Painstaking work: Archaeologists, historians, and preservationists, including Ed Chappel, left, have worked hard to map out each of the timber pieces before removing them in order to be preserved. They will then eventually be re-erected as an exhibit. *Photo supplied
Painstaking work: Archaeologists, historians, and preservationists, including Ed Chappel, left, have worked hard to map out each of the timber pieces before removing them in order to be preserved. They will then eventually be re-erected as an exhibit. *Photo supplied
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The 17th century farmhouse was crumbling and due to be bulldozed when a group of conservationists came to the rescue.

A recent assessment by the Bermuda National Trust showed the structure of Farm Cottage on the Fairmont Southampton property had deteriorated to such an extent that the building was in danger of collapse. 

The BNT had been surveying and researching the building for some time in preparation for their anticipated “Architectural Heritage Series” publication on Southampton Parish.

Part of this research was conducted by Dr. Edward Chappell of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, who discovered that the cottage contained some of the earliest surviving timber framing in Bermuda, dating to the late 1600’s.

Many of the cedar frames were exposed to the elements, which meant that the team had to act quickly.

Therefore the BNT, Dr. Chappell, and Dr. Edward Harris of the National Museum of Bermuda drafted a preservation plan to salvage these historic timbers, so that they could be removed, conserved, and later re-erected as an exhibit on Bermuda’s early timber-framed buildings.

The conservation proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Department
of Planning, and was then reviewed and supported by the Historic Buildings Advisory Committee.

As the retrieval of the historic timbers would effectively
demolish the remaining parts of the building, the Ministry began the process of de-listing the building.

The rationale for the de-listing was that Farm Cottage had lost its integrity to a point where its character-defining features are no longer in evidence through major decay.

An Official Notice was published in The Royal Gazette on March 7 announcing a public consultation, which concluded on April 4.

No objections were received and consequently the Ministry formally removed Farm Cottage from the list of architecturally and/or historically significant buildings on April 17, which was also published as an
Official Notice in The Royal Gazette

That paved the way for a team of archaeologists, historians, and preservationists to begin the painstaking work of mapping each of the timber pieces and removing them from the site to be conserved prior to their eventual re-erection as an exhibit.