Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Shed in Chaumussay

This old stone shed in Chaumussay intrigued me. I photographed it because I thought it made a lovely, typically Touraine Loire Valley vignette, but then I got thinking about what the shed was used for and why it was there. I initially assumed it was a tool shed for the potager that one accesses through the gap between the shed and the wall. But if this is the case, why does the shed open on to the laneway and not onto the potager? Is it because of the slope of the land? Maybe it was more efficient use of space to tuck the shed into the slope and use the flat land behind entirely for vegetables.

Then there is the question of the height of the door. Now I know old rural French people are often not very tall, but you were more than a metre I reckon you would have the urge to duck for this doorway. Does that mean it's an animal shelter of some sort?

What do you think?


  1. Susan,
    you might be surprised to find that if you opened the door yo would find steps leading down a short way...
    This sort of construction and...
    by the shadow...
    says to me that it could be a root cellar.
    This needs to be semi-sunken to keep it cool..
    and if the doorway is towards the house, or as you say, towards the lane....
    that would be because there are more small trips to collect the veg...
    than big barrow-loads to fill it!!

  2. Don't care but just love your photo.

  3. Tim: a good thought that had not occurred to me.

    Leon: Thanks :-)

  4. I like the idea of root crop storage and the wide doorway would give better access for a small handcart. As you speculate animals are also pretty likely? A goat might be a candidate. The donkey also was quite commonly used by peasants as a small all-purpose draught animal. It is only within the last 12 years or so that a donkey has ceased to put in an appearance at the annual Yseures ploughing competition.

    Would that on could time travel and look back. Ability to do so might settle for us what was tied to the rings set into the wall of the two low lean-to extensions at the rear of our house. Interestingly despite modernisations the rings had been left in situ. Was someone loathe to destroy traces of past occupation?

  5. It could be a pigsty. It's about the same height as ours.

  6. When I see a little building like that I always think pig. Every house had one

  7. Saw one yesterday in Charnizay opposite the cemetery....
    door about 4ft high....
    the gable end had fallen inwards, but apart from a lean-to construction it matched this.
    Above it, at the end of the garden, was a pigsty...
    And don't forget, Simon, a root cellar is a very good place for hanging game...
    be it your share, or poached....
    not as good as an ice-house...
    but reasonable effective in the short term...
    enough time to eat, or convert to sossij/hams to hang near the fireplace in the kitchen.

  8. Cette vieille bâtisse servait à ranger des outils. Elle est située sur le chemin de fourcheries qui menait aux jardins ouvriers de Chaumussay. je n'ai jamais vu d'animaux dans cette cabane et mes souvenirs remontent jusqu'aux années 55.

  9. Michel: Donc, j'avais raison la premiere fois! Encore, je vous remercie pour les renseignements. Je n'ai su pas qu'il y avait les jardins ouvriers à Chaumussay.