Smith had to sell the land for half its value.
But the barn miraculously remained safe and
was used by the Americans as a post office and
then as a beauty parlour. In the 1970s, it was
converted into a museum providing information mostly about the base but also about St.
David’s. With the demise of the base in 1995,
it was decided the property should go back
to the people of St. David’s and so the present
museum, commemorating an almost forgotten
way of life, was opened in 2001.
It is the St. David’s Historical Society, headed by Rick Spurling, which makes ure Carter House has its own Christmas
celebrations. Members Ronnie Chameau and
Deanna Smith take charge of the decorations
and are the ideal persons to do so since Ronnie
is famous for her traditional Bermuda crafts,
her Bermuda angels in particular, and Deanna
is an active member of every floral society that
exists on the island. Their main challenge is
to find enough room for their arrangements
since there are many exhibits and objects on
display. “Carter House is a folk museum,”
Deanna points out, “and it is one that men are
interested in as well as women.” The collec-
tions of tools and of weird and wonderful
padlocks support her opinion. So does the
Amazon Queen, the sailing dinghy which now
dominates the main room, and the portraits of
St. David’s characters who were farmers, boat-
men and pilots.
Did Bermudians decorate for Christmas
during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries? “Oh yes,” Ronnie says firmly, “but
they wouldn’t have had a Christmas tree.”
That tradition came in under Queen Victoria
Clockwise from top left: A large dining table in
the cabin is set with tableware replicated
from the eighteenth century, including a
Bellarmine jug found on the Sea Venture.
St. David’s Historical Society members
Ronnie Chameau and Rick Spurling take
charge of the Carter House festivities,
and dress in traditional seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century costume. A blazing fire
in the open fireplace adds to the festive
cheer. While Bermudians decorating for
Christmas during the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries would not have had
a Christmas tree, they would have used
whatever natural materials they could find.
Lit candles and plant materials add colour
to the early settler’s dwelling.