I heard an interesting fact at a lecture earlier this year regarding
mill-wheels. The Roman, and later the medieval, style was to have the wheel
upright. The Saxon style was to have it in the mill-race horizontally.
In the south and east of the country, Saxon age horizontal millwheels are
all that are found. But in Herefordshire, recently, a Saxon mill-wheel set
vertically was found, in a settlement where there seemed to have been no
break in agriculture, though the 'Lord' at that time was a Saxon.
The possible explanation was that the Justinian plagues that killed so many
in Europe had also done so in the south and east of Britain too, and when
the Saxons arrived there was plenty of spare land without displacing those
who had survived. And the wheels had been disused and broken, and were
replaced. But the plague hadn't reached as far as the Welsh borders, and
the Saxon who took over took on a working millwheel that could be kept