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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
A Preliminary Report
by Victor Suthren
Preliminary Architectural Studies,
Volume 03, Unpublished Report HG 02
(Fortress of Louisbourg, 1972,
Report Number H G 02 04 03)
This report presents information on latrine construction and finish presently found in the Domestic Architecture File. It should be noted that the small amount of information available makes detailed structural analysis and description largely impossible if not unwise; conclusions will remain largely conjectural at this time, and naturally should be considered as such.
It should be noted as well that only a small amount of data, exists to indicate latrine locations within the restoration area. Included in the compilations of the Archaeological Section are several small plans showing features which it is still uncertain were latrines.
Descriptive DAF data on the pit or ditch is almost nonexistent. No descriptions of digging approaches, pit shape, or dimensional specifications are available. One specimen set of dimensions is to be found in the toisé for the Engineer's House:
EXCAVATION OF THE
OF THE LATRINES
(i) LENGTH = 8 Pieds 0 Pouces
(ii) WIDTH = 8 Pieds 0 Pouces
(iii) AVERAGE DEPTH: 2 Pieds 0 Pouces [NOTE 1]
A specification as to what was to be done with the earth produced by excavations, including that for a latrine, was part of the construction plan of a house to be built by M. Duperrier and Rodrigue, "Sur le Bord de Lamer proche la Maison du Roy" [NOTE 2].
All the clearing away of Earth as well for the Cellar foundations of the walls well relief pit and other Will be done by the Contractor and the earth which leaves there is to be carried to the Place where it is needed on the said Emplacement and the Remainder along the quay the which Earth is to be paid by the cubic toise.
LINING AND FOUNDATIONS
Meager description of pit linings exists in DAF "Latrines" material; nonetheless the possibility of plastered walls exists, as evinced in the following Duperrier-Rodrigue house specifications:
All the foundations of the walls of the said Building are to be built of the said rough-stone and mortar Raised between two line and not blocked up against the earth the which in all locations where it is seen in the cellar and relief pit is to be well plastered with pointed stone. [NOTE3]
The Engineer's house toisé, on the other hand, presents the following specifications for dry- stone revetment of the ditch:
OF THE DITCH
(i) TOTAL LENGTH = 24 Pieds 0 Pouces
(ii) HEIGHT = 2 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(iii) THICKNESS = 2 PIEDS 0 POUCES [NOTE 4]
Specific mention is made of a latrine drain in at least one item of DAF Latrine material, in reference to latrines shared by a property of the King and that of the widow Rodrigue
... as well to have done at the extremity and within the forty Six PIEDS of the said lot latrines which will belong to the lady Rodrique put back to back to those of the King's house; of which the pit is to be common, and to make a covered channel for the cleansing thereof by the waters which [PAGE 3:] will sink from the courtyard, the which channel is to conduct the impurities to the sea; crossing by the lane reserved to the lady Rodrigue ... [NOTE 5]
There is also the possibility that common use of a pit for more than one latrine occurred elsewhere (see plan 734-4). There is no further data available at present.
SEATS AND SUPERSTRUCTURE
There is no data available in the DAF at present. The toisé for the Engineer's House offers the following figures:
(i) WOODEN SUPERSTRUCTURE
(a) Total length of the uprights and bridging = 84 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(b) THICKNESS = 7-7
(a) 1 POUCE PLANKS, PLANED, T AND G
(01) TOTAL LENGTH around the latrines = 25 Pieds 0 Pouces
(02) AVERAGE WIDTH 5 PIEDS 8 POUCES
(03) LENGTH of the Seat 6 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(04) AVERAGE WIDTH (SEAT?)3 PIEDS 6 POUCES
(iii) FLOORS OF THE LATRINES
(a) 2 POUCES PLANKS, PLANED ONE SIDE
(01) LENGTH = 6 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(02) WIDTH = 6 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(iv) THE RAFTERS
(a) TOTAL LENGTH = 72 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(b) THICKNESS = 4-4
(v) THE ROOF
(a) WOOD SHINGLES
(01) TOTAL LENGTH of the slopes = 32 PIEDS 0 POUCES
(02) AVERAGE HEIGHT = 3 PIEDS 0 POUCES [NOTE 6]
DOORS AND HARDWARE
DAF material here is as scanty as other aspects of the "Latrine File". One entry notes a civil law action wherein are mentioned:
two hinges which are missing from the door of the latrines
deux pantures qui manquent a [PAGE 4:] la porte des latrines [NOTE 7].
This would suggest wooden door construction of an unspecified but presumably simple design.
A second entry, apparently from a descriptive compilation, mentions a "Commoditté ajointe avec La porte et Clache de fer et panture" which might translate as an "adjoining (latrine) with door and iron latch and 8 hinge(s) [NOTE 8]. The use of latches on latrine doors is supported in another specification list which mentions latrines of unspecified location as being "fermante a loquet" (closing by latch) [NOTE 9].
Several DAF entries indicate latrine locations within the town which deserve further analysis. There can be no accuracy possible at this stage of research.
All structural details and above- ground specifics must remain conjectural pending further research.
[NOTE 1:] C11B v.6 ff. 196-213 30 Sept 1734; Verrier: Toise Definitif ... Pour La Construction Du Logement De l'Ingenieur ... [NOTE 2:] AFO G2 vol. 184 ff. 392-94, Louisbourg, 1737: Devis des Ouvrages ... partie 2e. [NOTE 3:] AFO G2 vol.184 ff. 392-94, Louisbourg, 1737; Partie 6e. [NOTE 4:] C11B v.6 ff. 196-213 30 Sept 1734; Verrier: Toise Definitif ... [NOTE 5:] AFO G3 Carton 2039 suite, 9 May 1736, No. 32. [NOTE 6:] C11B v.66 ff. 196-213; Toisé Definitif ... [NOTE 7:] AFO G2 vol.203 fol. 304 84v 5 Oct 1753 "Audience entre Jean Baptiste Feuillet dit du Coudray demandeur et Sieur Gabriel Philipon dit La - Mouline Me peruquiet deffendeur". [NOTE 8:] AFO G3 Carton 2045 37 12 Sept 1757 (no title). [NOTE 9:] AFO G3 Carton 2045 67 1 June 1756.