Paul Baker Touart
Charles Cannon Road, Kingston, Somerset County
Williams' Conquest is a 1 1/2 story Flemish bond brick house constructed c. 1733 on Gales Creek. The house rests on a partially excavated basement, facing southeast, and has a steeply pitched gable roof covered in wood shingles and a flush chimney on each gable end. The southeast or land facade is a symmetrical five bay elevation with a glazed header, checkerboard design. A beveled watertable defines the base of the house. Each opening has a segmental brick arch. The flat six-panel center door is a later replacement as are the two adjacent 4/4 sash windows. The two other window openings contain 9/9 sash and each window has paneled shutters. A boxed cornice with bed molding stretches across at the base of the roof. Located above the cornice are three asymmetrically placed gable-roofed dormers with diagonal board sides and 6/6 sash. One significant seam in the brickwork around the second window from the left indicates that a door was once located in this bay. Around the northwest gable end, the glazed header design continues along with the beveled watertable. In addition, a row of glazed headers runs directly below and parallel with the plain bargeboard. A two-row belt course divides the floor levels and four small four-pane windows pierce the end wall; two on each floor. The northwest or water facade is an asymmetrical three bays with a centrally located four-panel door and adjacent 9/9 sash. Three dormers pierce this roof slope as well. Attached to the southwest gable end is a c. 1825-1850 frame kitchen with an exterior chimney on the gable end, with a smaller utility wing added in 1968. On the interior, the original hall/parlor plan was altered to a three-room configuration very early in the building's history (c. 1740-1750). The interior woodwork was also installed at that time, and includes overmantel paneling; cornices; fireplace surrounds; baseboard, chair rail, and architrave moldings; and paneled doors. The bold diamond design of the overmantel paneling is unique in Somerset County, and is similar to that of Bounds Lott, a c. 1740 dwelling in Wicomico County.
"Williams' Conquest" is architecturally significant for several reasons. First, it is one of a small collection (approximately eight) early-18th century 1 1/2 manor houses in Somerset County. Like the other houses in the group, "Williams' Conquest" is distinguished by glazed header checkerboard patterns on each wall. However, the early "Georgian" period paneling that finishes each first floor room is unique in the county, and stands out among the most ambitious early-18th century woodwork on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It is similar in design to paneling at Bounds Lott, a c. 1740 dwelling in Wicomico County. The three-room plan is a significant aspect of the development of the house since it is evident the structure was initially built as a hall/parlor house. Lastly, houses such as "Williams' Conquest" represent the first phase of permanent Somerset County buildings that have survived to modern times. In the specific history of this property, this building appears to be the second structure erected on this site.