Jennifer K. Cosham
2819, Old Liberty Road, Sykesville, Carroll County
The east section of Branton Manor is two stories with a gable roof and a large stone interior chimney at the east end. The south elevation once had a full-length pent roof between the first and second stories. The stone below the pent roofline is not stuccoed, and the second-story floor joists that extended to support the roof are now exposed. The fenestration of this elevation is asymmetrical, with an entrance near the center of the façade, a 6/6 pane sash window to the west of the entrance, and a four-pane casement window to the east on the first floor and two on the second floor. The north elevation has two 6/6 windows on the first story and two 3/6 windows on the second. The 2 1/2-story central section appears to be the latest in date of build. It has a gable roof with an interior brick chimney on the east end. The south elevation has two 6/6 pane sash windows with louvered shutters on both stories and a single gable dormer on the roof. The west gable end has an entrance on the south side within the porch of the west section of the house. The north elevation has a single 6/6 pane sash window on each story and a single gable dormer. The west section of the house is 1 1/2 stories with a gable roof which flares out on the south elevation to form a porch roof. There are two gable dormers on each side of the roof. Brick chimney stacks are located in the center of the south wall and on the south side of the west gable end. The south elevation is asymmetrical with entrances in the outer bays and a single 6/6 pane sash window on the east side of the west entrance. The west gable end has a 6/6 pane sash window on the south side of the house and a 4/4 window in the gable. The north elevation has a central entrance and 6/6 windows to each side. The overall exterior appearance of Branton Manor is quite mixed, with each section having a different style and roofline. Judging from architectural characteristics, the west section is the original main house. This resembles the 1 1/2-story, two-room plan that was a prominent tidewater Maryland house form during the 18th century, although its chimney placement is unusual. The east section was its accompanying out kitchen which might be altered from its original shape; this structure is German in appearance. The central section is a later addition to both structures, probably constructed in the early 19th century, and resembles the Federal style of that time.
Branton Manor is interesting for its odd combination of three architectural styles and for some of the features of its different structures. The central section is very narrow, apparently built to fit the space between the two earlier sections. Though smaller than many of its type, it is a representative of the Federal style so popular throughout Carroll County and other areas of Maryland from the late 18th century until the third and fourth decades of the 19th century. The west section is one of the few examples in Carroll County of a tidewater house form common elsewhere in 18th-century Maryland. The section is unusual in the house form, though, having two corner chimneys rather than end chimneys and being constructed of stone rather than the more common brick or frame. The other 18th century section to the west of the center is a German house type with evidence of a pent roof, its asymmetrical fenestration and its smaller scale second story. In addition to these factors in relation to style, Branton Manor appears to be largely unaltered (except for the east section).