Medieval Mills of Teviotdale

Luttrell Psalter 1320-1340 image of watermill

Watermill depicted in the early 14th century Luttrell Psalter
(British Library)

16th century map by Timothy Pont
(National Library of Scotland)

This project, for which funding sources are still being investigated, aims to identify and protect archaeological sites and assess the potential impacts of the Tweed Catchment Management Plan (Tweed Forum 2010) and the EU Water Frameworkand Floods Directives (2000/60 and 2007/60)

Water mills in Teviotdale are recorded in documentary sources from the 12th century and many mill buildings continued, albeit in rebuilt forms, to operate until only a few generations ago.  Such features as caulds (dams) and lades (mill leets) required less maintenance and more frequently preserve medieval elements.

The starting point for the proposed survey would be the cartography of the pre-industrial era, particularly Timothy Pont’s map of Teviotdale as drawn up in the late 16th century and published by Joan Blaeu in his Atlas novus of 1654.  This would be compared with the Ordnance Survey 1st Edition maps (1850s onwards) and satellite imagery to fix the location of sites and be followed by site visits to assess extent and condition.  Documentary sources so far suggest approximately 40 medieval mill sites on the River Teviot and its tributaries.

The resulting audit of sites would be presented to Historic Scotland so that appropriate measures for their protection may be taken.

Melrose medieval cauld 1

Timber and boulder dam construction exposed 
by flood action on the River Tweed

Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 1850s
(National Library of Scotland)