Paul Baker Touart
Old Westover Marion Road, Kingston, Somerset County
The Beauchamp House is a 1 1/2 story brick-ended hall/parlor frame house standing at the head of the Annemessex River. The main house was built in two stages, beginning with a c. 1710-1730 hall plan house. During the second half of the 18th century, the structure was enlarged by the addition of two downstairs rooms, each heated by a corner fireplace. Around the turn of the 19th century, the two rooms were consolidated to one with the removal of the middle partition and the consolidation of two hearths into one. During the second quarter of the 19th century, a 1 1/2 story frame kitchen wing was attached to the south gable end. Standing on a raised brick foundation, the two-room plan structure is covered by a steeply pitched gable roof. A box cornice with bed and crown moldings stretches across the foot of the roof, while the gable ends are finished with a plain bargeboard. The front and back walls of the main block are covered with a combination of beaded weatherboards and shiplap siding, while each gable end is laid in Flemish bond. One of the most notable features of this important house is the glazed diaper pattern on the north gable end, which also features a sawtooth belt course. Flush brick chimneys with corbeled caps rise from each gable end. The west elevation is three bays wide with a central six-panel door flanked by 9/9 sash windows. A pair of 2/2 sash gable-roofed dormers pierce each side of the roof. A late-19th century front porch with turned posts covers the two southern bays of this facade. The interior is significant as well with most of its 18th-century woodwork in place, including beaded baseboards and molded chair rails. The north wall of the main room is fully paneled with a glazed-door closet to the left and enclosed winder stair to the right. In the second room, the 18th century mantel consists of a heavily molded mantel shelf, a plain frieze, and a molded hearth surround. Outbuildings on the property include a c. 1900 barn, corn crib, and wood shed.
The Beauchamp House derives its significance primarily from its architecture. Architectural features suggest the initial 1 1/2 story one-room plan brick-ended house was constructed c. 1710-1730, making it one of the earliest small houses surviving on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As such, this house represents an important link between Anglo-American building traditions and antecedents in English vernacular architecture. In Somerset County, this hall/parlor house is one of a small collection of approximately eight early-18th century manor houses with glazed-header brick construction. In contrast with the others in this group, this house stands out as one of the earliest and best preserved. The north gable end exemplifies the most ambitious glazed brick patterns in Somerset County. The diaper pattern is found on only two other houses in the county. In addition to an extremely significant exterior, the Beauchamp House survives with much of its 18th century woodwork intact. The interiors have experienced at least two periods of 18th century renovation. From architectural evidence, it appears the original one-room plan interior was unpaneled and evidently whitewashed. Around the mid 18th century, the end wall paneling was installed. At the same time or slightly later the one-room plan was extended to the south with two rooms, each fitted with a corner hearth. Finally, in the late 18th century, the south rooms were consolidated into one. None of these alterations has diminished the interior's integrity. Historically, this 1 1/2 story brick-ended frame house represents the first phase of permanent buildings in Somerset County. Settlement type dwellings erected within the first quarter century (1666-1690) were eventually replaced by more permanent dwellings such as the Beauchamp House which have survived to modern times. In spite of its diminutive size, the superior glazed brickwork and interior paneling suggest the house was erected for a moderately well-to-do planter.