What were the Llanina Ruins?
There has been much speculation as to the former
use of the ruins at Llanina. They are in a wood called 'Coed Llanina'
just opposite the gates to the Llanina Mansion and St Ina's Church. The main section of buildings surrounds part of what is now the car park for the various walks through the woods provided by Welsh Water which now owns the property and uses parts of it for wastewater treatment.
The buildings stand on a level area on the bank of the pretty river Llethi. They are surrounded by mature trees, mostly Sycamore, Beech, Horse Chestnut and Ash, many of which must be a hundred years or more old. The land now owned by the water company was once part of the extensive Llanina estate owned when the farm was newly built in 1770 by the Jones family. Later, the estate was to pass into the hands of Charles Longcroft and his descendants who lived there for more than a hundred years.
The only clue (presently known) as to the date of
the buildings are the initials LL, and the date 1770 carved into one of the
rocks at the corner of the boiler house. Between the initials and the date is a
mason's mark - four dots in a diamond shape.
In 1840, the buildings are described as 'Llanina Mill and premises' when they were occupied by Benjamin Jones. At this time they were owned by Charles Longcroft and Lloyd Thomas.
The layout of the buildings is not typical of local
farms of this period and supports the view that they were merely an adjunct to
the Llanina Mansion.
Left: Plan of the Buildings - I have omitted the Mill house which is some
distance from the buildings shown. They are not drawn precisely to scale.
The Mill is the building on the right of the car
park as you enter it. Behind the mill there is a high bank, in the depression
above which would have been the millpond. As to the use of the other
buildings, some are obvious, others less so. One room contains the remains of a
boiler with a chimney passing through the wall above. The boiler consisted of a
large round copper or iron pan with a space below for a fire. (photo on left).
A very similar, but wholly complete boiler of this type is in a local barn. there must be other surviving examples locally.
The function of the boiler would have been the preparation of animal food -
particularly for pigs. Another clue to the buildings former use lies in the
names of two of the adjacent fields which include the word 'Moch' (mochyn) or
pig / swine.
Several parts of the building have the general
pattern of pig sties, this allied with the field names suggests that the
original use of the buildings was as a mill and to raise pigs.
One section of the buildings is open to the front and has been cobbled with small beach stones on end in the local style ( see the pavements around Alban Square in Aberaeron and at Llanerchaeron). This was probably the cart house (photo on right).
Finally, to the right of the cart house is a room with larger windows that is most likely to have been the habitation for the miller or the pig man or farm labourer.
© Rod Attrill