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Plans submitted to enhance public access to ancient mill

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A UNIQUE 12th-century Crown-owned water mill, once used by the Germans to generate electricity, could be made more accessible to the public, subject to planning permission.

David Pett at La Gigoulande Mill Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (26980180)

Moulin de Gigoulande – near the Granite Products Quarry in St Peter’s Valley – is one of nine royal water mills where tenants of Crown-owned land used to take corn for grinding.

Despite now being in a ruinous condition, the Gigoulande building is a rare example of a ‘double overshot’ mill – where water drives an upper wheel before flowing further downstream to power an additional wheel.

Extensive work has already been carried out at the site to remove overgrown vegetation and trees that had grown within the structure. Specialist stonemasons have also been employed to stabilise the mill.

Receiver general David Pett, who oversees the land on behalf of the Crown, said: ‘The Crown has recently applied for planning permission to formalise the existing two tracks through the Gigoulande Mill site to make them properly accessible to the general public.’

‘A lower path will join an upper path at the mill leat to create circular walks around the site and give views into the old mill building and where the two water wheels were positioned.

‘Over the course of 2020, and in conjunction with the Jersey Round Table, conservation work will be undertaken to reinstate the mill pond by repairing the pond wall, clearing the pond area and creating a footpath along the pond edge.’

Mr Pett added that although the mill was designed to grind grain, it was repurposed during the Occupation as a hydro-electric generator.

‘Gigoulande Mill was a Crown mill first recorded in 1247. It was one of only four water mills in the British Isles known to have been fitted with two overshot wheels whereby the water from the upper wheel fed the lower wheel,’ he said.

‘During the Occupation the lower wheel was used to generate electricity by the Germans. It was partially demolished by them when the mill was used as a refuge by escaped slave workers following a murder in St Mary.’

The other royal mills were Quètivel and Gargate in St Peter’s Valley, two in Queen’s Valley, Quevitel in St Lawrence, Grands Vaux and Mal Assis in Grands Vaux Valley and another in Le Mourier Valley.

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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