Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bath - phoenix rises

This wonderful house sits on a lot at the northern limits of Bath, Ontario. The ample lawn is shadowy beneath aged locust trees: massive old trees are always an invitation to look more closely at the age of the house they shelter. I believe that this is the house that was built in 1819 by Peter Davy, son of a prominent family in the village. McBurney and Byers in 'Homesteads' (1979) mention a house in neoclassical style that was built by Davy, on the north side of Academy Street. They reported that the house was "empty and desolate" though once "undoubtedly the finest in the village". Last night as I browsed yet another library find, 'Rural Ontario' (1969) by Blake and Greenhill, I viewed with dismay a black and white photo of this very house, with its fine lines still evident, its exquisite woodwork bare and weather bleached, its roof rough with moss and neglect.
Who were the visionary heritage-minded folks who saved this house from oblivion and in the process saved for all of us an irreplaceable piece of our history? I would love to know their story - and to personally thank them for the plot twist in this once tragic and all too familiar story.


  1. This looks like a real little beauty. Needs a drive by...

  2. Built in 1812/1813 and originally restored by John and Diane Chesebrough who an honorable mention from The Renews Program in 1984.

  3. How truly lovely to get a response to my rhetorical question about this most wonderful piece of our architectural legacy. The Chesebrough family have earned a special seat in old house heaven.

  4. I am a descendant of Peter Davy. When my cousin comes from the US this summer we are planning to take a tour of Bath. Thank you for this lovely webside which has helped me plan our genealogical tour!

  5. I am delighted that you have found my enthusiasms for Bath useful in your tour planning, Karen!