Alexander Knight House Team
- James D. Whidden ~ Housewright I
- Matthew J. M. Diana ~ Housewright II
- Mathew Cummings ~ Architect
- Richard Irons ~ Restoration Mason
- Susan S. Nelson ~ Architectural Historian
- Tim Chouinard ~ Arborist
- Cynda Warren Joyce ~ Visual Artist
- Michael French ~ Master Thatcher
Incredibly Sad News: November 2011 - We are very sorry to have to say that James David Whidden, 49, of Ashburnham, MA died unexpectedly on November 30th, of natural causes. We will miss him and hope to see this project, that meant so much to him, be completed in his honor.
Introducing our new Housewright:
March 2012 - Introducing Matt Diana, MJMD Housewright, who has volunteered his time and unique skills to finish the Alexander Knight House. Matt worked for Jim (prior to his passing) and has spent time on the project cutting joinery, and at the raising. Now he will finish the frame and soon will be building the windows and door as well as providing the riven lath for both the roof and the chimney. Welcome to the AKH Team Matt!
The AKH Team, along with others and a generous donation (for materials only) are working to provide this gift of the past to the Ipswich Museum for present and future citizens.
The Ipswich Museum offered the location to host this memorable project resulting in an authentic first period re-creation. This live exhibit presently features demonstrations and discussions about the process of home building in early American history.
Once completed, the AKH Team will make a gift of the building to the Ipswich Museum. The donated structure will become a permanent exhibit on the grounds of the 1677 Whipple House offering a chance to see and experience how an ordinary person lived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Special hands-on opportunities, like open hearth cooking displays, will be possible in this re-created house; in a way that the Museum’s historic and fragile buildings cannot accommodate.
The Ipswich Museum has extensive collections of fine and decorative art that celebrates the historical and architectural significance of Ipswich and is located in the Essex National Heritage Area and is a National Historic Landmark.
James Whidden ~Woodright LLC (left) and
Mat Cummings ~Cummings Architects (right)
in front of the Alexander Knight House, Ipswich, Ma.
According to James Whidden, "Many of the First Period homes in Ipswich were only one room. As we entered the Second Period, add-ons were incorporated into the historic homes--particularly downtown-- and the original one room house became part of a larger home existing with Georgian or Federal style embellishments."
"The Ipswich Alexander Knight House recreation represents what many of the Town's First Period homes looked like during the early 17th century," remarks Mat Cummings. "It is the first authentic and only recreation in Ipswich's history and will have a permanent home located next to the Whipple House and sited by Sally's Pond on the South Green." Cummings further adds, "According to our knowledge, our one-room home will offer the only opportunity for one to see and experience how the common person lived in one of Mass Bay Colonies' settlements."
A re-creation of an early, English-style timber frame house from 1657 as described in Ipswich town records. An on-going, live exhibit; building with traditional tools, materials and construction methods of the First Period (1625–1725).
News!Announcing the completion of the Knight House!
Thanks to the help of Michael French, Justin Keegan and some of the AKH Team the Knight House thatched roof is complete and ready for furnishings.
Introducing"The Knight House Mouse"
A tale about James, a young and curious field mouse, who observes a Housewright constructing a small, First Period, timber framed house. The story is set in 1657, in Ipswich, MA and features James’ adventures with Everett the puppy along with descriptions of early building techniques. Inspired by the Knight House project at the Ipswich Museum the book includes a “flip book” in the lower left corner showing the process.
"The Knight house is a modest dwelling typical of the Bay Colony's first quarter-century of settlement. The houses of the First Period (1625-1725) that survive today are in some sense extraordinary, through the sheer fact of their survival and especially in their size and decoration. Their superiority of construction and condition may be, in fact, why they survived at all. The Knight house gives us a unique glimpse into the kinds of buildings that ordinary people built for themselves."
From the 1657 Town Meeting:
"secure a house to be built for Alexander Knight of 16 foote long & twelve foote wyde & 7 or 8 foote stud upon his ground & to pryd thatching & other things nesasary for it."
Timeline of Alexander Knight of England and Ipswich Prepared by
Susan S. Nelson April, 2009
This exciting project includes many processes and will be a
living exhibit; an example of what the early settlers were able
Please visit us here to see progress on the project or witness the real thing at 53 South Main Street, Ipswich, MA
Updated 17 March 2013