For many of you who have stayed with us, you’ll no doubt be aware of our gorgeous original 1770’s pumpkin pine floors and their significance in terms of the King’s Lumber. We love showing them off and reminding guests that the lady who restored them insists that, if your guests are going “out on the town” in heals, they must wear their flops to the door !
The “King’s Lumber”
Some of the floors planks are really wide, the plank in the picture above is 20 inches wide, and that is really significant. The preservation of trees for ship building and the mast trade was so important to England that ownership of the large trees was written into the Massachusetts Bay Charter of 1691.
“For better providing and furnishing of Masts for our Royal Navy wee do hereby reserve to us Our Heires and Successors ALL trees of the diameter of 24 inches and upward of 12 inches from the ground, growing upon any soils or tracts of land within our said Province or Territory not heretofore granted to any private persons. We doe restrains forbid all persons whatsoever from felling, cutting or destroying any such trees without the the Royall Lycence from us Our Heires and Successors first had and obteyned vpon penalty of Forfeiting One Hundred Pounds sterling vnto Ous Our Heires and Successors for every such Tree soe felled cult or destroyed without such Lycence ” Such became known as The King’s Lumber!
The picture represents The Kings Broad Arrow and signifies the tree was the property of the King.
So back to the Parsonage, as indicated above several of our flooring planks in The Haven and Witterings are 20 inches, with a couple more than 22 inches. Considering the clause above, previous owners in the 18th century must have either hid them well or were fortunate to avoid penalties.
We really are privileged to have these gorgeous floors and will maintain and preserve them, however if you should ever see some “redcoats” around the Inn, its probably just Her Majesty’s soldiers reclaiming their rights under the terms of the King’s Lumber!