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Wern

stone, scotland, quern, ireland and center

(WERN, a primitive mill for grinding corn, the stone of which was turned by the hand before the invention of windmills or water-mills. It is a contrivance of great antiquity, and so well adapted for the wants of a primitive people, that we find it per petuated to the present day in remote districts of Ireland, and some parts of the we: tern islands of Scotland. The remains of querns have been dug up in Britain, Ireland, and continental Europe, wherever the traces of ancient population are found. They occur in the Scottish earth-houses (q.v.), or cyclopean underground dwellings; in the cram !loges (q.v.), or lake-dwellings of Ireland and Scotland; and the very similar rfoharzuten of Switzerland; and abundantly among the remains of the Roman period in Britain and northern Europe. The mcst usual form of quern consists of two circular flat stones, the upper one pierced in the center with a narrow funnel, and revolving on a wooden or metal pin inserted in the lower. The upper stone is occasionally ornamented with various devices; in the Roman period, it is sometimes funnel-shaped, with grooves radiating from the center. In using the quern, the grain was dropped with one hand into the central opening, while, with the other, the upper stone was revolved by means of inserted in a small opening near the edge. As early as 1284 an effort was made by the Scottish legislature to supersede the quern by the water-null, the use of the former being prohibited except in case of storm, or where there was a lack of mills of the new species. Whoever used the quern was to "gif the titrettein measure as molter;" the contravener was to "tine [lose] his hand-mylncs perpetuallie." This enactment did

not, however, prevent hand-mills from being largely used in Scotland down to the beginning of the present century.

Probably the oldest type of quern is that which was fashioned from a section of oak; one of this description was found in Scotland in 1831, in the course of removing Blair Drummond Moss. It is 19 inches in height by 14 in diameter, and the center is hollowed to a depth of about a foot, so as to form a mortar, in which the grain seems to have been pounded by a wooden or stone pestle.

A less simple variety of the hand-quern, known as the pot-quern, and also of great antiquity, consists of a circular stone basin, with a hole through! which the meal or flour escapes, and a smaller circular stone fitting into it, perforated with an opening through which the grain was thrown into the mill. A number of querns of this description have been in Scotland, and still more in the bogs of Ireland, in which country the pot-quern is believed not to be yet altogether disused. The one in the museum of the Scottish antiquaries is of unusually large size, 17 inches in diameter, and 84 high, and was discovered in the parish of Ghtdsnmir, in east Lothian. It is made of coarse pud ding-stone, and is furnished with holes in the sides, to which handles were probably attached. The iron ring is a modern addition.—See Dr. Wilson's Ardaro/ogy and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 211, et seq., 2d edition (London and Cambridge, 1863).