There are no written records regardinga mill on Berneray, Harris that I know of; no millers are recorded in thecensuses from 1841 onwards, there is no place name indicating the site of amill, no identified archaeological evidence.
On Bald’s 1805 Map of Harris, however,is labelled a ‘Mill’ sited in Rushgarry.
An aerial photograph of the area maybe seen onlinewhere, if one follows the river near the middle of the image upstream from thesea, the ‘Mill’ on the map appears to be located on the left bank just above theruins to be seen on its right bank and with which it may have been associated.
This raises several intriguingquestions:
When was the mill built? Is itancient or, perhaps, part of the developments introduced by Captain Macleodafter he bought the whole of Harris in 1779?
Why did the mill apparently cease tobe used during the first half of the 19thC? Had it been milling grain fromPabbay and thus become redundant when that island, which had at one time been ‘thegranary of Harris’, was Cleared for a sheep farm in the 1840s?
Was it a grain mill or, perhaps,another ‘fulling’ mill like that built by Captain Maleod in South Harris?
How is itthat this significant place never gained the honour of being named nor ofotherwise being mentioned in writing? This might indicate that it was both relatively‘modern’ and short-lived, thus supporting the idea of a link to Captain Macleodwhose efforts ceased with his death in 1790 and whose son, Alexander Hume Macleod, apparentlycommissioned Bald’s map.
The only waythat the answers to these questions may be found is by a proper archaeological surveyof the site but meanwhile my conjecture is that it was a grain mill and thatthe same boats that would later bring the people of Pabbay to pray in Berneray, followingthe building of the Parliamentary Church in 1829, would have been bringing grainto be milled in this now long-forgotten mill.