Monday, June 16, 2014

More on Brick Houses

Jamestown Brick HouseIn the 1662 session of the Virginia General Assembly, a measure was passed to build towns upon the York, Rappahannock and Potomac rivers along the Eastern Shore and that Jamestown should consisted of thirty-two houses.  Each house was to be forty feet from end to end, twenty feet in width in the interior, and eighteen feet in height, and, constructed of brick.  The walls were to be two bricks in thickness as far as the water table, and one and a half the remaining distance.  The roof was to be covered with slate or tile, and was to be fifteen feet in pitch.  The Governor decided the relative arrangement of the houses, whether in a square or line.  The bricklayers, carpenters, sawyers and other tradesmen were to be pressed into service. The brick were to be manufactured in the most careful manner and were in size to represent statute measure; the price was not to exceed one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco for every one thousand. The ordinary laborer received his food without charge and he was engaged at the rate of two thousand pounds of tobacco per year. Such details of the tradesmen were set out by regulations. Unfortunately, there was not a landowner in the Colony upon whom the enforcement of this law would not impose an onerous burden. A levy of thirty pounds of tobacco a head was to be raised by the counties and each county should use ten thousand pounds of the amount thus collected, in paying for the construction of the house which it was required to build at Jamestown. The inducement to erect brick houses granted the colonists a fee simple title to ground adjacent to the property sufficient in extent to afford room for a store!

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