Cairns Mill was a corn (barley and/or oats) mill about half a mile south of the Lade Braes at the head of Spinkie Den and is now the site of Cairnsmill caravan park. Nothing remains of the mill building which was swallowed up by the creation of the Cairnsmill Reservoir.
The mill originally belonged to the Culdees, an early Celtic Christian sect whose arrival in St Andrews before 877AD predates the creation of the Priory in 1140. The Culdees passed ownership of Cairns Mill to the Priory about 1240.
The mill was owned by a succession of many different proprietors until 1867 when the Burgh of St Andrews built a reservoir at Cairnsmill to supply water to the town. This marked the end of the mill’s life and the final tenant was paid £12 a year for the remainder of his lease as compensation.
- Ordnance Survey; 6″ series maps (1855) online at National Library of Scotland
- Ordnance Survey; 6″ series maps (1896) online at National Library of Scotland
- R N Smart; “Notes on the Water Mills of St Andrews” (1989) in “Three Decades of Historical Notes” (ed. M Innes & J Whelan, 1991)
- Raymond Lamont-Brown; “The Life and Times of St Andrews” (1997) (ISBN 0 85976 236 X)