meal, & c produced at the mills, at all times finds a ready market.

Farther particulars will be learned on application to Mr Alexander Clark, mill-wright, Grahamston; or Russel and Aitken, writers, Falkirk.

(Edinburgh Evening Courant 24 January 1829, 3).

 In October 1841 John Penrice of Mungal Mill was declared bankrupt (Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette 11 September 1841, 8) and a few years later the mill and mill lands were for sale again:

“LANDS, MILLS & c in Stirlingshire, for sale.  To be sold by public roup, within the Red Lion Inn, Falkirk, on Thursday the 2d day of March 1848 at twelve o’clock noon, the LANDS of MUNGALL-MILL, in the parish of Falkirk and County of Stirling, extending to 39 Imperial Acres, or thereby, with the MEAL, BARLEY, and FLOUR MILLS thereon, and astricted MULTURES and SEQUELS thereof, and an excellent FARM STEADING.

This property adjoins to Carron iron-Works and the thriving town of Falkirk; and from the great population in its neighbourhood, the Mills, as well as the Lands, easily let on advantageous terms.

The lands are of the first quality, and from their local situation the produce meets with a ready market; and part of the Property could be readily feued to advantage.

The Mills are of the best construction.  The supply of Water by which they are propelled is steady in the Summer as well as in the Winter, and is of great power, from its being applied to overshot boxed wheels.  The sucken is considerable.  The public burdens very trifling.  The Houses and Mills in good repair.  The access excellent.  And, on the whole, a more desirable small property has not lately been brought to market.

There is no tack on the premises.  Of course, a purchaser may, if so disposed, get speedy possession thereof.

To ensure a sale, the upset price is fixed at £4,000, being only about 22 years’ purchase of the free rental…”

(Glasgow Herald 28 January 1848, 3).
Illus 2: 1862 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The Ordnance Survey Name Book in 1860 describes it thus:

“A  large  building  of  three  stories,   with  a two   storey dwellinghouse  and offices attached,  all slated and in  good  repair.  Property of the Carron Company.   Machinery propelled by water – two water wheels each nine horse power – with a subsidiary steam engine of sixteen horse power.  Carron Company proprietors, offices Carron Works.”

Fire was a constant risk and recurred on 7 February 1890 when the stable of James Webster was badly damaged (Falkirk Herald 8 February 1890).  James Webster died the following year and the mill seems to have gone out of use.  He had bred Clydesdale horses and his son, also James Webster, continued in that line as well as acting as a dealer in grain.  In 1895 local residents complained about the “nuisance” arising from the filthy condition of the Mungal Mill dam which had not been cleaned out for some time and which received sewage from the town of Falkirk.  Falkirk Town council denied that it was the source of the pollution.  Carron Company bought the land between the mill and the railway to the west in 1897 in order to erect Mungal Foundry.  With the death of James Webster jnr in 1897 the mill finally came to an end.  The contents were put up for sale:

SALE OF MEAL AND FLOUR MILL PLANT AND MACHINERY, At MUNGALL MILL on MONDAY, 27th JUNE. THOMAS BINNIE begs to intimate that he will Sell by Public Auction, at Mungall Mill, near Falkirk, Monday … the PLANT and MACHINERY, consisting of

5 pairs mils stones and cases, 1 silk flour-machine, elevators, hoists, fanners, 2 large water wheels, heavy shafting, driving wheels, kiln plates and bearer, & c”

(Falkirk Herald 18 June 1898).

By 1913 the mill pond had been filled in.  The farm remained in use until the 1970s, partly given over to stables.

1618Malcolm Lapsley
1623Thomas Callender
1662Patrick Cowan
1677Archibald Cowan
1684John Muirhead
1748Thomas Kaiter1755
1773Thomas Mitchell
c1820Lillie & Penrice1826
1854James Webster1891
Manuel Nunnery1568
1568David Livingston        1583
1583John Livingston          1617
1617Patrick Livingston (son)
1712David Ramsayc1733
1735Michael Ramsay (son)1775
1775Michael Ramsay (nephew)1782
1782Michael Ramsay (son)1807
1807Joseph Stainton (purchase)1825
1844Joseph Stainton (son)  1845
1845Josephine Gillespie Stainton (daughter)          1850
1848Carron Co       

Sites and Monuments Record

Mungal MillSMR 662NS 8827 8201

G.B. Bailey, 2022