A little History


The Giroux Mill (borough of Olmet, district of Courpière) dates back to the end of the 15th century at least.

It was actually mentioned in 1474 in Le Terrier de Meymont of 1478, a chronicle of the time. It was then recorded as being "banal"(1) which means it was entitled to grind the rye brought by all the residents of that area. This was a few miles' market area (1) around the mill which the local squire controlled.

In those days, the Giroux mill as well as its surroundings (2) depended on the Parish of La Chabasse and was run by a miller called Benoid Magallon. The 1899 "Statistics Report About Mills And Factories Along Non-Navigable Rivers" of the Departement of Puy-de-Dôme (Grid B - East) shows that the Giroux mill drained a supply of about 150 cubic-meters of flowing water with 8.8 horse-power but used only a quarter of it (2 HP) and that its two spinning-wheels (horizontal wood-turbines) set into motion two pairs of millstones under a 2.2 metres fall. The nut oilmill is not mentioned although it was probably annexed to the grain mill.

The last family of millers before Christian Bonnot who bought the mill on September 30th, 1995, were called Dufour.

Adapted from Jean-Louis Boithias :
Proto-industrial aspects of milling activity in the Livradois-Forez region
" in " Historical Chronicles of the Livradois-Forez.
Bulletin annuel du Groupe de Recherches Historiques et Archéologiques du Livradois-Forez.
G.R.H.A.L.F. n°21 (1999) p.44-72 et n°22 (2000) p. 73-98.

1 - "banal" comes from the French : "ban-" :compulsory feudal service ; and "lieue" : an area of about a league.
2 - That place was called the "mailh" in French : the word comes from a game of "maillet"(mallet) and also referred to the alley in which it was played. The American "mall" has the same origin.

Translation Solange Soinard © (2000-2004)
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Last update : june 2004