mardi 2 février 2010

Moulin de St Jean - its history

Our Site Inspector - Maitre d'Oeuvre - Father Christmas - Pere Noel 
un lien vers notre blog dedie aux recherches de l'histoire de notre moulin:

Thank goodness I was introduced to a local historian, I had been looking in totally the wrong place to research the history of our mill.  Because the mill, known locally as the Moulin Degrave, after a previous owner, was a property owned by the Knights Templar, all records are part of the Fonds de Malte, which come under the Haute Garonne and as such are kept at the Archives in Toulouse.  I had been making enquiries at our Archives in Carcassonne, and had found nothing.  The name Degrave is also a relatively recent name, now that we know the history dates back to at least 1260!!!

What I found incredible was that some of this information came from an ancient, rat-chewed, coverless old book written in 1555, found in the attic of an old local notaire, it was given to a local historian and I was recently pointed in his direction.  This book was plonked on the table when I met this historian, I was shocked but fascinated, it was in terrible condition, written partly in latin and partly in Occitain - old local french.  The historian taught himself to read this old french in order to read the book as research for a book he is writing.  Not only did he have to do this,  but he also had to brush up his school boy latin to a very high level and decipher the abbreviations used throughout the book.  His main interest started with old place names in the area, which he said gave some of the biggest clues to the history of our mill and the surrounding land.

The historian had been trying to contact us for some time and I had received various messages from him via several other people in our village.  I finally managed to arrange a meeting after he had told me to take the signpost down on the main road as the name of my mill was wrong.  I needed my wits about me at this meeting, all his 'notes' for me were in miniscule hand writing on a piece of paper about 4ins by 2ins.  When he started talking to me about the history I started taking notes - but in what language???  He was rapidly giving me references in, french, Occitain, and latin, my brain was working overtime, and when I tried to look over the table at his notes I could not read them they were so small.  I wrote a very rapid time line for the mill which is a list of previous owners made up from ancient notaire's records.  All the notaires are named and quotations from documents seen in Toulouse by the historian are clearly recorded.  As this ancient book was in the local man's possession I was able to ask for an immediate photocopy of the document of 1555, which I will scan when possible and add to this blog, for now, here is a timeline for our mill.


The following list of relevant dates for the mill were the result of detailed research over many years by a historian in the next village.
Additional information traced by the owners in the records of births, deaths and marriages for the village since

Olivier de Termes sold a great deal of property to the Templars, including the Moulin de St Jean, but the mill was not yet named in documents.
 This document is written on a hand sewn roll of parchment, in the archives des Fonds de Malte at the Archives de Haute Garonne in Toulouse - a copy of which was given to the historian in Felines.

“ Quandam pecia terre in termineo sti martini de vilario ubi voccatur ad lamaloledam affrontat de meridie in recho molindini” this is a reference to the Moulin de St Jean

  The mill and the land were part of the 'reserves' of the seigneurs - Knight’s Templar - the 'Condamine' - the land between our mill and the other mill linked to us is where the farmers, employed by the Knights and the people who rented the land, grew their fruits and vegetables.

Terrier de Laroque - old records name the Molin Na'mira (literally the Mill of Mrs. Mira)
Which is now known as the Moulin de Cabrol, the next mill along from ours, and is also owned privately.

        At this time there was a depression in the region after the plague which killed half
        the population, this probably contributed to the fact that the mill is not named before

in the archives of Maitre Matthieu Graffan - Notaire in Villerouge - original book now in the possession of local historian, given to him by Maitre Oustric of
        Fabrezan - I saw this original document, partly eaten by rats ! And have a copy of
        the relevant page for 3rd June.
        “Le molin bladier du seigneur commandeur de Holms ( now Homps) nome le Molin
        de St Jehan.  M. de Badans - Lord of Laroque.
" - “Grain mill owned by the Lord                 commander of Homps - called the Mill of St. Jehan (Jean)”

        The two mills were owned by the same lord and were often rented out to the same person.

        Rental agreement for the Moulin de St Jean in Laroque de Fa
        Notaire Me. Francois Graffan

   In the archives of the Fond de Malte - “Chemin que font les habitants de Davejan
        pour aller au Molin de St Jehan” - “A track used by the residents from Davejean to
        the Moulin de St. Jean”.

1608        In the archives of the Fond de Malte
         - “un ylhe a la passiere )pronounced Pashier) du molin St Jehan” refers
        To an ‘island’ of land in the mill race of St. Jean’s mill - possible reference to the dam
1608        26 may: again in the archives of the Fonds de Malte.
        “chemin des Molins de Namira et du Commandeur”  the road to the mills of Namira
        And the Commandeur (Moulin de St. Jean)

There is a much larger list of references that I have in fact just deleted as they name families still living in the village and we have not yet asked permissions, needless to say the list of information is amazing.

       The mill has then been known over the years by four different names:

        Molin de St Jehan
        Moulin de St Jean
        Moulin Roquenoire
        Moulin Degrave

2010        January - The present owners, have reverted to the original Templar name of Moulin de St Jean
                Moulin de St Jean, and with the knowledge of these names and notaires we can probably obtain
                further references and maybe documents from other local Archives.We are totally endebted to this
                local historian, now a friend.  I have not named him here yet as I have not asked his permission.  A
                copy of this history in french is on our other French blog dedicated to the research and
                renovation of the mill. 

Here is a link to the blog:

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