Home sweet home: The settler’s dwelling at St David’s will eventually become an educational exhibition for school children and visitors alike to show how Bermuda’s first arrivals lived. *Photo by Simon Jones
Home sweet home: The settler’s dwelling at St David’s will eventually become an educational exhibition for school children and visitors alike to show how Bermuda’s first arrivals lived. *Photo by Simon Jones
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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16: A project to recreate a little piece of Bermudian history dating back 400 years is reaching its final stages in St David’s.

The unique project to build a replica of what the island’s first settlers would have lived in began last April.

And over the last 10 months a team led by Richard Spurling and Larry Mills have worked tirelessly to stay true to traditional building techniques and construct the striking cedar structure.

The beams and frame of the ‘settler’s cottage’ have been sourced from Virginia cedars.While expert thatchers have been brought in from abroad specifically to help locals learn the tricks of the trade and how to twist and fold the Bermuda Palmetto leaves into a waterproof roof.

Just last weekend a team of volunteers descended on the cottage, which is just next door to Carter House, to get their hands dirty.

They joined Mr Spurling and Mr Mills as the walls were plastered with a mix of lime, oil and Bermuda clay.

Mr Spurling, President of the St David’s Island Historical Society, told the Sun: “We are getting pretty close now. I would say it is 90 per cent done.

“We still need a couple more community days but I am hopeful that we will be finished by April if everything goes well.

“The cost has been close to $50,000 now, but a lot of people have donated their time and services during the project.

“We are pretty much out of money now and so we depend entirely on volunteers to do the manual work and help us out.”

The settler’s cottage has been modelled on the structure that was build for Bermuda’s first governor, Richard Moore, in St George’s in 1612.

And its creation has been organized with the 400th anniversary in mind.

Mr Spurling added: “A little bit of work still needs to be done on the smoke hood above the fire place.

“We have already had a few fires inside the cottage and it gets it lovely and warm pretty quickly.

“Then there’s the plastering to finish and finally we need to paint the outside.

“It’s going to be a traditional white colour in the end. We have tried to remain true to all the traditional techniques and materials that would have been used in 1612. There are obviously not enough cedars in Bermuda that we could chop them down and use them so that is why we looked to Virginia for the wood. It has really been a labour of love, it’s impossible to say how many hours have gone into it so far. All I know is that it is a lot but it has been worth it.”

Mr Spurling plans to make the settler’s cottage an educational exhibit for school children and visitors to show how Bermuda’s first arrivals went about making homes.