The lot was granted to early settler Robert Lord, and was owned by the Lord family for over 200 years. Thomas Lord (1633-1713) was the son of Robert Lord and Mary Waite, who settled in Ipswich by 1635. . He married Alice Rand in 1660. It is traditionally believed that Thomas Lord, a cordwainer, constructed at least part of the house at 17 High Street in 1658. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote, however, that “the house is of the 18th century, beyond a doubt,” in which case the house may have been constructed by Thomas Lord’s son Thomas while the elder Thomas was still alive. While the massive oak summer beams with their wide chamfers are typical of the early period, the oldest (front) part of the house appears to have been constructed all at the same time, suggesting the house may have been constructed by Thomas Lord Jr. (1687-1753) early in the 18th Century.
Thomas Lord’s will was written on December 5, 1710, probated June 19, 1713. He named as his heirs his wife, his sons Thomas and Joseph, his daughters Alice and Abigail, and Nathaniel Lord. He devised to son Thomas, who was a joiner, part of the house, and to his daughter Alice the other part house. The house stayed in the Lord family for over a century. Philip Lord (1691-1753) the son of Thomas’ brother Nathaniel, was in possesion before 1738.
Rooms inside the Thomas Lord house have large exposed oak summer beams with wide chamfered edges, typical of houses constructed in the period up to 1680, before the widespread adoption of decorative “lambs tongue” stops. A traditional hall and parlor First Period house, it has a small entryway, known as a “porch” with winder stairs to the second floor. The shed, or “lean-to” in the rear is a later addition with pine framing. The brick central chimney sits on a massive stone base and serves a large cooking fireplace on the left, with smaller fireplaces in the other rooms.
The house was completely restored beginning in 1949.
Read more about the Thomas Lord house at the Historic Ipswich site.