Auchincloch Black Mill

Illus: 1859/62 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

In the mid-nineteenth century a black mill was added to the water channel complex at the old baronial mill of Auchincloch west of Bonnybridge.  The rights to the mill were divided between Wester Auchincloch (later called Orchard) and Auchincloch, and the black mill evidently belonged to the former.  The lease was advertised in 1860:

“Water Power to Let, with entry at Whitsunday first, to Let, for such a number of years as may be agreed on, AUCHINCLOCH MILL, presently occupied for Grinding Charcoal, but could be applied to any other purpose, where a plentiful supply of water is required throughout the year,  The Machinery for Driving Two Pairs of Millstones, including Water Wheel 18 feet diameter, could be had at a valuation from the present Tenant – apply to JOHN MILLAR Esq, the Proprietor, Orchard, by Kilsyth,.”

(Falkirk Herald 22 March 1860, 1).

In the 1870s it was leased to William Cumming, one of the leading manufacturers of blacking for the ironfounding industry.  It was still occupied by William Cumming on 29 November 1885 when a fire destroyed the roof and badly damaged the floors and walls.  Cumming had taken out a lease on 4 March 1884 for seven and a half years but as the fire had not been his fault and the building was not capable of functioning as a black mill he gave notice on 31 December that he deemed the lease to be at an end.  At the end of the following month he attempted to remove his machinery but was prevented by the issuing of a sequestration order from the Small Debts Court.  The proprietor of the mill was Henry Morrison who raised an action at that court for payment of half a year’s rent.  The court found that Cumming only owed a reduced rent for the time that his machinery had occupied the building and not for the full six months (Stirling Observer 22 July 1886, 3).

The woodwork of the building was replaced in March 1886 but the mill does not seem to have been occupied subsequently and is not labelled as such on the 1898 Ordnance Survey map.

National Grid Reference

Auchincloch Black MillNS 7667 7890

G.B. Bailey, 2022