Tag Archives: Drawings

Re-creating the home of Joe the Quilter

What the front of Joe's cottage may have looked like.

What the front of Joe’s cottage may have looked like.

As part of our Remaking Beamish project, we are planning to re-create the cottage that the famously murdered Joe the Quilter lived in.

Conceivably, if Joe was born in the cottage (a contemporary poem tells us), it must have been built at least by the mid-1700s, and given its appearance could convincingly be older. It’s location on the roadside of Homer’s Lane, approximately mid-way between two Northumberland villages, on land that was claimed from the moorland behind, suggests that it was probably a squatter’s cottage. It was perhaps gradually developed from a small hut or shelter, to a more substantial dwelling, undisturbed by local jurisdiction because of its liminal position. It was a tiny (just 16′ x 25′), stone built, heather thatched, and entirely vernacular dwelling, which built Joe’s family probably built themselves.

Joe's cottage had one main room in which he lived and a smaller one for his chickens and favourite pet duck!

Joe’s cottage had one main room in which he lived and a smaller one for his chickens!

Like most early vernacular buildings in the North East, Joe's house would have been thatched with heather, that could have been up to two foot thick.

Like most early vernacular buildings in the North East, Joe’s house would have been thatched with heather, that could have been up to two foot thick.

Joe's cottage probably had cruck trusses, which were made from the two halves of a split tree trunk.

Joe’s cottage probably had cruck trusses, which were made from the two halves of a split tree trunk.

Clara has pieced together the initial plans of the cottage using contemporary images and descriptions that were made at following Joe’s murder in 1826, as well as by using comparisons with other regional cottages of roughly the same age. We plan to excavate the site of the cottage in the early Autumn and hope that the dig will reveal further clues about what Joe’s home looked like.

Learn more about Joe’s story and his grisly end here.

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Filed under Joe the Quilter's Cottage, Remaking Beamish