Merryfield house, Woods Lane, Ipswich

11 Woods Lane, the Merrifield house (1792)

The original section of the large house at 11 Woods Lane was built in 1792 by American Revolution veteran Francis Merrifield, Jr. Merrifield served as a lieutenant in Capt. Nathaniel Wade’s Co. during the Revolutionary War. Merrifield also built the Mary Wade house nearby. One of the unique features is the cooking fireplace on the second floor.

The Merrifield House is a 2 1/2 story end gable house with off-center chimney. It is nearly square in plan with each elevation being 3 bays wide. The house contains some excellent Federal features, including a diminutive beaded summer beam and a mantel. Merrifield had 13 children, which may account for the many rambling additions to “Rosebank”. A large cooking fireplace and oven upstairs is another suggestion of a large family. It is a significant example of a Federal period house which has been expanded through the years to meet changing needs.

Francis Merrifield, Jr., bought this lot in 1792 and built the present dwelling (155:108). Merrifield was a veteran of the French and Indian War and served as a lieutenant in Capt. Nathaniel Wade’s Co. during the Revolutionary War. He fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and commented, “When they got so near we could fairly see them, they looked too handsome to be fired at, but we had to do it.” Merrifield was a Deacon in the South Church as well.

This was the home of Vivian Endicott, who at the age of 90 was still active in Ipswich town committees. Vivian is best remembered for her work to save the “Little Red House” on South Main Street, which the town was planning to tear down. She and a group of Ipswich residents, including Paul McGinley, joined efforts to save the house, which is now used as the Ipswich Visitors Center and is known as the Hall Haskell House. Vivian Endicott died in 2007 at the age of 102.

The Merrifield House, also known as Rosebank, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and is a past recipient of the Mary P. Conley award.


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