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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne, 10/1997
St. George's Parish Vestry House
Inventory No.: HA-250
Other Name(s): Spesutia Vestry House
Date Listed: 3/26/1976
Location: 410 Spesutia Road, Aberdeen, Harford County
Category: Structure
Period/Date of Construction: 1766
Description: The exterior walls of Spesutia Vestry House (St. George's Parish Vestry House) are of Flemish bond, with closers and occasional glazed headers. Both gables appear to have been rebuilt, as they are of common bond, but probably of the original bricks. A slate roof has replaced the wooden shingles, and a rake overhang has been added. The unmoulded cornice work is probably of the 20th century. A single door with vertical boards and iron hardware pierces the south gable wall. Two 6/6 sash windows pierce the east side of the building, with only one on the west side. All have shutters with original hardware. All openings have flat arches. Significance: In colonial Maryland, Church of England parish Vestries usually authorized a special building for use as a meeting place to conduct parish business and to perform certain civil duties, particularly the monitoring of the moral codes of the day and the administering of justice for violations. Vestry Houses were often used as schoolhouses, school being conducted by the clergyman or a member of his family, or someone lese hired by the parish for the purpose. Vestries often replaced their Vestry Houses, as they did their churches, during the colonial period. Not only is this Vestry House a rare survivor in the state of one type of building, it is a survivor of the 18th century, in an area with relatively few 18th century structures. As Harford was the last of the tidewater counties to be settled, it had fewer substantial 18th century structures than other tidewater counties, hence fewer have been considered good enough through the years to retain. The Vestry House shows that the workmanship and detail incorporated into such a small building was identical to that incorporated into larger, more impressive, and more important structures. Finally, that such a small structure has survived without additions is unusual.


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