Pamela M. James
St. Richard's Manor
Millstone Landing Road, California, Saint Marys County
St. Richard's Manor is a 1 1/2 story brick dwelling constructed before 1750 on the Patuxent River. The brick is laid in Flemish bond above an English-bond foundation, and features an outstanding checkerboard pattern of glazed headers in the north gable. The principal facade, facing east towards the Patuxent, is five bays wide and symmetrical, with a central entrance flanked by two 9/6 sash windows to either side; the rear elevation, also symmetrical, is three bays wide, with narrow (two lights wide) 6/6 sash on either side of a hooded doorway. Three gable-roofed dormers with 16-light casement windows are ranged across both slopes of the steep gable roof, and flush chimneys rise from each gable peak. The interior is organized in a four-room plan, with two large east rooms in front of two smaller rooms which are separated by a short rear stair hall. This plan suggests a conceptual combination of the hall-and-parlor plan characteristic of small houses in the Tidewater region, with the symmetrical Georgian center-hall plan which became popular in the region by the mid 18th century. The original roof framing remains intact, and consists of common rafters mortised and pegged at the ridge, braced by collars set in half-dovetail joints and secured with wrought spikes. Most of the interior trim and finish is the product of a c. 1935-45 restoration campaign. The mantels in the west rooms are Federal pieces of unknown provenance, as is the winder stair with its turned newel, rectangular balusters, and rounded handrail. The extensive paneling in the east rooms, as well as all doors and window sash, are reproductions said to be based on evidence which remained in the house. A series of telescoping frame additions extends from the south gable end, a total of five bays wide plus a screened porch. This wing was built c. 1935 and rests partly upon the foundation of an early detached kitchen. Also on the property are two c. 1935 tobacco barns and a small pyramid-roofed concrete block pumphouse.
St. Richard's Manor is significant for its architecture: in its rectangular form, one-story height with a steeply pitched gable roof, and Flemish-bond brick construction, the house represents a type of dwelling favored by wealthy planters in Southern Maryland through the first half of the 18th century, fewer than a half-dozen examples of which survive in St. Mary's County. The building is distinguished by the quality of its masonry, which remains in excellent condition and incorporates glazed headers in a checkerboard pattern on the north gable. The house had become seriously deteriorated before 1930, when it was acquired by Maynard B. Barnes (b. 1897), a career diplomat who served as American Minister to Bulgaria. In the post-Williamsburg spirit, Barnes carried out an extensive restoration of the brick section, and added a telescoping frame wing. Interior trim, windows, and doors date to the period of Barnes' restoration, c. 1935-45.