Photo credit: Peter E. Kurtze , 02/1985

Property Name: Bishopton
Date Listed: 9/12/1985
Inventory No.: QA-18
Location: Pinder Hill Road, Church Hill, Queen Annes County

Description: Bishopton is a c. 1730 brick dwelling, 1 1/2 stories high, three bays wide, and one room deep with a hall-parlor plan. The facades are laid in glazed header Flemish bond above a plain water table and English bond foundation; the upper gables feature glazed chevron patterns. The principal (east) facade has a central entrance, flanked by 6/6 windows in segmentally arched openings; three Federal-period 6/6 gable roofed dormers are ranged across the second story. The south end of this facade has been extensively repaired. The west facade remains undisturbed, and has similar fenestration. The roof is covered with modern split shingles; the two 6/6 shed-roofed dormers on the west slope, and the cornice on both sides, are entirely rebuilt. A c. 1974 frame addition extends to the south, replacing a 19th century frame wing of similar proportions and size. The interior evidently remained unfinished throughout the 18th century and was not completed until the Federal period. A brick interior partition separates the south hall from the smaller parlor; the parlor has an unusually large fireplace with a heavy wood lintel, a panel of herringbone brickwork in the rear firewall, and small niches in the cheek walls. Both rooms have exposed beaded ceiling joists, and evidently were originally finished in whitewash. A winder stair in the southwest corner of the hall rises to the second floor, which consists of three small chambers opening off a passage which runs along the west wall. The partitions are constructed of vertical beaded boards; machine nails indicate that these were added in the early 19th century. The chamber above the parlor is heated by a small fireplace which is framed by a Federal mantel, next to a paneled closet door with foliated HL hinges. The attic retains evidence of riven clapboard flooring. Several 20th century sheds and barns related to the property's current function as a horse farm are located to the north and west of the house.

Significance: Bishopton is an excellent example of a small brick hall-parlor dwelling probably constructed in the second quarter of the 18th century. The house is one of perhaps a dozen dwellings of similar form, size, and construction in the county. Notable features of the exterior include the glazed header Flemish bond brickwork and the glazed chevron pattern in the gable ends. The interior is significant for several reasons. The interior rooms were not originally plastered but were simply whitewashed. The beaded ceiling joists also were whitewashed and left exposed, and the second floor was unfinished except for whitewash. Evidence survives of a riven clapboard ceiling on the second floor; this is a technique occasionally described in documentary sources but rarely found in surviving buildings. It is probable that the roof was clapboard as well. Other interesting features include evidence of a brick paved floor under the first floor hall, a variety of early-19th century interior woodwork, and a handsome paneled closet door on the second floor with foliated HL hinges.




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