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Village Antique

Plympton, Massachusetts, may be the oldest village in the country with its original dwellings. And ours is the oldest house in Plympton. Story and photos by Carol Quindley

    The best parlor has a 17th-century Dutch gateleg table. The leather chair is 17th-century English or Spanish, and the tall chair is Colonial Revival. The 18th-century press bed has bed-hangings made by the homeowner.

    The Stephen Bryant house, a 17th-century Saltbox, is in the Historic District of Plympton, Massachusetts, which, during the 1600s, was part of Plymouth (where the Pilgrims landed). This area became known as Plympton in 1707. We believe that our house is in the oldest village in the country with all its original dwellings still standing.

    Stephen Bryant sold his house in 1703 to Dr. Caleb Loring, the town’s first physician. His son, Thomas Loring, served as a captain during the Revolutionary War. Then, in the mid-1800s, the house was owned by a Charles Wright, who served in the Civil War and was shot seven times—and survived!

    My husband, Bob, and I bought the Bryant House in 1991, from a California couple in the process of making it contemporary. They had already painted the ancient paneled fireplace wall and were planning a deck with sliding doors. We got here just in time!

    I remember driving by this house when I was a child. I had to save it. Bob and I previously lived in an 1840 Greek Revival house that we restored. When we moved here, I was asked to join the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and I’ve been on the Board ever since.

    This isn’t a museum: We use everything. Our beagle and a black lab have the run of the house. We’re always asked if the house is haunted: no. But Bob is a direct descendant of William Brewster, who arrived in Plymouth aboard the Mayflower in 1620. As for me, I was born in the wrong century—should’ve been 1646 instead of 1946. This house was meant for us, and we love living here.

    The Stephen Bryant House is a classic two-story, five bay Saltbox of 1703. The small original house dates to the late 1600's.

    Like many early dwellings, the house is dark, but it faces south, and by springtime sun streams through the old windows. June is its best season, when our herb garden, planted with 17th- and 18th-century varieties, is beautiful, and the early-19th-century lilacs bloom.

    The handsome bed is a replica with bed-hangings by the owner and a linsey-woolsey coverlet from The Seraph.

    The 18th-century press bed has bed hangings made by the homeowner.

    Making the Bed

    For a while we had an antique bed in our room, but it was from the wrong time period for the house. We decided to commission a replica 17th-century bed, working from a photograph in a book about early furniture.

    The bed was made by Rob Tarule, a master joiner and former Curator of Mechanick Arts at Plimoth Plantation. He is in Vermont these days, producing 16th- and 17th-century pieces, using the same materials, methods, and tools that were used for the originals. We waited seven months for the bed, but the wait was so worthwhile.


    { 7 comments }

    Hans April 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Hello!

    I love your home! The 17th century is my favorite period in history as well, though I gravitate towards European houses from that era, as my parents came to the U.S. from Germany and Netherlands in 1950. Dutch 17th century homes were quite nicely furnished, even for the middle class, with collections of porcelain, table rugs, and paintings. And ordinary farmers were said to have had many framed prints hanging on their walls.

    I presently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a circa 1903 building (I’ll never afford a period home, sad to say) but have furnished a room in my home in late 17th century style, to reflect a room in the home of a well to do merchant. All but a few small items are 19th and early 20th century reproductions. The room is hardly of museum quality, but the “feel” is there, and like you, I use my room. If you respond, I’ll send photos via my email account.

    Again, I love the look of your home. You’ve done a remarkable job in evoking a time long gone, bit still “full of promise”.

    Regards,

    Hans Jaegerstatter

    jo ann white May 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    you got there just in time. i cannot believe want some people do to older homes. i love old houses and antiques. i live in a house that was built in 1876. when we bought it alot of the old wallpaper was gone tg. we had done some work but you get it done 1 room at a time. i am so glad to see that the house was saves by a couple who loves older homes. i love your magazine. keep up the good works ty

    Judy MacKeigan September 12, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Thanks for sharing your photos, and for taking such great care in this house. I am a direct descendent of Caleb Loring, so it was so nice to get a glimpse of “his” house.
    Thanks again,
    Judy Thompson MacKeigan
    Avon,Ohio

    susan November 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    What a wonderful home. I too am a direct decendent of William Brewster. My father grew up in a home very similar to yours however unrestored.It was on the Rhode Island historical list until a kitchen fire destroyed it If you ever want to compare our “roots” feel free to contact me. Once again awesome job!!

    Elaine Briggs July 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    My great grandmother Minnie Bryant was born in this house and my grand aunt Bertha C Bryant was the last Bryant born in this house. I visited the house in 1985 and talked to the lovely old couple that owned the house then. I would love to bring my 93 year old mother to see it once again.

    Richard March 23, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I’ve known this house all my life, and loved it.

    Am I mistaken or did I see replacement (vinyl) windows on the gable end facing the ell last time I drove by?????

    Velna Bryant Pitts May 17, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    I am a direct descendent of Stephen Bryant and lived in Plympton on Crescent Street until April 2010. I met Carol and Bob Quindley several years ago when they graciously opened their home for a Historical Society viewing of several historical homes. They have done a wonderful restoration of the house. I am also a direct descendent of seven male survivors of the Mayflower. I continue to enjoy learning more of our family history all the time.



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