Historic Structures

Building Description Godlington Manor, Chestertown Maryland

The eighteenth century farm residence, now vacant, contains stencilling used as the overall wall coverings in each of four rooms. Stencilling is generally confined to linear ornamentation.

The Manor Tract is located four miles south of Chestertown, Maryland, on the north side of Maryland Route 664, Wilkens Lane, east of the junction of Route 664 and Maryland Route 289.

The house faces north toward the Chester River. The building has a gambreX. roof section;with a long, frame, one-and-onehalf- story kitchen wing. The gambrel roof section contains five rooms, four of which are covered with the stenciling in approximately eight separate patterns. Covered over and over through the years with several layers of interior paint, the stencil work has been carefully exposed in sample areas of the rooms.

The colors and designs of the stencilling in the four rooms creates a "calliope-like" effect as first seen, and with north/south border humor dating from 1800-1830. The designs are stylistically similar to and of equal quality to stencilled rooms of the first quarter of the nineteenth century found in New England, New York State and Ohio, however such decorative work is not a northern phenomenon. In Maryland a few houses in the predominantly-nineteenth-century western county buildings have stencilling.

On the first floor, only the east room has stencilling. At cornice level a frieze of fruit-swags-with-hanging-tassels encircles the room. A pattern of alternating stripes, one of the alternates paired-leaves, the other intertwining-vines, descends from the frieze to the chair rail. Polka dots decorate the wainscot. A pattern of dentils-and-daisies frame each door and window. The background color in this room is peach with the stencilling executed in red, blue-green and white. Bright red urns filled with flowers are found on the ceiling over the doors and in each of the four corners of the room. In the center of the ceiling four of these urns back up to one another forming a medallion.

The east room on the second floor was originally painted the color of a ripe pumpkin and stencilled with large red sunbursts alternating with red wreaths. A similar daisy and dentil pattern surrounds the dormer windows and follows the black baseboard.

The middle room on the second floor has a white background with red and black stencils. A frieze of intertwining vines, different from that design on the first floor, was placed along the cornice. Alternating stripes of paired leaves similar to those on the first floor, done in vermillion with closely spaced polka dots, cover the walls. The dentil-and-daisy pattern exists in this room.

The third room on the second floor has black and red stencilling on a ripe pumpkin colored background. The same fruit swags-and-hanging-tassels found on the first floor decorate the cornice of this room. Two alternating stripe patterns, not found elsewhere in the house, of intertwining vines are found in this room. One of the vine stencils resembles a lace pattern,

The stair wells each contain a continuation of the patterns extended down from the room above.

On the exterior of Godlington Manor a lean-to porch roof extends across the north and south facades of the gambrel roof section. The floor area beneath the porch roof is paved with brick. Wooden benches are located against the wall of the house under the porch. Much of the original wide, beaded clapboard remains under layers of whitewash. A brick chimney is located within each gable of the gambrel section and in the west-kitchen gable. The first story of each of the two end-chimneys is exposed.

The interior of Godlington Manor is divided into four first-floor rooms - two in the gambrel section and two in the kitchen wing. The west room, not stencilled, in the gambrel portion has a mid-eighteenth century paneled fireplace wall. It has a door and window on the north and south facades. The floor is four inches higher here than in the east room. There is a cellar beneath this portion only. It is possible that this west room is the earliest part of the dwelling, as it is framed separately.

The east room in addition to the stencilling mentioned above, has late eighteenth century woodwork on the fireplace all consisting of a mantel with dentils and recessed panels, a glazed cabinet, and paneled doors to the closet and stair. This room appears to have been framed separately. The brick nogged framing is also covered with beaded clapboards. The north and south walls have two windows and a central door. The six over six sashes appear original and are glazed with irregular glass panes.

The kitchen wing is very crude and is finished with wide split lathe which holds the mud-fill in the walls. The whole irregular surface is covered with several layers of whitewash. It has a large pyramidal fireplace, reconstructed in the last 1960s. The ceiling beams are exposed and covered with whitewash. The kitchen was painted a turquoise blue dating from the same period as the stencilling. A steep ladder beside the fireplace reaches to the second story rooms. A bath-room lean-to has been added on the north side of the smaller of the two rooms.

An Aldrian Stove Works unit has been found intact in the house. The company of that name in the nineteenth century made iron products used on the Eastern Shore. It failed to survive into the twentieth century.

Two old outbuildings remain - a frame milkhouse and a brick smojcehouse. The milkhouse is a square building with three windows and a door, beaded siding, batten shutters and pyramidal roof with obelisk finial. Its interior is plastered and has a sunken area with a water trough around the exterior walls . The smokehouse is a rectangular structure with an "A" roof; stepped, brick cornice and a batten door. These are located immediately west of the kitchen; the smokehouse is on the north and the dairy is on the south.

A boxwood garden, laid out c. 1900 is east of the house. The rest of the grounds were planted c. 1930, when plans for constructing a new mansion house were abandoned due to the Depression.