A WINDMILL built by a privateer from the Napoleonic Wars is restored to its former glory after lying derelict for around 180 years.

Llancayo windmill is now available to rent as a holiday let and welcomed its first customers - a newly married couple - on Saturday.

The five-storey building was built in 1813 by Edward Berry who turned to farming in the Vale of Usk after years of pillaging French ships.

It worked for around 25 years before being ravaged by fire in the 1830s.

The grade II listed building then stood untended until local property developer Peter Morgan started work on restoring it in July 2006.

Mr Morgan, 46, described the sixty foot windmill as “the most striking landmark on the road between Usk and Abergavenny” and spent £400,000 on work.

He bought the windmill along with 200 acres of land 10 years ago.

While 20,000 square feet of other buildings have now been converted into offices and land is being used for arable farming, it took Mr Morgan seven years to gain planning permission for work on the windmill.

The purchase was particularly poignant as the land belonged to farmer Evan Williams - the grandfather of his wife wife, Helen, 43 - before he sold it in 1984.

“Helen used to play around the windmill as a child and it was a great opportunity to bring the land back into the family and restore it so others can enjoy it,” said Mr Morgan.

All work was undertaken by eight employees of Morspan Holdings Ltd, the company owned by Mr Morgan and his wife.

Most of the windmill’s original stonework was in good condition.

Work focused on fitting steel and timber joists for new floorboards and partitions, new oak windows and eight tons of concrete was used to set a new cap on the tower.

The work was subject to various planning stipulations - such as the tower had to be rendered with a mix containing horse hair as had been the case originally.

The final item to be fitted was the 60ft steel sail that was added last week. It turns on windy days, but Mr Morgan plans to power it through a generator.

Mr Morgan has been developing properties around Gwent for the past 10 years.

He started working for father David’s steel construction company, Morgan’s of Usk, before branching out on his own.

Mr Morgan and his wife have also bought Pencoed Castle in Magor.

Their next project will be converting it into offices and holiday homes.

Windmill can house 12 guests

Details of the windmill are available at www.llancayowindmill.com. It has six bedrooms, spacious lounge, TV room, a dining area and a balcony overlooking the Monmouthshire countryside.

It sleeps 12 people and is rented for between £1,200 for three nights and £4,000 for a week in peak season.