Tristram Coffin House – A Refuge

Photo courtesty Ohio Historical Society

This home, in Newbury, Massachusetts, was built by Tristram Coffin Jr. in 1650. Joshua Coffin concealed fugitive slaves escaping to Canada on the Underground Railroad here.

The Tristram Coffin House is the oldest structure in the Newbury Historic District. Built in 1654 by one of Newbury’s first settlers, Tristram Coffin, the House represents one of the outstanding examples of First Period architecture in New England.

The House was continuously occupied by the Coffin family from 1654. The seven succeeding generations of occupants participated actively in the socio-economic, political and educational life of the town. The Coffin House has a number of outstanding features including the original kitchen, a rare 18th-19th century built-in dresser, 18th century chamber with plaster of clay and straw with exposed boards, a buttery with pine woodwork preserved in its original state, and a collection of Coffin family furniture.


One thought on “Tristram Coffin House – A Refuge

  1. WIKIPEDIA – Although the house was traditionally dated to 1654 (by Joshua Coffin, author of the 1845 history of Newbury), recent scientific studies have provided more accurate estimates. In 2002, the Oxford University analyzed wooden beams from the structure and ascertained that donor trees were felled in winter 1676-1677 and 1677-1678 for the original structure, and winter 1712-1713 for the addition. This revised dating means that the Coffin House may no longer be the earliest example of the principal rafter common purlin roof although even so it is certainly one of the oldest extant examples. Coffin House is owned by Historic New England

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