The following article is taken from pages 122-125 of Historic Houses of Kent County, written by Michael Owen Bourne and edited by Eugene Hall Johnstone.  It was published in 1998 by The Historical Society of Kent County, Chestertown, Maryland.  It is reproduced here with the written permission of the publisher.

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Godlington Manor

Quaker Neck

c. 1740


Within the confines of present day Kent County, Godlington Manor is one of seven such named manors to have been patented in the seventeenth century.  Originally a land grant to Thomas Godlington in 1659, Godlington in its original form amounted to 1,000 acres. [1]  In 1685, the property was purchased by Thomas Claggett. [2]  However, the following year it was acquired by Michael Miller, a major figure in early Kent County.  Miller lived in the lower part of the county, where he owned Miller’s Purchase (part of Hinchingham) and Arcadia.  (In 1693, he sold a small part of Arcadia to St. Paul’s Parish where he served as a founding vestryman.)



After Miller’s death in 1698, [3]  Godlington Manor descended to his son, Arthur.  When Arthur Miller died in 1739, [4]  it again passed from father to son, this time to Arthur Miller, Jr.  Although the property was not improved during the ownership of Michael Miller, it is uncertain as to whether or not Arthur or his son actually constructed the first structure which is known today as Godlington Manor.


This first house consisted of a 17’ 6” x 22’ 0”, three-bay, one-story, frame house with its large fireplace located on the east wall.  The framing was assembled in three bays with large posts and plate which protruded from the face of the interior plaster walls.  It served as a one-room dwelling until the 1760s, when a 16’ additional was constructed on the west gable.  The addition adjoined the old exterior shiplap wall and was built with a full basement and a paneled wall across the stair, fireplace and closet on the west end.


Godlington is one of four frame houses listed under the name of Arthur Miller, Jr. in the Tax Assessment of 1783.  He owned a total of 1,100 acres, although eight years earlier he had deeded a part of Godlington Manor and East Huntington to his daughter, Sarah.  In 1799, her son, Samuel Merritt, inherited Godlington Manor from his grandfather. [5]  Upon the death of Sarah Miller Merritt, those parts of Godlington deeded to her in 1775 were bequeathed to her two children.  Finally, after trading amongst themselves, Samuel became the sole owner of both Godlington and East Huntington in 1799. [6] 


In regard to the house itself, Samuel Merritt was responsible for its next enlargement and for several of the refinements which brought the Manor House, more or less, to the form it exhibits today.  The A roof was removed and a taller, more commodious gambrel roof was installed.  The original one-room structure was remodeled with the installation of a smaller fireplace within a wall of paneling which included glazed cabinets and a concealed, winding stair.



It is apparent that the new west gable was exposed to the elements for a short time before a 30’ A roof kitchen wing was added.  Constructed with wrought nails, it would have been built only a few years after the other.  The new wing consisted of a pantry and kitchen with large pyramidal fireplace and a ladder to the space above intended as quarters for kitchen help.  Both downstairs rooms were lighted by only one small window in each.  The last addition to the house was a lean-to constructed off the pantry which was fitted with storage shelves and a window which had been reused from its predecessor.


Samuel Merritt built a fine homeplace at Godlington Manor.  It included several outbuildings, a brick stable, a frame hen house and such.  Today, only the brick smokehouse and pyramidal roof frame dairy remain.  These have been restored in their original locations, west of the house.

Merritt died without a will in 1827.  Commissioners were appointed to divide his holdings into four portions of equal value and allow his heirs to have their choice of farms. [7]  It was Arthur Miller Merritt who chose the homeplace on 443 acres it is he who was probably responsible for the decorative treatment on the interior walls with vivid colors and stenciled patterns.

Arthur Miller Merritt also most likely constructed the porches which run the full length of the gambrel section on both sides of the house.  Merritt died in 1848 and left five heirs. [8]  Seventeen years later, in 1865, Merritt’s two sons purchased the farm from their three sisters.[9]  However, the brothers did not fare well in the fifteen years to follow and eventually sold it back to their sister, Mary Elizabeth Merritt Brown, widow of Hiram Brown, in 1880. [10] 

In 1882, Mary E. Brown sold the farm to her three children. [11]  By 1910, Henry Clay Brown had become the sole owner of Godlington Manor after a series of transactions amongst his siblings. [12]  [13]  Hard times again returned and in 1930 the farm was sold to the son of Henry’s double first cousin, Hiram Staunton Brown. [14]  [15] 

Godlington Manor was restored in the early 1980s.  The house and lands are now held by granddaughters of Hiram Staunton Brown, the eleventh generation of the family which has owned the manor since the seventeenth century.  It is one of only two properties in the county to have descended within a single family over a 300 year period.    K-88

1.        Patents, Lib. 4, fol. 274.
2.        Patents, Lib. NS No. B, fol. 261.
3.        Wills, Lib. 1, fol. 57.
4.        Wills, Lib. 2, fol. 122.
5.        Wills, Lib. 7, fol. 256.
6.        Land Records, Lib. TW 1, fol. 289.
7.        Land Records, Lib. JNG 8, fol.128.
8.        Wills, Lib. JFB 1, fol. 256.
9.        Land Records, Lib. JKH 4, fol. 576.
10.     Land Records, Lib. DCB 5, fol. 600.
11.     Land Records, Lib. SB 5, fol. 586.
12.     Land Records, Lib. JTD 13, fol. 516.
13.     Land Records, Lib. JTD 20, fol. 292.
14.     Land Records, Lib. RAS 5, fol. 99.
15.     Hiram Staunton Brown (1882-1950) – son of Hiram Brown (1853-1914) & Mary Elizabeth “Nanny” Hazzard (1861-1942), grandson of William Henry Brown (1819-1861) & Margaret Ann Merritt (1828-1894) bought the farm from Henry Clay Brown – son of Hiram Brown (1814-1864) {also William Henry Brown’s brother} & Mary E. Merritt {also Margaret Ann Merritt’s sister}.