SeacoastNH Home

FRESH STUFF DAILY
Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo


facebook logo

Header_flag
SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
Old Weeks House in Greenland

Weeks 1710 House Greenland, NH (c) SeacoastNH.com

BREWSTER’S RAMBLES #147

Brewster doesn’t always get it right, but he comes close. Here he talks about one of the oldest brick houses in New England, still standing and lived ii, but not the oldest surviving house in New Hampshire. You can visit it to. Be sure to click and read our 21st century updates

 

 

 

VISIT the Weeks House Walking Trail 

RAMBLE CXLVII

The Oldest House in Our State

Editors Note: See the update at end of article. C.W. Brewster was a Portsmouth, New Hampshire columnist and editor in the early to mid-1800's. This article includes his opinions and may not reflect current research or current values. From Brewster’s Rambles About Portsmouth, 1869 exclusively on SeacoastNH.com. -- JDR

Brewster's Rambles Series 2/ SeacoastNH.comThe oldest house now standing, built in Portsmouth, is the quaint brick house on the Week's farm in Greenland. This is no blunder, although it may seem like one - for at the time that house was built, Greenland was a part of Portsmouth. We can find no written record of the year of its being built, but a family tradition dates its erection in 1638, by the father of Leonard Weeks. Leonard was born not far from that time, and had four sons, John born 1668, Samuel born 1670, Joseph born 1671, John born 1674, Mary and Margaret. From Samuel the present owner of the farm descended.

The house was built on the main road - but the straightening of the road half a century ago, throws it on a circular lane several rods on the side. The speckled appearance of the house is made by having black headers scattered among the bricks all over the front. The bricks were burnt in front of the house. The walls of the house are eighteen inches thick. It is of two stories; the lower story is 8 1-2 feet, the second 8 feet. The windows were originally of small diamond glass set in lead. Some of them have been in the house within the last fifty years. The timbers used throughout the house and for the roof are all of hard wood. The beams in the cellar are squared 12 by 14 inches. The sleepers are of red oak, about 10 inches in diameter, with the bark on. There are planks on the inside of the walls, and the plastering is on reft wood nailed to the plank. There are marks of the house being injured by an earthquake, probably in 1755. If tradition is correct, this is the oldest house in New England, being 228 years old.

In the old records we find that "On the 8th of Oct. 1663, at a meeting of the Selectmen (of Portsmouth,) at Greenland to lay out the hiways from Winecote river falls east or there aboutes to Samuel Haines house and from thence the hiway is to run to Hampton hiway where it now lies by Frances Drake field which is now enclosed, these hiways is to be two rod in breadth.

Photo of Weeks house used in WW2 era tourist guide / SeacoastNH.com

" There is also a hiway lade out over against Leonard Weeks house and is to go through his land south and by west or there abouts until it comes to the common land."

The same year a contract was made for making a foot and horse path through Great Swamp.

It is probable that the early connection with Strawberry Bank was by the river. The house was evidently built as a sort of garrison, with a view of safety from being burnt by the Indians.

Feb. 4, 1660, we find "Leonard Weikes'" account for town services allowed. In 1662, he was a selectman of Portsmouth.

TRIVIA, UPDATES & LINKS: As often happened with the sources he had, Brewster was off the mark with this one. He’s right that Greenland was once part of Portsmouth (earlier known as Strawberry Bank) but the brick house was not built until 1710. A number of older wooden houses survive even today in what was once early Portsmouth including the Jackson House (1664) run by Historic New England and the Sherburne House (1695) at Strawbery Banke Museum. The oldest surviving urban brick house in New England (1713), the MacPhaedris Warner House, is also in Portsmouth and run by a nonprofit organization. All three homes are open to the public seasonally.

 

 

OUTISDE LINK
Weeks Brick House official web site 

Text scanned courtesy of The Brewster Family Network
Copy of Rambles courtesy Peter E. Randall
History Hypertext project by SeacoastNH.com
This digital transcript  © 1999 SeacoastNH.com

 

 

Top color photo by SeacoastNH.com. Black and white photo from 1949 tourist publication by the NH Seacoast Regional Development Association. Page copyright 2002 SeacoastNH.com.

 

Please visit these SeacoastNH.com ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from Fosters.com

Monday, October 16, 2017 
 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics