Francis E. Engle
Old Sudley Road, Sudley, Anne Arundel County
Sudley is a 1 1/2-story frame house with shorter 1 1/2-story perpendicular wings added. The house is typical of the Medieval Transitional style, and has undergone three significant renovations--one in the third quarter of the 18th century, one about 1800, and finally a restoration in 1945. The main block is 5 bays wide, with a high steep gable roof pierced by three 6/6 sash gable-roofed dormers in the principal facade. Framing, siding, and roofing members of the house are of hand-hewn timber. The central entrance, with a 3-light transom, is flanked by two 9/9 sash windows on either side. A modillioned cornice spans the front facade of the main block. A large interior chimney stands at either gable end, although the upper stacks were rebuilt during the 1945 restoration. The rear facade has two dormers with heavy overhanging cornices, and two first-floor windows flanking the central doorway. The c. 1800 end wings lie perpendicular to the main block, and hold one 6/6 sash window in each interior facade (facing the center of the building). Each wing has an interior chimney in the front gable, flanked by 4-light windows. The roof frame is made of oak prepared of hewn and riven stock. A clasped-purlin roof incorporating small, principal pairs and common rafters set flat are both signs of an early date. A conventional board false plate is set on top of the joists, rather than a heavy board or tilted false plate. The roof and walls are covered with five-foot riven oak clapboards, those on the walls having been roughly planed and beaded. Clapboards also cover the attic floor. While the house was considerably improved during the c. 1760-70 remodeling, parts of early room finish survive. Most intact is the fireplace wall in the hall, which has a single raised panel with applied bolection moldings. There are two bays of this finish to the right, one with a single bolection panel below and a chair rail above, and the other a closet door with the same treatment and a third panel above. To the left is another pair of panels, probably narrowed when the original stairway there was removed and replaced by the Georgian buffet with domed head and dramatically shaped shelves. The Georgian remodeling also included floor-to-ceiling raised paneling and a stair in the smaller first-floor room.
Sudley is a grand hall-chamber house of the 1720-1730 period and retains a great deal of early finish. There was a reorganization of space and functions and substantial Georgianization of finish about 1760-70, followed by expansion and further reorganization, perhaps as late as 1800. Sudley's historical significance stems from its association with Kensey Johns, Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, chancellor of Delaware, and a delegate to the Delaware Constitutional Convention from New Castle County; John Johns, Bishop of Virginia and President of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; the ancestors of Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore benefactor; Kensey Johns II, a Sheriff of Anne Arundel County; and two female Quaker ministers, Sarah Harrison Thomas and Ann Galloway. Ownership of Sudley by the Quaker families of Johns and Galloway connects the house with Anne Arundel County's Quaker heritage.