You don’t need to be a budding historian to enjoy your holiday at Allanton Mill self catering cottage but it certainly has an interesting story to tell!
Built in 1739, Allanton Mill and the miller’s cottage next door sit on the banks of a Scottish ‘burn’ that flows into the river Nith. This water then flows through Dumfries some 8 miles south and into the Solway Firth.
The properties belonged to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, who owns the nearby Drumlanrig Castle. In 1884 the freehold, waterways, wheel and all, were sold to Eliza Mary Copeland for the sum of £250.
Although she was the new owner, Allanton Mill was tenanted for many decades by Thomas Maxwell, the Miller, and family. Maxwell headstones can be found in local graveyards.
The corn Mill would have ground grain from local farms which was then sold on through outlets including suppliers in Moniaive, a pretty village to the north west.
Another particularly interesting historical connection is to Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard whose iconic verse “Auld Lang Syne” is sung across the globe at New Year. He farmed at Ellisland Farm just 3 miles from Allanton Mill. With the close proximity it’s almost certain that Allanton Mill will be where Rab brought his grain for milling. Just imagine Robert Burns strolling deep in poetic thought in the grounds here. In fact! Leafing through a book of poems and songs by Robert Burns, we find poems entitled ‘Meg O’ The Mill’, and ‘As Down The Burn’ which maybe were inspired here…who knows!
Before the current road at the entrance to Allanton Mill was laid down with a small bridge over the burn, the water would have flowed across the roadway as a ‘ford’. This water would have been stopped and started as and when water power was required to drive the water wheel. The stone mountings of the sluice gate are still to be seen today, although the Mill pond is somewhat overgrown now.
Part of the original waterwheel with a trace of the wood from the paddle sits by the holiday cottage door. The huge Mill grind stone stands in the lower garden.
By 2008 the roof of the watermill had partially fallen in and the building was derelict. Extensive work over 18 months saved the building and it now stands as a holiday cottage for the comfort and enjoyment of visitors to this very beautiful and historic area.