Planting Mill

Illus 1: 1861 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The first overt notice of Planting Mill occurs in 1813 when it was occupied by John Hay.  It was located at the western edge of the formal plantations associated with Denovan Mains – hence the name.  John Hay was a farmer and miller and the corn mill was for processing locally grown crops.  To improve its efficiency Hay upgraded the thrashing machine at the mill in 1832.  This was a time when many people were experimenting with such machines and consequently it was reported in the press:

It is driven by a power from the water-wheel of said mill.  Being placed on the second floor, the thrashed straw is thrown by the shaker through an opening in the mill wall into a shed below, where it is brittled.  The thrashed grain is received from the lower part of the machine into a hopper, by which it is conducted through the floor into a riddle, made in the form of scree, about 2 feet wide and 5 feet long, shaken by cranks.  By this riddle the short straws, called riddling, are thrown off into a sack, and the grain poured into the mill-fanners, whence it is immediately conveyed by a tackle, as it is called, to the drying kiln.  By means of this machine, combined with its local situation, grain may be taken from the fields, or barn yard, and converted into human food in a very few hours.  We understand that Mr John Hay, tacksman of said mill, is the inventor of the above-named ingenious riddle

(Edinburgh Evening Courant 24 September 1832).

John Hay’s son of the same name took over the tack and in 1852 was a shareholder in the newly formed Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank.  The mill appears on the first edition Ordnance Survey map as a corn mill, with a lint mill in close proximity, as mentioned in the Name Book:

Consists of a dwelling house, office and two mills, one a corn mill, the other a lint mill.   The whole of the buildings are one storey, slated and in good repair.   Property of Wm Forbes, Callendar House, Falkirk.”

John Hay retired in 1876 and a new millstone was included in the displenishing sale.  The next tenant was John Walker, miller.  He was a member of the Parish Council and died at the mill in December 1902 aged 73.   He was followed by Thomas Bain.  Bain kept and sold breeds of poultry, suggesting that the mill was being used to prepare the feed.  The 1913 Ordnance Survey map still has it as a corn mill but thereafter it is marked as disused.  The property was acquired by the Vale Mill Company in 1911.

JohnHAYHeadMarried80Farmer of 16 acres arableDunipace
JanetHAYWifeMarried77Farmer’s wifeSt. Ninians
ElizabethHAYDaughterUnmarried47Farmer’s daughterDunipace
IsabellaHAYDaughterUnmarried39Farmer’s daughterDunipace
JaneHAYDaughterUnmarried37Farmer’s daughterDunipace
1881 Census for Planting Mill.
Illus 2: Planting Mill looking north in 1980. The ashlar stonework on the left indicates the location of the mill wheel

The dam on the Anchor Burn is still visible and is composed of a stone core covered with poured concrete. The concrete presumably is associated with the Vale ownership of the mill.

Sites and Monuments Record

Planting MillSMR 777NS 8134 8344)

G.B.Bailey, 2022