Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A house as old as the hills

I am proud that I have deeper roots in one place than most people. My mothers family has lived in the same place for eight generations - and we still do.

This house as you see it today is a typical house on south coast of Norway the way they built houses in the mid 1700s. My ancestor Niels Reiersen and his wife Maren took over the house in 1773 and since then we have lived there. The windows are hinged the way they did it before 1820 and the oldest one is from the last decades of the 1700s, and it was lovingly restored last year. Many of the other windows have original glass from the period.

I thought that these houses were typical for this part of Norway. In fact they are a part of an older international tradition. You will find similar houses on the other side of the Atlantic. In the United States they are called New England Saltbox houses. They can be seen e.g. in many of the historic towns of the area. One house that give the same impression as our house is the Old Whipple House in Ipswich, MA dating back to 1650. But this is a much larger house.

But inside our house there may be structures that are even older. There seem to have been an older house with two floors connected by a staircase outside. These structures may date back as far as the late 1500s. We know for certain that there lived people there at that time. The old census from the early 1600 one man is mentioned, Bjørn Torsen. He may have been born as far back as the second half of the 16th century, and the funny thing is that even he is one of my remote ancestors. So our roots there are even older.

At that time Elizabeth I was the queen of England, and the Mayflower had not left for the new world with the first settlers.

The coming days I will stay in this wonderful houses with good friends. I will tell you more about the house, the gardens, and what grows in it. I will share some food and wine memories too and I will also write about a great brewery.

1 comment:

Per Koch said...

This is indeed a wonderful house, and we at Pandia can vouch for that. We have had several worderful, life giving, weekends, with good food, interesting conversations in front of the ancient fireplace, and walks around the neighbourhood. There is a ghost in the building, did he tell you that?

Per and Susanne