Avondale Farm

The Pendleton-Chapman House at Avondale Farm was built circa 1740 in Avondale, Rhode Island. Avondale is a small historic village located on the east side of the Pawcatuck River in Westerly, Rhode Island. On land that was once occupied by the Pequot Tribe, the family of Captain James Pendleton built a homestead. The homestead and the surrounding 700 acres was passed down to James' grandson, Col. Joseph Pendleton. After losing uninsured cargo at sea in 1749, Joseph arranged to lottery off his land to repay his debts. The town of Westerly coined this area Lotteryville, and later became Avondale. The Pendleton Homestead remained in the family until 1812 when Israel Chapman purchased it. The Chapman family were farmers that lived in North Stonington and leased the Pendleton land prior to the purchase. The Chapman family farmed the land for over 125 years as Avondale Farm. In 1997, talks began about a potential subdivision development for Avondale Farm. The next year, the Westerly Land Trust purchased the back 50-acre farming lot to save it from development. In 2001, the Royces purchased front lot which included the homestead, barn, and the Avondale School House.

The Royce's began the restoration of Avondale Farm in 2009 with the completion of the circa 1840 swing beam barn. In July 2013, Early New England Restorations began the restoration of the Pendleton-Chapman House. The original house farm was built using plank style construction. During frame repair and reconstruction, the frame was converted to an eighteenth century stud style construction to allow for mortise and tenon hurricane braces, meeting the coastal hurricane requirements. The stud style frame also created a 3-inch wall cavity for modern insulation and wiring. Original timbers were repaired using vintage white oak and the first floor framing system was replicated with new white oak incorporating traditional post and beam joinery. Original clapboards, glass, wrought iron nails, and exterior rose head nails were all recycled and reused in the construction. Deschenes and Cooper Architectural Millwork were responsible for duplicating the 12 over 12 windows, installing the old glass, exterior trim, and historic entrances.

From the first meeting, Charles and Deborah Royce stressed the importance of staying true to the historic design while integrating eco-friendly mechanical systems. The geothermal technology will lessen the impact on the environment and create a residence of self sufficient energy. For ongoing project photos, check out our Avondale Farm Photo Album on our Facebook page.

Oyster Lime Kiln Burn

In the November of last year, we were fortunate enough to recreate a way of the past. With the help of Hill Town Restorations, a traditional Jamaican oyster lime kiln burn was constructed and burned. The result was a historically accurate beautiful white lime putty that is being used in the restoration of the Pendleton-Chapman House.

Check Out the Video

The Talcott House

When creating a master plan for Avondale Farm, it was obvious that another building would be needed to accommodate the property's caretaker. A new building could easily be constructed, but wouldn't fit the historic nature of the Farm. Brian Cooper began a search across New England for the perfect match. A circa 1801 cape with an "L" addition was discovered in Coventry, Connecticut. The cape was built by Deacon Joseph Talcott. Deacon Joseph's grandfather Benjamin is a cousin of Governor Joseph Talcott. Governor Joseph's father John (Deacon Joseph’s Great Great Grandfather) is described as one of the founding fathers of Connecticut. Governor Joseph was the first American born governor of Connecticut and his sister would also marry into the famous Wadsworth family. Governor Joseph's father John was believed to have assisted Joseph Wadsworth in the Charter Oak tale.

The Sparhawk Mansion's
Banquet Hall

In addition to restoring the Pendleton-Chapman House and the Talcott House, the Royce's purchased the long lost banquet hall of the Sparhawk Mansion. The Sparhawk Mansion was commissioned to be built in 1750 in Kittery Maine by Sir William Pepperrell. It was a wedding present to his daughter for her marriage to Nathaniel Sparhawk. Sir William Pepperrell served as the Commonwealth's governor and was the first person born on American soil to receive royalty status by King George. He gained this status in 1745 leading the battle against the French at Fortress Louisbourg. Pepperrell was coined "The Hero of Louisbourg" and became a luminary across New England. Sir William Pepperrell is remembered as a great leader and a community minded individual. The Sparhawk Banquet Hall will be reassembled in the addition of the Pendleton-Chapman House.


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