This house and its northern neighbor, 50 North Main, were a single structure before 1845, when Thomas Morley bought the southern portion of that house,  separated and rotated it 90° to present a gable end to the street, and finished it for his dwelling. Thomas Morley was an artist and taught painting in his school on Summer St., which stood behind the present 47 North Main.

The date of construction of the house that Morley split, and its various portions, is uncertain. The oldest part, the south half of the present 56 North Main, contains an oak frame with one inch chamfers, characteristic of late first period construction (c. 1700-1720). That portion probably relates to the house and land acquired in 1721 by Stephen Perkins, a shop keeper, and James Brown, a yeoman, from Thomas Lovell. The lot was much larger at that time, but contained a single house, as indeed it had in 1654, when Lovell, a currier, bought the property.

The northern enlargements of the small original house appear to date from the 1720’s when Brown acquired the house. The southern part, which Morley removed in 1845, features Second Period construction, and probably was added later in the 18th century, around 1750.

Thomas Morley house, 48 North Main St. in Ipswich. Photo from the MACRIS site
Thomas Morley house, 48 North Main St. in Ipswich. Photo from the MACRIS site

Source: MACRIS