Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bound Rock - One of New Hampshire's Historical Curiosities

This rock, originally in the middle of Hampton
River, indicated the start of the boundary line
surveyed by Capt. Nicholas Shapley and marked
by him "AD 1657 - HB and SH" to determine the
line between Hampton and Salisbury.  HB meaning
"Hampton Bound" and SH Shapley's mark.
Lost for many decades due to the shifting of 
the river's mouth, the original course of the 
river, and the Bound Rock were rediscovered
 in 1937.  This historically important boulder,
still serving as the boundary marker, was
enclosed by the State of New Hampshire that
same year. 

This unassuming, overgrown tiny park might just be the smallest park in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and probably the smallest park in the entire state.  We stopped here to find the Bound Rock, read the sign, but couldn't find the famous rock even when we got out of the car and searched the park.  Behind all the overgrown grass we saw a concrete structure covered with a metal grill.  Even when we looked in we couldn't see the rock.   

Can you see the rock?

Back left corner of this tiny lot of land

Looking down this concrete structure, all we saw was seawater.
It was high tide, and two blocks from the beach.

What is the story behind this rock? Why was it preserved, and then hidden in such an odd way in this funny little forgotten park? 

The Bound Rock described above on the historical marker marked the BOUNDary of what was known to be New Hampshire in 1657.  You can see my blog post HERE from last fall which describes the Shapley Line, which started at the Bound Rock and ran west.  Over time this boundary has changed, but the Rock remained a historical oddity.  It was nominated as a National Historic Site in 1978. 

In 1965 the town of Hampton purchased this little lot of land squeezed between two beach cottages near Plymouth and Woodstock Streets, and moved the Bound Rock here.  It was set down inside the protective cement well in 1937.  Some time later in 1962 it was covered with the metal grill which now completely obscures the rock (unless you bring a strong flashlight and also visit at an extreme low tide).  

For the truly curious:

The Shapley Line Marker blog post: 

The Lane Library in Hampton has a page with many links to many stories about Bound Rock and it's strange history:

Also see Peter Randall's book Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888 - 1988


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Bound Rock - One of New Hampshire's Historical Curiosities", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 22, 2019, ( accessed [access date]). 

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