Mark R. Edwards
Budds Creek Road (MD 234), Newport, Charles County
Three primary construction dates are to be considered when reviewing the architecture of Sarum. The first stage is believed to have been built c. 1680. As near as can be determined the house was a 1 1/2-story frame structure measuring 19 x 33 feet having an external chimney at each end (east and west), a two-story porch (or stair) tower at the north facade flanked by a single peaked dormer to each side, and two doors and one window at the south facade. The whole of the exterior was sheathed with riven clapboards with exposed eave construction. About 1700, a one-story frame extension was made to the south elevation wall, raising and extending the rear slope of the roof in order to cover both, and giving the house a "salt-box" profile. An external chimney was constructed at the east end, and possibly one at the west end, though all evidence of it would have since been removed. The exterior walls of the addition were sheathed in riven clapboards, and the roof shingled. Approximately 30 years following the second stage, a more extensive alteration was made to Sarum. Each of the end walls (east and west) were extended and new walls of brick, laid in Flemish bond to the ground floor ceiling level and then English bond above, were constructed. This extension gave the house its present dimension of 31 x 53 feet. Removed at this time was the north facade wall of the first stage (but only up to the wall plate), the porch (or stair) tower, and the two original dormer windows. The new facade wall provided for a door flanked by two windows to each side and three regularly spaced gable-roofed dormers above. Each of the brick end walls contain massive chimneys with the single large stacks formed by continuing the gable above the roof ridge. On the interior all of the originally exposed framing was plastered over, including the ceiling joists. Partition walls were relocated and a center hall with an open stair was constructed. At this time the new northwest room was completely sheathed with rectangular fielded panels. Post c. 1730 alterations include the addition of a 1 1/2-story kitchen wing to the east end sometime in the mid 18th century. This wing is 3 bays wide with three gable-roofed dormers and an exterior chimney. Some interior remodeling occurred in the late 18th century, such as replacement of window sash and doors. This also included the introduction of stylistically sophisticated moldings (cornice, chairrail, paneled dado, and mantel) in the northeast room. The masterfully executed carvings of this room contrast sharply to the otherwise simpler interior of Sarum but in no way does it detract from the overall architectural merit of the house.
Sarum was patented to John Pile in 1662 with a 1680 resurvey of the property made for his son, Joseph. Joseph Pile died in 1691 or 1692, and it is to him that the construction of the initial stage is attributed. Sarum remained in the ownership of the Pile family until 1836. Among the many ensuing owners the Mattingly family figured predominantly, owning it for a period of 62 years. Aside from the fact that Sarum is one of the few recognized (and recorded) 17th century Maryland houses, it also ranks as one of the State's finest small Colonial dwellings.