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Windmills


There have been a good number of windmills in Malta and Gozo. At least 69 stone windmills. Almost all the windmills were grain mills. There were about 54 in Malta and 15 in Gozo. Only 2 of these mills still have sails.

In 1530 there was one windmill in Malta and in 1565 two. Those were post mills in what now is Senglea.   The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. The defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind.This technology was introduced in Malta by the Knights of St John in 1530 from Rhodes.

Nearly all the windmills have been built by the Knights of St John. Most of the windmills were built between 1663 and 1773. But earlier there were those built by Lascaris (1636-1657). Lascaris commissioned 4 in Malta and 1 in Gozo.

Grandmaster Nicola Cotoner (1663-1680) and his brother Rafael (1660-1663) built the mills in Bormla, Zebbug, Floriana (2), Naxxar and Zurrieq. Later they built the mills in Lija, Zejtun, Gudja and another one in Zebbug. The technology of these windmills was introduced from the Balearic Islands. Cottoner came from those islands.

Another Grandmaster who commissioned windmills was Antonio Manoel de Vilhena (1722-1736). He built 5 mills namely in Rabat, Ghargur , Zurrieq , Birkirkara , and one between Ghaxag and Zejtun.

Round 1726 another 3 mills were built in Gozo and another one in Naxxar.

At that time there were 16 windmills in operation. In 1826 there were 26 in Malta and 5 in Gozo.

Every windmill was in sight of its neighbouring windmills from the openings in the tower so that the miller could see whether the others were working or not. This situation might have made windmills a part of a communication and defence system.

The monopoly on windmills by the Government ended in 1838. Everybody was allowed to build a windmill. A lot of windmills were built from 1838.

Most of the mills were already relicts in 1900 as a consequence of the introduction of steam driven mills. Steam mills developed progressively round Grand Harbour.

Almost all the windmills have the same building plan. The tower (tromba) is surrounded by a stone quadrangular building. The tower is 3 metres in diameter and is 15 metres high.

The main entrance gave access to a hall. On both sides of the hall there were two rooms, one for the reception of grain and the other for the storage of flour. Behind the hall there was the entrance to the tower and the about 50 circular steps (garigor) in the tower. The room behind the hall and the rooms on the first floor were used by the miller and its family.

The mechanism was of a normal type and was located at the top of the tower. Mostly it operated one pair of grinding stones.

image


A List of Windmills


Location Name of mill Built Notes
Attard 1862 Demolished, base remains.
Birkirkara Ta’ Ganu’s Mill 1724 Built in 1724 by Manoel de Vilhena. Was in use till 1929. After World War II it was still serving as a blacksmith’s workshop. In 1985/9 the building was restored. The stairs were rebuilt and  water and electricity introduced. Now a ceramist Gabriel Caruana, keeps the mill alive turning out his own work and exhibiting those of other artists.
Birkirkara Ghar il-Gobon Mill c. 1685 Built by Grand Master Gregorio Carafa . Is in the area of Has-Sajjied.  It was converted into a house.
Birkirkara This was a saw mill, long since vanished. The building it stood on now sports a small model windmill.
Cospicua San Gwann t’Ghuxa Mill 1674 This mill was built by the Cottoner brothers in 1674.
Cospicua St Margaret Mill 1674 Its mechanism was dismantled to restore the Ta’ Xarolla windmill in Zurrieq during the 1970s.
Floriana St Francis Ravelin c. 1670 Demolished
Floriana St Francis St / Sarria St (2nd mill) c. 1670 Demolished
Floriana Pjazza Robert Samut Demolished
Għargħur Għargħur Mill 1724 Built in 1724 by Manoel de Vilhena on a hill. Mill and base are in use as a private residence and an extension to the base was built. It is not known when the mill was dismantled. Next to the mill is a historic stone  water tank.
Gudja c. 1670 Demolished 1930
Kalkara Fort Ricasoli Mill 1834 Demolished
Kirkop Demolished
Lija Tal-Mirakli Mill/Ghadiret il-Bordi Mill 1674 Built by Cotoner in 1674, probably on the foundation of an old church. Cotoner was also the owner. Later the mill became a blacksmith’s forge till 1991. The mill has a round base, which is very unusally in Malta. The Ghadiriet il-Bordi windmill in Tal-Mirakli in Lija has been handed over from the Government to the Lija Local Council.  In 1992 the mill is restored and rebuilt. It is used by the local Council for cultural and social activities.
Luqa c. 1650 Demolished 1943
Mellieha Late 17th century This was the last of the 3 mills built in Mellieha. It has been converted to a restaurant specialising in fish.
Mellieha New Mill Street c. 1849 Demolished
Mellieha Old Mill Street c. 1800 Demolished in 1920, base remains converted to a house.
Mosta Mosta Mill 17th century Probably built by Lascaris. House conversion
Mosta Jesus of Nazareth Mill 1757 Part of the machinery is still there. The base and the base of the tower is reddish. On the main door of this windmill there is the coat of arms of Grand Master Gregorio Carafa (1680-1690) which may indicate that an earlier structure already existed before the present building which bears the date 1757. Its architect was Francesco Zerafa and the capomastro was Master Nicola Camilleri of Siggiewi. It was converted to a farmhouse.
Mqabba Mqabba Mill 18th century Lost its sails in 1870. In use as a private house.
Naxxar Tas-Sghajtar Mill c. 1670 Built by Cotoner.  In use as a private house.  There are no stairs in the tower.
Naxxar Tal-Ghaqba Mill 1710 century Built by Perellos. The machinery is largely present. The base is in use as a private house. The tower was restored in 2002.
Naxxar Ta’ Darninu Mill 18th century Ta ‘Darninu (Ninu’s house) is located in a new housing estate. The tower is on a high base. The neighbouring building was blown up by an illegal fireworks accident on 28 March 2008.  The mill was undamaged.  It was converted to a private residence.
Naxxar Santa Lucija Mill 18th century The tower still has a conical roof. House conversion.  Used also as an art studio.
Naxxar Old Mill c. 1730 Built by Manoel de Vilhena. However the date 1828 is inscribed on a wall. There is no machinery left and base and tower are in use as a private house. Probabaly dismantled a very long time ago.
Paola Demolished
Qormi Qormi Mill c. 1685 Before this mill was built there were a lot of mule-driven flour mills in Qormi.  Most of the bread in Malta came Qormi up till there was built a bakery in Valletta by the Order of St.John. The Sammut family were the owners of this mill. Built by Carafa.
Qrendi Qrendi Mill c. 1695 Built by Caraffa.  In use as workshop. Next to the mill is a stone quarry. The stone niche is dedicated to Santa Katerina whose chapel is located a few meters away.
Rabat Ta’ Gakki Mill 18th century In use as a private house. Against the base there is a mill stone.
Rabat Rabat Mill c. 1685 Built by Carafa.  Above the main door there is the Grandmaster’s coat of arms – now defaced. House conversion
Rabat Tal-Balla Mill/ Ta Gheriexem Mill c. 1730 Built by Manoel de Vilhena. The mill is surrounded by houses and can hardly be seen. In use as a private house.
Senglea Windmill Hill Mill 1536 This was a post mill.  The mills in Senglea were the earliest referred to in engravings. Built by the Knights of St John intoducing the technology from Rhodes.
Senglea Windmill Hill Mill This was a post mill
Siġġiewi Siġġiewi Mill 18th century The tower was in a bad state and it has a typical roof. In the tower there was a spiral staircase. On this windmill tower was a water tank  of the Water Services Corporation. Since the water pressure is today generated by electric water pumps, the tank has been removed.
Siġġiewi Tal-Barba Zepp Mill 1879 Built by Joseph Sammut. The mill had  already been dismantled in 1939  when Sammut sold it to a Canadian Mr Alan Bartram in 1969. He restorded the mill. After he died the mill changed hands many times. The present owners have added some features on the front. Nowadays John Beckson owns the mill.  The tower has 44 steps, now 39. From the rooftop you could see the Xarolla windmill. The Sammut-family possessed also the windmills in Mill Street Qormi, 2 other mills in Siggiewi and the Xarolla windmill at Zurrieq. The mill has 1 door instead of 2.
Siġġiewi Ta’ Kerceppu Mill c. 1650 Built by Lascaris
Tarxien There is no tower left. The square base is in use as a storeroom for the feast of Our Lady Tad-Duttrina.
Valletta St Michael’s Bastion No. 1 Mill 1674 On St Michael’s Bastion there used to be several windmills overlooking Marsamuscetto harbour. Unfortunately, these were subsequently removed and only the name of the adjacent street, Windmills Street, remains as a reminder. Built by Fondazione Cotoner in 1674. The windmills were used for the production of flour. One can still see old paintings of them standing out majestically over Marsamxett harbour. In 1850 the mills were still there. It was definitely demolished by 1900.
Valletta St Michael’s Bastion No. 2 Mill 1674 Built by Fondazione Cotoner in 1674. It was demolished post 1890
Valletta St Elmo’s Mill Demolished
Żabbar Ta’ Kola Mill House conversion
Żabbar Ta’ Buleben Mill c. 1710 Built by Perellos 1697-1720. There have been more windmills in this area. The tower has 46 steps. The mill is used as a residence by the Apap family. There are various markings on the tower and under the first step. The surroundings of the roof have been heightened with 2 courses. There is still an original window on the backsite.
Żebbuġ Tal-Ghodu Mill 1680s The outside has been restored. In use as a private house. Built by Grandmasters Nicholas Cotoner and Gregoire Carafa between 1680 and 1690. There is a coat of arms on the base above the front door.
Żebbuġ Ta’ Srina Mill c. 1685 Built by Carafa about 1685. A low tower. In use as a private house. No machinery left.
Żebbuġ Ta’ Canfut Mill c. 1670 Built by Cotoner an Ta’ Canfut in the 17th century. Was in use as an abattoir and in 1911 as a lime kiln. There is no tower left which was demolished by early 20th century.
Żejtun Bir-id-Deheb Mill c. 1730 Built by Manoel de Vilhena. Broken down about 1960. Nothing left.
Żejtun c. 1670 Demolished
Żejtun Demolished
Żurrieq Tax-Xarolla Mill / 35.831806; 14.480694 1724 This windmill known as tax-Xarolla, was built by Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena in 1724. In 1791 a second floor was built as living quarters for the miller’s family. In 1992 it was restored to its original working order and now is the only functioning windmill in Malta. It can still grain the wheat. In  2000 this building was passed over to be administered by the Zurrieq Local Council to serve also as a cultural centre. Was still grinding grain in 1939 after which it fell slowly into disrepair. Last miller was Gann Patist Sammut. Around 1960 it was restored for £ 1000. In 1978 its sails were destroyed in a storm. The windmill was restored in working order in 1996. It has a rotating roof.  The tower has 50 steps.  On the 5th of March 2009 the sail cross was extensively damaged by a gale force wind.
Żurrieq Mithna Tas-Salib 1857 Built in 1857. The windmill known as tas-Salib was built by the Gafa` family and owes its name to the village cross situated just to the south west of the same windmill.  Emanuel Camilleri was once an owner just as his father. The mill is the residence of the Sammut Family. Was used as a windmill till 1930. In 1930 it was motorised. Dismantled about 1945. Until the late 1980s it was almost detached. The tower has 60 steps. There are still parts of the machinery. It is the only mill built with two floors (a ground floor and first floor in the square base). The ground floor was used for storage purposes, whilst the first floor was used as living quarters.
Żurrieq Ta’ Mamara` Mill 1724 Near Tal-Qaret. Built in 1724 by Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena. The mill is known as Ta’ Marmara being the surname of the first miller – Luret Marmara’
Żurrieq Tal-Qaret Mill 1674 Built in the days of Grandmaster Nicola Cotoner. The place is called tal-Qaret. There is a mill stone outside. The last miller was Karmenu Zammit.

Gozo

Location Name of mill Built Notes
Fontana Ix-Xaghri Mill c. 1856
Gharb Gharb Mill 1865 Dismantled c. 1900 and replaced by a steam-driven mill
Għasri Tal-Fanal 1858 Built in 1858 by Luigi Camilleri. It was a completely wooden tower. In 1939 it was destroyed by a whirlwind.
Għasri Wilgastreet 1859 Demolished
Għasri Għasri MillTa Nicholas Mill 1724 Demolished 1784
Għasri Ta Nikolas Mill 1784 The mill was built in 1724. There was a bakery attached to the mill.  The mill had to be rebuilt in 1784. Mill was again in operation inApril 1784. The miller was Giorgio Xicluna. The tower has a conical roof. It is now used as a farmhouse.
Kerċem Santa Lucija Mill c. 1870 A small mill. Has a peaked roof.  Mill remains.
Munxar Ta’ Marziena Mill c. 1783 The mill was built between Victoria and Sannat under supervision of Angelo Camilleri in place of the mill in the outskirts of Victoria (replaced by a Hospital now the Seminary). The mill got two new millstones and became in use on 30 April 1783.
Nadur 1727 Built by Manoel de Vilhena (1722-1736). The mill was built unsound like the ones in Xaghra and Ghasri. Ceased operating on 9 May 1787. Rebuilt on another site.
Nadur Ta ‘Sufa Mill 1787 The mill replaced another one built in 1727. This mill readyon 9th November 1787. It was handed over to Damiano Xicluna on 10 November. He was the son of Marcello Xicluna the miller in Xaghra. He later migrated  to Malta. He married Maria Vella in Qrendi on 28 September 1807. In the mid of the 19th century the three Camilleri brothers owned the mill. It is situatednear Kenuna Semaphore Tower (1848).
Qala Qala Mill c. 1860 Built in 1860 by the Camilleri brothers. The mill is very well preserved. There is no machiney , but the mill has its 6 stocks.  Most windmills were replaced by steam mill and later by motor mills. Was used until the late 1960s now and then for grinding flour. After that the mill was sold.  In the beginning of 2006 one of the stocks were broken off in a heavy storm.
Qala Ta’ Sufa Mill 1853 The brothers Lorenzo, Giuseppe and Randu Camilleri settled in Gozo in the mid 19th century. In 1853 they built this windmill situated between Nadur and Qala. Named after its owner. It is in a bad condition. During the second world war it was used as a private residence by the Pool family.
Sannat Sannat Mill c. 1860 Built by the Camilleri brothers. In use as a windmill till about 1900. Then it was used as a lime kiln. Perhaps the millstones and its fittings went to the mill in Qala.  The base is almost complete, but the tower is partly demolished in 1940. Was partly restored in 2005.
Victoria 1680 Built by Carafa. It is said to be the first windmill in Gozo, but perhaps Lascaris built one sooner (ca 1650). In 1667 the mill was in a very bad condition and in 1781 the mill was sold and demolished. A new hospital was built on the spot which is now the Gozo Seminary. Between Victoria and Sannat  a new windmill was built about 1783.
Xagħra 1725 It was built in 1725, one of twelve windmills built by the Knights of Malta under Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. Completed in 1731. Rebuilt on another place about 1785. Demolished in 1787
Xagħra Mithna ta’ Kola 1787 Was first built on another spot 1725 under Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. Completed in 1731.  Rebuilt in another place about 1785. Came in use by Marcello Xicluna on 1 February 1787. He married Angela Bonello on 5 July 1759 in Xaghra. The last of the millers’ family was Joseph Grech who was known as Zeppu Kola, who passed away on 27 February 1987. It is thanks to him and later to the Museum Authorities that today, Ta’ Kola Windmill is still in a good working condition. Now, under the care of Heritage Malta, the future of the Windmill is guaranteed. Several times damaged by storm. Restoration started in 1990 and opened officially on 6 September 1992.  It is now serving as a museum place. On the 5th of March 2009 the sail cross was extensively damaged by gale force wind. Repaired again in 2010.
Xagħra Mithna tal-Bwier 19th century Built in the 19th century. In use till World War II. The millhouse is an self-catering holiday-home.  The millhouse is located exactly opposite the small museum “Antique Engines and Vintage Machines”, roughly 20 m away from the street. There some old mill stones outside.
Xagħra Ta’ Ghajn Lukin c. 1940 Demolished 1960s, was an irrigation mill.  It was built by George Bonello from the stones of an earlier windmill built by his father in 1900.
Xagħra Ta’ Natu c. 1900 The mill was built by Fortunato Bonello. He had his initials , F.N.printed on the cane baskets. His son George dismantled the mill in around 1940 and rebuilt it a couple of km away in the area of Ghajn Lukin south west of the village for field irrigation. Very low base.
Xewkija Xewkija Mill c. 1710 Built by Perellos in the beginning of the 18th century. The tower is placed on an hexagonal base. In use as a living house. The miller in 1738 was Gio Maria Xicluna. The Xicluna family  operated the mill for many years. In the mid of the 19th century the three Camilleri brothers became the owners the mill. The mill ceased operating after a big fire in 1886. The mill still has its original oven.
Żebbuġ c. 1859 Probably built by Valent Vella in 1859 to replace a mill driven by a donkey. There is no tower left. Ceased working when a steam-driven mill was built. Tower was demolished c. 1900.
Żebbuġ Ta’ Caqra c. 1870 Was a small windmill. Ceased working when a steam-driven mill was built. Completely demolished c. 1900.


Some Photos


MALTA WINDMILLS


Attard

Attard Windmill

BKara Ganu Bkara Gobon

B’Kara – Ta’ Ganu Windmill

Bormla Ghuxa

Cospicua – San Gwann t’Ghux Windmill

Bormla Margerita

Cospicua – Santa Margerita Windmill

Fort Ricasoli 1834

Kalakara – Fort Ricasoli Windmill

Gharghur

Gharghur Windmill

Lija tal-Mirakli

Lija – Tal-Mirakli Windmill

Mellieha qadima dar privata

Mellieha – Old Windmill

Mellieha

Mellieha Windmill

Mqabba

Mqabba2

Mqabba Windmill

Naxxar Darninu Dejf

Naxxar – Darninu Windmill

Naxxar Ghaqba

Naxxar Ghaqba2

Naxxar – Tal-Ghaqba Windmill

Naxxar old Mill2

Naxxar – Old Windmill

Qormi

Qormi Windmill

Qrendi

Qrendi Windmill

Rabat Balla

Rabat – Tal-Balla/ Gheriexem Windmill

Rabat Gakki

Rabat – Ta’ Gakki Windmill

Siggiewi Barba Zepp

Siggiewi – Ta’ Barba Zepp Windmill

Siggiewi Kerceppu

Siggiewi – Ta’ Kerceppu Windmill

Siggiewi Mithna Tank

Siggiewi Windmill

Tarxien

Tarxien Windmill

Valletta St Michael Hastings- Mill 2

Valletta St Michael Hastings- Mill 2b - 1890Valletta St Michael Hastings- Mill 2c - 1880

image

Valletta – St Michael Bastion Windmill

Zabbar Buleben

Zabbar – Buleben Windmill

Zabbar Kola

Zabbar – Ta’ Kola Windmill

Zebbug Cafott

Zebbug – Ta’ Canfut Windmill

Zebbug Ghodu

Zebbug Ghodu3

Zebbug – Tal-Ghodu Windmill

Zebbug Srina

Zebbug Srina2

Zebbug – Ta’ Srina Windmill

Zejtun Bir id-Deheb

Zejtun – Bir id-Deheb Windmill

Zurrieq Ta Marmara

Zurrieq – Ta’ Marmara’ Windmill

Zurrieq Tal-Qaret

Zurrieq – Tal-Qaret Windmill

Zurrieq tas-Salib

Zurrieq – Tas-Salib Windmill

xarolla

Zurrieq Xarolla KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Zurrieq Xarolla2

Zurrieq – Ix-Xarolla Windmill


GOZO WINDMILLS


Gozo Fontana2

Fontana Windmill

Gozo Ghasri Nikolas

Gozo Ghasri Nikolas2

Gharb Windmill

Gozo Ghasri

Gozo Ghasri Nikolas2

Ghasri – Ta’ Nikolas Windmill

Gozo Kercem Lucija

Kercem – Sta Lucija Windmill

Gozo Munxar Marziena

Munxar – Ta’ Marziena Windmill

Gozo Nadur Sufa2

Nadur – Ta’ Sufa Windmill

Gozo Qala

Gozo Qala2

Gozo Qala3

Qala Windmill

Gozo Sannat2

Sannat Windmill

Gozo Xaghra Bwier

Gozo Xaghra Bwier2

Xaghra – Bwier Windmill

Gozo Xaghra Kola

Gozo Xaghra Kola2

Xaghra – Ta’ Kola Windmill

Gozo Xewkija2 Gozo Xewkija

Xewkija Windmill

Gozo Zebbug

Zebbug Windmill

 

5 responses to “Windmills

  1. Mary Mills

    March 21, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Interesting and, for me,personally it’s because growing up in the Siggiewi windmill (in Fawwara Rd), built by my great grandfather, Guzeppi Sammut, il-Barbazepp), we used to hear various yarns told by my uncles about windmills worked by the Sammut family – all had long been in the milling business.

     
  2. Charles Tabone

    April 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Great job, well researched. My great grandfather was Randu Camilleri one of the brothers who were responsible for building most of the windmills in Gozo. I know the Camilleri’s originated from Zejtun and that Randu died at the age at a very young age leaving my grandma and her brother fatherless at a very young age. There nickname to this day is, “tal-mithna” and my dad lived practically in the windmill found at Fontana or as he refers to it, ‘wara Sant Wistin’

     
    • Clifford Vella

      August 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Nissugerilek taqra il-ktieb tieghi “L-Imtiehen tat-Thin tal-Qamh fil-Gzejjer Maltin”

       
  3. anna maria restuccia

    April 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Proset tassew .Interesanti hafna.

     
  4. LOUIS FENECH

    December 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Tassew interessanti ħafna u mnalla għandi ħabib li bgħatli email bl-address tagħkom
    Proset tassew

     

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