Kirk E. Ranzetta
West St. Mary's Manor
West St. Marys Manor Road, Drayden, Saint Marys County
West St. Mary’s Manor is a 1 1/2 story house with gable roof, brick basement and end walls, and front and rear walls of clapboards. Tall exterior double chimneys, with a one-story brick pent between them, rise at each gable end. The house is 40' wide and 31' deep. The south (front) facade is five bays wide and has a center door with a small rectangular 4-light transom above it. The four tall windows on this elevation have 9/9 light sash and exterior paneled shutters. The south slope of the roof are three tall and narrow gable-roofed dormers with 4/4 sash windows, while the north slope holds two. The north (river) elevation is only three bays wide, but its center door and two flanking windows are similar to those on the front facade. The brick end walls each have two smaller windows, one with four lights in the first-story pent and the other, located in the second story between the stacks, with 6/6 light sash. The west end wall also contains a side entrance, situated near the northwest corner. The plan of the house, with its classically balanced four-room-and-center hall plan, represents an advance over the simpler one- and two-room plans of small 17th century dwellings. West St. Mary's Manor has a central hall separating the two main rooms on the south (front) elevation and two narrow back rooms on the north side. The center hall, extending through the house, is divided into two sections by means of a wooden elliptical or transverse arch. The rear portion of this hall, about 12' deep, contains a stair with paneled spandrel built against the west wall. The stairs feature a turned newel and balusters, scrolled step ends, and a rail which ends in a scroll. The rooms have deep wainscoting and each room has a fireplace. The living room, which is located in the southwest corner, has a chimney piece with broad fascia surrounds.
West St. Mary's Manor, erected in the period 1700-1730, is an outstanding and rare example of a small William and Mary brick-and-frame country house. A transitional house with center hall separating two main front rooms and two narrow back rooms, the manor house illustrates a point in the shift from the one- and two-room plans of 17th century Southern houses to the larger and more symmetrical room arrangements of 18th century structures.