Richard Sparrow House

Greetings from the Richard Sparrow House in Plymouth, Mass. At around 380 years old, it is the oldest surviving residence in the town.

Its history, as provided on the official website:

“Richard Sparrow, his wife Pandora, and son Jonathan, left their home in England, and arrived in New Plimoth by 1633.  As a freeman, Richard was granted a house tract of six acres in 1636, which required him to construct a house within four years.  The original two-story house contained one room on each level and utilized cross summer beam construction.  With its large rooms, leaded glass windows and paneled walls, it was a grand home on the banks of what is now known as Town Brook.

By Seventeenth Century standards, Richard’s family was small, which dictated the demanding work of colonial life be completed by only three family members.  In 1639, Mary Moorecock was apprenticed to Richard and Pandora for nine years in exchange for food, lodging, clothes and a ewe lamb.  The lamb was to be kept by Mary’s stepfather, who was to “keep one third of the increase for labor”.

Richard Sparrow was a surveyor by trade.  He was actively involved in the Colony and appointed to “View of the Meadows” in 1640.  During the same year and the following one, he served as Constable for the Colony.  Between 1640 and 1653, he was named Surveyor of Highways seven times, and sat on over twenty-eight juries.  By 1642, Sparrow’s land base grew, adding seven or more tracts to his original six acre house lot.

In 1644, Richard and Pandora adopted Elizabeth Hopkins, increasing the family size to five members.  The Sparrow family remained in this house until 1653 when it was sold to George Bonum.  The family soon after moved to Eastham.  While in Eastham, Richard remained active in the colonial government, serving as Eastham’s representative to Plymouth, as well as deputy to the General Court.  In 1657, Sparrow sold his remaining land holdings in Plymouth to Gyles Rickard.

Upon Richard Sparrow’s death on January 8, 1660, he was buried in Eastham and his estate was divided among his wife, son and three surviving grandchildren.”

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and now serves as a house museum and art gallery.

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