The daily grind: Monastic milling in Britain
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Adam Lucas has written another excellent book on medieval history and technology. His approach follows in many ways those of John Langdon and Richard Holt, whose influence he graciously acknowledges. Lucas also continues their challenge to older theories about water-powered mills. What his study adds to theirs is a considerable additional number of medieval monastic and ecclesiastical communities and their mills, most of these located in parts of England much less studied earlier. Thus, he adds considerably to our overall knowledge of milling resources available in England after Domesday and the varied costs of using water- and wind-powered mills. There is much that is good, useful, and innovative in this study.
Lucas argues that the conclusions of Marc Bloch’s 1935 article on the advent and triumph of the medieval water mill as a tool of seigneurial oppression cannot be wholly sustained for all of Europe; in many places, including in parts of England and in the holdings of particular...