Smoky, noisy, bloody, violent, and smelly: the seventeenth-century detached kitchen at Ferryland, Newfoundland

Archer, J.D. (2021) Smoky, noisy, bloody, violent, and smelly: the seventeenth-century detached kitchen at Ferryland, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis focuses on a 17th-century detached kitchen in Ferryland, Newfoundland, built at the rear of a multi-room service wing and forming part of the complex of structures referred to as Sir George Calvert’s ‘mansion house.’ This structure is referred to in this thesis as the ‘mansion house kitchen.’ Historical documentation provides evidence that the kitchen was built sometime between 1622 and 1628, while clay tobacco pipes and other datable artifacts show that it continued to be used, albeit less intensively, following Sir David Kirke’s arrival in 1638. Architectural remains reveal that the kitchen was a sturdy structure, 8m by 7m, with lime mortared slatestone walls that were approximately 1m thick. It was built directly into the hillside, at a level with the second storey of the mansion house, and with a cobblestone pathway leading between the two. Artifacts excavated from midden deposits directly outside of the kitchen’s walls provide evidence for a variety of activities including food preparation, cooking, sewing, and other domestic tasks. The kitchen was central to the daily life of the early modern English household (Pennell 2016: 87). Food took up a significant portion of the average household’s budget, while the activities which took place in and around the kitchen—meal preparation, cooking, gardening, cleaning, sewing—took up a considerable amount of the average housewife’s time and energy (Weatherill 1996: 135, 146). Food was also closely connected to a family’s social identity, and the daily rhythm of tasks in the kitchen played a key role in maintaining the household (Weatherill 1996: 149-150). An analysis of Ferryland’s mansion house kitchen has the potential to add to our understanding of how these trends were expressed in early English colonial settlements, where provisioning was of crucial importance and food could take on aspects of cultural identity. This thesis will make use of the kitchen’s architectural remains and associated material culture to gain insight into the daily lives of its occupants, how it related to the rest of the community, and how its architectural design was influenced by and relates to detached kitchens elsewhere in North America and the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15394
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 121-131).
Keywords: historical archaeology, Ferryland, seventeenth century, Newfoundland
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: August 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Archaeology and history--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ferryland--17th century; Kitchens--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ferryland--17th century; Kitchens--England--17th century--Social aspects.

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