Most of the oldest buildings of Bermuda have a relation with the first settlers of the island and Carter House is one of them. Located on St. David’s Island on the site of the former U.S. Navy base, the house is believed to have been built around 1640 by the descendants of a crew member of the Sea Venture.
Christopher Carter was in fact one of the three settlers who stayed behind on the island to continue the British claim of Bermuda when the rest of Sir George Somers crew left for Virginia on the Deliverance in 1610.
The building is a perfect example of Bermuda’s old vernacular architecture. Made of Bermuda stone, it is one of the rare buildings to have survived all the hurricanes, even Fabian, the devastating hurricane of 2003 that caused so much damage to the island.
One of Carter’s great grand daughter Martha Hayward lived for many years in the house at the start of the 18th century. After being used as a beauty parlour by the American forces during the U.S. Military operation between 1941 and 1955, it became the St David’s Historical Society Museum in 1995.
The Carter House is set on a hillside, on the Southside Road, about a mile east of Swing Bridge and is accessible by taxi or scooter. The particularity of Carter House is that it was built of white stone while most of houses in Bermuda were made of wood in the 17th century. It has two floors, the upper being reached by an outside staircase in the middle of the facade. Each of the gable ends are supported by large chimneys. In order to protect it against the winds, the house was built on a hillside.
The museum occupies now the Carter House, but the original cooking fireplace has been kept and is still visible. Inside the house, there are artefacts and objets related to the life and values of the inhabitants of St. David’s Island. This part of the island is usually described as one of the most rugged and hardy districts. You can see in the Carter House exhibitions on the history of St. David’s Island such as fishing, whaling, piloting and farming. There are various objects like dolls and children toys made from palmetto leaves, some objects made from Bermuda cedars and a 4 metres traditional Bermuda sailing dinghy.
The Carter House reopened in 2001 after a renovation of 3 years and is accessible without admission fee every Wednesday, usually between 10am and 3pm. However, it is recommended to check the entry times before going over. The surroundings are lovely and you can walk about while you are there. Since recently, the government bermudian is working on restoring endemic plantations around the house. If you take the time to explore around Carter House, you will discover types of endemic trees and plants such as loquats and palmettos.
Carter House in Bermuda
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Carter House in Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!