Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Massachusetts


Chestnut Hill Meeting House

Chestnut Hill Meeting House, Chestnut Hill Road, Millville, Worcester County, MA(42.045405, -71.578707)

(a) Frame Felling Dates: Winter 1766/7, Summer 1767, Winter 1767/8, and Summer 1768

(b) Gallery Staircase Felling dates: Winter 1770/713

The Chestnut Hill Meeting House was built in 1769 in what was then the South Parish of Mendon. The meeting house, one of the best preserved in New England, shares many characteristics with the eighteenth-century meeting houses studied in Phase I of SPNEA’s dendrochronology project.

The meeting house is about forty feet wide by thirty-five feet long, and has box pews covering the first floor and galleries on three sides above. There are five structural bays. Adjustments were made in the size of the bays in order to accommodate supports for the galleries and to allow for the width of the pulpit. The roof frame consists of six king post trusses with braces between the king post and rafters and from the king posts to the tie beams. Perhaps owing to the building’s comparatively modest size, the roof frame has single, rather than double, rafters. Joists flush with the bottoms of the tie beams suggest that a plaster ceiling was anticipated. The camber of the tie beams gives the current matchboard ceiling a slight curve.

Alterations in the nineteenth century included installing plaster and lath on the walls, replacing the windows and doors, boxing posts next to the pulpit and replacing box pews in the center part of the floor with slip pews. The original pews were reinstalled by 1935.

Miles, D H, Worthington, M J, and Grady, A A, 2003 “Development of Standard Tree-Ring Chronologies for Dating Historic Structures in Eastern Massachusetts Phase III”, Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory unpubl rep 2003/9.

Link to the Chestnut Hill Meeting House here.




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230