Monastic and prince-bishop oil mill

Trade & Craft

Berschweiler Ölmühle pano (Wikipedia CC, Urheber: LoKiLeCh, unverändert)

An Abdinghof monastery mill, whose water wheel was driven by the Riemeke brook, was already operating on the upper reaches of the Pader in the 12th century.[1] In 1432, this tenant mill is specified for the first time as „Olige Mollen“. The sequence of its tenants can be easily traced from the beginning of the 14th to the middle of the 17th century thanks to a dense tradition of names.[2] In August 1632, the Abdinghof oil mill was incinerated by the defenders of Paderborn during futile siege attempts by Hessian and Swedish troops.[3] In 1644, the monastery handed over the rebuilt oil mill together with adjacent lands to the Landdrosten von Westphalen for an annual rent of 50 Reichstaler. According to a more recent 18th century land description, the oil mill may have been converted into a „sage mill“ in the meantime.[4]

On the lower reaches of the Pader, the prince-bishops also had an oil mill built in Schloss Neuhaus in the 17th century. It is not yet clear where this Baroque facility was located – presumably it was on the Mühlenpader in the immediate vicinity of the princely grain mill.[5] In 1668 the „Olyemühle zum Newenhause“ (Neuhaus Oil Mill) was issued by the court chamber to the tenant Heinrich Veßell for 30 Taler a year for four years.[6] Around 60 years later it was „ruinous and dilapidated“ (1731).[7] In 1731 Hermann Bünnighausen, the tenant of the oil mill at the time, asked the chamber councillors to release him from the current contract because he considered grinding and pressing (with artificial light?) in the „derelict mill“ to be too dangerous.[8] Because of its fire-hazardous condition and exposed location, it was to be demolished according to the court’s plans and rebuilt outside the village. The necessary foundations had already been laid „near the fulling mill“. The building site freed up by the demolition was to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In August 1731, grain miller Henrich Rinschen, who had leased the Neuhaus rye mill at the Paderborn gate, expressed interest in acquiring the building plot. Since the old oil mill was located „near the grinding mill I run“, he welcomed the plans of the court chamber that a „wheat mill should be built there in the best interest of the prince“.[9] Rinschen therefore asked the court chamber to lease the new building of the projected wheat mill only to him. However, this did not happen. Over the next few months, Rinschen was apparently content with a few makeshift repairs to the old mill, which court architect Franz Christoph Nagel criticised in no uncertain terms as inadequate on 10 August 1732:

„[… ] that such [oil mill] is completely ruined at the one-turned wheel and chair work, for which reason the previous oil miller [Hermann Bünnighausen] as consciously then gave it up, because now the wood at the wheel work is soiled and so torn by the worm that it can no longer hold a spigot, also the oil press is so broken that the oil flows out, that it can no longer hold a spigot, and the oil press is so corroded that the oil flows out, so that it cannot be restarted otherwise than by a major repair and complete renewal“. [10]

It is not yet clear whether the „major repair” of the Neuhaus oil mill ordered by the court architect took place.

Berschweiler oil mill
Berschweiler oil mill pano (Wikipedia CC, author: LoKiLeCh, unchanged)

[1] Cf. Balzer, Untersuchungen, p. 93. It is mentioned in an episcopal confirmation document from 1183, in which the monastery claims ownership rights to the entire course of the Riembeke.

[2] Cf. Balzer, Untersuchungen, p. 92.

[3] The intention behind laying down the mill buildings was presumably to ensure a clear field of fire; a preventive military measure that was quite common in the Thirty Years’ War.

[4] Cf. Balzer, Untersuchungen, p. 90f., note 189.

[5] A report from the Paderborn court chamber, which its councillors wrote to Clemens August in June 1731, states that the old oil mill was located „in front of Neuhauß“. This probably refers to the peripheral location of the princely mills at the Paderborn gate, which lay in the southern border area to the bourgeois core development of Neuhaus. This is supported by the fact that, according to the reporters, the oil mill was considered „dangerously situated“ because its proximity to „the surrounding houses could cause a dangerous conflagration“. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, No. 744, fol. 33r. The Neuhaus „Amtsprotokoll“ (official protocol), which documents the auction of the mill building site in July 1731, shows that the ruinous oil mill and the princely grist mill had apparently used the same dam at the Paderborn „Torbrücke“ (gate bridge). Engineer and court builder Nagel reminded the chamber councillor and „Rentmeister“ Schnur of this by insisting: When selling the site, care should be taken that „because of the ‚floethwerck‘ from the turnpike onwards, the complete wall to the princely grist mill must be reserved“. Cf. extract from the minutes of the auction, 21 July 1731, LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, No. 744, fol. 39r.

[6] Cf. Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus (1672/73), LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, Nr. 1081, fol. 63v.

[7] Cf. „Unterthänigster Bericht“ of the Paderborn „Hofkammer“ (court chamber) to Fürstbischof (prince-bishop) Clemens August, 12 June 1731. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, Nr. 744, fol. 33r-34v.

[8] Cf. Bünninghausens „Memorial“ to the „Hofkammer“, 2 July 1731. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, Nr. 744, fol. 35r-36v.

[9] Cf. Memorial of the tenant Henrich Rinschen to „Kammerrat“ (chamber councillor) Freiherrn von Drenke, 13 August 1731. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, Nr. 744, fol. 41r-42v.

[10] Report by F. Chr. Nagel to the „Hofkammer“, Neuhaus 10 August 1732. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer, Nr. 744, fol. 78r.

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