Saturday, May 13, 2017

An Update on the Reverend Morrison House in Londonderry, New Hampshire

The Londonderry Historical Society has a Morrison house at their museum complex on Pillsbury Road. That was the one story Samuel Morrison house, moved from North Londonderry in the 1990s and restored.  You can see it in the photo at the top of my blog, behind the colonial militia re-enactors. They also own the two story 1725 Reverend William Morrison house, which used to stand on Gilcrest road.  It was donated to the historical society in 2006, but instead of moving it as a whole house, the timber framed structure was dismantled and put into storage in the familiar trailers at the museum complex.

Beams laid out on the new foundation of the Rev. Morrison house

A few years ago a foundation was built for the Rev. Morrison house, and some timbers were restored and used for the first floor.  Now an effort is underway by the Preservation Timber Framing experts to use the rest of the existing timbers and reconstruct the home.  Last week I was there, along with another past president of the historical society, Ann Chiampa, and the current president, John Savina, to see the Preservation Timber Framing company inventory and lay out the beams and posts.  This is the same firm that has done the excellent preservation and restoration work at the First Parish Meetinghouse in East Derry.  As they surveyed the 300 year old wood, they were planning which timbers were still usable, which could be repaired, and which beams needed modern replacements.

Close up view of the huge beams being restored

Old and new beams from the original 1722 Rev. Morrison House

When it is completed, the 1725 house will be restored to its original 1,200 feet, with a modern basement.  The house will be used as a museum, and an office for the Londonderry Historical Society.  This building is considered the oldest house in Londonderry, built by the Rev. William Morrison, born in Perthshire, Scotland.  He married Jean Fullerton and had five children: William Fullerton, Jenny, Daniel, James and Sally.  He was the Presbyterian minister for thirty five years (1783 - 1818) at the West Parish (now the town of Londonderry).  Rev. Morrison preached his last sermon just eight days before his death.  There doesn't appear to be a kinship between the two Morrison families who previously occupied the museum houses owned by the Historical Society.

The old numbering system of Roman numerals shows which beams join together

Past president Ann Chiampa was thrilled to see the work done under the
weatherproof membrane covering the foundation for the Rev. Morrison House


Julie Huss, “Wood Workings:  Londonderry’s Morrison House a Study in History”, Derry News, posted 12 May 2017,  accessed 13 May 2017

Preservation Timber Framing website

My last post about the First Parish Meetinghouse restoration ongoing in East Derry, New Hampshire:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “An Update on the Reverend Morrison House in Londonderry, New Hampshire”, Nutfield Genealogy, May 13, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. Hi Heather, just a note- the Rev. William Morrison House is ca.1725 and its footprint is 1,200sq.ft., with an additional area entry area on the east side. We plan for it being an educational and research facility as well as museum.