Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Shakespear House is a one-and-one-half storey private home located on the corner of George and Water Streets in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It was built by merchant Stephen Shakespear, a Loyalist who fled New England during the American Revolution in 1783. The building and property are included in the municipal designation.
Shakespear House is valued for its architectural style, age, and relationship to other pre-1800 wooden buildings in this area of Shelburne.
Shakespear House was built around 1784 by Stephen Shakespear. Shakespear was commissioned in 1783 in New York by Sir Guy Carleton to lead a company of Loyalists, who were fleeing the American Revolution, to settle in Port Roseway, now Shelburne. This undertaking was organized by several hundred Loyalists who joined together to form the Port Roseway Associates, aimed at settling in Nova Scotia. Shakespear and nine others chosen by Carleton were given 500 acre lots along the Port Roseway River and a one acre lot in the town plot. By February 1784 over one thousand houses were built in the area, and over eight hundred were known as 'log houses'. These were pieces of timber, framed together at the ends and sometimes covered with clapboard. Shakespear operated a store from this house for a short time.
Constructed from vertically set logs, Shakespear House is a fine representation of the construction techniques and design used by Loyalist craftspeople upon arriving in Nova Scotia.
The original form of the house was a plain, rectangle with a gabled roof set flush with the ground on a granite foundation. An extension was added to the rear giving it a salt box appearance as the roof line was altered. It has a five bay symmetrical façade with some minor dentil decoration on the front façade. The original large stone chimney remains.
Except for an addition to the south side of the home, Shakespear House has retained its original design for over two hundred years.
Source: Town of Shelburne, Heritage Property files, no. 4, Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements of Shakespear House include:
- all evidence of original log construction;
- original stone chimney;
- wooden clapboard siding;
- location in original town plot;
- cedar shingles on roof;
- stone hearths;
- five bay symmetrical façade;
- simple façade with no decoration with exception of dentils.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Shelburne Office, Water Street, PO Box 670, Shelburne, NS, B0T 1W0.
Cross-Reference to Collection