Thomas Lord house, High St., Ipswich MA

17 High Street, the Thomas Lord house (after 1658)

Thomas Lord house, High St., Ipswich
Thomas Lord house, High St., Ipswich

The Thomas Lord house at 17 High Street in Ipswich features original chamfered summer beams, unpainted feather edge paneling in the front rooms and hall, an original saltbox frame, center chimney and five cooking fireplaces with bake ovens and large hearths. The saltbox roof slopes down to one story in the rear. The front entry features the original stairway and paneling. Typical of many early homes, the windows are 6 panes over 9 (cottage style).

The lot was granted to Robert Lord who arrived as one of the first European settlers of Ipswich in 1634 and served as town clerk until his death in 1683. The property was transferred to Robert Roberts and then to Thomas Lord (1633-1713), a cordwainer (shoe maker). Tradition is that he built all or part of this house in 1658, but it was more likely constructed around the turn of the century. This First Period house stayed in the Lord family until the 1860’s.

Wilcomb and Thomas Lord houses on High St. in Ipswich
The Thomas Lord house is on the left, and the Joseph Willcomb house on the right in this early 20th Century photo.

The Ipswich Historical Commission provides the following information at the MACRIS site.

“This lot was first granted to Robert Lord (c1602-1683), but by 1658 Robert Roberts (1617-1663) was in possession, when he sold the land with a house to Thomas Lord, a shoemaker (2:9). The main frame of the present house may correspond to that early dwelling (*unsubstantiated). This oaken frame with simple chamfers encloses a two-room over-two-room house; the lean-to is framed in pine, suggesting a later addition. A restoration of the house, beginning in 1949, exposed the early frame and opened the fireplaces. The original fireplaces with carved backs, made of bricks laid up with mud and clamshells, were found and restored. In the west chamber, the fireplace had never been reduced in size.”

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the following history of this house:

“This lot was granted to Robert Lord, but came into the possession of Robert Roberts, who sold Thomas Lord, shoemaker, on Feb. 22, 1658, a house and ground, bounded by Thomas Clark southeast, the Street southwest and Wm. Bartholomew northwest (Ips. Deeds 2:9).

“Philip Lord was in possession later, and his homestead is alluded to in a deed of the adjoining property, Nov. 19, 1738 (81:259). The Philip Lord estate was inherited by his sons. Philip sold to Samuel Lord of Gloucester half a dwelling with land, “extending two feet from ye easterly end of ye house, towards my father, Mr. Philip Lord, late of Ipswich, & 2 rods 9 ft. from the northeast corner of sd. house towards the barn, then on a square one rod & 6 ft. to Samuel Lord Jr.’s land and by said Lord’s land through the chimney to the County Road,” about 6 rods, Nov. 1, 1754 (137: 211).

“Philip Lord left two minor sons, John and Ebenezer, upward of fourteen, under the guardianship of Charles Bolles, May 14,1755 (Pro. liec. 33.3:98).

“Samuel Lord 3d sold to Asa Lord, the northwest half of his house, with half an acre of land, bounded west by Capt. Ebenezer Lord, Sept. 9 1797 (167: 275). Asa Lord owned the northwest part. Polly Lord had an interest in the middle, and Samuel Lord, who died in 1813, aged 91, owned the northeast part.

“The present residence of Mr. John Blake was purchased by him and his father, Asher Blake, of Capt. Wm. Lamson, and his wife Maria, daughter of Deacon Daniel Bolles Lord, June 1, 1868. The guardian of Daniel B., Samuel A. and Ann M. Lord, children of Daniel Bolles Lord, cabinet maker, sold to Wm. Lamson, two-fifths of the house and three-quarters of an acre of land, late the dwelling of Daniel B. Lord, which descended to him from his father, Samuel, Dec. 22, 1847. This is identical with the Philip Lord homestead of earlier days, and the earlier Robert Lord. The house is of the I8th century beyond a doubt.”

Bev Wanlin added:

“I am descended from Thomas and Alice (Rand) Lord. Thomas, of course, was the son of Robert and Mary (Waite) Lord. Her brother was John Ward, the father of Rev. Nathaniel Ward, according to Charlestown Genealogies and Estates (pg.628). Robert served in various town offices as mentioned by Gordon, including: deputy of general court (1637), committee to adjust town, county and farm boundary lines (1637), clerk of court at Ipswich (1648), court recorder (1649), sealer of weights and measures (1649), clerk of Salem court (1658), empowered to issue executions (1652), marshal/sheriff for Ipswich court (1648-60) [Cutter]. Thomas was a cordwainer.”

Front stairs at the Thomas Lord house
The front stairs at the Thomas Lord house were replaced
Massive summer beams are exposed throughout the house
Massive summer beams are exposed throughout the house
Post and beam framing is exposed in the attic as well and shows the scribe marks that the builder used to match the pre-cut tenons and mortises.
Post and beam framing is exposed in the attic as well and shows the scribe marks that the builder used to match the pre-cut tenons and mortises.


In the summer of 2016, the owners initiated a project to replace the window sashes at the Thomas Lord house. The existing windows were 6/9 Cottage style, with no balances or weather-stripping, dating to before 1950. The frames and casings were intact, but the sashes were aged. I replaced them with identical Brosco replacement window sash replacement kits, including modern balances and glazed single panes with energy panels and screens. We are fortunate that BROSCO carries this exact size in cottage style with traditional mullions and glazing. The sashes are slightly narrower to accommodate the balances.

BROSCO cottage style window with energy panel installed

The Brosco windows are an appropriate replacement of traditional windows in historic houses. The U-factor for the glass with energy panel applied is .42. While this is not as low as the .28 available with modern double pane glass, combined with the weather-tight balances it will greatly improve the livability of the house while maintaining a traditional appearance.


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