Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Some folks admit to a sense of awe they experience in visits to churches and cathedrals. There's something uplifting about the spaces, the generations of the faithful elevated by something 'other' in these majestic places. Transcendence. For me, this very old house west of Kingston has a very similar effect. It sits by the lake, in a park filled with joggers, dog-walkers, picnickers and lovers. The lake they enjoy  is the same waterway the tall frame house's Loyalist builders looked upon when they landed in 1784, fleeing the horrors of revolution in their country.
the early high-pitched Loyalist roofhouse - porches were a later additionn

warm wood
I admit to a feeling bordering on reverence when I visit this house. Fairfield House, silent and alone in its park, has a powerful presence which it is willing to share. Folks enjoying the park pass it by, while I sit at its feet and listen to the old stories.

the 'terroir' of building - early home built on limestone flats 

I feel the lives of those who built this house and places like it; their dreams, their heartbreak, their hope for the future. The stones, the timbers in this house resonate with the Loyalist family's determination to rebuild their lives and fortunes.

external fireplace wall radiating heat

Fairfield House (1793), Amherstview

1 comment:

  1. It looks like a fabulous place, one that I'll visit this summer (I've never been to the house). Its all the more valuable considering the dearth of Loyalist structures in Ontario. Depending on the source, there were 7000-10,000 Loyalists who moved to present-day Ontario, yet the number of structures from that era is very small. (a very casual guess would be @ a dozen structures predating 1790. Possibly less.)