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Milling is one of the oldest crafts in the Czech lands, the construction of water mills being well known since earliest times. Over the centuries the mechanism was perfected, and in the Middle Ages there was a mill in practically every village. There were also windmills or mills powered by oxen or horses. Milling was one of the so-called freelance professions. They conducted trade in the village, among other roles.

With the increasing number of water mills and other water-powered equipment, there was a need to settle relationships between the various millers. Already by the mid-14th century, an association of provincial millers – experts in the field of water rights, was set up, with powers to survey watercourses, stipulate the scale of mill earthworks, assess the technical condition of mills and so on. They also drew up a code of conduct for millers, so as to ensure their use of water for milling caused no loss to others.

Since the mills stood apart from the other village houses, millers were often the subject of gossip and were accused of earning money on the side in nefarious ways – from selling customers short on flour, to outright witchcraft, thievery and trafficking in stolen goods. The latter accusations in particular were certainly defamatory and without a grain of truth.

List of millers

List of mills

See also