Mark R. Edwards
Hope Road, Centreville, Queen Annes County
Lansdowne Farm consists of a brick dwelling, and a large barn, granary, and several outbuildings to the east. The house was built in two distinct periods. The earliest house was of brick, two stories high, three bays wide and two rooms deep, with a single flush chimney on each gable. Dating to the late colonial period, this house was incorporated into a larger, Federal period house built in 1823 by Peregrine Wilmer. The new house was also brick, 2 1/2 stories high, and was built directly adjoining the west gable of the earlier structure; the latter was incorporated into the new plan as a wing to the larger, more formal house. The original house is brick, two stories high, three bays wide, and two rooms deep. The brick is laid in Flemish bond on both of the facade walls and the exposed gable wall. The gable is highlighted by numerous glazed headers. The principal facade faces south, toward the road. There is a door in the east bay of this facade, with 6/9 windows in the center and west bays. Three 6/6 windows are ranged across the second floor. The lintels above the first floor openings have splayed jack arches, but the second floor openings are immediately below the cornice, and appear to be plain. On the east gable, there is a 6/6 window to the left of the chimney on the first floor and a door to the extreme right. On the second floor, two bricked up windows with arched soldier course lintels flank the chimney. A pair of six-light casement windows flank the chimney in the upper gable. The rear facade has been completely rebuilt, from ground level up to the eaves. There is a door in the west bay and 6/6 windows in the center and east bay on both the first and second floors. The house now has a boxed cornice with crown mold and bed mold, but the east end of the soffit is open on the rear cornice, and the joists have scrolled ends, indicating that the eave was originally exposed.
Lansdowne is one of the most perfectly preserved examples of high-style Federal architecture remaining on the Eastern Shore. Both the date of construction and the name of the builder are positively determined, inscribed on a carved datestone on the southwest parapet. The house has been carefully maintained but never restored, and retains virtually all of the original fabric. The exterior includes such refinements as cut stone door sills, window lintels, and cornice stops, a very fine entrance door with leaded sidelights and transom, and a number of the original louvered shutters. The interior is highlighted by refined mantels with marble facings, decorated cast iron firebacks, plaster interior cornices, and all of the original moldings, mantels, and doors. Most of the hardware is original, and a number of samples of exposed original paint may be found on the upper floors. In the cellar, the original kitchen mantel shelf has survived in place, as well as the original kitchen shelving and an early root and vegetable cellar. The use of mud insulation in the ceiling is a rare survival on this part of the Eastern Shore.