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1740 Colonial, Southampton

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From the middle of the end girt to the middle of the chimney girt extended a timber which was generally the heaviest of the whole framework: the Summer, also referred to as the summer-beam or summer-tree.  There are different opinions as to the derivation of its name; it is said to have come from the Norman-French word “Sommier.”  It has been suggested that it is a corruption of the word “sumpter,” meaning a burden bearer (the “sumpter mule”).  This last would be a reasonable explanation, for the Summer carries a great load.

This photo shows the 11-1/2” wide Summer typical of this early American architecture.

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