Benarosa Mill

The Benarosa mill belongs to the group of “river mills”, within the urban bank of the Guadaíra river. Technologically, it is an impeller mill, in which the water dammed by means of a weir converges in the “cubos”, narrow passages inside which the rodeznos, hydraulic wheels that moved the stones in charge of grinding the grain, were located.
It is one of the few that preserves a toponymy of Andalusian origin (Banu Arusa), which together with the documentary references allows to establish its origin prior to the Castilian conquest of the thirteenth century.

The first news about the mill occurs in 1253, when Alfonso X donates to “Don Pedro Pérez, notary of Queen Juana, a house of mills with its dam and the stop of aceña, of which he is holder, which is on Alcalá de Guadaíra, and was called in Moorish times the mill of Abén Aharoça”.

As it seems to happen in other mills of the Guadaíra, nothing remains today of the Andalusian mill, since the building we see today is the result of the transformations and reconstructions carried out from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century. However, the Benarosa mill has some peculiarities that make it unique within the milling riverside of Alcalá. The building is organized around a large quadrangular tower, used for storage and housing. In the direction of the flow, there is a warehouse used as a loading and unloading area for the grain and flour already milled. Above the stream is the mill building, with a gabled roof, where the four millstones are located.
Possibly from the XVII – XVIII centuries, the large weir (rebuilt in 1998) dammed the water to the buckets, similar to what happens in other mills on the riverbank. However, upstream of the buckets, there is a large trapezoidal-shaped basin, currently cancelled but possibly indicating an earlier time in the mill’s technology. There are no other examples of “balsa mills” in the Guadaíra, although there are known examples in other places, for example in the Levantine area. In these cases, raft mills are usually dated around the 14th-15th centuries, so it is possible that the Benarosa raft is the only visible remains of the late medieval mill. In this technological model, the basin acts as an “overflow”, with a slope directed towards the buckets, which makes it possible to accentuate the hydraulic force to facilitate the movement of the impellers.

Above the flood level, on the right bank, is the “miller’s house”, a simple rectangular building used as a dwelling and warehouse until the end of the milling cycle in Alcalá, in the middle of the 20th century.