Author Topic: Millers and Millwrights  (Read 620 times)

Offline Rena

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #9 on: Sunday 12 July 20 19:29 BST (UK) »
Milling corn and other food crops wasn't the only thing that a wind/water mill was used for.  The fabric known as linen was made from the stalks of flax and the flax seeds were crushed in the mills to produce oil.

I was brought up in a sea port where there were several mills crushing seeds and turning out oil for lighting and other uses.

Your millwright would be kept very busy.

"wright" a person who constructs/builds things such as a wheelwright; shipwright; millwright. even "playwright"
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Offline Viktoria

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #10 on: Sunday 12 July 20 19:54 BST (UK) »
Wonderful answers ,my initial thought was that as we talk about things being “milled to a thou“ie ground or milled to a thousandth of an inch a millwright might also be a craftsman who repaired or made things like precision tools .
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Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #11 on: Sunday 12 July 20 20:10 BST (UK) »
I agree Viktoria - wonderful answers from everyone, thanks so much for your interest.

One thing we have discovered from our research is that there were milling families in the area, and they moved from place to place.  Herefordshire seems to have had a particularly rich seam of millers and millwrights, and many of them spent time working the mills in this area of Wales.

Interestingly, the mill we're researching is one of the few working water-mills in Wales, where we produce various types of flour.  The mill was renovated about ten years ago thanks to lottery funding, and is run by a large number of volunteers.  The job of a miller, I discover, was a very hard one, as we can see from the present-day situation. Every now and then there are problems with the mill wheel which calls for all sorts of engineering and carpentry; I can understand why the sons of many of the milling families became carpenters and joiners, so they were on hand to repair the machinery when it went wrong.

Sadly nearly all the millers we've been researching died relatively young - two in their thirties.  We also came across a horrendous story of a miller in Herefordshire who was disembowelled when his clothing caught in one of the wheels.  I told this to the duty miller on the day I discovered it; he was wearing a fleece with strings hanging down from the hood, and he immediately asked me to cut them off.  Very wise.
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Offline groom

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #12 on: Sunday 12 July 20 20:40 BST (UK) »
Quote
To find whether he eventually went on to own or lease it you would need his will.

Unfortunately he doesn't appear to have left one.

This research is proving very interesting, especially one particular family that we have become quite fond of. Some of the miller's wives must have been very strong willed women - one in particular took over as the miller after the death of her husband.

Several of the millers were also carpenters or hauliers.
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Offline youngtug

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #13 on: Sunday 12 July 20 20:58 BST (UK) »
,my initial thought was that as we talk about things being “milled to a thou“ie ground or milled to a thousandth of an inch a millwright might also be a craftsman who repaired or made things like precision tools .
Viktoria.

That would be using a milling machine. It is a machine that uses rotary cutters.
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Offline Skoosh

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #14 on: Monday 13 July 20 08:55 BST (UK) »
Don't know about Wales but in Scotland a mill was owned by the laird who leased his mill to  a tacksman, a miller in this case. The estate tenants (the sucken) were thirled to that mill & could use no other. The tenants also had to provide so many days free labour (thirlage) to the miller for cutting peats for the kiln, maintaining the fabric of the mill & water supply, new stones etc. The miller also had the power to break the tenants hand-querns if he suspected they were being used, so a miller was not always a popular man but very much his own man. The percentage (multures) charged by the miller for grinding the corn varied from estate to estate, plus a little (sequels) for his assistant. Meal was a substitute for cash which was always in short supply. He paid his rent to the laird with the multures he charged the tenants & the surplus he sold at market for cash. A good miller did much of the millwright work himself & had to dress the stones regularly. The mill-croft supplied the table & a miller had to have a horse to get the meal to market so a side-line as a haulier fits in. "Fat as a millers pig!" was a true-ism!  ;D

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Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #15 on: Monday 13 July 20 09:29 BST (UK) »
"wright" a person who constructs/builds things such as a wheelwright; shipwright; millwright. even "playwright" 
I was intrigued when I settled in this part of Cheshire to find that a local garage was owned by a Wainwright, a variety of Cartwright I suppose.

And let's not forget that the first important English canal engineer, James Brindley, had begun life as a millwright.  Self-taught and mainly illiterate, but clearly had a natural talent.
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Offline youngtug

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #16 on: Monday 13 July 20 09:38 BST (UK) »
Lots of the major engineers, civil and mechanical, trained has millwrights.
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Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Millers and Millwrights
« Reply #17 on: Monday 13 July 20 09:41 BST (UK) »
Lots of the major engineers, civil and mechanical trained has millwrights.
I would guess they would have started in large C19 power-mills, rather than the water- or wind-powered C18 outfits which James Brindley would have known.
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