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Watermills Xubia and As Aceas

European worshop More Than Neighbours

Senior University Ferrol (A Corua) 2012-2013



I. INTRODUCTION In this work we present an overview of the origin, evolution and present state of mills, and most especially of watermills. They had a great importance in the history of mankind and they remain as a clear evidence of the intelligence of man to improve the processing food industry, particularly in the evolution and development of Galicia and more specifically in areas close to Ferrol. These instruments can be defined as machines capable of grinding, crushing and preparing seeds, grain and other products by means of rotating wheels, cylinders or any similar mechanism. In a broader conception, we also could call mill to the building or group of buildings where the various machines and items needed for the product processing, are housed. There are a great variety of mills, depending on the products to be treated: flour mills, oilers, chocolate -for crushing the cocoa- and those used for minerals, etc Regarding energy and machines employed by each mill there are different types according to the product to be ground as well as the technical knowledge and the economic situation of the society that generates them. In our geographical area (Galician Atlantic Coast) to set up the mills, were taken into account the estuaries of rivers because they had the appropriate conditions. Besides, in this work about mills, a vision of the historical and technological development of them is needed, as well as of the main documentary and bibliographical sources.

II. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT Possibly the process of chewing and digesting wild cereals were one of the reasons that would lead to our ancestors to devise mechanisms that would help to improve and facilitate the ingestion of these foods. These early hominids like some primates could have used sticks, stones etc. to break and crush the berries and seeds. The first step could arise in the Paleolithic, when an appropriate stone to crush the product was found. Agricultural revolution arises with human settlement in the Middle East, in the Neolithic Period, about 10000 years ago. In this period, in addition to wheat and barley, two new species are grown, oats and rye. Little by little agricultural societies are formed and cereal consumption experiences a great increase. For that reason different kind of tools begin to develop for grinding grain and vegetables and even other mineral products. The first tools to be called mills were two flat and polished stones to grind the grains, turning them into flour. This flour mixed with water and placed in a stone pot on the edge of the fire, would be the origin of making bread. These basic primitive instruments were refined and led to the development of the first hand mills in pre agricultural communities of the Middle East and Asia Minor around 8000 B.C. The hand mill, in its most rudimentary form -a stone shaper roller-, would allow to use both hands to grind more amount of cereal and faster. This type of mills, the most spread worldwide do not have a specific geographical origin, so their origins must be diverse. Old mills used by the American aborigines have survived to these days.

An Egyptian Sculpture in the Cairo Museum shows a kneeling woman grinding grain. The Hebrews used a square flat stone with a central concavity to place the grain, crushing it with a roller. Nowadays this process is still being used in some Arabian places. The following evolution process is based on the use of mortars and pestles made of stone or wood and a mallet in order to grind better the grain between one or more people. In some prints we can also see people using hand mortars. We do not know when the change of these basic mills exactly occurred. It must have been a process of need and demand to the population increase; so the largest basic stone area the largest room for the grain. This new class of stone was called grinding-stones. They date about 1600 B.C. There is a testimony in book V of Moses or Deuteronomy, which says: Do not be taken in pledge the wheel top and bottom because that would be taken as a pledge of the life itself. The use of these two stones of flat and circular shape would form a rotary mill. In this small mill the top stone has got a wooden crank and a central hole where the grain is placed and ground, rotating the top stone on the bottom one, expelling the flour over the edges. These mills had a small capacity of production. Probably they were used in domestic sphere, replacing the mortars. They are a classical model of the Iron Age (La Tne) that had a greater agricultural production and technical development. It is very remarkable the role of the armies in spreading this kind of small hand mills as well as the participation of Greek and Etruscan merchants. The growth of urban concentrations in cities and towns required a greater flour demand, causing an increase in the size of grinding wheels, promoting specialized centers in producing flour with people who performed these tasks. In classical cultures this work was made by slaves and convicts and in Ancient Rome was a labor for poor people and slaves.

Blood Mills 1 This type of mills, mentioned by Pliny and called Pompeian Mill, were moved by men or horses, pushing or pulling wooden arms embedded in the upper wheel, in which metal fragments or flint were inlaid, in order to facilitate the grinding of grain. Because of the terribly efforts made by both, men and animals, were called blood mills. They were mainly utilized in the Middle Age and the Renaissance. There is a document signed by the prince, future king Felipe II, in February 1552 giving a concession to Pedro Ortiz de la Sobera, a citizen from Guipzcua, who tries to improve these mills. During the XVI and XVII centuries a lot of patents were granted in Spain to improve this kind of mills. For a long time they were used in places where geographical and climatic conditions made difficult to set up another type of mills.

In English also: - Horse mill -> powered by horses. - Treadmill -> powered by humans.

Hydraulic Mills Increasing urban populations demand more production of flour, therefore it was necessary a large number of blood mills and greater labor. Maybe that is why mills evolved with the use of a less expensive form of energy: water. There are two ways of getting hydropower, with horizontal wheel and vertical axis or vertical wheel and horizontal axis. The installation of one or another depends on the hydrographic conditions of the place, adapting better horizontal wheels to small rivers and vertical wheels to large streams of water from big rivers, necessary to move the gears. The Greeks and Romans knew watermills. Strabo claims to have seen hydraulic wheels in the valley of the Nile near the Pyramids and in Asia Minor about the year 65 BC but the Romans were who spread them throughout their territory. We can find a detailed description of a vertical wheel flour mill made by the Roman architect Marco Vitrubio Polion in his work De Architectura, dating about 25 B.C. That is why some authors called them of Vitrubian Wheel. In 1742 several mills of this kind have been found in the excavations carried out in Pompeia. Other remarkable discoveries, made by the archeologist Fernand Benoit, are Barbegal Mills, a Roman watermill complex of a great size, dated in the first decades of the IV A.D., located near Arls in southern France. It consists in a group of sixteen mills paired each other and with vertical wheels at their sides, eight at each side that passed the movement through horizontal axes and gears to the grindstone inside the building. The oldest references to the horizontal hydraulic wheel date back to the first middle of the III B.C. in Bizancio (Turkey). They could be the most ancient, because of their simple technical complexity and easy construction as they neither need any type of gears nor transmission systems. Muslim culture intensifies hydraulic use so that canals and ditches serve to supply populations, provide irrigation to orchards and movement to flour mills. In Muslim Spain there are a lot of references about the existence of large vertical wheel

flourmills in great rivers. In the chronicle called of Moor Rasis about X century and translated into Castilian, Cordoba is described as a well-equipped city of flourmills, located along the Guadalquivir and Guadalete rivers. In medieval times, the use of both types of mills was common throughout the Iberian Peninsula, so we find references to mills in law compiled in the mid-seventh century in the Liber Iudicum, establishing severe penalties to those who attempted against the mill drives or hydraulic infrastructure. During the Renaissance various types of watermills are described in the manuscripts written by Juan Pedro Lastanosa and Francisco Lobato. The manuscript of Pedro Juan Lastanosa The twenty books of mills and machines, written between 1564 and 1575 has studies of great scientific and technical value. The geographical location of the mills is completed with the contribution of Juan Lobatos manuscript about hydraulic mills in Spain.

Tide mills (sea mills) As its name suggests, this type of mills is powered by the tidal action, but not, as often thought, by the direct action of the ebb and flow. Its operation is quite simple: the rising-tide fills a pond located in the back of the mill, protected by a levee, through hatches that are closed automatically under the pressure of the accumulated water. During reflow, when the tide reaches a low enough level, the floodgates are opened and water flow, through suitable pipes, driving the wheels (or turbines) that will spin the wheels. Obviously the operation of these mills cannot be continuous, because it is tied to the rhythm of the tides, the average hours of work amounts to about 12.4 hours of every 24. In the development and evolution of the tide mills, over the centuries, various factors must be considered: The choice of locations and sites suitable for installation, which would provide the important and necessary water power. The increase of population and demand for flour. The necessary changes regarding the technical aspects of machinery, grinding wheels, etc., to finally achieve its transformation into major milling factories.

Despite the widespread use of hydraulic mill, it is difficult to find remains of these devices, since the mills were built with wooden structures, often on boats or taking advantage of the pillars of the bridges that were also wooden. Only when the construction was done with solid stone structures, the traces remain over the centuries. In the locations where mills were set up, the documentation is limited and, with oral contribution only, it is difficult to have a more accurate and higher chronological data. The use of these tide mills has unknown origins and, although its use is more typical of the Atlantic coast, there is a reference to the possibility of their existence in the Persian Gulf. A quote from the Muslim geographer Al Maqdis (Shams al-Dini, 945/946-991): The tide is a marvel and a blessing for the people of Basra. The water
visits them twice every day, and it enters the rivers and irrigates the orchards and carries the 9

ships to the villages. And when the tide ebbs it is also useful for working of the mills, because they are all situated at the mouth of the river and its tributaries. So, when the water goes out to the sea, it turns them around did Minchinton (1979) would raise the question of a

possible eastern origin of tide mills or perhaps of its existence in the tenth century A.D. We consider important to highlight some of the earliest western tidal mills: The Nendrum Monastery mill was a tide mill on an island in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. It is the earliest excavated tide mill, dating from 787 AD. Remains of an earlier mill dated at 619 A.D. were also found. Little Island mill, in the year 630 (Cork, Southern Ireland). The Ebbsfleet mill, built between 684

and 720 (Kent, England).

The oldest tidal mills in the Iberian Peninsula are in Cantabria. In the year 857, the Asturian monarch Ordoo I and his wife, Queen Mumadonna, made a generous donation of property to the church of San Salvador de Oviedo, among which are many goods in Asturias de Santillana. In a document dated April 20th 875, we can read: "in the village of Vivero, we give to the church of San Salvador", follows a list of many goods and ends with the specific mention of "the establishment of mills and integral fisheries in the olga 2 of the sea". Another mill is known as the Roidorio or Garbijos, located in the southern sector of the marshes, along the road between Noja and Argoos, dated in 927. The mill of Cerroja Escalante (Cantabria) was built in 1047 and was cited as "molino Marini", indicating its marine origin.

Olga: Space that becomes flooded regularly.


Galicia, as Cantabria, is a region rich in intertidal areas, added to the facts of their strategic locations along the coast. Their cities, ports and docks are ideal places for the installation of tide mills. Galicia could be named as "the land of the mills". In 1797 Galicia had about 8278 mills, a quarter of the total mills in Spain. It is difficult to establish the age of the tide mills in Galicia. The information is very sparse or nonexistent and is, in some cases, in public records and other private documentation. Some mills have the same construction system, although their implementation dates differ in years or centuries. One of the oldest tidal mill in Galicia, built in the 12th century, is called "Acea Da Ma" in the place of Culleredo (El Burgo, A Corua). Others also important are: The mill of Neda, dating from 1609, although according to documentation, this mill existed at an earlier time. The mill of La Seca (Cambados), 1622. Las Torres mill, dated in 1674 (according to document granted by the owner of Torres de Cereixo) The mill of Las Aceas, which appears in documents from 1681, on the island of Arosa (where the mill was built), although the construction date of the mill is earlier. In Galicia was also built the last tide mill in Europe between 1905 and 1910, it is known simply by the name of "Muio das Mareas", is located on the estuary of Ortigueira and operated until 1970. 3

-The rise and fall of the tide mills. Roger H. Charlier, Loic Menanteau and Marrie-Claire P. Chaineux.


III. THE FIRST MILLS IN NARON In these days we have two important mills in Narn, one is The Royal Factory of Juan Lestache (Reales Fbricas de la Casa de Juan Lestache), close to the Jubia Bridge, and the other is The Royal Flour Factory (Real Fbrica de Harinas), in Las Aceas del Ponto. On the right side of the Jubias River estuary, we can find an extraordinary mill dated at the end of XVIII century which still retains a commanding presence today. This Mill was part of the industrial group created by Mr. John Lestache Nugue and Francisco Bucan, consisting of a flour mill, a paper mill, a copper factory and the great Tannery Royal Factory. Very close to this mill, in the Pontos estuary, there is one of the biggest tide dam in Spain, where we can find another extraordinary construction, also from the XVIII century: the tide mill of The Royal Flour Factory which is also known as Aceas de Lembeye. These two mills were well known for its technological characteristics and grinding ability. The first one, with four stones, came to grind 300,000 bushels 4 (about three million kilos) a year; while in the second case the amount was 120,000 bushels (about one million two hundred thousand kilos). Despite its lower production, the mill of As Aceas, at that time, was the only tide mill in the region. The historical situation was as follows: the town of Ferrol, in 1749, had only 250 residents but, in no time, would become one of the cities "of more population in the ancient and vast Kingdom of Galicia" according to Montero Arostegui words. Ferrol in 1778 exceeded 30,000 inhabitants and in 1797 was over 40,000. It is in the middle of this population boom when, because the treaty of friendship and union with France -called "Pacto de Familia"- and signed by Carlos III in 1761, Ferrol became involved into a war against England and Portugal and, due to the blocking and

1 Fanega = 1.5 Bushels


insecurity of trade, the town suffered a severe shortage of cereals that caused fear among the authorities. This treaty of friendship between the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of France promotes the arrival of French citizens to the town of Ferrol, where they found a land full of opportunities. Francisco Bucau was one of the first to arrive, in 1759. Later arrived a merchant named Juan Lembeye and, around the same time, in 1760, came the surgeon Santiago Beujardn and Mathias Dufoire. Approximately six years later also arrived by sea to Ferrol, with a cargo of wheat, Juan Lestache, born at "the town of Viana, in the Kingdom of France". These people are the drivers of industrial infrastructure based on flour mills that we pass to describe.

The Jubias Mill Juan Lestache decided to make a partnership with his compatriot Francisco Bucau, with the only purpose of the "construction of two water mills to grind grain. Before the start of work they needed to manage the use of the river Jubia, since Narn jurisdictional lordship belonged to Antonio Noguerido and the Marquis of San Saturnino, from Narn and Neda respectively, owners of the Jubia rivers which goes through these towns. Being aware of the great value and benefits that these "water mills for grinding grain" would report to the county, Noguerido and the Marquis, had not the slightest hesitation in granting Lestache "full permission and authority, which by law is required" for the "use, enjoyment and exploit of the river". And so, the construction of the four mills and two buildings attached began, in place of Jubia Bridge. The two mills at the south belonged to Lestache and to Bucan the two at the North. The cost of the complex was 300,000 reales in 1789. The Jubia River, called Rio Grande de Jubia, had plenty of water throughout the year, making it the most suitable place for the construction of mills, with an estuary close by and, until recently, a navigable port for galleons, and suitable for loading and unloading of flour. They could not have chosen a better place for this building, where Lestache built the mill similar to his family's, at Vianne in the Lot-et-Garonne.

For unknown reasons, the first disagreement between both owners arise in the year 1779, the following year made crises and ended in Law Courts. The dispute was resolved in 1786, Lestache paid Bucan 300.000 reales for the two mills. This factory of Jubias Bridge had an annual milling capacity hitherto unknown in Galicia, estimated in "seventy thousand bushels 5 of wheat, one half of extra fine flour (harina de flor) and the other half of second class flour (harina de segunda suerte)" (about 3,885,000 liters and a weight of approximately 3,027,500 kg). The factory had five cleaners to eliminate dust and to separate rye, oats and stones. The clean wheat comes out from one side and the dust through another. That is the reason of the whiteness of bread. The high production capacity of this industry allowed to supply of flour to Ferrol and region, including "troops, prisoners, land and naval officers and the many workers and laborers of all classes used in the construction of hulls and weapons of His Majesty's ships, more than thirty thousand people and, besides, to export large surpluses. To send flour to America and other places, two thousand barrels were built per year, seven kilos and a half each, making a total of 172,500 kg. of flour a year. It was important the necessity to supply different types of cereal, either from nearby places as Bayonne, Bordeaux and London or from more remote cities as Amsterdam, Hamburg, St. Petersburg and even from Philadelphia, so Lestache decides to form a trading company with the brothers Santiago and Dionisio Beaujardin. In the year 1791 Lestache had a Royal Licence to obtain 50.000 bushels of wheat from Castilla. He shipped them from the port of La Requejada in Santander to Ferrol. The cost of the transportation was much cheaper by sea. 6 John Lestaches health was weak and for this reason he moved to Ferrol with the expectation of getting better. Finally he passed away on May 2th 1802 and was buried in the parish church of San Julin.

5 6

1 Fanega = 1.5 Bushels


Las Aceas Mill As for the other existing mill in Naron (Molino de las Aceas y Reales Fbricas de Harinas del Ponto), it was built by the French Santiago Beaujardin, at the time, Vice Consul of France in the town of Ferrol. Beaujardin obtained on October 10th 1785, from the Quartermaster General of the Navy, the license for the construction of a flour mill at Aceas del Ponto, in Freixeiro estuary and close to a dilapidated salt marsh of Roman origin. Shortly after, Beaujardi also received license, from the prior of the monastery of San Martn de Jubia, to build, on the site of Outeiro: "store, house, orchard and other necessary buildings". Finally, Jos Mara Bermdez, "Lord of Jubia , its ports and salt marshes" and perpetual ruler of the town of Ferrol granted permission for the works. With works already advanced and fully operational two of the three mills planned, on September 12th 1791, Santiago Beaujardin associated with his compatriot Juan Lembeye, wealthy merchant in the town of Ferrol since 1762, Royal supply commissioner for arsenals and director of the Royal shipping company, among other important positions. In 1796 Beaujardin and Lembeye, decide to dissolve their partnership, leaving Lembeye sole owner of the watermills. This tide mill, the largest of those in Galicia and, until not long ago, one of the best preserved, was built in the parish of St. Martin de Jubia, accessible by sea with small vessels. With its three mills, artifacts, warehouses and frameworks, the mill had a crushing capacity of about 37,500 bushels of wheat per year (1,387,500 liters) and, like the other mills in the area, attended the high demand of a population in constant growth since, in 1750, Ferrol hosted the most important State Shipyard in Spain. The necessary supply of wheat was guaranteed by the corporation created by Santiago Beaujardin, his brother Dionisio and the businessman Juan Lestache, also French, receiving grain from Philadelphia, in addition to regular shipments from the ports of Bayonne, Bordeaux, London, Amsterdam, Hamburg and St. Petersburg, whose destination was the port of Ferrol. In the context of current economic policy, the mills received the title of Royal Factories, granted by Carlos IV, in Aranjuez, the June 11th 1798. The Royal Decree also establish exemptions from tariffs and free trade with America, authorizing to make provision of wheat in other regions and to cut wood, for the barrels of flour, in the forests, at that time confiscated by the Navy for shipbuilding. With the losses suffered by the miller's industrial sector, where it was cheaper to bring to the port of Ferrol the sacks of flour ground in Santander, Bilbao or San Sebastin, these mills were neglected


in the last years of Juan Lembeyes life. Finally he passed away in 1823, leaving the company in a difficult situation. The property passed to John Prevarte, and after to Maria Josefa Lembeye and her husband Manuel Jos Ciaran. In 1860 the inheritors of Ciaran sold the mills to the partnership formed by Nicolas Fernandez and Jose Rodriguez, who took advantage of the milling recovery in the region, developed from 1849 by special municipal regulations and the favorable situation of the increased cereal demand in Europe, (Crimean War, 1854-55) and, in the region, for a new shipbuilding apogee of Ferrol, stable and prosperous during the five year period of government of the Liberal Union, founded by Leopoldo O'Donnell (1809-1867). 7 IV. CURRENT STATUS OF THESE MILLS The passage of time, despite his attempts of modernizing, made to appear new technologies and marketing systems that led to the closure of these facilities during the second half of the twentieth century, unable to survive in an economy more and more globalized and, why not, in a cultural environment that does not appreciate the work of the craftsman patient and proud of his work. At the beginning of 2010, the City Council of Narn tried to exploit the industrial heritage which represents the network of mills that had contributed to the splendor of flour production sector in the late eighteenth century, enhancing the research and the rehabilitation of these facilities. Considering the mill of Xubia as the banner of this network, the City Council purchased it and began a process of rehabilitation to install inside a museum that contextualizes the visitor about the rise of the milling industry in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 8 Unfortunately this project, up to the present day, has not come true, unlike others, such as Gradalle and Pedroso, which have been restored and can be visited. With respect to the mill of As Aceas do Ponto, the Coasts Administration made a project, also in 2010, to rehabilitate this 18th century flour factory, including the land expropriation by the City of Narn, so that the mill works again with the movement of the tides. 9 As in the case of Xubia mill, this project is
7 8 Anta Urigorri, La Voz de Galicia, jueves 29 de enero de 2009. 9 Raquel Iglesias, La Voz de Galicia, martes 14 de septiembre de 2010.


stalled by budget problems. The two mill complex, after many years of neglect and barely able to stand, have, nowadays, severe damage on roofs and floors. Without a cleaning and a significant consolidation, the ruin will be inevitable. A sample of the current state of the mills can be given by the fact that, despite our intention to visit them, it was impossible because of the risk of accident. Condition of the access to the tidal mill As Aceas do Ponto A forgotten eighteenth century jewel (Anta Urigorri, La Voz de Galicia 29/08/2009)


V. CONCLUSIONS Among the many aspects that could be considered along the history of these mills and its relationship with the region of Ferrol, we would like to highlight the following: The importance that, despite its apparent humility, these mills have had on the economic and social aspect, from the late eighteenth century, in our region; being considered Ferrol (factories of Lestache and Lambeye), together with Bilbao and Toulouse, one of the major flour centers of the country. To the relevance of the production of flour must be added other not minor factors, as trade, export and import of grain and other craft type activities such as blacksmithing, carpentry, cooperage, etc. Xuvia mills were highly praised in the eighteenth century. Larruga defined them as "an advantageous construction" while Cornide considers the Lestaches initiative as "worthy of public memory". 10 In the eighteenth century, the influence of the French community in Ferrol doesnt reach a dimension really important from a quantitative point of view, but they took advantage of the political and economic moment, that allowed them to play a prominent role in the social and employment scheme of the Ferrol military-industrial facilities, as in in other economic activities, reaching many important positions in the socioeconomic structure of the region. 11

Los inicios de la produccin fabril de harina en Espaa. JAVIER MORENO LZARO (Universidad de Valladolid). 11 La colectividad francesa en el Ferrol del siglo XVIII. ALFREDO MARTN GARCA. I Coloquio Internacional, Mlaga 2003.



European workshop More Than Neighbours

Teamwork Antonio Domnguez Bemposta Arantza Ajuria Mendoza Beln Ruano Santamarina Fernanda Faraldo Roca Javier Solloso Luz Caldern Garca M Carmen Varela Guntn

Teacher: Pilar Millor BIBLIOGRAFA: Ace.C3.B1as_y_molinos_de_caz Wind, Water, work. Ancien and Medieval technology. Adam Lucas. Technology and change in History. The rise and fall of the tide mills. Roger H. Charlier, Loic Menanteau and Marrie-Claire P. Chaineux. Las primeras menciones de molinos de marea en Galicia. Begoa Bas Lpez (Museo Arqueolxico e Histrico Castelo de San Antn, A Corua). The tide mill living museum ( Los inicios de la produccin fabril de harina en Espaa (1770-1801). Javier Moreno Lzaro (Universidad de Valladolid). El empresarismo industrial del negociante francs J. Lestache en El Ferrol del siglo XVIII. Antonio Meijide Pardo (miembro de las RR.AA. Gallega y de la Historia y del Instituto Jos Cornide de Estudios Corueses. Buxa Asociacin Gallega do Patrimonio Industrial. Manuel Lara Coira. Imgenes. Internet