Throughoutthe semester in class, we read a lot of short stories, and poems.
One of thestories that stuck out to me the most to me, is The Canterbury Tales written byGeoffrey Chaucer. This tale is based on the millers, which is the topic of mypaper. When it comes to the millers, there is a lot to know such as who theyare, what they do, how the mills worked, their role in the Feudal system, howthey make a living, what they ate, where they lived, what kind of clothing theywore, how the millers are able to assure they can continue to make enough moneyto live on, and so much more. To start with, a miller is someone who workedin a mill, especially a grain mill (“Medieval Miller”). A millerwould work on a lord’s estate and rented the mill from a lord for periods of ayear at a time. A miller lived above their mills or in cottages very close totheir mills, so they could wake up and go straight to work. Millers wore Romanstyle tunics made of wool and they wore leather shoes.
Sometimes the millersalso wore a leather apron and cap, that was on rare occasion. Millers had aspecial food diet, in which they ate similar to a serf, eating pottage, soup,bread, ale and sometimes pork. miller’s had better bread because they hadbetter access to better grains. Unfortunately, millers did not get paid thatwell as they only got one-twelfth or one-sixteenth of grains that they grew andground up.
Some millers stole their pay before they got paid so they receiveddouble the pay. Everyvillage had their own mill and mills were invented and built to pump water andgrind a cereal crop into flour to produce bread. Serf’s; A person who is forcedto work on a plot of land, especially during the medieval period when Europepracticed feudalism when a few lords owned all the land and everyone else hadto toil on it (“Vocublary.com”) would bring their crops to the millsto be ground up. The mills were considered the property of the feudal lord andpeople who used the mills had to pay the miller a banality for using it.Banalities were a fee imposed by the feudal lord for the use of the mill(“Medieval Chronicles”). Sometimesa miller and baker were carried out by the same person, and the person had ashop near the mill where they baked bread, once they made the flour into bread.The shop was nearby so the miller could do both jobs at once, without the lordsfinding out.
Therewere many types of bread in the 12th and 13th century. Some of the bread wasnamed Pope’s loaf, Knight’s loaf, Vanet’s loaf, and much more. Also, Tableloaves were served at the tables of the rich lords of the manor. White breadwas made for the nobles, single bread was made for an average man, and grounddark bread was made for peasants and poor people. Themill had multiple pieces of equipment to it including the grinding stone, waterwheel, various gears, teeth, and axels.
All of these pieces were highmaintenance and required a ton of work. The mill was required to be cleanedonce a week because in the process of grinding the grain would get stuck in thenooks and grooves, which made it become sticky and not functional. Also duringthe summer, the weather was more humid so the equipment had to be cleaned moreoften, as almost once a day (Millers). Thereason the millers are able to assure that they can continue to make enoughmoney that they can continue on their professions and not have to change isthat the millers would sell the bread that they made from the mills to supporttheir lifestyles and keep the mills running. In addition, the millers still gota set payoff one-twelfth or one-sixteenth of grains that they grew and groundup. Another way is also with the fees that the people have to pay in order touse the mills. This ties into sustainability because the millers are a vitalpart of society and they are key to making one of the stable foods of themedieval times.
Without the millers, there would not be machines to turn cropsinto flour and turn flour into bread. Theprices of the food products and grain were set so that both the serfs,peasants, millers, and anybody else could afford the crops to use the mill tomake flour into bread. The feudal system also took into consideration the amountthe banalities cost and they made sure everyone could pay for the use of millsand other similar machines. I think this is good, because if the banalitieswere set too high and nobody could pay the fees, then the villages are notgaining any income in the fees, and they would have to find another source ofincome.