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The Moulin Banal

Rue Roi Chevalier, 20
4910 Theux
087 54 28 53

moulin banal vue ext.png

Brief history

A watermill existed here back in 898 and was fed by a race which has now disappeared.

The mill is called "banal", not because it is ordinary, but because in the Middle Ages, the peasants from the whole of the "Ban de Theux" (district) were obliged by their lord to come and grind their grain at this mill, in return for a grinding fee, paid to the lord in the form of flour.

The mill became the property of the Municipalities until 1813. It was then auctioned off and François Biolley, an industrialist, became its first "private" owner. Various owners and/or millers followed until 1962 when Joseph Collette, the last miller, stopped grinding due to a lack of grain.

Until 1850, the mill had two wooden water wheels, which operated four pairs of mill stones. In 1850, they were replaced by a very imposing iron wheel. In 1923, the race closed and the miller at the time replaced the force of the water with a semi-diesel engine.

In 1962, this engine was sold and the mill stopped working, for lack of motive power.

However, the 18th-century machinery was still intact. Wheels and gears, millstones, hoppers, bucket chains, the disengagement system, silos, etc. are all visible.

A model shows how the mill was arranged.

Visitors will discover all the elements of the mill, related tools, documents and articles which evoke the work and life of the miller.

Le Moulin Banal de Theux A.S.B.L.

In 1978, Annette and Jacquy Bodart had the opportunity to purchase this building at a public sale.

These local history enthusiasts had the desire to save what had been the Theux "Moulin Banal" from demolition or unauthorised conversion.
After some urgent repair work to the roof and pointing, the family's energy turned to the immediate surroundings of the mill. They renovated the miller's lodgings, converted the annexes into habitable parts and laid out the surrounding land. As the years passed, the children did not forget their parents' wishes, and the family found some time and decided to again set about saving and exploiting the mill.
Cleaning, repairs, electrical works and excavations occupied them for several years, without any external financial assistance.
At the same time, the family carried out research, visited other mills, and met other enthusiasts. The success of the Heritage Day in 2002 strengthened them in the idea that this architectural, technical and agricultural heritage, a testimony of local history, deserved to be shown to the public.
Supported from the start by Paul Bertholet, whose lecture on the mills of the Franchimont region had been the start of the adventure, and by Marie-Ange Closon-Remy, from the Heritage Division of the Walloon Region Ministry and a resident of Theux by birth and by inclination, and encouraged later by Mr Delcheff from "Qualité Village Wallonie", the family embarked on setting up a not-for-profit association bringing together people with different skills, all of whom were interested in this project.
A study based on dating the woodwork, financed by the Walloon Region is currently being carried out by the laboratory of Patrick Hoffsummer, professor of dendrochronology at Liège University. It will make it possible to accurately date the different construction and conversion stages of the mill, which was first mentioned in 898.
The association hopes to work with all those involved in the tourism, culture and history sectors in the region, by offering an interesting and surprising visitor attraction in the heart of Theux municipality.