Saturday 11 December
The first visit was to Marybrook Mills at Drumnaconagher (J408520). At the end of the lane is a small two-storey building which was a hemstitching factory. It is undergoing renovation at present. Beside the house is a corn mill and a scutch mill. The owner Mr John Lewis Crosby gave a conducted tour of the premises. Outside is a very fine set of scales for weighing sacks of grain. There are both stone and iron weights. There is a corn-kiln in the building but it is out of use at the moment. There are three sets of stones driven by an internal water-wheel. There is also a combustion engine but it is not coupled to the water-wheel. Two sets of millstones are French burr and the other is Derbyshire grit. There is also a vertical set of stones of concrete covered with emery. The mill produces wholemeal flour in small bags for retail outlets and in large sacks for the bakeries. The scutch-mill also has an internal water-wheel. This drives a horizontal flax-breaker and ten sets of scutching blades. At the rear of the building is a dash churn which is also driven by the water-wheel. The building houses a small collection of rural artefacts. There are extensive waterworks associated with the mills and there is an eel-weir. The building beside the scutch-mill houses a turbine scutcher which may be belt-driven from any available source.
The group was joined by Dr Baillie who was to be our guide for the afternoon. The remains of Ballynahinch Railway Station (J368526) were viewed. This large building is now roofless and the ticket office, waiting-rooms, etc. have been demolished. There are some traces of the platforms. The large good sheds attached to the main building are still in use for other purposes. The main station building is a bus garage.
Ballynahinch 1st Presbyterian Church (J367525) was erected in 1751. Rev John Strong was the minister at that time. It was originally a T-shaped structure but it is now cruciform. The interior is furnished in typical fashion with three galleries. Dr Baillie gave an account of the Battle of Ballynahinch and other associated skirmishes in 1798. The Courthouse which existed at the time of the battle was viewed. It has been greatly altered.
Harris's Mill was visited (J373517). It was built in 1816 and has a metal water-wheel which is supplemented by a diesel engine. The mill is currently in use for producing animal feed. Beside it are the remains of a scutch-mill. The interior of this was not viewed.
Magheradrool Church (J379513) is a small rectangular structure with a stone dated 1607. The graveyard is entered through the roofless remains of a gatehouse. Many of the gravestones are plain. Some of them have crude initials and simple incised crosses. Most of the stones with inscriptions are 19th century. One stone, dated June 9th 1798, is to Richard Cordner of Ballynahinch. His death occurred on the weekend before the Battle of Ballynahinch and he may have been the man who was reported killed in a disturbance in the town at that time.
The Assembly Rooms at The Spa (J365494) were viewed from the outside. This two storey building has very large windows and is now a Masonic Hall. Close by is the last remaining pump-house which houses two pumps, one of which has fallen over. It is a small octagonal building. Spa Waters are still for sale but are now rubbed on instead of being consumed.