No - just an ancient mouse nest... Shortly after moving into our house in March, we found this and were terrified:
We couldn't quite figure out what it was and thought of xylophaga or dry rot. We saw huge bills arise in front of us to save the house or - in even worse nightmares - the house tumbling down.
What happened exactly? We decided to rip out the previous owner's carpet in the bedroom due to a wood worm-infested coco mat underneath the carpet which was meant to insulate the room.
After riping out that stuff and throwing it out of the window *great fun*
we found a strange kind of flooring. We didn't know what it was back then - thanks to the preservationist, we know now that it is a historic gypsum flooring which had to be layed in the middle of the 19th century for safety reasons (fire break).
And in this floor there was the hole shown above - and in the hole traces of insects, strange fibers and paper shavings. Thanks to the rests of newspaper we found out that it must be an ancient infestation, it was still printed in Gothic letters.
We immediately called "our" carpenter and he laughed at us saying: "Don't worry, it's just a mouse nest, probably more than 100 years old. Your house won't tumble down because of an old mouse nest!"
You really have to learn to react with calmness to all the surprises a 400 year old house comes up with ;)
In the next post I'll write more about how we refilled that hole...