Photo credit: MHT File Photo , Undated Photo

Property Name: Merry Sherwood
Date Listed: 9/20/1991
Inventory No.: WO-19
Location: 8909, Worcester Highway (US 113), Berlin, Worcester County

Description: Merry Sherwood is a c. 1859, massive, three-story, five-bay, double-pile, frame dwelling. While its scale and massing quickly labels the dwelling as Italianate in style, there is sufficient exterior trim on the porch and on the openings and the cornice to recall the Gothic Revival influences of an earlier building period. A full three stories in height, Merry Sherwood is topped by a flat roof, projecting cornice, and a large cupola. The height of the house is enhanced by a raised common-bond foundation enclosing a fully excavated cellar. The five bay main facade (east) shows the center entrance and flanking tall, narrow 4/4 sash windows. The windows have a wide, reeded entablature capped by a wide hood or lintel carved with a series of four rounded arches topped off by a narrow reeded band. The windows are flanked by paneled shutters set on strap hinges. The shutter dogs are decorated with a scallop-shell motif. The porch extends across the front and wraps around the east and north sides of the house. There are eight columns across the front and six on the north side. The south side of the porch was enclosed and converted into a sun room in 1915. On the front facade, the central double-leaf door is surrounded by a heavy entablature with side lights and a transom. The carvings on the entablature and the door are Gothic-Revival in detail. Each of the four pilasters are distinguished by a recessed panel with a pointed arch at the top. The cornice is very wide with fifteen flat C-scroll brackets in the field topped by a horizontal C-scroll band into which are punched eleven decorative circles. A gothic arch is carved into the cornice below the brackets and joins the two inner pilasters. The glass in the transom and the sidelights are alternating pieces of blue and red stained glass with an etched floral pattern in each. The doors themselves are heavy two-panel leaves with a gothic arch in the top panel. The rails are decorated with hexagons. A two-story wing extends from the main block on the south end while another wing, for service functions, extends to the west, the rear of the house. The entire house is clad in wood weatherboard. The rear wing has an addition that is slightly lower in height. A glazed, enclosed porch runs the length of the service wing's south wall. This porch replaces in scale and finish a deteriorated enclosed porch that was rotten and unsafe. Another enclosed porch runs along the west wall of the main block from the service wing to the middle of the building. The cupola is trimmed in a similar fashion to the rest of the house. There is a 4/4 sash window in each of the walls. The roof of the cupola is capped with a pointed wooden spire.

Significance: Merry Sherwood, c. 1859, is one of the best examples of Italianate architecture on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. One of the largest houses in the area, the three-story, square block building with two wings, the house is over 30' in height, and dominates the surrounding agricultural landscape. The good use of Italianate trim on a traditional double-pile, center-hall plan demonstrates the skill of the local craftsmen in using a style that was only just beginning to spread to the lower Delmarva Peninsula. As such, Merry Sherwood is an excellent example of the use of the Italianate style on a domestic building. Architecturally, Merry Sherwood is a significant home seat vastly different than the average dwelling in Worcester County and for that matter on the lower Delmarva Peninsula.




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