Preston – Foster House, 6 Water St.

The Preston – Foster House at 6 water street is described in Something to Preserve” as having a typical original first-period floor plan in the original front structure. In the right half are two massive quarter-round chamfered summer beams typical of the late seventeenth century, which would date the house to 1690. The very sharp-pitched roof and purlins add additional evidence of the early date. In the first-floor right side room is fine rich-hued and unpainted horizontal feather-edged paneling, whereas later Federal style features are seen in the central hall and upstairs fireplace walls.

The transfer of the house from Roger Preston to Reginald Foster is described in town records as follows:

Summer beam in the Preston-Foster house, Ipswich MA

Summer beam in the Preston-Foster house

We would welcome more information about the date, for according to the Essex Registry of Deeds, in 1658 Roger Preston sold his holdings in Ipswich as recorded below (quote credit: RootsWeb)

“Be it known to all men whom it may concern that I Roger Preston of Ipswich in New England in the county of Essex planter, and Martha my wife for divers considerations me thereunto moving but especially in consideration of the full and just sum of one and fifty pounds of current country pay to be paid to me or my assigns at two several payments, viz: thirty pounds at Christide next following the date of these presents and the remainder by that time twelve months in current English corn sweet dry and merchantable by Reginald Foster of Ipswich aforsaid. husbandman all that my dwelling house and house lot with the barns, cow-houses and other buildings thereunto belonging and also my other house lot, both which house lots contain two acres, more or less with the gardens orchards and fences and other privileges thereunto belonging which I purchased of Robert Wallis of Ipswich aforesaid as they be situated and inclosed on the north side of the river of Ipswich having the highway next the river toward the South and Thomas Knowlton’s land and Robert Pierce’s toward the North. The lane next Thomas Clark’s East and another lane West and also one other planting lot of three acres be it more or less on the North side of the town hill abutting on ye land of Rose Whipple, widow, toward the West, Andrew Hodges land East, upon ye marsh of John Morse toward the North, and land of Thomas Treadwell toward the South and in the town of Ipswich aforesaid, to have and to hold and to quietly possess and enjoy the aforesaid with the commonage and all other privileges and appurtenances thereunto belonging, unto the said Reginald Foster his heirs and assigns forever and the said Roger and Martha his wife do covenant and promise to warrant this sale of the premises and every part thereof to be free from time to time and at all times henceforth use, occupy possess and enjoy the same and every part thereof to the proper use and behoof of the said Reginald Foster his heirs and assigns forever from all molestation or interruption of the said Roger and Martha, my wife, our heirs executors and assigns or any other person having any just claim thereto in by from or under us or any or either of us our heirs executors or assigns in witness whereof I the said Roger and Martha my wife have hereunto set our hand and seal dated the 11 day of March A.D. 1657/8. Subscribed sealed etc.”

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feather-edged door panels

Feather-edge panels, door and gunstock post in the Preston – Foster House

This house is protected by a property agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include:

  • Front and side facades of the original 1690 building
  • Central frame including primary and secondary members
  • Feather edged paneling in the front right first floor room
  • Wooden architectural elements including molding, paneling, doors on the inner walls of the two second floor bedrooms of the original building


Posted by Gordon Harris 8/23/2012

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