New Abbey Cornmill - Sarah Woodbury

New Abbey Cornmill

The New Abbey Cornmill is located by the Pow Burn in New Abbey in Scotland on land belonging historically to the Stewarts. It is water-powered and dates to the 18th century. Americans shouldn’t be confused by the fact that it’s called ‘corn’ mill. It was always designed to create oatmeal. “Corn” is a generic term for grain in the UK.

There may have been a mill at this location as early as the 1200s as part of Sweetheart Abbey. The current mill was built later, but it is still known as “Monk’s Mill”.

In the mill are examples of hand-powered grindstones, like those used since prehistoric times. Harnessing water to power mill wheels was a great step forward and dates in Britain at least back to Roman times. Even until the 1800s, country mills like New Abbey ground oats and other grains used by local people as staple foods. After this time, imported grain became more widely available, and many mills switched to producing animal feed.

Mills like this were central to every person’s life in the middle ages. These types of mills not only ground oats, but all grains. Water was also used to drive lumber mills and other craftshops up until the 20th century.

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