The Shatswell family is one of the earliest to arrive in Ipswich. A small building that was moved to the Collins-Lord property on Jeffreys Neck Road is believed to have been the original planters cottage of John Shatswell or his son Richard. It may have been built as early as 1646, in which case it would be the oldest structure in Ipswich. It was moved in the 1940’s to Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Road, and was placed beside another building that was moved and reassembled by Daniel Wendell from the Lord-Collins House and the Ross Tavern in Ipswich.
From the Shatswell genealogy we read the following:
“John and Johanna Shatswell came to Ipswich in 1633. He was one of the first to erect a house for himself, and was appointed a surveyor of the land upon which others built. His homestead is still in possession of his descendants, and has never been out of the name.”
“The lands granted to John Shatswell in April, 1635, are found recorded by the Clerk in 1635, April 20, as follows: ‘April 20, 1635. Their was granted to John Shatswell, about six acres of ground whereof the said John Shatswell hath built an house, lying between Mr. Wade’s house lot on the East, and Mr. Firman’s on the west, having goodman webster’s house lot on the north east. Also a parcel of land part marsh part upland, containing twenty-five acres in the whole, lying between Mr. Dudley’s toward the South land Humphrey Bradstreet towards the North. Also a farm containing two hundred acres lying beyond the North commonly called Egypt River, adjoining to the bounds of Newbury.”
John Satchwell’s will, dated 11 February 1646 and proved 30 March 1647:
“John Satchwell of Ipswich though weak in body, bequeath to my son Richard all my houses and land, except part of the twenty-five acre lot from the upper end of the plowed land to the sea, and sixteen acres of pasture beyond Muddy River towards Rowley, which parcels of land I give to Johan my wife”for her life and to her issue if she have any, and for want of such issue, then to return to Richard my son his heirs and assigns.”
“If Richard shall not marry with Rebecca Tuttle which is now intended then my wife shall have her being in the house … during her life unless she see good to dispose of herself otherwise. If both Richard and John die without issue, then the land remaining should be equally divided between my brother and sisters’ children that are here in New England” to my brother Theophilus Satchwell”my best cloth suit and coat; to my brother Curwin my stuff suit; to my sister Webster seven yards of stuff and a young heifer; my wife sole executrix.”
The undated inventory of the estate of John Satchwell was not totalled, and included £307 in real estate: “one dwelling house and homestall with barn, cowhouse, orchard yard with the appurtenances,” £100; and “several parcels of land, meadow and upland” £207. He also had “a swarm of bees,” £1; and “in England upon bond,” £18 [ EPR 1:61].
The Trust for Public Land has held a preservation agreement for this property since March of 2002.
Susan Nelso prepared a report on the entire Wenel property in October, 2000″
The Shatswell Planter’s Cottage (originally located at 88-90 High Street is the earliest of the three First Period structures on the site, dating to before 1646. Acquired by Daniel Wendel in about 1956, the building is a story-and-a-half one room house with evidence on the exterior of English half-timbering techniques, according to Wendel. Documentary evidence suggests this was the house of John Shatswell, who died between 1646 when his will was written and 1647 when it was probated. Only two other “planter’s cottages” are known to exist in Massachusetts, according to architectural historian Jim Kyprianos, and both have been sumsumed into the Austin Lord house at 99 High Street in Ipswich. The Shatswell cottage, then is the only planter’s cottage that exists in free-standing form. Despite additions and changes to the building made during its restoration by Wendel, it is a unique survival and must be studied and protected.
“By the time Daniel Wendel saw the Shatswell cottage, it was being used as a garage and workshop, and was bout to be pulled down and taken to the dump. He wrote that it had also recently been used as a hen house. As s has been noted, the varied uses to which the cottage has been put destroyed some of the framing which would have provided important information about the size and form of the house in the early seventeenth century.”
Wendel initially felt that the building was not built as a dwelling, but certain anomalies in the framing puzzled him. After the building was taken down and brought to Jeffreys Neck Road and the process of restoration began, Wendel decided that the building had indeed most probably been a house. He found evidence of red paint on an exterior post, which would not be expected if the house were sheathed in clapboards or shingles. This he felt would be an unlikely treatment for a building intended for use as a barn. Another unusual feature of the cottage is in the roof framing, the purlins of wich are cambered up in the middle where they are attached to the roof rafters. “
According to Wendel, the building was only 14′ x 15′ when he obtained it, and had a shallow pitched roof, “just under forty degrees.” Town records show that in 1671, the Selectmen granted Richard Shatswell the privilege to fell 1000 ft. of board. A structure of this size would require somewhat less than 1000 ft’ of 12″ boards to replace the roof and all of the walls. This suggests to this writer that at least by 1671, Richard Shatswell was inhabiting the Shatswell house on High Street.