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Malt and Fulling Mills

Posted by Tesson 
Malt and Fulling Mills
December 12, 2009 10:04PM
Good evening,

My approach to Milling is from Archaeology/History and I have recently been excavating a 17-19th century water & steam mill which is being written up. A friend and I are also writing up the history of mills and milling in Jersey.

We have many references in the 15th & 16th centuries to 'malt and fulling mills' which were legally distinct from wheat mills. We have three walls of a gutted malt and fulling mill building which can not be more than about 15 feet x 10 feet (5m x 3m).

The fulling side presumably used fulling stocks but what would the 'malt' side have used? Would it have been trip hammers or grind stones?

Any thoughts - or indeed surviving examples?

Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
December 16, 2009 01:32PM
Hi there,

Malt mills were essentially the same as grist mills, technically speaking. Grain was malted, ie allowed to germinate, then was crushed between a pair of millstones before then being mashed to produce beer. Obviously there was no need for any sifting after the milling process. Although grain millstones could be used to crush malted grain, usually a separate mill was used because of all the work needed to clean the stones after malting work before they could be used for grinding flour. It is also possible that the millstones for malt mills had properties specifically chosen for that type of work.

Medievalists have in the past classified malt mills as industrial mills as opposed to grain mills. This swells the number of industrial mills in medieval times and allows medievalists to claim there was an industrial revolution in the medieval age (IRMA). They are sometimes called beer mills.
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
December 23, 2009 10:01PM
Many thanks for your thoughts.

I've scaled off the Digimap and the building is more like 20' x 25' probably with 18" thick walls, the wheel in the middle of one of the shorter sides. My main concern is whether there was enough room for rotating stones and stocks off the same mill drive and how it would work in a confined space.

In the latest issue of 'International Molinology' No 79 Dec 2009 there is an intriguing reference to a 'Porridge Mill' - fig 4 page 2 in the Report on the Mill Tour to the Czech Republic. The picture shows a barley stamp driven by cams at Holosovice watermill - could our malt mills have been similar with a stamp driven by cams instead of grinding stones? - or would this not work for the brewing process?

Any thoughts - thanks again
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
February 13, 2010 10:53PM
Hello again,

Sorry for the delay in response. In the Czech mill the barley was hammered and crushed then eaten. To make beer the barley is allowed to germinate before processing and then lightly ground to open up the grain to maximise the surface area - this is a different process to hammering.
As far as I am aware all so-called beer mills, certainly in the UK, had a pair of horizointal millstones.
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
March 22, 2010 10:39PM
Many thanks. For these mills to have been both malt and fulling there must have been a neat method of disconnecting one system and connecting the other!

Although the flour mills in the Island had French burr stones we have no idea what stones may have been used in the malt mills - presumably they may have been somewhat smaller - I'll have to visit with a geologist!

Thanks again
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
June 06, 2011 05:47PM
I have been doing research on 18th century chocolate mills, and have found a lot of cross-over information on other industries because the machinery was used in a number of industries. As for malt mills they used traditional millstones that they would have used in English corn mills. They furrows in a malt mill would have the master furrow, and only a secondary furrow, the journeyman furrow. The stones might be a bit smaller in diameter, and they would have ran them farther apart than for grinding corn. So when they are grinding malt they are often grinding the sprouted grain.

They also used edge runners, wooden rollers, French millstone material rollers, and then iron rollers. The English and German malt houses or kilns would have been similar to those used for roasting cocoa beans.

As for fulling mills they used fuller's earth and or horse urine with the pounding stocks in the process of softening (beating out the taylor) the newly woven cloth. It is just that some industries had a certain air about them. Bone mills ground the bones of dead animals. So a bone mill would be away from a flour mill to keep the maggots out of the flour. Washington Flour or Wilkins-Rogers that used to be in Georgetown was located next to a rendering plant that made glue from horse and cow hoofs. They had a large sign painted on the building that said, "The smell you smell does not emanate from this Facility!"
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
July 09, 2011 01:18AM
I thought I would join TIMS having seen your post on Jersey Mills. I was the project architect working on Gigoulande Mill in St Peter's Valley Jersey in about 1995 before the funding ceased. We amassed quite an amount of historical information about this mill but my memory is not brilliant not do I work any longer for the practice involved, though still have contact with it. If I can answer any questions do contact me. The renovation of the mill was commissioned by the Crown in the person of Philip Baillache (sorry if I have forgotten the spelling) who was passionate about the project. It was intended that we renovate the mill building as a visitor centre and the miller's house as a dwelling. The mill walls were stabilised as was the wheel end of the launder. Tiles were bought for the roof and the mill stream culverted. This mill was most unusual as it had two wheels. It failed basically due to cheap grain being imported from the USA in the 19th C.

I am at present writing a short article about a particular corn/fulling mill in W Yorkshire. I would like to have some good information on malt milling and maltsters - how does the process and equipment differ from oat and corn grinding and did anglo saxons have mills?
Regards Ann Bennett
Re: Malt and Fulling Mills
October 27, 2013 04:09PM
Morning Ann,

Sorry to have taken so long to reply.

I well remember the project at Gigoulande Mill - the archaeology was overseen by Warwick Rodwell and I did some of the documentary research. The site is now (at least last time I looked) overgrown. Next door to Gigoulande are the last remains of a Malt / Fulling mill in Jersey - just three walls (and a new too small water wheel).

Malt / Fulling in Jersey appears to have been done separately form corn / wheat milling and I have yet to work out how they could have ground malt in the same small building in which they had fulling hammers!

You may find "Wind, Water, Work: Ancient And Medieval Milling Technology" by Adam Lucas (2006) of interest (not read it all myself yet).

What do others think of this work?

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