Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Port Hill House

Here's another description of an early house constructed in Porthill...

…This notice was signed by Nathaniel and by Thomas Chanter and it was issued from ‘Port Hill, Prince County’.  This was the first use of the name of the home of Saltren Willetts at Northam for the new house and the farm  on Penman’s Point.  In 1817 Augustus Saltren Willett had changed his name to Clevland and had inherited Tapeleigh, becoming Lord of the Manor of Northam and of Bideford (Devonshire, England), and shortly after Instow, and thus he was a useful person to flatter.  There was some similarity  between the two Port Hills (on PEI), each raised high on a peninsula overlooking the shipping channel to Bideford.
  The new house called Port Hill stood surrounded by a low earth bank inside which was a smooth lawn.  It was a clapboard house two storeys high with a flat top to the roof which commanded a view over miles of creeks and forests.  This roof was caulked with oakum like a ship.  The house was decorated with carved corner pilasters of softwood.  Inside was an entrance hall with a staircase rising through it.  In the rooms the wainscotting stood as high as the bottom of the windows and above them the walls were of lath and plaster.  The lime for the plaster was made in the kiln by the wharf below the house.  The mantels were carved in unsophisticated imitation of classical styles, as were also the mouldings of the doors and the sash windows.  Altogether it was a magnificent structure to put in the wilderness of Lot 13, more like the homes that were being built by prosperous ship owners in the long-settled districts of contemporary New England and Nova Scotia than the crude, squared log, moss-caulked houses of the Islanders.  Because of Thomas Burnard’s sudden death it was never finished and it stood incomplete for a hundred and ten years.

cf. Westcounrtymen in Prince Edward’s Isle, by Basil Greenhill  & Ann Giffard, 1967.  Page 66-69, and above photo from page 87.

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