Latin, molinus, molendinus.

Mills and plough teams were the two major sources of power harnessed by the early medieval economy. Domesday Book shows that England was rich in both.

Early mills were water mills. They are first recorded in England in the second half of the eighth century, and with increasing frequency thereafter. Even so, we would have no idea of the sheer number of mills in existence but for Domesday Book, which records more than 6000, over 99% of the mills known to have existed prior to the end of the eleventh century. This is highly significant for our understanding of the economic resources of early medieval England. Allowing for the inevitable omissions in the Domesday record, 6000 mills represents something like a mill for every two vills in the country. Of these 6000 mills, over 5000 are recorded in Great Domesday.

For Domesday mills, see H.C. Darby, Domesday England (1977); and Richard Holt, The mills of medieval England (1988).

See also appurtenances.