10: The small farm

Gennemstukken bjælke på Bolstedet fra Melby, nu i Den Fynske landsby.

Bolsted fra Melby, nu i Den Fynske Landsby.

Bolsted fra melby, nu i Den Fynske Landsby.

Bolstedet fra Melby, før det blev flyttet til Den Fynske Landsby.


Building no. 10 is a small, four-winged farm, a so-called bolsted, from the village of Melby near Assens. Bolsted is the term used for an agricultural property which has precisely enough land for the household to make a living from agriculture.

In 1800, the small, two-winged building had a piece of land of just less than 0.5 tønder hartkorn. On changing hands in 1804, when smallholder Hans Jensen and his wife Karen Conradsdatter took over the smallholding, the land was increased to just less than one tønde hartkorn, because Karen brought with her an inheritance from her father. Even so, Hans and Karen probably still had to work elsewhere in addition to running their smallholding. In 1826, the property was sold to Christen Sørensen, whose family continued to own the house until it was sold to The Funen Village. The following year, Christen Sørensen bought a small piece of land and the property attained a size just less than 1.25 tønde hartkorn. Now he had became a small farmer, and in the census of 1840 it is mentioned that he “lives from his farming”.
Christen and (his wife) Maren had one son, Søren Christensen, who continued living in his childhood home which he took over from his mother (now a widow) in 1863. His mother died in 1871 and later that same year Søren married Marie Andersen, who in the previous year was recorded as a maid servant living in the house.
They had two sons – Christen and Niels – who continued living on the small farm and took it over on their patents' death. Neither of the two brothers was ever married and they continued life on the small farm in much the same way as it had been in their parents' time. However, they did buy a threshing machine in 1925, which was driven by a horse engine. But no other modern agricultural implements were ever purchased, and the house was without electricity when The Funen Village took possession in 1947.

Building history The first reference to a house on the site of the small farm from Melsted is from 1804. At that time, there was a two-winged smallholding, totalling 14 bays, which was insured against fire for 200 rigsdaler. It was fortunate that smallholder Hans Jensen had insured his house because in March 1822 it burnt to the ground. Using the insurance money, he built instead a three-winged smallholding, which was insured in December of that same year. The newly-built building comprised a nine-bay dwelling house to the south, a stable/byre and a fodder bay, each of six bays (12 bays externally) to the east, and to the north a grain store and threshing floor of nine bays. This three-wing construction still exists today as the core of The Funen Village's small farm. In 1844, the north wing was extended and the west wing was constructed and fitted out as a sheep-house and work-shed.

Building tradition The small farm from Melby is timber-framed with oak being used in the load-bearing constructions in the house and two of the wings, whereas mixed timber has been used in the most recently built west wing. In the dwelling house and the west and north wings, there are fired bricks in the panels, while in the east wing the walls are wattle-and-daub, just as was the case in the house which was the predecessor of this small farm. The earliest wings were built with protruding tie-beam tenons, whereas the tie beams from the most recently constructed parts – from 1844 – rest on the wall plate (see p. xxx). In this way, the development of the small farm can be read from the building styles. As late as 1844, there were still clay floors in the house. It is not known when the wooden floors were fitted.