Michael O. Bourne
Southeast Creek Road, Church Hill, Queen Annes County
Kennersley is a large five-part brick house believed to date to the last quarter of the 18th century. Facing south, the large central block is approximately 35' square, 2 1/2 stories high, with the pitched gable roof oriented on a north-south axis. Flanking one-story hyphens connect the central block with a pair of flanking 1 1/2-story wings. The east wing is approximately 20' square, the west wing is approximately 20' wide and 35' deep. The front or south facade of all five parts of the house are flush, with no set-backs to increase visual separation of the hyphens and/or the wings. The central block is five bays with a large entrance door in the center bay on the first floor and two large 6/6 windows flanking the door on either side. There are five 6/6 windows on the second floor, and a circular bullseye window in the inner gable. Four eight-light cellar windows are located directly below the first floor window openings, set in heavy wood frames with restored vertical diamond section wood bars. The first floor door is framed with reeded pilasters supporting a classical pediment. The center window on the second floor is framed with a handsome crossetted surround. The brickwork on this facade is laid in Flemish bond above a plain water table and a two- to four-course bond foundation. A three-course Flemish bond belt course stretches across the facade between the first and second story. The window openings have splayed jack-arch lintels one brick high. The upper gable is pedimented, with a simple, rebuilt box cornice and wide frieze carried across the base of the gable and wide beaded but untapered rakeboards carried up the gable eaves. The brickwork of the tympanum may originally have been covered with plain or rusticated stucco. The bullseye window in the center of the tympanum replaces a 6/6 sash window visible in early photographs. That window may have been an earlier alteration, however, as there is evidence of altered brickwork around the opening in the same photographs.
Kennersley is one of the largest and grandest 18th century houses in Queen Anne's County. Constructed c. 1785-98 by Richard Ireland Jones, this five-part house is an excellent example of high style design with clear evidence of the influence of contemporary pattern books. The size and elegance of the house are a reflection of the aspirations and accomplishments of Richard Jones and of his wife Susanna, daughter of Colonel Edward Tilghman, a leading figure in Queen Anne's County in the latter part of the 18th century. In overall form, Kennersley is somewhat unusual in that the hyphens are set flush with the south facade of the main block and the flanking wings. As a result, the central block has a somewhat unusual plan, consisting of a wide stair hall stretching across the front or south facade, allowing ready access to the hyphens. The principal first floor rooms open off the hall to the north, with a view of Southeast Creek, Island Creek, and Chester River. Particular details worthy of note include the gracefully curving stair in the southwest corner of the front hall, the superb mantels and the bold, crossetted architrave trim in the central block. It is also interesting to note that the flanking wings were constructed first and that the main house and the hyphens were then filled in, completing the five part plan.