Timber-framed houses

Timber-framed houses

These two timber-framed houses date from the 15th century. Along with the Maison des Quatrans in the rue de Geôle, these are the last wooden buildings still standing in Caen today.


Only in Caen do we find houses built in stone onto which façades of corbelled timbers are mounted. This building technique was used up until 1524 when the Norman Parliament issued a decree forbidding such corbelled buildings for reasons of hygiene and safety (the high fire risk).


The house at number 52 dates from the late 15th century. Its beams are decorated with delicately worked sculptures and the pilasters are embellished with little statues.


The house at number 54 is covered in mouldings and foliage (15th century). It is much more highly decorated than its neighbour but is disfigured by the addition of numerous windows. The first floor is surmounted by seven small statues: St Michael (the owner’s patron saint) slaying the dragon; the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, St Joseph, St Peter holding the keys to heaven.

 

Maison des Quatrans

This so-called Maison des Quatrans dates from the late 14th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century. The house in question was the residence of dignitaries of Caen who moved into the centre of town, near to the church of Saint-Pierre. It is the oldest timber-framed house still to be seen in Caen today.
The house bears the name of Jean Quatrans who was responsible for building it. He was a tabellion (i.e. a notary) in Caen from 1380 to 1390, and his successors lived in the house for many years. In 1417 when Caen was taken over by the English, the owner, Thomas Quatrans, emigrated and the house was confiscated and given to an English Knight. It was rebuilt during the second half of the 15th century.
The Maison des Quatrans shelters today the Association “Music in Normandy” and the International Institute for Human Civil Rights and Peace.