The Chase-Lloyd House, built between 1769 and 1774, is among the most sophisticated and well-appointed colonial houses in Annapolis, if not the state. While the exterior is elegantly understated, the house has a richly ornamented interior executed by some of colonial America’s most skilled craftsmen. The house was largely built by the great joiner-builder William Buckland and includes his exquisitely executed carved wood interior and exterior details, derived from English Palladian design motifs. James Barnes and John Rawlings are responsible for the equally ornamental plaster ceilings and cornices. Recently arrived from England in 1771, they offered plasterwork “as neat as in London.” The Chase-Lloyd House is the only three-story detached colonial-era residence in the city; resting on a high foundation and extending seven bays across, it visually dominates the streetscape.
The front facade of the Chase-Lloyd House exhibits the finest quality brick, laid in a Flemish bond pattern with arch lintels and gauged brick belt courses. It comprises a tripartite arrangement with a pavilion surmounted by a dentiled pediment that encompasses the central three bays of the seven-bay facade. The bays flanking the center bay are smaller, mimicking the elaborate entryway frontispiece with sidelights on the first story. The low hipped roof rises above an elaborate dentiled cornice and is punctuated by two tall, narrow interior brick chimneys.
The relative austerity of the exterior appears in stark contrast to its elaborate interior details. The house is known for its monumentally scaled and highly decorative center hall with grand stairway, and its sophisticated plan that distinctly isolates private from public spaces. The center hall extends the full depth of the house, measuring 16 by 40 feet and divided into two parts by an ornamental entablature supported by freestanding Ionic columns and flanking pilasters. Just beyond is the grand stairway, which rises from the center of the hall to a wide landing lit by an enormous Palladian window and continues to either direction, cantilevering from the side walls to the second floor. At the time of its construction, it was the grandest stairway in the region and includes rare elements such as individual articulated, seemingly unsupported steps with scrolled soffits and continuous curving handrail that rises to the upper floors without newels.
The most ornamental rooms, intended for public reception, are the parlor and dining rooms, which flank the hall. Transverse passages to either side of the center hall, although not on axis with each other, separate these formal rooms from the smaller family sitting room and dining spaces to the rear of the house. The dining room at Chase-Lloyd is likely the first example in Annapolis of the trend toward replacing the parlor as the finest room in the house, reflecting the rising prominence of dining as a form of social entertainment. Buckland’s detailed carving and sophisticated use of classical motifs as well as his signature flower pattern appear on the soffit and shutters in the dining room. Barnes and Rawlings’s intricately molded plaster elements grace all the major rooms of the house (Rawlings later became known for his work at Washington’s Mount Vernon). Among the most elaborate are the plaster ceilings in the parlor and second-floor landing. The parlor is recognized for its striking symmetry, including a blind doorway.
The Chase-Lloyd House was begun in 1769 by Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and intended as a testament to his wealth and newly attained social standing. Unfortunately, he was forced to sell the house before its completion, although physical evidence suggests that the major features of the plan were in place prior to its 1771 sale. The house was then purchased by fifth-generation planter Edward Lloyd IV, who completed it in 1774. Lloyd is also responsible for the landmark Wye House, his plantation house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; the Chase-Lloyd House served as its urban counterpart. Once Lloyd purchased the shell of the house, he hired Buckland to complete it. After a year and a half, Buckland relinquished oversight for the construction to William Noke, a gentleman builder/architect, although he continued to undertake the carving of the mantels, door and window surrounds, including the lavishly carved overdoors, chair railing, and other decorative details that are matched by very few other colonial houses.
The house was used by the Lloyd family as its primary urban residence through the first quarter of the nineteenth century. It was later purchased by Judge Jeremiah Townley Chase and occupied by his nieces. In 1883 Hester Ann Chase Ridout bequeathed the house to St. Anne’s Episcopal Church to be used as a home for impoverished elderly women, in recognition of the lack of social welfare services available to women of her era. The house remains in use as a home for elderly women, although the first-floor rooms are available for touring.
Beirne, Rosamond Randall, and John Henry Scarff. William Buckland, 1734–1774; Architect of Virginia and Maryland. 2nd ed. Maryland and Virginia: Board of Regents, Gunston Hall and Hammond-Harwood Association, 1970.
Carson, Cary, and Carl R. Lounsbury. The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.
Miller, Marcia, and Orlando Ridout, V, et. al. Architecture in Annapolis. Annapolis: Vernacular Architecture Forum and Maryland Historical Trust Press, 1998.
Snell, Charles, and Patricia Heintzelman, “Chase-Lloyd House,” Anne Arundel County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1971 (revised 1974). National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.