1 High Street, the Nathaniel Rogers Old Manse (1727)

The Olde Manse at 1 High St. is a 2 story, gambrel-roofed house with a wood frame and clapboards, constructed for the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers in 1727 by Ipswich cabinetmaker Capt. Abraham Knowlton. The semicircular portico and dormers were modifications during the Colonial Revival era.

The original owner of this site was Samuel Varnum who immigrated to Ipswich in 1635 with his parents, Hannah and George. His father was granted land on High Street and they built a house and barn, and after he died in 1649, Samuel, at the age of 28, inherited his father’s house, lands and marsh lots. He was a yeoman and also works for the town as a surveyor and inspector of fences. In 1664, Samuel Varnum purchased land near Chelmsford, prepared to create a new settlement in “ye wilderness north of the Merrimack.” He named his new home “Draycot-Upon-Merrimack,” founding the Town of Dracut.

Varnum sold his Ipswich house to Edward Deare in 1665, who sold it to Rev. Nathaniel Rogers in 1727. Town Records cite that Rogers petitioned and was granted additional frontage for his lot, and within a year the Reverend removed the original house to build the larger house that stands today, known as “The Old Manse.” (Ips. Deeds 2:246). The Rogers men, (Nathaniel, John, John jr.) served as pastors of the First Church for 137 years. In the late 19th century, the house was used as an inn and stage coach stop. Otis P. Lord, who became Chief Justice of the Commonwealth, lived in the family home from about 1835 till 1844, when he removed to Salem. The executor of his will sold the house in 1885 to Samuel Baker. The property was purchased in 1914 by antiques dealer Ralph W. Burnham.

The most notable Georgian feature is the central hall with raised paneling and a fine staircase. Unusual Colonial Revival details exist in the rest of the house. Some of the original paneling was removed about 1900 and installed in the Whipple House.

In the early 1900s the building was known as “ye Olde Burnham Inn”. It is now the House of Peace which provides a home for young people from war-ravaged countries of Africa and the Far East. View MACRIS

Rev. Nathaniel Rogers House, 1 High Street Preservation Agreement

This house is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Exterior protected elements include:

  • Wooden trim on the south, east and west sides, including cornice boards, moldings and window frames.
  • South portico door, doorway and fan window over door
  • East porch with stained glass and bulls eye windows
  • Semicircular bay window and associated curved glass and leaded glass windows
  • South dormer windows, 3rd floor
  • West bay windows (dining room and second floor bedroom)
  • Palladian window on the north side

Interior protected elements include:

  • Woodwork in most rooms, including mantles, molding, paneling, bookcases, cupboards, post and beam cases
  • Fireplaces (all three floors)
  • Major staircase, 3 floors and associated woodwork
The tombstone of Nathaniel Rogers, Old North Burying Ground, section C156
The tombstone of Nathaniel Rogers, Old North Burying Ground, section C156


3 thoughts on “1 High Street, the Nathaniel Rogers Old Manse (1727)”

  1. cool….doing family genealogy, and just started filling out my Varnum line, saw a map of Ipswich in the Varnum Genealogy, and the location of Samuel Varnum’s land on High Street, and this was the place.

  2. I’m also a descendant of Samuel Varnum in Denver, Colorado. Thank you, Historic Ipswich for preserving the house and posting photos, maps and history online. Very much appreciated!

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