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Si les murs pouvaient parler

The census of 1666 showed that Jacques Bédard still lived with his parents, Isaac and Marie Girard. However, in 1667, Jacques Bédard lived with Élisabeth Doucinet, one of the King’s Daughters, (Les Filles du Roy) who had arrived in 1666 and whom he had married that same year. The household number associated to the Jacques Bédard family, as well as the names
of the owners of the household before and after confirm that this is the concession on which our house is built. Élisabeth Doucinet died in 1710 and Jacques Bédard in 1711 after having raised
18 children.

The transcriptions made of the few notarized documents existing indicate that the house was built before 1711 since it was left to the son Charles before his marriage in 1712. We also note that Jacques Bédard died at the end of 1711 and that the reading of the notarized documents was done in the house belonging to Charles Bédard. He had therefore become the owner as had been agreed on March 3, 1711, by notarized act (French document).  Chain of title.

As well, a section of the inventory of 1751 (French document) clearly shows that the description of the house corresponds to its actual description to such an extent that it would be easy to reconstitute each of the rooms precisely.

We can therefore affirm that Jacques Bédard’s family was brought up on this land.

We note that the facade openings are non symmetric, a characteristic of French colonial style; that the windows have double shutters and that the small window located on the rear wall is a telltale sign of a very old house. Some references indicate that the summer kitchen was located in the basement with its hearth, another sign of a very old house.

We know that the house lost its beautiful steep cathedral roof in early 1900, replaced by a mansard roof that characterized the Second Empire style.

We restored the ground floor in 2000 and what we found of the oldest interior wall of the house reinforces the fact that it is a very old construction (forged nails, 2X6X8 lumber, joists rounded toward the interior to accommodate the transversal joists).

We can also note, in the basement, the remaining portions of rounded beams that had been hewn by axe. These beams are consistant with a very old construction.

This stone house corresponds to Jacques Bédard’s skills since he was a stone mason and most of the houses he built were made of stone.












The company Patri-Arch described on the Charlesbourg web site (2001) that this exceptional house is a clever synthesis of the diverse eras and that one can easily see its three periods: firstly, the French-style house shown through its massive thick-cut stone walls, then the transformation of the roofwith the construction of a Mansart frame inspired by Second Empire style, and the separate living area on the second floor, with the construction of an independent access.

Le Charlesbourgeois magazine, volume 7, 1990, The ancestral homes,
allows us to familiarize ourselves to the styles of the main architectural models found in Charlesbourg.

Several characteristics, in the Élisabeth Doucinet house, underline the French inspiration of houses built from 1690 to 1760:

  • The importance of the high pitch of the roof in relation to the walls, the height of the roof often being twice that of the walls (the roof of our house was rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century, and lost its two-sided roof).
  • Set low so that the ground floor is almost touching the earth.
  • No obvious symmetry in the placement of openings.
  • The use of stone indicates the relative wealth of owners who can afford the luxury of hiring a mason (Jacques Bédard was a mason by profession).
  • The windows are made of several small glass squares; as many as 24. Improved manufacturing techniques will later allow windows with larger glass plates.

Some of the characteristics noted in the transitional Franco-Quebec houses (1750 to 1820) include:

  • This house has gabled dormer windows and two large chimneys that rise above the rooftop.
  • Quebecers traditionally divided their houses from front to back
    (we noted this division during the restoration work in 2000).
    This gives two main rooms on the ground floor, one on each side of the house. To properly heat these two rooms, all that was needed was a fireplace at each end of the house. Masons therefore planned a chimney at the end of each gable.