The Old Mill History
Le Moulin de Vigonac was built in the 16th Century on the Dronne River in Brantôme (Périgord). Formerly a dependence of the Abbey of Brantôme, it was run by the Benedictine monks. It was sold at start of the French Revolution.
At this time, the Mill was fitted with a Mansard roof, which added another level to the building. The grain was stored under the roof before being fed down to the millstone. The Mill produced walnut oil in addition to flour. The millstones are the last remnants still visible from the grinding mechanism. Today, they serve an ornamental purpose on different parts of the property.
In the 19th Century, a Master’s house was built next to the Mill. Subsequently, the out buildings were developed. The owner ran the Mill and the stables sheltered horses and mules used to pull carts full of grain. The Mill’s activity combined farming with the Mill’s own production.
At the dawn of the 20th Century, the impact of Industrialisation, the costs of transformation and employment, put an end to the activity of many mills. Some, however, survived and made a new start.
Le Moulin de Vigonac was reborn at beginning of the 20th Century as a shoe and slipper workshop. More than ten people were employed; and life is easy when one works on the banks of the Dronne. Lunch is taken on the grass of the little islands next to the Mill or on the old elevated millstones used as tables.
After the war, the Mill remained active but in 1962 a fire destroyed the building, taking away the upper part. A new roof was fitted in the 1970’s by the new owner in order to protect the walls. From then on, the Mill stopped production to become just a derelict building on the banks of the Dronne.
Our family occupies the building in 1984. The Master’s house is habitable but the dependences and the Mill itself have fallen into ruins. Tenants at first, we become the owners in 1997. From that moment, the most ambitious dreams of the owner start taking shape: “We must rehabilitate this old Mill; for any ruin is a not only a signature of the past but also the sign of a renunciation”.
Capitalising on our experience in the hotel and restaurant business, we picture the Mill and its dependences fully restored and lay down the bases of a new life for the Moulin de Vigonac. The job appears colossal and the cost out of reach.
The only viable option is to start the administrative paperwork and start part of reconstruction by ourselves. For several years, while keeping on with our professions, we invested in the purchase of the first materials and we have achieved the cleaning and rebuilding of the shell of the Mill.
“ Mad ! ” some would say…. No ; only people passionate for old stones and wishing to give a new life to this property.
Now, let's discover together the photos of the work.