Pede's Molen

Hundelgem (Zwalm)

Features (part one)

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. - Bible, Matthew 13 (31-32)

Pede's Mill is an autonomous building. This type is rarely found in the province of East Flanders. At the back there is a door which, due to difference in height of the river bank, gives direct access to the upper floor. This door is situated right next to the dam, from where the miller can operate the sluice. Inside the mill, a wooden staircase connects the lower and upper floors. The staircase is relatively narrow and quite steep, in order to create more useful space on both levels. At the back we note traces of the existence of a window next to the staircase. The opening of this window is now blocked with bricks.

Rear view with access to the upper floor
Picture #6-1: Rear view with access to the upper floor. The window that was blocked with bricks can be seen in the lower part of the picture, three metres to the right of the door. © Jan Van Laethem

The lower level only receives light from the front, which looks out onto the court and stables. At the end of the 20th century, the main entry used to be wider and had a double door, but it has now been narrowed and brought back to its original state. The window on the front fašade, situated between the door and the brook, sheds light onto the « pit » with the « track wheel », « spur wheels » and « tentering » (see further chapters for these terms). The ground floor has no other windows at the back or side walls.

Plan of the lower floor
Illustration #6-1: Plan of the lower floor. © Jan Van Laethem

The upper level has a window and also a loading door at the front, which is situated just above the main entry. Through this loading door, equipment or other heavy objects could be lifted to the first floor by means of a pulley block. The same door also allowed sacks of flour to be transported to the courtyard, where they were loaded directly onto carts. At the east facing side wall, we find two smaller openings above the brook. These openings are equipped with hinged shutters and allow the miller to see the sluice and the water wheel from the millstone attic.

View through the first opening for the visual control of the functioning of the control gate
Picture #6-2: View through the first opening for the visual control of the functioning of the control gate © Jan Van Laethem
View through the second opening for the visual control of the bucket wheel
Picture #6-3: View through the second opening for the visual control of the bucket wheel © Jan Van Laethem
Openings in the side wall, equipped with hinged shutters
Picture #6-4: Openings in the side wall, equipped with hinged shutters. © Jan Van Laethem
View from outside through the left side opening in the side wall
Picture #6-5: View from outside through the left side opening in the side wall. We can see one of the encased millstone couples. © Jan Van Laethem
View from outside through the right side opening in the side wall
Picture #6-6: View from outside through the right side opening in the side wall. We can see another encased millstone couple and one of the belts used in the millstone attic. © Jan Van Laethem

At the west wall we find another window, which makes the upper level the best illuminated room of the mill.

Plan of the upper floor
Illustration #6-2: Plan of the upper floor © Jan Van Laethem

We would like to highlight the fine construction of the wall at the side of the brook: the lower part is carried out in white stone from Balegem. This type of pale sandstone is a local product and is typical for this region of Belgium. It is much more resistant to splashing water than porous brick.

Use of white stone from Balegem for the side wall
Picture #6-7: Use of white stone from Balegem for the side wall © Jan Van Laethem

The next chapter at a glance:

Where we look at other maps to see the widening of the brook upstream and pinpoint the location of a separate mill pond to store water in drier conditions.