Historic Sites and Buildings
Ownership and Administration (1961). The Warner House Association, Portsmouth.
Significance. This house was built about 1716 by Archibald Macpheadris, a wealthy merchant of Portsmouth, and is typical of the superior early Georgian homes of New England. It is commonly known in Portsmouth as the Warner House, after Jonathan Warner, who married Captain Macpheadris' daughter. Warner, a figure of note in his own right, played an important role in town and provincial affairs. The house descended to Warner's niece, Mrs. Nathaniel Sherburne, and remained in her family until 1931, when it was purchased by the Warner House Association. The mansion is probably the oldest brick dwelling in Portsmouth and architecturally is one of New England's most significant urban brick dwellings surviving from the early 18th century.
Present Appearance (1961). The Macpheadris-Warner House has been spared major changes and retains a profusion of original construction details. It is three stories high, with brick walls 18 inches thick. The brickwork is exposed except on the south end wall, which is clapboarded. The plain exterior is enhanced by a 12-panel door. Beneath the present roof, topped by balustrades and an octagonal cupola, have been discovered two parallel gabled roofs that originally covered the house. The deep cleft between these parallel roofs was later covered by a low-pitched roof to make the present gambrel treatment. The interior arrangement is on the center-hall plan. On the ground floor the kitchen and dining room are on one side of the hall and the parlor and a small chamber on the other. A small scullery extends from the rear of the kitchen. Among the unusual features of the interior are a unique set of frescoes on the walls of the staircase and a very early marbleized wood panel, which was a guide for the restoration of the other panels in the dining room. Among the furnishings is a series of five portraits of members of the Warner family painted by Blackburn in 1761. Many of the furnishings are on loan from a number of outstanding collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The house is now well maintained by the association and is open to the public during the summer. 
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005