9/8/2015 - Bricks.....

Bricks..... 

The Spotsylvania County Museum recently received the donation of a brick.  In a sense one might ask why the museum would be interested in a brick!

Believe it or not, the museum has quite a collection of stones and bricks from Spotsylvania County.   

 

Brick from Governor Spotswood's Enchanted Castle Circa 1730
   

Brick with "Turkey Paw" imprint made by W. R. Dillard at the Dillard Farm near Stubbs Mill Circa 1840.

     

Many are from homes and buildings that the ravages of time have claimed.  As time passes, more and more of our historic homes are disappearing primarily though neglect, or in some cases to make way for more modern structures.  In the end, our only tangible proof of existence is the architectural remnants.                 

Today’s modern building codes inform us of what we can construct and what our home, well, fence and just about anything else we would like to place on our property material wise can be composed of.  Believe it or not, these codes have developed over time and are a gift of our English heritage.

The Spotsylvania County Museum was delighted to receive the donation of a “Statute” brick recently. They are also referred to as “King” type bricks as approved by statute.   According to the donor the brick came from the “Poor House” located on North East Creek.  In the 1700’s, “Poor Houses” were for the purpose of helping the unfortunate until they could get back on their feet and regulated by the Crown thru the County government.  Interpreting the 17th Century English statute,  John Harris wrote Lexicon Technicum, or a Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences....London: Printed for D. Brown, et al 1723, and from within comes the following….

Statute or small common Bricks: These ought to be 9 Inches long, 4½ broad, and 2½ thick; 100 of them usually weighs about 550 Pound, and consequently 1000, 5500 Pound, and about 407 in Number are a Tun Weight. These are commonly used in paving of Cellars, Hearths, Sinks, &c. 30 or 32, if true Measure, will pave a Yard Square, and 330 will pave a Square of 100 Foot, laid flat; but if laid edge-wise, they must be double in Number. 

In colonial Spotsylvania, it was difficult to regulate every single individual, but not so with structures built for the government.  What makes our brick unique is that not only does it meet the description and composition above…… but is dated “1772!”  

Have a brick or architectural feature from a historic home or structure?  Think of us before it becomes just another brick.