Mills in Altoaragón - harinero


Castigaleu lies in the Ribagorza region and is easily found from Graus. Take the main road to Capella and La Puebla de Roda and turn right after a while to Lascuarre and Castigaleu. Drive through the village and then right again towards Luzás and Tolva — At the right in the depth you'll see the other mill which was restored in 2010. The road at some point turns sharply to the right and then longs a small rivulet: the Barranco de Monesma. Drop the car. Walk against the current or take the service road about 200m back. Either way you'll reach the mill, known as Pucharcos, after about two thirds of a kilometer.

(1) Molino Pucharcos of Castigaleu

A lovely spot with a mill taken straight from a fairy tale. The front wall shows the typical layout —small window above a wide open cárcavo— found in many of the smaller mills (see f.e. Bara, Solanilla, Ainielle) but small extensions like rondavels lean against the kernel building giving the whole a special cachet. The layout of the site, however, follows pretty much the general rule. The entrance is oriented to the east (right hand side in pict. 1). First comes the shelter (2) which is kind of a porch where the beasts of burden could rest in the shadow. At the right side a door gives access to a space separated from the workfloor. It's precise purpose is not clear. I consider the space too small for living quarters. Perhaps a storage room? (room: 2 right, door: 3 right)

(2) Porch (3) Entrance door

At the left side the porch communicates with a rondavel-like structure. It is probably a later addition by the miller himself because the stones are not interlocked (pict. 2 shows a considerable gap). I'm not sure about its use. A solid wooden door opens into the mill proper, which is guarded by a huge calvary cross (7) at one of the doorposts. Roughly half of the floor is an elevated stone floor (4) with a lonely bedstone (6) half hidden below the debris of the roof.

(4) Interior right from door (5) Interior straight behind door

The guardapolvo (5, the wooden case keeping the flour in check) lies on the floor. Next to the door some steps lead up to the stone floor. At the other side a crane (4, grua with cabra) stands idle.

Lost between the rubbish lay some forgotten meal paddles (8). They were used to move the meal and pour it into a sack. Notice that they only have a single thumb hole; there is no long hole for the fingers like we've found in Almunias de Rodellar. Paddles were often made on-site and that may explain why not all are similar.

(6) Milling stone

(7) Calvary cross (8) Meal bin paddles (9) The bolting machine

The most striking item in the room is positioned against the wall opposite the entrance (5): a bolting machine —a contraption most often found in bigger mills (e.g. Yesero, Castillazuelo, Centenera running also a bakery business). Our specimen is in a rather good condition —apart from the gauze, which is probably eaten by moths.

A bolting machine is a tool used to split the flour into three frac­tions: la primera or cabe­zuela blanca (very fine), segunda or cabe­zuela gris (fine) and tercera or moyuelos (coarse) corresponding with the three valves shown in pict. 10. The finer fractions could be processed again in order to obtain more types of meal.

Meal is poured in the receptacle at the top (9). A belt ran between both wheels on the short side (9) and when the crank was operated a worm wheel fed flour to the bolting machine. The crank is connected with an inner axle mounted between the short sides. An octagonal prism is mounted on this rod which is slightly off horizontal in order to drift the meal from one end to the other.

The prism is lined with gauze with a different mesh for each section. Small mallets of wood inside the prism kept the flour off lumping while the crank was turned. Eventually the fractions were captured in small recipients placed below the valves.

(10) Three valves for three flour fractions

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