Quarter Mill

There were two mills at Quarter on the Avon Burn to the north of Denny called Low and High Quarter Mills.

Low Quarter Mill

Illus: Low Quarter Mill on 1861/63 Ordnance Survey Map (NLS).

In 1789 Alexander Brown of Quarter, merchant in Glasgow, set the under mill of Quarter in favour of Robert Riddoch of Milnton of Dunipace and David Johnston, cotton spinner in Glasgow. The first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1861 shows it as a corn mill and the accompanying Name Book describes it as

A farmsteading with a corn mill attached, all of which are two stories in height, slated and in good repair.  Property of Mr Thomas Brown, Bank St, Stirling.”

In the 1870s the farm and mill were occupied by William McWatt.  He frequently advertised for millers and from these we learn that in 1876 it was still a corn and barley mill, and in 1891 that it had a corn-drying kiln.  An 1891 advert wanted a miller for night work at a wage of 24s a week.

WilliamMcWATTHeadMarried32Miller of grainHaddington
MargaretMcWATTWifeMarried32Miller’s wifeEdinburgh
Isabella A.McWATTDaughterUnmarried9ScholarLeith
IsabellaSTEVENSONSister by LawUnmarried14Dalkeith
1881 Census for Quarter Mill.

In the late 1880s part of the water power at the mill was used for Luke Warner’s wood turning mill.  Poultry feed was prepared and sold at the main mill building by McWatt.  Adverts for millers cease in 1896 and are replaced by ones for special breeds of poultry and for eggs.  It still appears as a corn mill on the 1897 and 1913 Ordnance Survey maps though milling appears to have been much reduced after 1896 and ceased by 1908 when William McWatt retired due to ill-health.  On this latter occasion he sold off his stock:

“For sale, all of my white Leghorn and Buff Orpington One-year-Old hens; all were selected for my 1909 breeding pens; also a number of poultry houses, incubators and brooders, a few hen coops, etc.; also threshing mill, suit water or steam power; 2 sets barn fanners, 1 bushel measure, 2 runner mill stones – one a Derby Peak, 4ft 6ins, one French Burr, 4ft 6in (been little used); 1 mill stone crane, weighing-machine with weights, 3 Sack Barrows, Mill Picks and Handles, Screw-Keys. Garden Barrow, etc. Parting with above owing ill-health. Wm. M’Watt, Quarter Mill, Denny”

(Falkirk Herald 12 September 1908, 8.).

In March 1910 the dwelling house, yard and buildings “with Water Power, lately used as Meal Mill” were for let (Falkirk Herald 5 March 1910, 8).

Sites and Monuments Record

Low Quarter MillSMR 1226NS 8037 8429

High Quarter Mill

Quarter Upper Mill is mentioned in 1814 and it appears on Grassom’s map of 1817.  It was worked as a wool mill in 1825 by James Mowat and in 1855 by William Gentle.  


The Mill is situated about a mile North of Denny, in the hollow on the West side of the Stirling Road.  All orders executed carefully and with despatch.

Orders in Stirling may be given to James Thomson, Denny, Carrier, every Tuesday and Friday at the Buck’s head, King Street; in Falkirk, to James Thomson, Denny Carrier, and to John Buchanan, Haggs.”

Stirling Observer 8 October 1846, 4).
Illus: High Quarter Mill on 1861/63 Ordnance Survey Map (NLS).

The first edition Ordnance Survey still shows it as a wool mill and the Name Book describes it as

A farmsteading with a wool mill attached, one storey in height, slated and in good repair.   Property of Mr Harvey Brown, Dunipace House, Dunipace.”

The evaluation roll for 1865 notes it as a ruin and it is shown as unroofed on the 1897 OS map, which also calls the adjoining buildings High Quarter Farm.  The farm was tenanted by John Lothian who was an expert bee-keeper.

Sites and Monuments Record

High Quarter MillSMR 1225NS 8049 8486

G.B. Bailey, 2022