11: The longhouse from Ærø

Hulegården fra Ærø, nu i Den Fynske Landsby.

Svinehus ved Hulegården fra Ærø, nu i Den Fynske Landsby.

Hulegården fra Ærø, nu i Den Fynske Landsby.

Hulegården fra Ærø, nu i Den Fynske Landsby - i sne.


Hulegård (Hule farm) (no. 11) is the name of the Funen Village's building complex from Ærø. The strange name Hule (= hollow) comes from the farm being located in a hollow in the landscape of Marstal rural parish at the eastern end of the island of Ærø.

In 1768, the king decided to abolish the four manors on Ærø: Søbygård, Vodrup, Gråsten and Gudsgave. They were subsequently parcelled out and the resulting lots sold at auction. Jørgen Moritsen bought the lot Knasterbjerg which was part of Gudsgave manor. Twelve years later, 30 tønder land (16.5 hectares) from Knasterbjerg was sold to Hans Jensen at auction for 465 rigsdaler. It was here that Hulegård was built in 1780. The nature of the ownership until 1830 is unclear, but in that year a man by the name of Jørgen Christensen sold the farm to schoolmaster Hans Frederik Ishøy. As part of the deal, the schoolmaster entered into a contract to support and take care of Jørgen Christensen and his wife in their retirement.
In 1832, a skipper from Marstal, Rasmus Madsen Rasmussen, took over the farm. He was to continue the agreed pension arrangements with the previous owner. Hulegård was sold on to bachelor Christian Lauritsen in 1840. When he died in 1891, he had seven heirs, who sold the farm to Thomas Hansen Jensen. Included with the farm were the following fixtures, fittings and livestock: “2 horses, 5 cows, 1 bull, 2 calves, 1 sled, 3 carts. 1 roller, 1 harrow, 1 plough, 1 chaff bin, 2 milk buckets, harness, hay and fodder, 1300 pounds of barley, 1000 pounds of oats, 500 pounds of peas, 1 built-in copper, stove, slyd (temporary lofts), shelves in the pantry as well as other shelves.”

The story of Hulegård is therefore not just about agriculture but also a secondary occupation for schoolmasters and ship's captains. This presumably has to do with the farm's relatively small size, agriculturally speaking.

The information available from 1777 mentions a dwelling house, a byre and a barn/cart shed. It is only because we can see the standing building that we know that there were actually two wings, divided up functionally into three units. The dwelling house lay to the east and the byre to the west. To the south lay the threshing barn. Precisely as is the case today. In 1794, a small woodshed was added. The woodshed is referred to in 1832 as a “wooden/timber byre” which at that time, in accordance with the commitment of support, was converted into a small pensioner's house of two bays. In 1838, we are told that the pensioner's house adjoined the threshing barn, which was probably always the case, and that, as something new, a three-bay byre was added in the farmyard to the north (the little house by the well). From 1852, there is no mention of the pensioners’ house so it was during this year, at the latest, that the pensioners died. The buildings as they were in 1852 are the same as those re-erected in The Funen Village in 1947. The dwelling house Hulegård's dwelling house was built wide enough for it to be reasonably divided into rooms longitudinally. It contains 12 rooms, five on the south side and seven to the north. There is no great consistency in the width of the rooms, but in an east-west direction they follow the bays of the house. The functions determine the orientation of the building such that the farmyard is perceived as lying to the south, in contrast to the case in 1838, when the farmyard was perceived as lying to the north. Ironically, there is nothing to the north to justifiably seeing this as an enclosed yard. The location of the well could have been of significance in this respect, or there could have been two farmyards. When entering Hulegård's house from the south, the first room is the entrance hall and on turning right, the following sequence of rooms is met with: middle room, an alcove room and the parlour. From here, there is a door to the north into the guest bedroom. On entering from the north, the first room is the scullery with the bake-oven. To the right lies a passage leading to the byre, farmhand's room and the woodshed beside the oven. On turning to the left from the scullery, the rooms encountered are the kitchen and servants' hall, maid's room and larder. The byre part of the building contains a stable, byre for the young cattle, cattle byre and barn. After this comes the building at an angle to the south with yet another barn, calf box, cart shed and woodshed. Building traditions
Considering the fact that the buildings are from the end of the 18th century, the building technique is very modern as there are no protruding tie beams tenons. On the contrary, the tiem beams site on top of the wall plate. This gives a raised ceiling height. The external timber is of oak, whereas the panels are of fired and dried bricks. The partition walls comprise wattle-and-daub. The house is thatched and has a ridge with kragetræer. The roof is half-hipped and the gables are clad with boarding - a very unusual feature on Funen, more commonly seen, for example, on Zealand.

Hulegård is perhaps more interesting than it appears at first sight. It lies as a two-winged, L-shaped farm with a small pigsty to the north. But in reality it is a single-winged farm which has suffered growing pains.
There are many examples from Denmark of the remains of single-winged farms from prehistoric times with a dwelling house at one end and a byre at the other, but in Schleswig they were common all the way up into the 20th century. Ærø belonged culturally to Schleswig until 1866.

Old maps of Ærø and Lyø show all farms as being single-winged and predominantly oriented east-west. Maps from the middle of the 19th century show, however, some adaptation to progress, as many farms had two or three wings so they could accommodate the increased production at that time. The overall size of the farm buildings was also influenced by the fact that the land associated with the farms and the resulting yields were – due to estate distributions – only half the size of those on the main island of Funen – about 3 tønder hartkorn. A large collection of buildings was therefore unnecessary.