A 1600’s English home is just as much in style today as it was during colonial times. A Tudor style was adapted from these exposed beams and plaster construction. New home construction incorporates these elements so that new and old will form an appealing neighborhood. It is a much sought after home design and I can see why. It connects us with our past when our ancestors came over from England.
Jamestown was founded in 1607 as the first colony but this sort of home above is typical of the homes in England built during the 1600’s. It was purchased and moved to this spot so that we can better understand the English influence on our culture today and how it has evolved.
The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia has this exhibit as part of their old world education program. Settlers lived in these homes before coming across the Atlantic to settle the New World. They brought with them rich customs and cultures that developed who we are today.
This home represents a prosperous yeoman household from 1600’s England. A yeoman was one who farmed a land on which he claimed a freehhold. These yeomen farmers came to the new land and planted crops that would supply England with much needed grains and goods like wool and linen. The farmers made a profitable living off of the exports.
They grew grain crops like wheat,barley, and rye. Fruits were also harvested along with vegetables such as carrots, cabbages, and beans. The New World was a relief to an England who needed these goods. Crops were rotated on a 3 to 4 year cycle and clover was grown for the nitrogen.
Some farmers experimented with new crops for feeding the animals and rape seed for lamp oil.
When these yeomen were living in their homeland, their homes would have been well furnished like the one being showcased here. It would have been well furnished with the quality and quantity reflecting the prosperity of the owner. Their pewter and silver announced their wealth.
The farmer and his wife slept in a tester bedstead , equipped with a flock and feather mattress. It looks very comfortable don’t you think? Huge pillows and bolsters made the beds look elaborately dressed. Fine wool curtains would adorn the post adding to the status of the yeoman.
The housewife was in charge of the meals, medicines, housecleaning, general herb and vegetable garden maintenance. The English families ate more meat than German and Irish descendants. The English has stews, meat pies, and soups that were flavorful and meaty.
Many of those who immigrated to Virginia were not lucky enough to be yeoman but came instead as indentured servants. They came to work off their passage fair in the service of another landowner. Often these were people who did not inherit land in their homeland and had no where else to turn. The early 1600’s voyages were crowded and the journey took a very long time.