Clemence-Irons House

    Improve listing

Clemence-Irons House in Johnston, Rhode Island

Built by Richard Clemence in 1691, Clemence-Irons House is a rare surviving example of a "stone-ender," a once common building type with roots in the western part of England.  Passing through a series of owners in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, the house had grown to thirteen rooms by 1938, when it was purchased by Henry Sharpe and his sisters, Ellen Sharpe and Louisa Sharpe Metcalf.

The Sharpe family valued the great age of the house and recognized its stone-ender characteristics, and commissioned Norman Isham, who had directed restoration efforts at nearby Arnold House in 1920, to investigate the structure and restore the house to its seventeenth-century appearance. Using a combination of salvaged and new materials to recreate the original appearance of the house, Isham also commissioned furnishings made from old wood to complement the architectural reconstruction.

The Kitchen of Clemence-Irons House in Johnston, Rhode Island

Significant as one of the oldest houses in Rhode Island, Clemence-Irons House is also important as a record of twentieth-century restoration ideas and methods. The house was donated to Historic New England in 1947.


2013 Schedule
June 1, free admission
June 16
July 21
August 18
September 15
October 6
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tours on the hour. Last tour at 4:00 p.m.

The Clemence-Irons House is a Historic New England property.


Top photo: Clemence-Irons House - The house was built in 1691 by Richard Clemence as a classic "stone-ender." The house consisted of four rooms downstairs and one large room upstairs. It was used year-round by his family, who improved the land around the house for farming.

Bottom photo: Kitchen - This room underwent major restoration in 1939. It is unclear why there is molded paneling on two walls, and why the shingles in this room are laid double and nailed onto the ribs.