Until the eighteenth century, houses in Maastricht (like elsewhere) where most often made of
wood and loam ('vakwerk'). Only the most important houses were made of stone in early centuries:
for instance the convent of the White Women on the Vrijthof, where the legendary maiden Marieken
van Nieumeghen did penitence; and lateron the Spanish Gouvernment, where Willem van Oranje was
outlawed. The 'Hof van Tilly' was first a refugee house, later on meeting place of the
administrators from Liege and Brabant, and house of the wellknown military gouvernor 't Serclaes
de Tilly. There are many large monumental houses standing upright today.
When most houses were made of stone, the poor lived still in hovels: in the Lange Grachtje, for
example, these were built against the city wall. Downtown pauperized altogether in the second
half of the nineteenth century; Regout, the 'king of pottery', had a big house built for his
labourers: the barracks called 'Groete Bouw' or 'Cité Ouvrière'. Outside the town, people lived
often in hovels and marl pits (see the picture).
In the eighteenth century, soldier Abraham van Citters knocked out his pipe in a powder magazine.
The explosion that followed created the empty space called 'Abrahamslook', where new houses could
be built. Some monumental city farms were then built. The nursing home Klevarie stands there now.