Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – A couple delve into the history of the former house of Hancock
The temperature in Hancock was near zero, but the big wood-burning stove in the Link Road kitchen was giving off heat.
Kate St. Cyr and Robert Amburn occasionally walked around to open the circular hole at the top to lay a few logs in. They explained that their house is a work in progress, as it takes time to renovate an old house the way they do – on their own and aware of their responsibility to its history every step of the way.
The couple bought their house in Hancock just before the pandemic hit. The timing was perfect for them. The old house, built in 1783, needed some love, but for Amburn and St. Cyr it was exactly what they were looking for.
“We could see the potential immediately,” St. Cyr said.
Amburn is a carpenter and St. Cyr is a textile artist with an eye for design and aesthetics. The couple renovates the house piece by piece, learning along the way and taking the time to research as much of the house’s long past as possible.
“I really wanted to live in a house with a ton of history,” St. Cyr said, and after contacting the Hancock Historical Society and spending time working and living in the house, they were able to gather some information. who have helped piece together parts of its history.
St. Cyr and Amburn are the 20th owners. They discovered a document written by a former resident, Nettie Stearns Davis, who grew up in the house in the late 19th century. Around 1903, she described the coins in detail in an essay for the Hancock Historical Society.
Using his descriptions as a guide to what the house looked like, St. Cyr and Amburn want to respect the history of the space and restore the historic elements that have been replaced.
“I wish the previous owners weren’t shocked,” St. Cyr said.
While constantly maintaining the atmosphere of an old house, the spaces are elegant, comfortable and interesting. The rooms are uncluttered, with wooden floors and Persian rugs. Furniture is mostly purchased second-hand from Facebook Marketplace, antique stores, and estate sales. The couple painted most rooms in neutral shades of off-white, and the selection of taxidermy art, plants, and animals create an environment that includes hints of history.
An important clue to the house’s past are the blackened beams in the upstairs offices, evidence of a chimney fire the couple’s characters must have had in the 1970s or 1980s. Although they tried To know more about the fire, the city has no record of it, and Amburn said the attic still showed the most damage.
“It changed the house; they had to rebuild both chimneys,” Amburn said.
In the essay Davis wrote over 100 years ago, she wrote: ‘I think a kettle was made of brass and I remember my mother cleaning it very thoroughly when she was getting ready to make a large quantity of boiled cider sauce for the winter. ”
Saint-Cyr and Amburn believe they have found this kettle. Now it sits in their garden, a reminder of the past.
A little away from the fenced garden is a path that goes through a section of trees and over a stream leading to a large open field on their property. Saint-Cyr and Amburn plan to graze sheep there. They enjoyed raising pigs last year and both have farming experience.
“We will be able to see little sheep through the woods,” smiles Saint-Cyr.
At one point, a development was planned for this field, but ended up failing before anything was built. Last summer Amburn searched for mushrooms in the woods behind this field, and they removed all the thorns and brush from their yard and around the rock face.
“We always choose the hardest way to do things, but I like to think it’s worth it,” St. Cyr said in the kitchen as Amburn described his plan for building 1800s replicas two on two using the original method to replace the casement windows in the bedroom.
“Whenever I make something with old glass, I keep it,” he said.
St. Cyr said, “A lot of love has been poured out. I’m so lucky to be completely obsessed with my home.”
It’s easy to miss the triangles lined up along a beam on the kitchen ceiling, but they fit right in.
“We want to have a farm and raise our kids the way we were raised,” St. Cyr and Amburn said, smiling at each other. “We were both brought up in homes really similar to this one.”
St. Cyr and Amburn want to know more about the history of their house. If anyone has pictures of the house at 48 Link Road or knows of the house, St. Cyr can be contacted at [email protected]