Posted on

Early medieval Irish watermills

1: Introduction
2: Design
3: Chronology
4: Context
5: Conclusions
6: Bibliography
7: About the author

About the author

Alex Miller
Alex Miller

Originally from Portsmouth, and so surrounded by historic places and people who are enthusiastic about history, it is no surprise that I have also developed a passion for it. After studying all the history and classics courses I could at school, I came to do archaeology at college. It was here, whilst researching a deserted medieval village for my A Level coursework that I discovered my love of the Medieval Age and was introduced properly to windmills. ‘Widleigh’ as it was known in the Middle Ages was the village next door to my own and had its own windmill, built on top of a Bronze Age round barrow. Sadly the windmill and barrow were destroyed with the building of one of Palmerston’s Follies. It was the realisation that we have few of these fantastic buildings left now that made me eager to learn more about mills in general.

I came to the University of Reading in September 2012 to read for a BA in Archaeology and History. Whilst looking for an opportunity for some work experience I became aware of the Mills Archive through a friend who had volunteered there. I began volunteering at the Archive in 2013, helping to catalogue postcards, newspaper cuttings and photographs from the East Kent Mills Group. It was during this time that my interest in mills really took off, and I especially enjoyed learning about all the machinery. I decided to stop volunteering in order to focus on my third year, however through researching for this essay I have kept in contact with the Mills Archive who have been very helpful during my research and have now been kind enough to publish the results.

During my third year at university I took I course on Early Medieval Britain, in which we were allowed to choose our own essay topics.  Having been taught that compared to elsewhere in the British Isles Early Medieval watermills survive particularly well in Ireland, and missing studying mills very much, I decided to make this my topic.

In the future, I hope to continue studying mills, and I can’t wait to return to the Archive!