Threshing took place in an open area of the barn where a special
wooden floor was set up.
Flails were used to beat the stalks,
thereby causing them to shed their grain.
The straw was then
removed, and the grain scooped up with a wide, shallow winnowing
By tossing the grain into the air and fanning it, the
lighter chaff (inedible husks) blew away until only the heavier
grain remained. The heaviest grain fell closest to the winnower and
was saved to plant next season. Grain that was to be eaten was dried
in a kiln and taken in sacks to the mill.
A parish priest often paid a substitute priest, known as a vicar, to
preach in his stead. This vicar was occasionally corrupt.
There are stories of vicars using the church building as a threshing
barn for hay, or for grazing cattle on the church lawn.
Rye, Olive Trees,