Discover 300 years of rich history
through the stories from six generations
at the Warner House,One remarkable survivor.
Explore one of 18th-century Portsmouth’s influential families room by room. Built c.1716 for ambitious immigrant Capt. Archibald Macpheadris, the Warner House is one of the oldest urban brick residences in New England, boasting rich architectural features of early-Georgian style, including old growth-wood paneling and fine moldings. Ascending the center staircase, encounter four unique wall murals, considered the oldest extant wall murals in the country. They offer a glimpse into the mind of Macpheadris.
In 1760, Macpheadris’s daughter Mary Macpheadris Osborne married Portsmouth merchant Jonathan Warner, and the house experienced extensive renovations to reflect the refined tastes of the Portsmouth elite. Throughout the 19th century, the family descendants (Sherburnes, Penhallows, Whipples) maintained the house, and by the later half of the century, the family used the Warner House as a summer home. Those later occupants treated the house as a shrine to its ancestors, creating a private museum of sorts. Evelyn Sherburne, known as “Aunt Evvy,” even offered tours of the house to certain known people. Shortly after her death, the Warner House Association saved the house from possible demolition and purchased the empty house in 1932, opening the Warner House to the public that summer. Over the years, much of the family furnishings have returned to the house — including family portraits and handsome, 18th-century, Portsmouth-made furniture.
Seasonally, guided tours are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, no appointment necessary. Please check our hours of operations and admission fees for additional information. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you through family-furnished rooms depicting different time periods of occupancy. A tour typically takes 45 minutes, but we will tailor the tour based upon your interests. If there is a tour already in progress, there may be a minimal wait period. The Warner House reserves the right to limit the number of people for a tour.