Old sluice gate, St Asaph

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Old sluice gate, St Asaph

This mechanism once controlled the flow of water which powered St Asaph’s corn mill.

Extract from 1610 map
1. River and Mill Leat. 2. Site of Mill.
3. High Street. 4. St Asaph Cathedral

The earliest written record we have of a mill in St Asaph dates from 1453. We know that a second lease on the mill was granted in 1544.

A map made by John Speed in 1611 shows a corn mill close to the parish church, on the south side of High Street. The mill is number two in the map extract on the right.

The mill leat (a channel conveying water) led from the river at Roe Plas, south of what’s now the playing field. The miller could enlarge or reduce the opening created by the sluice gate, depending on the strength of flow required, using the rack and pinion device.

photo of sheep dipping in mill stream

The derelict sluice gate was moved from its original location to this spot so that the public could view it easily. Pupils at Ysgol Glan Clwyd renovated the metal parts and reconstructed the wooden gate and grooves.

Old photo of mill stream

The sluice gate now sits on the former course of the tail end of the mill stream, the channel which led the water from the mill back to the river. If you continue walking northwards along the footpath, look out for remains of this channel. The upper photo shows men dipping sheep in the mill stream in 1901.

The lower photo shows the view downstream in 1905, with the mill stream in the foreground. The channel to the left was known as afon gachu ("excrement river") because sewage ran into it. Fortunately the river Elwy, out of sight to the left of the photo, provided a cleaner supply of drinking water.

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