the raising hook


Mill Isle, Ireland

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Ballycopeland Windmill
Millisle, County Down, Northern Ireland

*the raising hook

The farmers would bring their sacks of wheat or corn in, and they would be lifted up to the upper grinding floor by the raising hook of the sack hoist chain*


On the Ards peninsula, Ballycopeland Windmill is located 1 mile (1.6km) west of Millisle on the B172, signposted from Newtownards.

Timeless haunting images somberly shot with subtlety and simplicity yet structured strength study scenes from the stones floor subjects set in spaces soft light strewn smattering sensitively surrounded by swirling shadows settling on stirring strikingly strange shapes signifying a semblance of times past.

Millisle, as the name implies, once had lots of mills. Ballycopeland is a late 18th Century corn mill that produced flour and animal feed. It was worked by the McGilton family until the 1914-18 War and has now been restored to full working order to give a unique insight into a lost industry.

One hundred tower mills operated in County Down mostly in the Ards peninsula, evidenced by the great number of mill mounds or mill stumps still obvious in the local landscape. Operating from the 1780’s McGilton’s mill at Ballycopeland being the only survivor its sails and structure have been an oft photographed subject.

Utilising wind power long before hot air balloons and wind sail boards, and operating on the theory of gravity long before Newton had thought of it; mills dated from the 12th century and were an important aspect of man’s earliest attempts at agriculture.

This study gives insight to the enterprise undertaken within its walls; commencing with one image from the ground floor depicting the sack hoist chain used to bring the corn up to the top floor – the hopper floor; and the remaining five featuring scenes from the stones floor where the daily grind took place utilising three hoppers and three pairs of stones encased in wooden tuns.

Ulster – Scots Translation

Coontie Doon


Frae tha fore-enn o fowk’s mints at fairmin – in Airlann aiblins 6,000 yeir syne – it reckt tae fynn roáds tae mak doon tha stuff. In tha auld fernyeirs afore scrievin the yaised sindèrie stanes furtae scrunt tha stuff (querns), an at tha fore-enn o tha cristen tid (aboot 500 tae 1200 AD) the haudit tae yaisin hann querns, bot it’s kythed wi tha airlie laas at mälls, nae doot cawed wi wattèr, wus aagates an muckle-heftit. Short syne tha pairts o twa wud mälls o tha 8t an 9t centuries wus funn nixt tha Bann wattèr in Antrìm an Lunnonderrie. Wun-mälls wus yaised fur tha furst in Brätin i’ tha twalt centurie bot tha furst pruif o wun-mälls in Airlann is frae tha seivintaent centurie an cairds eftèr thon.

Historie o Ballycopelann Wun-mäll

Aist Doon is yin o tha blad o airts fur tha growein o stuff in Airlann an fur langsyne tha wun-mälls haes bin a weel-forrit swatch o tha leuk o tha lann. Mair nor a hunnèr wun-mälls is scrowit in tha coontie, boorachin maist thrang in tha Airds.

Laas gien inlat tae tha growein o stuff in tha hinnèrenn o tha echteentht centurie an Ballycopelann Mäll micht cud be tae tha fore frae tha 17 an 80s ur 17 an 90s, the mair tha siccar date o tha biggin o’t’s no kent. It kythes in tha furst caird o tha Oardnance Scance an a wechtin leet in tha 18 an 30s. A faimlie tha naem o McGilton caa’ed tha mäll frae 18 an 45 tae 19 an 15, an tha hinnèrmaist mäller, Samuel McGilton, bodit it tae tha lede in 19 an 35 eftèr it wus orra fur twunty yeir. The sair beed tae soart tha kep an sails in tha 19 an 30s, an mair bunermaist wark wus daen in tha 19 an 50s, bot the hae jist new brocht tha mäll beck tae a set o caain, wi gye skeelie an aefauld insettin o airn an wud intimmers an replenishin o tha sails.


Tha coarn furst wun tae tha käll-hoose in tha reenge o biggins at mairches nixt tha brae frae tha gate. Tha mair it wus lang orra an sakeless tha feck o its graith, tha käll is soartit gettin an tha mylne-hoose ayont is glegg gettin fur an airt o schaw-fairs. Frush frae tha käll, tha stuff haudit tae tha mäll.
Tha mäll bes tha kynn o a tooer, wi a glegg kep at’s caaed wi a waff-tail thawye tha sails is aye fornenst tha wisin wun. Tha toor, narra’in frae steid tae tha heid, is biggit o tha stane hereawa, plestèrt an lime-waashed. A causey-stane pad roon tha mäll gied tha scowth fur thrawin naigs an cairts an forbye wisit til a wast dorr, yaisit quhaniver tha sails wus stappin tha foremaist dorr tae tha aist.


Gin ye’r veesitin, furtae follae tha mällin throch-pittin in tha richt snoddin, ye may stairt wi speelin tha staps (tentin oan tha stye clim) tae tha tap heicht, tha Happer Flair. Tha secks o frush stuff wus pu’ed up throch a wheen o tràp dorrs wi tha seck heeze (1), cawed wi chaffin agane tha sidelins tap o tha heid shank

Tha stuff wus timmed äntae yin o tha thie happers at gied doon tae tha stanes ablow. Tha lang yin acqueesht tha sterrs an tha waa (aist) wus fur whatenmale, tha lang yin fornenst fur shillin (takkin tha huils frae tha stuff), an tha wee’er squarr yin tae tha noarth fur coarn male. Quhaniver tha sails is stieve this flair bes lown, bot quhaniver the’r birlin ye’ll can fin tha hale poust o tha mäll.

I’ tha mids ye hae tha heid shank (2), o rosint pine, at ye’d jalouse wad be a schäp’s mast, whammlet an yaised ower agane (tha mairks o tha raip screengin is shire oan’t). Oan tha heid shank ye hae tha trinnle-whurl (3) quhase sidelins knoits compluthers wi tha kep whurl (4) at clesps tha rowe shank, at tha sails is steekit tae. Quhaniver tha sails is birlin, tha poust is convoyit throch tha rowe shank, kep whurl, trinnle-whurl an heid shank tae tha Caa Flair ablow. Throch tha rowe shank thar rins an airn stob the caa a knappin wann, at gies tha scowth furtae cheynge tha fettlin o tha sails e’en quhaniver tha mäll is caain. Ye’ll tak unco tent o tha knappin graith – ‘Hooper’s Patent Reefing Gear’ – at micht be yinsum in the Brätisch Isles. Quhaniver tha mäll is stappit tha blinns is lappit (no roweit, tha wye the dae’t fur ordnar). Tha much sailclaith the straucht an apen tae tha wunn is cheynged furtae shuit tha wunn, tha kynn o mällin the’r daein an tha monie stanes the’r yaisin. Tha sailclaith wus canvas umquhile bot noo it’s Terylene. The’r fit tae slaw an kep tha sails wi pittin oan tha kep shuin. Tha kep sweels oan tha tap o tha stane waas, wi tha enns o its owercumin bawks wisin oan a weel creesh’d roon o gleg airn flatches (tha deid crub) an tha waff-tail maks siccar at tha sails is aye fornenst tha ‘ee o tha wunn’. Quhaniver tha wun is squarr ontae tha sails the hae fu poust an tha waff-tail daesnae jee, bot gin tha wunn taks a swee it keps tha waff-tail’s fladges an tha hale kep is thrawed, shäftin tha sails beck intae tha wunn.

Noo gae doon tae tha thurd heicht, tha Stanes Flair, quhaur tha heid sichts tae remairk is tha thie happers an thie perr o stanes booracht in wud ‘tuns’ (yin o thaim kythes in tha hap pictèr). Tha heid shank gangs straucht throch this flair tae tha Caa Flair ablow. Amang tha stanes bis an inbrocht ‘French burr’ feckit o monie smaa bäts o stane, hauden stieve wi an airn bann. Throch tha mids o tha laicher steid stane gaes tha stane spinle, caaed wi gears oan tha flair ablow, an tha heicher (rinner) stane sets oan fower palls ootgaein frae tha spinle.

Frae tha muckle happer abune, tha stuff faas intae a wee-er happer fennit wi a wud stailin ur ‘horse’, syne intae a swack wud shae at’s shooglet wi tha ‘damsel’ (an eikin tae tha spinle), an this gars tha stuff be wisit intae tha ee o tha rinner stane. Tha stanes is stellit tentie-like frae ither throch tha hannlin furtae gie tha much makkin doon the’r leukin, an the be tae kep frae lattin thaim screenge ither an get unco het seein a bleeze in a mäll is gye an unchancie. Quhiles, tha stanes wus replenished wi a mäll-pike, aiblins twyst tha twalmond, furtae fen tha reuch huil at wus necessar.

Tha saiconn heicht is tha Caa Flair. Tha sidelins muckle brod whurl is clespit roon tha laigh enn o tha heid shank, complutherin wi an cawin tha three stane pykes quhase exles is tha stane spinles at birls tha rinner stanes abune. Ilka spinle is fennit in a yetlin briggin kist steekit tae a timmer brig trèe ur bawk. Tha warkin reenge aqueesht tha twa stanes is cheynged wi heezin ur laighin yin enn o tha bawk wi feeze-nails caa oan tha grunn flair.

A muckle feeze-nail inunnèr tha brig trèe lats tha stane pyke be hovit, thawye the’ll mar tha cawin tae tha spinle an tha birlin o tha rinner stane abune. A -girr frae in ablow tha muckle brod whurl caaed a waff oan tha sooth side, fornenst tha sterr. A stieve draucht blew tha licht huils an stoor sidelins an oot intae a stoor-hoose oan tha sooth side quhaniver tha mair wechtie shilled coarn drappit tae tha grunn flair. Thar’s a ree forbye fur tha whatenmale oan tha aist side.

Noo retour tae tha Grunn Flair quhaur tha throch-pit stairts an enns. Owercappin, ye hae thie airn

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