A Mud-and-Stud Cottage

A series of stains in the soil, left from a rectangular configuration of holes from decayed structural wooden posts, and a cellar that became a clay pit were uncovered near the southeastern bulwark, 10 feet from the southern palisade. Results from the early seasons of excavation suggested that these features comprised the remnants of a small post-supported building and a clay quarry, but later digging determined that a long, lightly constructed post-in-ground structure with a small cellar stood here. This structure has been designated as the barracks.

Further research concluded that this building was constructed using “mud-and-stud” architecture, a style common in the county of Lincolnshire, England during the fort period. The irregular post line seen with this structure was indicative of this type of building; the mud walls were adhered to numerous studs between the posts. The carpenters who built this building did not work from architectural plans, but rather employed traditional building methods from home. Captain John Smith, who likely would have been involved in construction decisions in the fort, and William Laxon, a carpenter who arrived at Jamestown in 1607, came from the Lincolnshire region of England. It follows that buildings from this period would have been constructed using methods familiar to both of these men.

After the building was abandoned, the cellar was expanded by a series of pits to acquire clay material for plastering (daubing) the walls of a building. These pits probably were used for mixing the daub as well, with the central shaft supplying ground water. In the central shaft were found the impressions of marsh grasses that were used to mix with the clay as a binder.

The frame of the barracks was reconstructed in 2006 on the site of the original building. Beginning in March 2020, this aging structure will be dismantled and replaced. This project is graciously funded by the Jamestowne Society.