Bancroft homestead : 320 West Street
- Bancroft homestead : 320 West Street
- Walkable Reading
- Reading Public Library
- Gina Snyder
Audio recordings (nonmusical)
- Reading Public Library
- Collection (local):
Bancroft, Thomas Webster IV, 1696-1783
West Street (Reading, Mass.)
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Reading, Mass. :
Information about this item was supplied by NOBLE Digital Heritage.
320 West Street : Bancroft Homestead. This home was built circa 1720, by a descendent of one of Reading's most famous families, the Bancrofts, who settled in Reading in 1673 on woodlots that their parents owned. The house was moved to this location from across the street in 1875. This is a classic "Salt Box" style, one of only three original saltbox styled houses in Reading. Historians have pieced together the history of this house from the will of Thomas Bancroft, Sr. and the marriage record for Thomas Jr. (who was actually the fourth of six Thomas Bancrofts to inhabit Reading). The land records are missing from when Thomas, Jr. married Lydia in 1717, but his father probably gave him the land to build the home now at 320 West Street. By 1730, when Thomas, Sr. died, he deeded additional land to Thomas Jr. as well as part of the yield of his orchard. "Since Thomas has no orchard of his own that bears fruit as yet, my will is my son Thomas shall have apples enough for 4 barrels of cider out of my orchard when it is bearing year and enough for two barrels when it is not the proper bearing year, which he shall have and enjoy for a term of 6 years after my decease." Thomas, Jr. and Lydia raised a family of eight children, one son, also named Thomas, was listed as an officer in the militia, and another son, Joseph, was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Sons Joseph and Moses inherited the home by their father's will in 1747. Joseph inherited the north end of the home and of the chimney, as well as the east side of the cellar. Moses received the south end of the house to the middle of the chimney and the west side of the cellar. Moses moved to Sutton sometime between 1753 and 1756. The house passed through many hands, including three generations of Temples, until Abram Hale purchased land and house, and had the house moved in 1875 onto 16 acres of farmland that he owned. After being sold a number of times, in 1894 Mr. Smith P. Burton purchased it to add to his Elm Hill stock farm. The house was used to lodge hired hands on the farm and became run down. The house is an excellent example of early workmanship when timbers were cut by hand. It has a remarkably solid oak frame and benefited from extensive restoration done after 1932 when the McCabe's purchased the home. The McCabe's faithfully studied and finished the house with authentic touches and the center chimney, which had fallen down when the house was moved, was replaced in 1943.
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