Throughout
the semester in class, we read a lot of short stories, and poems. One of the
stories that stuck out to me the most to me, is The Canterbury Tales written by
Geoffrey Chaucer. This tale is based on the millers, which is the topic of my
paper. When it comes to the millers, there is a lot to know such as who they
are, what they do, how the mills worked, their role in the Feudal system, how
they make a living, what they ate, where they lived, what kind of clothing they
wore, how the millers are able to assure they can continue to make enough money
to live on, and so much more.

 To start with, a miller is someone who worked
in a mill, especially a grain mill (“Medieval Miller”). A miller
would work on a lord’s estate and rented the mill from a lord for periods of a
year at a time. A miller lived above their mills or in cottages very close to
their mills, so they could wake up and go straight to work. Millers wore Roman
style tunics made of wool and they wore leather shoes. Sometimes the millers
also wore a leather apron and cap, that was on rare occasion. Millers had a
special 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 had
better access to better grains. Unfortunately, millers did not get paid that
well as they only got one-twelfth or one-sixteenth of grains that they grew and
ground up. Some millers stole their pay before they got paid so they received
double the pay.

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Every
village had their own mill and mills were invented and built to pump water and
grind a cereal crop into flour to produce bread. Serf’s; A person who is forced
to work on a plot of land, especially during the medieval period when Europe
practiced feudalism when a few lords owned all the land and everyone else had
to toil on it (“Vocublary.com”) would bring their crops to the mills
to be ground up. The mills were considered the property of the feudal lord and
people 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”).  Sometimes
a miller and baker were carried out by the same person, and the person had a
shop 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 lords
finding out.

There
were many types of bread in the 12th and 13th century. Some of the bread was
named Pope’s loaf, Knight’s loaf, Vanet’s loaf, and much more. Also, Table
loaves were served at the tables of the rich lords of the manor. White bread
was made for the nobles, single bread was made for an average man, and ground
dark bread was made for peasants and poor people.

The
mill had multiple pieces of equipment to it including the grinding stone, water
wheel, various gears, teeth, and axels. All of these pieces were high
maintenance and required a ton of work. The mill was required to be cleaned
once a week because in the process of grinding the grain would get stuck in the
nooks and grooves, which made it become sticky and not functional. Also during
the summer, the weather was more humid so the equipment had to be cleaned more
often, as almost once a day (Millers).

The
reason the millers are able to assure that they can continue to make enough
money that they can continue on their professions and not have to change is
that the millers would sell the bread that they made from the mills to support
their lifestyles and keep the mills running. In addition, the millers still got
a set payoff one-twelfth or one-sixteenth of grains that they grew and ground
up. Another way is also with the fees that the people have to pay in order to
use the mills. This ties into sustainability because the millers are a vital
part of society and they are key to making one of the stable foods of the
medieval times. Without the millers, there would not be machines to turn crops
into flour and turn flour into bread.

The
prices 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 to
make flour into bread. The feudal system also took into consideration the amount
the banalities cost and they made sure everyone could pay for the use of mills
and other similar machines. I think this is good, because if the banalities
were set too high and nobody could pay the fees, then the villages are not
gaining any income in the fees, and they would have to find another source of
income.

 

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I'm Eleanor!

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