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The Fountains corn mill

The corn mill at Fountains
© Dave Macleod
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The corn mill at Fountains

The corn-mill is the most complete of its kind in England and probably the oldest Cistercian mill in Europe.(32) Although the cornmill has not been excavated, it has undergone rigorous archaeological analysis.(33) This three-storey building originally extended over 100 feet long and was over 25 feet wide. In the thirteenth century the building was extended and a third storey added to house a granary. Much of this thirteenth-century structure survives.(34) The cornmill was driven by a mill-race. To create this, part of the River Skell was diverted, about two hundred yards uphill from the mill. At the time of the Dissolution in the sixteenth century, the cornmill was driven by two undershot wheels and was considerably larger than most other structures of this kind in England; in fact, it has been suggested that it was more similar to French than English water-mills.(35) The cornmill continued to function after the Dissolution and remained in use until 1937.