The Neuhaus fulling mill

Trade & Craft

Neuhaus, Walkmühle vor 1926 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, Repro einer Ansichtskarte,S-M4, Altertumsverein Paderborn)

One of the architectural relics of the early modern textile industry today is the Neuhaus fulling mill.[1] Its construction was presumably ordered in the course of the castle expansion by Ferdinand’s great uncle Dietrich von Fürstenberg (officiating 1585-1618) in the 1590s. Thus, in the accounting year 1596/97, the tenant of the „Walcke Mühle zum Neuwenhauß“ paid 5 Schilling and 3 Pfennig into the princely „Renteikasse“ (treasury cash register), as in subsequent years. The existence of a baroque foundation building from the year 1716, as suggested in older literature, thus appears to be questionable.[2] According to the Jesuit plan of Johannes Grothaus S. J., the water mill, which was initially only a single-stream mill, with a wheel driving a pounding mill for fulling, was still situated around 1680 about a kilometre from the town. around 1680, the mill was still located about one kilometre from the entrance to Neuhaus on the so-called „Mühlenpader“.[3] This artificial ditch was diverted by means of an „upper floodgate“ (weir) from the old branch of the Pader, which has been called the „Kleine Pader“ or “Trockene Pader” since the 18th century. Unfortunately, it is unknown when and by whom this millrace was constructed – its straight course is still attested by the Prussian original survey map of 1837. It is likely that the Mühlenpader already powered the first Neuhaus flour mill, whose miller is mentioned in a late medieval account of offices in 1445/47 as a servant of the bishop’s „Vorwerk“.[4] It is quite likely that Bishop Dietrich von Fürstenberg had the fulling mill built on the same branch of the river. This is also supported by a technical detail: the right-angled positioning of the water wheel of the fulling mill. It did not turn parallel to the direction of flow of the older millrace, as was customary, but at a right angle to the millrace on the newly constructed „millrace“. This artificial branch only rejoined the Mühlenpader in the centre of the village above the Neuhaus Lippe bridge. This meant that the water supply to the princely rye mill, which was located in the centre of the village at the „Paderborner Tor“, remained independent of the water consumption of the fulling mill above it.

„Jesuit plan“ of the course of the Pader in the 17th century by J. Grothaus S. J., c. 1680 ("Abriß der Wege von Paderborn nach dem Nienhuiße", EAB Pb, AV, PA 123, fol. 15).
„Jesuit plan“ of the course of the Pader in the 17th century by J. Grothaus S. J., c. 1680 ("Abriß der Wege von Paderborn nach dem Nienhuiße", EAB Pb, AV, PA 123, fol. 15).

During the early modern expansion of the Neuhaus mill facilities, carpenter and excavation work „an dem Mollengraben“, „an dero Mollengrafft“ or „an dem Floetwerck“ are mentioned several times in the official accounts (1603/04). Unfortunately, these early water constructions cannot be clearly located in the terrain.[5] It was not until after the Thirty Years’ War that the fulling mill was issued by the Rentkammer to private tenants on a temporary basis. In 1672 this was the fuller Henrich Roßmann, who took the site again in 1688 for a rent of 21 Reichstaler. It was probably through him that Paderborn(?) „Wandmacher“ complained to the prince-bishop that they had been kept in the mill for an unduly long time by Roßmann’s procrastination. According to the weavers’ accusation, the fuller had neglected to thoroughly clear the riverbed of the Mühlenpader of lush vegetation and sedimentation.[6] This had severely restricted the inflow of process water. The fullers had to lie off Neuhaus for a whole eight days and were only able to full a few cloths due to the lack of water. In order to obtain any appreciable drive at all, the millers finally had to take up the shovel themselves, accepting „neglect and expense“, and „dig out some [earth] at the top of the meadows“.[7] In order to be able to avoid operational hindrances of this kind in the future, the Court Chamber leased its mill directly to the Paderborn „Wandmacheramt“ in the 1730s. On 15 June 1733, the „Ambtsgenosse[n]“ Henrich Dust, as Roßmann’s successor, was awarded the princely „Bockemühlen [= fulling machinery] together with the dwelling and the small garden“ for a period of four years.[8]

"Die Walch-Mühle" from Christoff Weigel: Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt=Stände [...], Regensburg 1698.
"Die Walch-Mühle" from Christoff Weigel: Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt=Stände [...], Regensburg 1698.

In addition to the smooth water supply („Vorflut“), the Neuhaus millers were also responsible for flood protection on the lower Pader. In a lease contract for the grain miller Johan Heinrich Volmari (1711), a corresponding „environmental requirement“ is laid down in writing. The whale miller and the grain miller were to jointly supervise the „obern Floetwerke vnnd [deren] Schütte“[9], especially if persistent or heavy rain were to endanger the cultivated land on the lower reaches of the Pader. This duty to protect was also reiterated in the follow-up contract of 1733 to the whale miller as the riparian owner of the grain mill.[10] The general danger situation in the 1780s can be seen from a more recent petition addressed by some „Eingesessene zu Neuhaus“ to their new sovereign, Prince-Bishop Franz Egon von Fürstenberg (officiating 1789-1802/25):

„Between the city of Paderborn and the village of Neuhauß, where the Pader divides into two rivers, namely the small and the large Pader, a floodgate has always been maintained, by means of which the Neuhaus grist and whale millers/: are, according to older miller contracts, liable for all damage caused by flooding:/ are obliged to keep the water within bounds and, as required, to distribute it in both of the above-mentioned rivers in such a way that it cannot escape from its banks and flood and damage the land along it.“[11]

However, the aforementioned weir (Oberes Flutwerk) „has been in such disrepair for many years that there are hardly any traces left of it“.[12] Consequently, at the end of the 18th century, the middle reaches of the Pader lacked an efficient protective structure to regulate the seasonally rising floods of the river. As early as 1783, according to the whale miller Simon Fromme, „the floetwerck“ as well as the „grose waßer Rad“ (large water wheel) of his mill had deteriorated to such an extent that „no specific use“ could be made of it.[13]

After extensive repair work on the going mill machinery and standing timber frame,[14] the financing of which was assumed by the princely court chamber as owner, the fulling mill was again issued to its previous tenant Simon Fromme for eight years in 1799.[15] Presumably in return for the generous assumption of costs, the fuller undertook in the new contract to clean the entire Mühlenpader „from the outflow from Paderborn to the fulling mill“ as well as to maintain the Kleine Pader.[16]

With the change of power in 1802/03, the bishop’s fulling mill fell to Prussia. In 1806 it became part of the Neuhaus textile factory planned by the Lippstadt merchants Zurbelle and Delhas. For this purpose, the „Kriegs- und Domänenkammer“ in Münster transferred to the two entrepreneurs in a hereditary lease not only the „Marstall building, together with the green- and orangery house and other buildings“, but also „a large part of the castle garden“ and „the fulling mill outside Neuhaus together with some meadows.“[17] As in their baroque heyday, the merchants again recruited skilled personnel at the beginning of the 19th century. In addition to the factory inspector Welter, cloth shearers and weavers „from the region of Aachen and Eupen“ had also been drawn to Neuhaus. While Napoleon’s Continental Blockade and the occupation of northern Germany merely interrupted sales of Neuhaus textile products from 1810 onwards, the increased import of competing English products after the peace treaty of 1814/15 brought the company to a quick end.[18] With the end of the cloth factory, the fulling mill also ceased to serve local textile production in 1819. Its new tenant, mill owner Ludwig Gockel, took over its buildings and land from the Prussian state on 24 October 1821. In May 1828, he was allowed to install a grinding gear to replace the old fulling mechanism.[19] This converted the craftsman’s mill, which retained its original function in the local vernacular, into a flour mill. In the Neuhaus land register of 1832, Friedrich Bode is named as the new tenant of the „Walkemühle“, the survey of which revealed a plot size of around 77 „Quadratruten“ (square rods) (Flur VII, Parz. 3).[20] Apparently business at the new grain mill was profitable in the 1830s and 1840s. Therefore, with a concession of 27 December 1843, whale miller Franz Tüllmann had a second channel built on the „Mühlenstrang“, complete with wheel, for an additional grinding mill.[21]

In the early 1870s, Gockel’s competitor Friedrich Müller, who already owned the two grain mills in the village, briefly took over the fulling mill as well.[22] In 1885, Müller and his wife Minna, née Ohrmann (*1861), moved into their home in the premises.[23] The Müllers continued to operate the fulling mill independently until 1909, before it became the property of the „Neuhäuser Mühlenwerke“. Between 1913 and 1922, the old water mill probably ceased its milling operations for good.[24] The farm buildings were converted into flats and rented out privately.[25] In 1966, the former mill building was completely demolished; only the remains of the former dam are still visible on the Mühlenpader today.

Dam of the former „Neuhäuser Walkmühle“ on the Mühlen-Pader (Photo M. Ströhmer 2019)
Dam of the former „Neuhäuser Walkmühle“ on the Mühlen-Pader (Photo M. Ströhmer 2019)

[1] Cf. Winter, Franz Josef: Schloß Neuhaus in alten Ansichten, Zaltbommel 1984, Fig. 24.

[2] LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus (1596/97), Nr. 1046, fol. 46r. The previous assumption that the princely fulling mill was a new Baroque building, according to a dated coat of arms stone (1716) that Prince-Bishop Franz Arnold von Wolff-Metternich had attached to the canal above the mill gate, must therefore be critically questioned. Cf. Middeke, Josef: Bild der Heimat, in: Die Residenz 5/25 (1966), p. 1-7; here p. 5; Winter, Schloß Neuhaus, Fig. 24.

[3] Cf. „Abriß der Wege von Paderborn nach dem Nienhuiße“ in Koch, Frühe Verkehrsstraßen, pp. 248, Fig. 71.

[4] Cf. Rade, Bewohner, p. 27.

[5] Cf. for the accounting year 1603/04: LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus Nr. 1046, fol. 106r-111r.

[6] Cf. Beschwerdeschrift der Wandmacher, o. D. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 354, fol. 114r-114v.

[7] Ibid.

[8] LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 765, fol. 22r-23v.

[9] „Newhausischer Mühlen Contract“, 21. Mär. 1711. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 765, fol. 14r-16v.

[10] Vgl. Art. 6, lease agreement of 15 June 1733: „[…] Finally, the millers are also seriously ordered to manage the water in such a way that the princely mill at Newhauß does not lose any of it, to which end they should also be committed, to take good care of the topmost waterworks, so that the same is always provided with the necessary water, and to supply the water in such a way that the necessary water is led into the mill river [Mühlenpader], and no harmful overflow may be caused.[…].“ LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 765, fol. 23v.

[11] „Unterthänige Bittschrift“, undated (around 1789). LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 3044, fol. 30r-32v.

[12] Ibid., fol. 30v. In August 1798, the tenant Simon Fromme, who had taken over the fulling mill in 1783, claimed to the court chamber that his predecessor Ferdinand Tewes had let the mill, including the tidal mechanism, fall into disrepair due to „incapacity“. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 766, fol. 1v-3v.

[13] Cf. lease agreement of Simon Fromme, undated (end of 1783). LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 765, fol. 39r-39v.

[14] The cost estimate explicitly mentions: Renewal of two wooden stamps made of beech wood, repair of the wheel chair, manufacture of a new water wheel, replacement of various supports on the northern half-timbered wall, new roof covering. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 766, fol. 9r-12v.

[15] Cf. lease agreement of 21 October 1799, LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 766, fol. 14r-15r.

[16] Ibid., Art. 2, fol. 14v.

[17] Preußische Ortschronik für Neuhaus (1818/19). StadtA Pb, H Schloß Neuhaus -1, pp. 5.

[18] Cf. ibid., p. 18; Wurm, Neuhaus, pp. 71.

[19] Cf. letter by the miller Louis Gockel to Amtmann Christiani zu Neuhaus, 13 April 1858. LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

[20] Mutterrolle (1832), LA Detmold, M 5 C, Nr. 1469, No. 14.

[21] Cf. application of the mill owner Louis Gockel to the district government of Minden, 30 January 1860. LA Detmold, Regierung Minden I U, Nr. 659, unfol.

[22] Cf. Mutterrolle of the Neuhaus cadastre (1867): While Louis Gockel is still listed as miller and owner of the fulling mill in 1867, Friedrich Müller is entered as the new mill owner „pro 1875“. LA Detmold, M 5 C, Nr. 5371, Art. 208.

[23] Cf. testimonial of the widow of Fritz Müller, interrogation transcript of 14 November 1925, trial file Thombansen ./. Rosenthal (1924/25). StadtA Pb, A 3713, unfol.

[24] Cf. Schäfers, Standorte, p. 85; Winter, Schloß Neuhaus, Fig. 24.

[25] In 1925, in addition to the widow Minna Müller, the merchant Franz Osthoff and Wilhelm Ottenlips lived here with his family. Cf. trial file Thombansen v. Rosenthal (1924/25), interrogation transcript of 14 November  1925. StadtA Pb, A 3713, unfol.

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