The miller’s profession was making flour from cereal grains, typically through mills powered by wind or water. These mills featured remarkably sophisticated gear-works for the time, which rotated millstones on top of a base, or quern-stone, which remained stationary; the grain to be milled was placed between the stones to produce flour.
In Feudal Europe, the miller usually rented his mill from the lord of the land containing it, payable with a share of the flour ground at the mill. Some Medieval manors required all serfs residing on them to make use of the lord’s mill, a very unpopular demand at manors where corrupt millers misrepresented quantities of finished flour or took more than their legal share from their customers.
Contemporary literature from the Middle Ages suggests that millers were an unpopular lot, notorious for questionable morals, base upbringing and vulgar behavior. While these assessments may have varied among actual millers, some historical sources suggest that, since milling provided the potential for a laborer to acquire wealth and status in a way that most serfs could not, that millers were unpopular due to their potential for social mobility, regardless of their character.