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Glebe House

New Castle City, New Castle County, DE

The Glebe House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]


The present Glebe House is composed of three sections, all brick: a three bay, two-and-a-half-story plus attic south portion with an east-west ridge line; a lower middle section of three bays with a shed roof, and a north section comprising the original kitchen.

On the exterior of the Glebe House, the front, or south facade, is laid in Flemish bond with common bond below the first-floor level. The roof is punctuated by two chimneys to the west and one dormer over the center bay. The entrance, situated at the east bay, is surmounted by a circular fanlight. The south facade is distinguished by a cornice of corbelled brickwork laid up with beveled, quarter-round, and regular stretchers.

The east facade on the Glebe House is completely stuccoed. The fenestration includes a line of windows located north of the center of the gabled portion, two bays on two levels in the shed portion.

To the north facade a garage has been added. The original kitchen, still intact, is laid in common bond with crushed oyster shell mortar.

The west facade, also laid in common bond, is composed of the three-bay middle shed-roofed portion and the gable end of the southern portion of the house. A door is located in the center of the shed-roofed portion, but there is evidence that the entry originally occupied the south bay, giving access to a vestibule hall. The west gable section is marked by a line of fenestration between the two chimney lines.

The interior of the south portion is disposed in a hall with rear hung stair and two adjoining rooms to the west. Details include bulls-eye corners at the lintels and paneled closets into sides of the two fireplace breasts. The northern, or shed-roofed wing, contains a vestibule hall with an enclosed winding stair and a kitchen with a brick segmental arch fireplace and oven. The detailing of this section is of a simpler order than that of the south portion.

The second floor arrangement in essence matches the first floor plan, with the addition of a front room at the south end of the main hall, thus decreasing its relative size. All details match those of the corresponding rooms below, except for the south portion bedrooms, whose detailing is of a more conservative genre. The fireplace mantels, however, contain the bulls-eyes of the first floor detailing.

The third level is finished in plaster over lath and contains fireplaces at the chimney lines. In the basement the supporting walls of stone rubble below grade with brick arched supports for fireplaces and chimneys.


The Glebe land was an adjunct to a parish church, for the rector's use, as a residence, as a tenant farm, or as his own farm land. Richard Halliwell, a New Castle merchant, had been active in the affairs of Immanuel Church probably since its foundation in 1689, and when he died in 1739, he remembered the congregation in his will. He bequeathed "all my marsh and plantation, situate near the Broad Dyke in the Town of New Castle afs'd., containing and laid out for sixty-seven acres of land and marsh, together with all the houses, orchards and other improvements thereunto belonging to the proper use and behoof of the minister that from, time to time shall serve, the said Emanuel Church forever."

The Glebe farm was designated a cemetery for the parish when the land near the church had become inadequate. It also served as the site of the rector's home before the present house was built. George Ross may have lived there when he served as rector between 1705 and 1758. His son Aeneas may have been born on the site, and lived there himself after succeeding his father as rector. He was a strong supporter of the Revolutionary cause, and his son's wife, Elizabeth Griscom, is one of those credited with having designed the national flag. A half-sister, of Aeneas Ross, George Ross's eighth child, Gertrude, married George Read, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Delaware.

Although the rector of Immanuel Church lived on the farm before the nineteenth century, the Glebe House as it stands today was probably built between 1821 and 1833. The General Assembly of Delaware granted the parish permission in 1821 to hold a lottery to finance a parsonage and to discharge debts. Twelve years later, the church's Minute Book noted that James Booth, the treasurer, was authorized to insure the parsonage to the amount of two thousand dollars. This parsonage is thought to be the house that is now on the Glebe farm. Since the, early part of this century, the house has been used continually as the rector's residence.


Eberlein, Harold Donaldson, and Hubbard, Cortlandt V.D. Historic Houses and Buildings of Delaware, Dover: Public Archives, 1963.

Federal Writers' Project. New Castle on the Delaware. Ed. by Jeannette Eckman, New Castle: New Castle Historical Society, 1950.

Holcomb, Thomas. Sketch of Early Ecclesiastical Affairs in New Castle, and History of Immanuel Church. Wilmington: Delaware Printing Company, 1890.

  1. Vincent Rogers and Rosemary Troy, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, The Glebe House, nomination document, 1972, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places.

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