27 Summer St., Ipswich

The Thomas Knowlton house, 27 Summer St. (c.1692)

The lot on the corner of Summer St. and County St. was granted to Humphrey Bradstreet in 1635, who sold his house and land to Deacon Thomas Knowlton in 1646. Deacon Thomas Knowlton Sr. was born in 1607 in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, and arrived in Ipswich in 1639 with his older brothers John and William. In 1688, a month after his second wife died, and having no children, he granted part of his estate to his nephew Thomas (1662-1750), and deeded his house with two acres of land to Thomas’s brother Nathaniel (1658-1726), who had been living with the family. Deacon Thomas died in 1692. The younger Thomas, a carpenter, probably built the existing house for his brother Nathaniel, who sold the “upper dwelling” to Abraham Knowlton in 1725.

Inside 27 Summer St.

This timber frame private residence has a substantial framed overhang, and hewn facade overhangs on the gables. “Jettied” upper floors date to Elizabethan England and were a means to enlargen peasants’ houses without encumbering the narrow lanes on which they were built. In America they are found primarily in Eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut. Houses with overhangs were once believed to have been constructed by the early settlers, but architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings determined that they were constructed during a “post-medieval revival” from about 1680 to 1710. Other houses constructed in this style include the Whipple House, the Capt. Matthew Perkins house, and the William Howard house on Turkey Shore.

Read more about this house at the Historic Ipswich site.

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