http://zxcode.com/2011/05/the-mill-apar ... llisodare/
- Old Master
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- Location: Monaghan
The flour mill at Ballisodare, now undergoing demolition to make way for new houses, had its modest origins in the 7th century when it was established as part of a monastic settlement by St. Fechin.
Demolition in progress
Messrs. Middleton and Pollexfen took over the operation of the mill in 1862. This management continued until 1883 when the mills were acquired by Messrs. W. & G.T. Pollexfen & Co. The Pollexfen family was arguably the most notable to have been associated with the Ballisodare operation if only by virtue of the fact that it was Susan Mary Pollexfen Yeats that gave birth to the famous poet and playwright W.B. Yeats and to his painter brother Jack.
Wm. Pollexfen’s wife, Yeats maternal grandmother, was a Middleton. It was from the Middletons that Yeats got his interest in the supernatural: ‘and certainly the first faerie stories I heard were in the cottages about their houses’.
Ownership by the Pollexfen company continued until they too passed into history with the sale of the plant in 1974 to Odlums Ltd. Fifteen years later, in 1989, the mill closed forever, thus bringing a final end to an era and an industry which had been in operation in one form or another in the same location for nigh on thirteen hundred years.
The greatest disaster occurred there in 1856 when the mill, then owned by Robert Culbertson, burned to the ground. This is how it came about:
It was a strongly held tradition in Ireland at that time that no wheel, whether cartwheel, spinning wheel or mill wheel should turn on St. Martins Day, the 11 th of November. Bad luck would surely follow. The custom came about by virtue of the fact that St. Martin suffered martyrdom by being thrown into a mill wheel. Workmen at the mill, wishing to honour the prohibition, declined to work on 11th November. Robert Culbertson, a Protestant, who owned the mill at the time, disbelieving what he perceived to be Catholic superstition, insisted that the mill operate as usual.
On the afternoon of St. Martin's day, 1856 the mill caught fire in mysterious circumstances. Nine workmen were burned to death or died jumping from the building; major damage was done to the fabric of the mill and the contents destroyed.
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