St Margerita Windmill Overview in Bormla, Malta
The skyline of Bormla, is adorned with two windmills situated at either end of the city – the windmill of San Gwann t’Ghuxa (in St John Street) and St Margaret’s Windmill (in Windmill Street).
Since prehistoric times, the inhabitants of the Maltese Islands were concerned about the sufficient provision and availability of grain and its derivatives. Wheat cultivation in Malta was traditionally related to the production of bread and related products. The importance of bread as a staple diet for Malta and the Mediterranean cannot be underestimated. A number of sayings and idioms in the Maltese language highlight the importance of bread especially for a country whose food and alimentation structure was very frugal and depended until early modern times on fruits and vegetation. Historically, the Malta’s agricultural produce of wheat has always been limited. The amount produced locally was never sufficient to feed the whole population as was seen by the various references to famine in myths and historical documentation. However, the prosperity brought by the Knights of St John (1560-1798) shows that grain was abundant. The Knights invested heavily in the sustenance of the islands – one area was the agricultural production of wheat. The Chronicles of the Knights show that upon their arrival in 1530 there were already some windmills (notably one in Senglea). It seems that a push towards the construction of more mills was given by the Majorcan Grand Masters the Nicholas Cottoner (1663-1680) and his brother Rafael Cottoner (1660-1663) who built eight windmills. During the era of Grand Master Antonio Emanuel de Vilhena (1722-1736) another nine windmills were built. The British built some others. The two windmills in Bormla, were built by the Cottoner brothers and they are fine examples of windmill architecture. The buildings consist of a square building housing the lower rooms, were traditionally the miller housed the tools and the animals. Usually the miller and his family used to live on the first floor. A spiral straircase let to the windmill and the machinery was located. The two windmills were still functional until the early 20th c. The two windmills in Bormla are worth a visit; however, both windmills are inaccessible for the public since they are privately owned.
St Margerita Windmill Tips & Guide
Opening hours: Closed to the public
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