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Lay-out of Demesne Estate Complexes

The Sovereign Demesne Administration to a large extent predefined the lay-out of the demesne estate complexes and these were rather standardised.


The Sovereign Demesne Administration to a large extent predefined the lay-out of the demesne estate complexes and these were rather standardised. The ordinance survey maps of 1881 usually show an elongated rectangle completed on the one narrow side by the house of the demesne tenant, followed on the long sides left and right by large estate buildings (see historical photos of Kritzow) and finally the farm cottages of the estate labourers and the reapers´ barracks for migrant workers who arrived for the harvest.

Cottages and reapers´ barracks often still remain without hardly any alterations (for instance in Kreien and Kritzow). Usually they are neat brick buildings from the second half of the 19th century with now two to four dwellings each. The estate buildings in their original form are extant only in those cases where the demesne is even nowadays managed as a large farming business (see Schlemmin), otherwise they have sometimes been converted into residential houses, as for instance in Ruthen, where an elongated former estate building is now a sort of terraced house. However mostly the estate buildings have been altered beyond recognition (Kritzow), some of them are ruins or have totally vanished (see Karbow, Hof Lalchow, Zahren).  

The residential houses of the demesne tenants are usually extant, differently to the manor houses, because they were not regarded to be memorials of squirearchy (Junkertum). Also because they were smaller with lower ceilings than the manor houses and castles, they could more easily be used as dwellings, schools, and offices and above all they were much easier heatable. However they also have often been modernised beyond recognition. Where they are still extant in their old shape, they are sometimes rather dilapidated (Karbow, Zahren).