30 Jeffreys Neck Road, The Searle estate (1910)

 Charles Searle mansion
30 Jeffreys Neck Road, The Searle estate (1910)
 Charles Searle mansion

The summer estate of Charles P. Searle on Jeffreys Neck Road, which he named Inglisby, was built in 1910. It is situated on an expansive terrace where one could look out beyond the fields at the extensive salt marshes. The mansion was designed in the form of a Florentine villa, and the living room and dining room were decorated in a Louis XVI style. (Excerpt from House Beautiful). Ipswich architectural historian Sue Nelson tells me that the house was modeled on the Florentine Villa Bel Riposo outside of Florence, Italy. She suspects that architect Walter Kilham saw and drew the original villa as part of his two-year Rotch Travelling Scholarship from MIT, 1893-1895.

 Charles Searle mansion
Inside the Charles Searle mansion

The house served as the Searle family summer home until 1919. Following the death of Searle’s son, the property was purchased by Bayard Tuckerman, Isaac Thomas, actor Raymond Massey and then Raymond Barclay Warburton III, son of William Vanderbelt II. Warburton energetically began to establish a gentleman’s farm on the estate, then discovered an interest in politics and served briefly as an Ipswich Selectman and in the state legislature.

View more North Shore estates in North Shore Boston: Country Houses Of Essex County, 1865-1930

Then Warbuton found his true love, sailing, and in 1959 he moved to Rhode Island, bought a yacht and decided to sail around the world. The Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur purchased the property (with the encouragement of Cardinal Cushing) in order to build their Ipswich Novitiate, a large complex which they dedicated on July 4, 1961. They had no use for the mansion, and the Sisters requested a demolition permit which was denied by the Ipswich Historical Commission. The beautiful home of Charles P. Searle still sits abandoned, encroached on by trees and decaying on the Sisters’ property.

 Charles Searle mansion blueprint
The former Charles Searle estate
The former Charles Searle estate

5 replies »

  1. I was wondering if anyone had gotten further information on the sale of the house. This is my dream home and I would really be interested in fixing it up and buying it.

  2. Would love to be part of a consortium that cherished and revitalized that beautiful structure. Mr. Harris do you think there could be a way the Sister of Notre Dame would consider allowing the structure to be brought back to life?

    • There was a proposal a couple of years ago to renovate the building for use by the diocese but it fell through. I can talk with Paul McGinley and their facilities director about this, but we would also need an initiative by the consortium you are suggesting.

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