Scottish windmills: an outline and inventory

Ian L Donnachie (Author)

Norma K Stewart (Author)

Grinding Grain, Cereal
15th, Late 18th


An outline of the history, development and distribution of Scottish windmills introduces an interim inventory of known survivals and a select list of documented sites. Of the 100 or so mills built between 15th and 19th cents, about forty remain but are in various states of disrepair; the only comparable restored example is in Co Down. The peak of building activity, in late 18th and early 19th cents, was due to a boom in cereal production combined with highly developed technology brought from England and Netherlands. Development, though broadly similar to that in England, began rather later, and by mid-19th cent windpower had given way to steam. Five main classes of mills are distinguished and their construction, layout and machinery described. They are mainly found on E coast, where conditions are similar to those in England and Netherlands, but occur also in exposed western districts. Mills were used for lead-ore crushing and water-pumping as well as for grinding grain.


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How to Cite
Donnachie, I. L., & Stewart, N. K. (1965). Scottish windmills: an outline and inventory. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 98, 276-299. Retrieved from