The smallest of all the mills.
This mill stands about 300 yards up the Lornty Burn, a tributary of the River Ericht on the Blairgowrie side of the river. It seems to have been in size and production the smallest of all the mills which existed in Blairgowrie and Rattray in the 19th century. In 1840 the number of hands employed there totalled only 29, of whom 21 were women.
The mill was built in 1814 by Mr. David Grimond, one of the founders of the linen trade in Blairgowrie and originally a millwright, on the site formerly occupied by a lint mill and then a snuff mill.
The military road from Coupar Angus crossed the Kirriemuir to Dunkeld Road in Blairgowrie and proceeded out to Lornty where, after crossing Lornty Bridge, it carried on through the hills to Bridge of Cally and beyond. Thus with ready access for receipt and despatch of goods and ample water to drive the machinery it was an ideal site for a water mill. One of the lintels bears the date 1755 which may reflect the date of an original lint-mill.
In addition to the mill there was a ‘fermtoun’, Lornty Farm, and it appears to have been the practice to regard the farm and the mill as separate entities for rental purposes. The steep rise of the hills behind Lornty with their unseen tributaries of the Lornty Burn provided a powerful flow of water.
Historians presume this early mill used this water power to drive whatever machinery was required for manufacturing. In earlier days it was used as a snuff mill by George Barty (snuff and tobacco merchant whose mother was Alison Soutar). He eventually left Lornty to set up a successful tobacco business in 55, High Street, Perth.
“Mr George Barty, a tobacconist in Perth and a native of this parish, by his settlement bequeathed one-third of the free residue of his estate to the Dean of Guild and Guild Council of Perth, in trust, for the purpose of laying it out on heritable security and paying the interest thereof annually to the Parish Schoolmaster of Blairgowrie and his successors in office, to defray the expenses of educating all the orphans, fatherless, and poor children belonging to the parishes of Blairgowrie, Rattray, Bendochy, and Kinloch, in the Parish School of Blairgowrie, the children to be recommended by the ministers and Kirk-Sessions of these parishes, and those bearing the name of Barty or Soutar to be preferred". Mr Barty died in June, 1838, and his bequest came into operation at Martinmas, 1841. The fund mortified amounted to £1400, and there were at one time upwards of 50 children enjoying the benefit of the bequest.
They were taught the same branches and enjoyed equal advantages in all respects with the other children attending the schools.
When free education was instituted throughout the country, the trustees of this Barty Mortification resolved to found yearly bursaries of £4 and upwards (being the free interest of the capital as far as it would admit annually), for competition among scholars attending school in this and the other neighbouring parishes aforementioned, to "encourage them in the pursuit of knowledge and education.”
A Blairgowrie merchant of many years standing, Charles Grimmond (possibly related to Barty through marriage – his wife was Ann Soutar), had an interest in this mill in 1802/3. He received a grant from the Board of Trustees towards the cost of repairing the lint mill and erecting a shed in 1803.
David Grimond (possibly a nephew of Charles) saw that sufficient power could be obtained from the fall to drive flax-spinning machinery, and in 1814, having arranged for the site with Colonel Allan Macpherson, the then proprietor, he built a mill of modest dimensions in which he had 4 spinning frames, the clear profit on which was about £5 or £6 per week.
It was subsequently enlarged and, though in appearance and output it was far behind the other mills which had sprung up in the neighbourhood, a considerable amount of business was done in it until as late as 1899.
The lade for this mill is extremely small compared with others in the district, being only 4 feet in width. This gives some indication of the small amount of power required for the driving of 4 frames. The exit of the lade is very interesting being through an opening, with wooden grating, low down in the steep bank of the Lornty Burn, thus enabling the water to escape more rapidly than it normally would by way of an ordinary open lade. This type of exit may have been constructed in 1901 when the mill was fitted out with a water turbine (by J Turnbull Jun & Sons) and new spinning machinery was installed. But with the death of A. D. Grimond (grandson of David Grimmond) in 1904, the mill could no longer survive on its antiquity in spite of the recent upgrading and was closed.
The building is in a very poor state and the peind roof has collapsed.