Farm buildings, Gamla Östanvik

Figure 1. Gamla (Old) Östanvik, Nämdö. This is the inlet close to "Kalkberget", a ferry boat landing stage at Nämdö.
Figure 2.

Tore Regnell, a neighbour of mine, took this photo about 1938. No reeds but the same barn at the shore. Behind the barn there is a glimpse of a roof of a cowhouse!

The ruin of a cowhouse - Probably built in 1863/64.

Figure 3. To the right: The southwest side of the barn, once with a door to the southwest hey-barn. The sea shore with its barn is to the right of the photo.

As far as I can remember, this building looked like this... The timbering consists of 10 rows giving 235 cm in height. Likely the construction has been somewhat higher, though time and decay has made it sag. The height under the beams of the roof has been about 190 cm.

It has been said that some time about 1950 the roof was destroyed by a storm. The house was then ruined and abandoned. Knut Sandström, who was running the farm as a market garden, did not need such a big barn for his few milch cows and the horse he had.

Figure 4.
Figure 5.



Figure 6. To the right: The northeast side of the barn.
Figure 7. The southwest doorway at the western side while looking into the barn.
Figure 8. "Gåtspår" in the southwest doorway, south side. The "gåt" (the binding beam) has fallen out of the groove so you can look into the groove.

Blocks ending at a door or at a window have to be bind together to keep them in place. By cutting a ditch at the end of each block, a beam can be put into the ditch thereby locking the blocks together. In Swedish that cut across several blocks is named "gåtspår" and the beam binding the blocks in position is named the "gåt". In this case (see right picture) the groove has been cut out with help of an auger (a big drill).

Figure 9. A part of the "door frame" with the binding beam (the "gåt") in the middle.
Figure 10. This photo from about 1950 gives the impression that the western hey-barn (left side) has been removed and the rest of the barn looks as covered by reeds.

Figure 11.

The timbered part of the barn was 10 meters long by almost 8 meters broad. The foundations on each side of the timbered building show that there was a 5 and a 6 meters long hey-barn on either side of the timbered building. The window apertures are 1 meter wide with window-frames possibly of 80x60 centimeters. The doorway on the front side (bottom of the drawing) is 150 cm wide by 175 cm height. There is a doorway in the middle of every wall. The doorway on the sea side (upper part of the drawing) is only 85 cm wide. In the leftmost part of that wall there is a small whole (31 cm wide, 35 cm height, see figure 6). Possibly it has been used as an entrance for chickens.

Figure 12. The sample "SVIN1" referes to the pigsty, described below.

When was this cowhouse built? Dendrochonological dating.

  • Every block in this building is more or less destroyed by the house longhorn beetle, by other woodworms and by decay. 12 samples were collected from 9 blocks in the northern and eastern walls. The northern wall contains some blocks of slowgrown wood. From these blocks I have collected samples that could be crossdated.
  • Three blocks in the northern wall can be dated to 1862. Another forth block to 1863.
  • One block can be dated to 1773 (CorrC=0.67, TTest=5.3) though the sample contains only 37 year rings, which makes the dating somewhat unreliable. That block is better crossdated towards a mean value curve from the croft "Sisshammar" at Tyresö (CorrC=0.73, TTest=6.3) than towards the Nämdö reference. I.e. possibly there is some old timber brought in from the main land. (Another alternative is that this block was imported to Nämdö already in the 1770th and then reused for this barn building in the 1860th.)
  • The remaining samples have fallen into pieces because of decay and woodworms so that the felling years could not be established.


Background and conclusions

In the 1860th, the manorial estate Östanvik was divided into four farms. The big brick barn at Östanvik was dismounted and the material divided among the heirs. The new farms Västanvik, Västerängen and Västerby were built - i.e. new buildings were built up or old houses were moved to the new farms. The island also got its new church in 1876.

The dating of the barn ruin at Östanvik shows that also here a completely new cowhouse was built with the youngest block found being felt in the winter 1863/64. There must have been a great demand for timber because of this extensive building activity. This might explain the block dated 1773 which seems to come from elsewhere than Nämdö.

Ring width data is available as NMKSLG.rwl containing comments readable by CDendro.

The pigsty at Gamla Östanvik - dated to 1874/75.

The pigsty at Gamla Östanvik, maj 1999.


This is the pigsty at Gamla Östanvik. The photo was taken in 1999. There was a similar pigsty at every farm or croft in old times.

The pigsty at Gamla Östanvik, October 2007.

Size of the house: 390 cm frontside, 320 cm along the right side. Front edge height 200 cm, backedge height 100 cm. Doorway: 67 cm wide, 127 cm height. "Windows" above the doors: 50 x 26 cm.

Eight years later: A still more aged pigsty! Tiles are gone by storms. Extended decay. The house longhorne beetles have done their job... It is difficult to find wood in a condition to make a dendrochronology sample. Though I got one sample from a short block just under the roof tiles.

The curve shows the good match towards the reference curve for Nämdö. With only 49 rings the crossdating might be considered unreliable, though the crossdating clearly indicates the felling year as the winter 1874/75 towards both the Nämdö reference (ITRDB:swed302) and the Tyresö-reference (the croft Sisshammar at Tyresö, ITRDB:swed304).


The sea shore barn

This is the barn on the innermost shore of the inlet at Gamla Östanvik. The photo is from 2007. This barn is also visible on the two very first photos in this story. Today the barn is covered by a tin roof.

A holiday picture from 1938 with our neighbours Britt and Kerstin Regnell and an ox from the Västanvik farm. The sea barn is visible to the left in the photo.
The southwest wall
Also on the nothern wall, the house longhorn beetles have done their duty!
Inside the barn there are no signs from the house longhorn beetle. The ax cut walls give a very old-fashioned feeling.
Under the barn a few blocks have been displaced and fallen down into the water. This is certainly a result of sea ice in winter time. The blocks are covered by a white fluff like cotton. Possibly the fluff has some connection to salt handling (salted herring) and sea water. There are no signs of damage from insects and quite little damage because of decay.

Dendrochronological dating

The barn is probably built during or after the winter 1820/21. In 1873/74 an extra layer of blocks was added to the walls or the upper layer was replaced, possibly in connection with repairs of the roof. To make these results more reliable, samples should be taken also in the uppermost block in the longside wall towards south (at the sea side). To make the overall story more reliable, a few more samples should be taken and crossdated. The size of the barn should also be documented.
Ring width data is available in NMKSSB.rwl together with comments that are readable by CDendro.