Martin’s KitchenThe houses here were named after the head of household. This one is named after Martin Munro, who lived here from his birth in 1858 until he moved away in 1917. The house was built between 1800 and 1840, at right angles to the site of an earlier house shown on the 1789 plan.
[caption id="attachment_21813" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Martin’s House from the back[/caption]
Originally, the interior of the house would have been a single open space, with a timber partition between the house and the byre ends. There would have been an open hearth in the centre of the room. Cooking pots were hung over the hearth on a chain coming down from the roof, and smoke made its way out through gaps and small holes in the roof. There may have been a timber screen in one corner, partitioning off a sleeping area for adults.
The house was later remodeled, almost certainly in the 1860s. The timber partition between the house and the byre was replaced by a stone wall, with a chimney and a proper fireplace. New timber partitions divided the interior into the traditional three-room arrangement. Either the small window in the end wall, or the one in the back wall of the kitchen (the one with the paper flowers) was added at this point – the other came later. We know this because the census data for 1871 records the house as having three windows, and in 1861 it only had two. To read more about the paper flowers, click here.
The stone wall partition allowed for a proper fireplace and chimney.
In 1892, the house got a corrugated steel roof – the first in the township. Martin Munro’s original plan seems to have been to use “tar paper” (what we now call roofing felt). Duke George got wind of this and objected, on the grounds that it would look ugly. He instructed his estate managers to sort out something better. The Estate instead provided what they called “iron sheets”, and Martin Munro fitted them.
He did so by removing the thatch and the layer of turf below it, fastening the sheets directly to the cabers. This preserved the original early 19th century roof structure of crucks and cabers, smoke-blackened by decades of use, which can be seen when you look up in the hallway.
By the 1950s, the Kitchen and Closet area were being used as a byre for young cattle, and a turnip chopper was in what had been the Room. In 1992, the house was restored to its late 19th century arrangement: a Kitchen, Closet and Room.
[caption id="attachment_22911" align="alignnone" width="712"] A turnip chopper.[/caption]
Paper flowers made by today’s local Gypsy-Traveller community can sometimes be bought in the museum shop.