History: English Windmills and Watermills

Ref: C3528529

This illustrated course will bring the history of the English Windmill and Watermill to life, explaining the different types that evolved and the uses to which they were put. From the drudgery of the hand quern the invention of mechanical means transformed the production of flour for the making of bread. The course will include a study of West Country mills with an emphasis on those in Wiltshire. There will be no meeting on the 26 Oct (Half Term).

Additional information about this course

Non SFA course. No fee remittance

Course aim

To obtain an appreciation of the origins and development of the English Mill and the different types that evolved. To obtain an appreciation of how a traditional corn mill produces flour.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise the different types of windmill and watermill.
  • Describe how a Corn Mill works.
  • Explain the contribution windmills & watermills made to the social, economic and technical developments in England, from the times of the Romans.
  • Identify the primary and secondary sources available for further research, including the internet.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Handouts will be provided throughout the course.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • A list of available books and internet sites will be provided during the course.

What can I do next?

  • Visit local sites. Undertake further study. Join the SPAB (Mills Section). Become a Friend of the Mills Archive.

Download full Course information sheet

History: English Windmills and Watermills


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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