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The Schouws mill

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in Ittervoort

The Schouws mill lay partly hidden behind trees and increasing foliage in between the villages of Neeritter and Ittervoort. The oldest part of the mill presumably dates from 1630. The mill was renovated and expanded in the previous century. Types of stone and brick bonds indicate three possible renovations. An indication of one of these is the plaque with the initials lMG: ITMK ANNO 1830. The first three letters relate to Jan Mathijs Grispen, who was the owner in the mid-19th century. The second series probably relate to his wife, whose names aren’t known. A stone in the miller’s house reads an unclear inscription, which can be read as follows: "Ittervoort de 7 Juny 1822 G K C 8". The successor of Jan Mathijs was Lambert Grispen.

During the division of the estate in 1885 the mill with house, stable and yard, situated at Schreurskamp, was assigned to Jean Mathieu Grispen, chaplain in Stein, and Anna Grispen. In 1896 they sold the mill with appurtenances to Jean (Sjang) van de Laar, married to Anna Maria Philo- mena Lemmens and miller in Kessenich. Sjang van de Laar, who moved to the mill the same year, later had a major part in the social world of Ittervoort. He was, among others, alderman of Ittervoort for 30 years, which was still an independent municipality at the time, church warden, cashier of the agricultural bank, and he arranged distribution during World War One. To many he was a confidant, who carried out his duties meticulously and dutifully. Not without reason he was called “the boss”. In 1902 Van de Laar was given permission to renew the waterwheel. Originally, the waterwheel and mill axis were entirely made of wood. The new wheel, with a diameter of 5.70 m and a width of 0. 71 m was given an iron axis provided with a hub, to which the wooden spokes were attached. In addition, an automatic tilting valve was installed on the discharge sluice, at the suggestion of the supervisor of the mills in Neeritter, Han- raets, from the Provincial Public Works Department. In 1928 Van de Laar had a transformer house built near the mill and an electric motor installed as an aid. Jean van de Laar died in 1935. The mill had already been taken over in 1930 by his son-in-law Jean or Johannes Lambertus Hubertus Marius Corbey, who was also the last miller.

The mill was sold to the municipality of Hunsel in 1963; the water and damming rights had previously been transferred to the Middle Limburg Water Board. There was a dangerous narrowing in the road called the Margarethastraat, which was caused by the miller’s house and the house opposite. An improvement of the road was the cause for the municipality of Hunsel to buy the whole lot with buildings, 3.5 HA, for 35,000 guilders. The house on the opposite side was also bought later on to be demolished so the mill’s buildings could be preserved. The mill with residential dwelling, shed and yard were bought in 1966 by the former Junior Technical School teacher P.D.B. Janssen from Roermond. The mill’s movement was still intact, but the picturesque waterwheel had disappeared and the waterworks had become entirely dilapidated. Initiatives of Janssen to restore the waterwheel in the 1970s were to no avail; the water board granted no permission for this. The municipality of Hunsel had sold the mill and house to be able to build a new municipal site.

It chose an odd place for this, namely an area next to the mill in the attractive rural valley of the Itter River. When a complaint was lodged, it turned out that the mill and the house weren’t mentioned in the provisional list of Dutch monuments. Architecture supervision did, however, agree and the building permit was granted. In the warehouse, situated between the mill and the residential dwelling, Janssen set up a professional pottery. The mill as such was still internally complete. The construction of the wooden movement is similar to that of other Middle Limburg mills. The wooden stone bed with the movement below is situated quite high and the milling floor is also higher than usual. Here too, the cradle is attached against the underside of the crown wheel. There are iron bars in the cradle that are al- so situated under a slanted angle in the discs. The right couple of “17-er” artificial stones were driven by the crown wheel. The left couple of “17-er” artificial stones are pro- vided with iron bottom driving gear with a conic gearing system on the stone’s pivot. The power came from an electric motor. There was grinding with this couple of stones until the late 1950s.

© P.W.E.A. van Bussel “De Molens van Limburg”. Publication rights obtained from the author’s son.

Opening times: By appointment only.

Adress: Margarethastraat 73, 6014 AD Ittervoort, Phone: (+31) (0)475-564947