Publication Details

Lucas, A. Robert. (2016). Fulling mills in medieval Europe: comparing the manuscript and archaeological evidence. Archéologie des moulins hydrauliques, à traction animale et à vent, des origines à l’époque médiévale et moderne en Europe et dans le monde méditerranéen (pp. 581-594). France: Presses universitaires de Fanche-Comte.


This paper provides a brief overview of some of the current knowledge concerning medieval fulling mills, drawing on archaelogical finds and manuscript evidence from medieval and early modern England, Wales, France, Germany and other parts of Continental Europe. Illustrations of fulling mills from 1500s and 1600s are compared with medieval accounts of their construction, main tenance and repair. This evidence suggests that fulling mills were simply conventional watermills with the same waterfeed and drive mechanisms as grain mills, but which substituted right-angled gearing and millstones with cam-operated trip-hammers, walk stocks or stamps and fulling troughs. Although there were at least two different designs of fulling mill (an observation supported by the extant illustrations), it may well be the case that other designs of fulling mill existed in France and other parts of the Continent.