This turned three-part Welsh sycamore mortar or spice mill was made in Cardiganshire in c.1800.
The top part bears the remains of a metal plate which was used to grind various herbs and spices in the middle section. The material was then collected in the base.
In her book Treen (1975), Jane Tollers describes “mortar grinders” from the 17th and early 18th centuries as “tall, well-turned pieces of treen” with three-part mortars used to ground peppercorns, cloves, garlic, mace, and even tobacco leaves until the end of the 17th century.
This later example comes from a private collection of Welsh treen and is priced at £1150 from Tim Bowen Antiques.