The Parish of Keir stretches from Glenmidge in the South to the outskirts of Penpont in the North. Primarily an argicultural area, its population of just over 300 is widely dispersed apart from the two hamlets of Glenmidge and Keir Mill. Of these, Keir Mill is the largest. Its name probably comes from the Celtic "Caer" meaning fortress, although it is hard to now see where the original fort was, and "Mill" from the local grain mill which was built in 1717 for use by local farmers. This mill was powered by a large water wheel fed by an elaborate system of stream channelling bringing water from the Penfillan Burn to the mill. Left derelict for many years, it has now been sympathetically converted into a domestic dwelling. The marks of the old water wheel are still visible on the side of the house.
In the 1950's Keir Mill still had an active School, Church and Shop but sadly these have all gone. The Church and School have been re-located to Penpont, and the Shop has been converted into a family home. the School Building was brought by the local community in the 1970's and, as the Village Hall, has become the focal point of the Parish with many activities taking place in it.
Perhaps Keir Mill's greatest claim to fame is as the home of Kirkpatrick McMillan - the inventor of the first bicycle. Courthill Smithy, where he lived and built his bike, lies just outside the hamlet leading towards Penpont and has become a Mecca for cyclists from home and abroad. His grave can be found in the Old Cemetery located below the Manse. It is signposted and well worth a visit.
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