Tuesday 18 January 2011

small bits of history

As with many of the houses around here which are 'old' it is difficult to say how old our house really is. There has probably been a dwelling here for hundreds of years.

In its present incarnation it is at least 200 yrs old. We know this as there is a bit of grafitti scraped into the soft tuffeau stone just by the barn door which says 1815.

grafitti near barn door
A typical 'Touraine Longere' it started out as a 1, possibly 2 room farmhouse with attached barn on one side and a breadoven in a niche on the other. The breadoven will have been open to the front but protected by walls on 2 sides.  Somewhere in recent past--say 70's the breadoven was enclosed, a doorway was made through the outside wall between the main room and the breadoven and an extension was added on the other side--where we now have our kitchen dining area. We can tell due to the varying thicknesses of the stone walls which are original and which are 'modern'. All of these changes have created a long rambling house.
In what is now our living room there's an 'evier' [stone sink] with a larder cupboard above it.  The sink has been blocked but you can still see the runnel in the outside wall where the water would have run out. No tap of course. Water would have come from the communal 'puits' [well] which the various houses in our hamlet shared--none of the houses have their own well. Though not in use there's water in it - we checked.
sink with larder cupboard above
stone sink


Other traces we've found are the carpenter's marks on some of the massive beams we have. We feel we're pretty lucky to get to live with these small signs of history.

carptenter's marks in lliving room


Jean said...

Our tiny house is also full of little clues to its past. Over the front door someone has gouged "1789" into the stone. The estate agent said this was the date of the first renovation of the property and we thought he was joking but now I'm sure he was right. The house could easily have been there in some form for 500 years.
There is also the remains of green paint on the walls suggesting possibly a commercial use and huge holes in the walls suggesting a large sign or winch being attached.
It's all fascinating and one day when we are chez nous and have lots of time to spare I will try to find out how we start to find out more about it.

Anonymous said...

A very sweet description -I love the stone sink. I also like the variation of topics on your blog. Keep it up.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@jim - nice of you to visit and leave a comment.
Thanks! We'll do our best :-)