Medieval Miller

A medieval miller was not a craftsman but was still a very skilled and important person in the medieval village.  A medieval miller operated the mill which was an essential part of every medieval village.

Medieval Mill *Medieval Miller

Medieval Mill *Medieval Miller

The mill was generally considered the property of the feudal lord and people using the mill thus had to pay him a certain amount either in money or in commodities for using the mill. The profession of milling itself predates medieval times.

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Medieval Miller – Definition *Description

By definition, a medieval miller was someone who operated a medieval mill, mainly the grain mills which were most common during the medieval times.

Medieval Miller Wheat in Field

There was a mill in every medieval village which housed the grinding machines and the miller was the person who operated this machine.

Water Mill Medieval Miller

Water Mill

Before the invention of watermills and windmills, the miller used a quern stone which consisted of a large fixed stone acting as a base and another movable stone managed by hand.

Quern Stone used by a medieval miller

Quern Stone *Grindstone *Used by a Medieval Miller

Medieval Miller *Role in Feudal System

In medieval society, a medieval miller enjoyed relatively more respectable status compared to the ordinary peasants and Serfs. He was also relatively well off which could result in him being targeted during bread riots and famine which were not very uncommon during medieval times.

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Where did the Medieval Miller work

A medieval miller worked in the medieval mill which was found in every village. In the mill, he also housed various tools required for grinding the corn.

A Medieval Town

Medieval Town

The most basic tool was, of course, the quern-stone whose operation was similar to a mortar and pestle. Eventually, the use of watermills and windmills for grinding also became common.

  • The Medieval mill was a necessity in every medieval village and it was the miller who operated the mill
  • Medieval mills were owned by the Lord of the Manor and could be hired out with payment to the Lord
  • Grain mills were the most popular mills in medieval times and were operated by the medieval miller
  • The medieval Miller used a quern-stone to grind down the wheat in the Lords Medieval mill
  • Watermills and windmills in later medieval times were used to move the heavy quern-stone
  • In earlier medieval times the medieval miller needed to be strong as the quern-stone was moved by hand

How did a Medieval Miller Make  Bread?

The main job of a medieval miller was to grind the grain into flour and make bread from that flour. Grain and wheat were mainly used for making bread for common people and those who grew these commodities took them to the medieval miller for grinding and paid a certain fee for this service.

Medieval Millers House Cellar

Cellar *Millers House

Bread Types

Medieval millers made a variety of bread types and during the 12th and 13th centuries, over 20 different types of bread were made. Even different names were used for the bread types, such as pope’s loaf, knight’s loaf, varlet’s loaf, and others.

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The Finest white bread was made for the nobles and single bread was usually sufficient for an average man. On the other hand, coarsely ground dark bread was usually consumed by the peasants and other poor people. Sometimes, the miller sprinkled the bread with linseed before baking it.

What were Banalities?

A common concept associated with medieval millers was called banalities. During medieval times, when a serf used the mill for grinding wheat, he had to pay a certain amount to the lord of the mill.

Medieval Peasants Clothes

This charged amount was known as “banalities” and was basically a fee imposed by the feudal lord for the use of his mill.

Medieval Water Mills - Medieval Miller

Interior of Water Mill

Medieval Miller Summary

The profession of a medieval miller was one of the most common professions during medieval times as there was a mill in every medieval village.

Compared to ordinary peasants a medieval miller was generally well off. He operated the mill and used quern-stone before the use of watermills and windmills became common.

Ordinary people were charged a certain amount of money or goods for using the mill of the lord.

  • Millers made loaves of bread for the people in a medieval village by grinding grain
  • Miller made flour that had been created by grinding grain to make medieval bread
  • Millers made about 20 different types of bread such as Knights loaf, Pope’s loaf, etc
  • The feudal lord could charge a fee for the use of his mill, these fees were known as banalities
  • Millers were much better off than common folk as they could charge a fee for making their bread

Every medieval village had a miller, the miller would usually pay the Lord of the Manor a fee to be able to use the Lord’s mill. The miller could then make his own bread by grinding wheat using a quern stone which he could then sell to the people of a medieval village.