Ritsu farm

Cotter’s barn-dwelling, last quarter of the 19th C

Ritsu farm is an example of a cotter’s household in southern Estonia. The barn-dwelling in the yard was built in 1860s on Ritsu farm in Tinnikuru village, Paistu parish. (The storehouse and the cattle-shed have not been built yet). It was brought to the museum in 1966, rebuilt in 1968–1975.

1 – barn-dwelling, 2 – drying barn, 3 – front chamber, 4 – back chamber, 5 – entrance chamber, 6 – pantry, 7 – chamber behind the oven, 8 – chaff storing chamber

Did you know?

  • The term ‘cotter’ stood for a poor peasant who had some land or not, but made their living by doing odd jobs and in some rarer cases by handicraft. Starting from the second half of the 19th century, it referred to those who held small places established on manors’ ‘quota land’ or on state-owned manors and paid their rent by day-labour or piece-work on manor’s fields. They lived in small cottages on their own or in saunas, and some even in a corner of other people’s home. After a special law was passed in 1926, cotters were allowed to purchase their homes as freeholds.
  • When Jaan Kingu lived on Ritsu farm, there was 1 horse, 3 cows (4 cows in the summer), several sheep and 4 pigs.
  • The rent paid to the state before World War II amounted to 11.20 kroons per year. The contract was signed for a term of 55.5 years, after which the place had to be purchased.