This page displays the First Period, Georgian, and early Federal houses of Newbury, Massachusetts. The following images, and text were provided by the Newbury Historical Society in 1989, and are online through the Massachusetts Historical Commission site (MACRIS). Photos are displayed alphabetically in order of street name. House numbers may have changed. Click on any image to view a larger photo. Click on the NEW link to view the house at the MACRIS site.View also:

NEW.43, Goodrich, Oliver House, Forest St., r 1725


NEW.225, Pettingill, Nicholas Blacksmith Shop, 12 Green St, c 1767. This former blacksmith shop known as the “Corner House” was moved to its present site in 1948. Deeds indicate that it was originally built by Nicholas Pettingill, a local blacksmith who occupied the north half of the Short House from 1767-8 and stood on that lot at the corner of Rolfe Lane and High Road. That portion of the present house facing south is the original shop, now substantially altered, in a mid-twentieth century interpretation of colonial architecture in harmony with the local building tradition.

NEW.219, Little, G. House, 26 Green St., 1785

NEW.218, Atkinson – Little House, 5 Hanover St., 1652. The Atkinson-Little House has traditionally been assigned a date of 1652 to its original portion. Architectural inspection of the exterior, however, indicates the presence of an early eighteenth century structure built around an early (possibly original) central chimney and perhaps an early frame. It is a fine example of the pervasive colonial architecture in the District.

NEW.300, High Rd., c 1700

NEW.240, Swett, Stephen – Ilsley House, 4-6 High Rd., c 1670. The construction history of the house includes a distinctive and atypical evolution. Built in 1670, the original portion was a typical seventeenth century single-room plan building with a chimney bay end. It faced south, perpendicular to today’s High Street. Passing through a series of owners, the house remained essentially unaltered until about 1720, when it was enlarged with a second single-room unit to the north of the original block. A new roof, made in part with the salvaged rafters of the old roof, was built over the whole, changing the ridge pole direction from an east-west to a north-south axis. Now the house faced today’s High Street. The building was enlarged again approximately twenty years later with a third single-room unit to the north. To maximize space, the addition conformed to the irregular lot line. The original end chimney was demolished and a new chimney was added to serve the 1650 and 1720 portions of the house. Following the purchase of additional land around the 1750s, a fourth and final single-room unit was built to the north and a lean-to was added at the back.After acquiring the house in 1911, Historic New England began a partial restoration and removed layers of lath and plaster to reveal original timbers, early eighteenth-century paneling, and one of the largest fireplaces in New England. It measures 10′ 3″ wide, 3′ deep, and 4′ 8 ½” high and it sits atop a solid stone boulder base measuring 18′ x 8′ x 7′ high from the cellar floor. Today, the exterior of the house, left unrestored in 1911, reflects the eighteenth-century. The interior was partially restored and reflects the 17th and early 18th centuries.

NEW.202, Toppan, Dr. Peter House, 5 High Rd., 1697. The house is a fine example of a First Period structure built for the town physician and first settler in 1697. In the late nineteenth century the house was altered to acccOTnodate two families; restored to a single family dwelling in the mid-twentieth century.

NEW.239, 8 High Rd., 1711. This house is a fine example of an eighteenth century house whose earliest (south) portion dates from 1711 and whose north portion was added at mid-century. Its east facade facing High Road largely dates from that time, although a continuous collection of additions and alterations enlarged the house substantially. Its architectural character is in harmony with other domestic building in the District.

NEW.231, Sewall, Henry House, 30 High Rd., 1678. This structure is one of a number of important houses in the District built before 1678 by one of Newbury’s first settlers, Henry Sewall, Jr. In this house was raised Samuel Sewall, son of Henry Sewall, who later became Council member and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

NEW.216, Tucker, Rev. John House, 36 High Rd., 1746. The Rev. John Tucker House, named after its first occupant, is the structure which formerly served as one of a number of parsonages for the First Parish Church, Newbury. This parsonage is an early example in the district of the pervasive colonial house. A porch dating from the Greek Revival period spans the entire length of the north facade facing the Upper Green.

NEW.215, Short House, 39 High Rd., r 1725. The Short House forms the southeast boundary to the District. It remains one of Newbury’s most celebrated and well-published domestic buildings and since its acquisition in 1928 by SPNFA, has served as a house museum with a fine collection of William and Mary furniture, principally in the south parlor. In 1768 when Nicholas Pettingill, the local blacksmith, lived in the north half and John Brown in the south half, the Short House functioned as a duplex residence, similar to the arrangement of the Dr. Peter Toppan House, with the exception that the original Doric entrance to Short House was preserved. The blacksmith shop, built by Pettingill in the mid-eighteenth century, still stands on the other side of the Upper Green (#25), although greatly enlarged and altered as a house.

NEW.236, Coffin, Tristram House, 16 High Rd., 1678. The earliest portion of the Tristram Coffin House (#35), 1654, represents one of the outstanding examples of First Period architecture in New England and is the most important seventeenth century house in the District. It is set in deeply from High Road on a lot with a creek just beyond its western edge. Architectural analysis proceeds on the basis of dendrochronology, documentation and style. A recent examination of one of the posts in the original portion for dendrochronological corroboration resulted in a reading of about 1654. The original portion is the earliest example in the District in which the architectural treatment of both interior and exterior have been preserved. This portion facing south was enlarged with a First Period addition. A more extensive enlargement occurred after 1750, expanding the house to its present size while establishing a new orientation facing east. By 1785 all major elements of the house as it now stands were named in a division of the property. The east facade facing the High Road continues the seventeenth century use of unpainted clapboarding, vertical chimneys and vernacular character of the original portion; its organization is now regularized and classicized so that its entrance and fenestration are symmetrically disposed into five bays, two and one-half stories in height. The placement of windows on the south facade reflects the additive nature of the house. The Tristram Coffin House (Massachusetts Historic Landmark; HABS: MASS 472) has been continuously occupied by the Coffin family from 1654 when it was built by one of Newbury’s first settlers, Tristram Coffin, until its acquisition by SPNEA in 1929. The seven succeeding generations of occupants have participated actively in the socio-economic, political and educational life of the town.

NEW.55, Pearson House, Main St., c 1750. 

NEW.56, Riverview Farm, Main St., r 1775

NEW.67, Pearson, Benjamin House, Main St., c 1710. 

NEW.70, Pearson Tavern, Main St., r 1725

NEW.180, Middle Rd., r 1750

NEW.185, 123 Middle Rd., r 1750

NEW.165, Hale – Boynton House, Middle St. 1764

NEW.101, Orchard St., c 1750

NEW.175, Orchard St., r 1750

NEW.301, Noyes, James House, 7 Parker Rd., r 1675. The Noyes House has integrity of location, design, materials, workmanship, and association. In its decorated First Period frame and extremely early type of roof framing, it embodies distinctive characteristics of First Period architecture. The roof is among the earliest principal rafter roofs adapted to New England roof boarding by the trenching of purlins to support vertical boards.

NEW.302, Adams, Abraham House, 8 Pearson Dr., c 1704. The Abraham Adams House has a steeply, (50-degree,) pitched gable roof, chamfered oak roof frame, exposed and simply decorated interior framing, In the Byfield section of Newbury, it has evolved into an I-shaped floor plan, with the original double cell, central chimney, two story, 5 bay house in front. Behind it is a later and lower one story gabled ell partly raised to two stories, with its own end chimney. At right angles to the ell is a modern one story addition with gabled roof that projects beyond the ell. The First Period house is one room deep with single centered windows at each story on the ends, and has a projecting lobby entrance with a later door and Federal sidelights. The original double-cell five-bay house has its all-oak framing fully exposed in three of the four rooms. The attic is framed of oak, in a five-bay, principal rafter and purlin system with collars. The entire roof frame is chamfered.

NEW.166, Scotland Rd., r 1775

2 thoughts on “Colonial houses of old Newbury, Massachusetts

  1. Looking for more history and info about the 7 men arrested for not paying taxes to the king, mainly Robert Kinsman. I am related. 😊

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