13: Farm labourer's cottage

Landarbejderhus fra Fjellerup, i Den Fynske Landsby.

Humleplanter foran landarbejderhuset fra Fjellerup, i Den Fynske Landsby.

Sule i landarbejderhuset fra Fjellerup, i Den Fynske Landsby.

Landarbejderhus fra Fjellerup, i Den Fynske Landsby.

Åbent ildsted i landarbejderhuset fra Fjellerup, i Den Fynske Landsby.

Landarbejderhus fra Fjellerup, før flytningen til Den Fynske Landsby.

Landarbejderhus fra Fjellerup, før flytningen til Den Fynske Landsby.


The little labourers cottage (no. 13) was originalle situated in the village Fjellerup in the western part of Northern Funen. Fjellerup means “the outlying village with wooden houses”. The houes was always home to people of humble means.

As is apparent from the development in the number of farms and houses in Fjellerup, the population rose dramatically during the 19th century. Nutrition and treatment of illness improved and food production increased. There were not enough farms for everyone so many had to manage without or with only a little land. They became the humbler members of society.

People of humble means lived in the Fjellerup House. Three to four people, usually tradesmen who also had a small plot of land and looked after the cow. We know them as smallholder/freeholder Rasmus Nielsen Møller in 1822 and as clog-maker and freeholder/smallholder Hans Mikkelsen in 1827. They lived there with their families each of two-three members. Hans Mikkelsen's grandchild, Else Hansen, took over the house in 1850 and married the neighbour's farm hand – thatcher and clog-maker Just Christensen. The last inhabitant, Kathrine Justesen, made a living from her garden and from sewing linen.

On a map from 1811 there is – possibly – an indistinct building on title no. 16 opposite the vicarage located on title no. 1A. The fact that there actually was a house here is consistent with the impression gained inside the building, that it is very old, presumably from the 18th century. Documentary sources show that the house, as was typical, was altered several times. In fact, these suggests that there were two houses on the plot in 1831 and three in 1844, but their locations are very uncertain. Two houses to the south of the Fjellerup House disappeared when the road was moved at the beginning of the 20th century. Whether these perhaps were included is open to speculation. In any event, the sources say that there were two buildings in 1831. The northern (dwelling house) was nine bays long and 8½ alen (just over 5 m) wide. The western (dwelling and barn) was six bays long and 7 alen wide. In 1844, the northern house was seven bays x 8 alen, the western nine bays x 7 alen, and a further house had been built to the south of nine bays and 6 alen for a byre, gateway and fodder bay. In The Funen Village, the Fjellerup House has been built with a core of six bays, onto which “kover” (gable extensions) comprising two bays were built at each end between 1869 and 1897 by Just Christensen to provide space for the cow (to the west) and firewood (to the east).

The houses were timber-framed with a thatched roof. The basal timbers (those forming the exterior walls and the sills down towards the foundation stones) were of oak. The timber that was not exposed to wind and weather was of “mixed” types. The walls were of wattle-and-daub or “raw”, unfired bricks. As a very special feature, the house which now stands in The Funen Village was built with two roof-bearing posts in the middle of the building. These posts bear a longitudinal beam, the “purlin”, on which the rafters rest. The purlin and the posts actually carry the roof. This centre-post construction in a dwelling house is only known from a handful of the c. 200 known centre-post buildings on Funen. The Fjellerup House has protruding tenons on the tie beams, i.e. the ends of the tie beams are cut through the beams. Normally, farmhouses west of Zealand have two chimneys. One for the bake-oven and one for the hearth. The Fjellerup House had two in 1831, but only one in 1939. Small houses like the Fjellerup House have an oven and a hearth in the same chimney. The hearth in the Fjellerup House is a raised cooking hearth. It is designed for cooking over an open fire. The pot was hung from a chain. There were boarded ceilings in the buildings' living quarters. In 1831, the house was fitted out with “the necessary doors and windows with fittings”. There were apparently not always forged fittings, as these are specially mentioned.