News flash! Rose’s Cottage, the historic building in Port Hope formerly located at 36 Victoria Street South on the northwest corner of the Victoria and Strachan Street has now been safely removed from its former location and sits safely on the town’s Kings Field next door until its fate can be decided. Its future was in jeopardy in early June when Mason Homes obtained a permit to demolish the building to make way for a new street into their property development nearby. A private developer, Stephan Henderson of Henderson Construction has purchased the building and the Town of Port Hope has generously allowed him to temporarily store the building on town property. Because there is no municipal ownership, monetary consideration or costs involved, an agreement was reached June 18 and allows 60 days to find a permanent home for the building. If the building is on town property more than the 60 days agreed upon it could potentially demolished at the developer’s expense.
According to the Architectural Conservancy Ontario, Port Hope Branch, the cottage has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. It was built for Mary Rose, who was brought to Canada from Ireland to work on the Penryn the Estate, likely by Arthur Williams. The estate was the legacy of John Tucker Williams, MHA for Durham (now Northumberland) and the first elected mayor of Port Hope. J. T. Williams came to Canada during the War of 1812 as an officer in the British Royal Navy having served under Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and later commanded a vessel on Lake Ontario as well as commanding the Durham Regiment during the Rebellion of 1837.
After his service John acquired a vast tract of land at the west end of Port Hope called the Penryn Homestead after an area of Cornwall England where he was born. The mansion was built from lumber from the property and sawn at an early water powered mill on the Ganaraska River with bricks for the fireplace and chimney acquired from a local brick yard. This home is still one of the oldest surviving buildings in Port Hope, built circa 1828 in the neo-classical style and is still a very attractive building today.
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Trefusis Heneage Williams was born in Port Hope, the eldest son of John Tucker Williams and grew up at the Penryn Homestead. The Williams family names are remembered in several town street names, Heneage, Arthur, Charles, Seymour, Percy and Percival Street.
Note: the monument in front of the Port Hope town hall, the inscription reads: “To commemorate the devoted patriotism and heroic bravery of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur T. H. Williams MP commanding the Midland Battalion of the volunteer militia who after gallantly leading the victorious and decisive charge at the Battle of Batoche during the rebellion in the Northwest Territories died of sickness contracted in the discharge of his duty, near Fort Pitt, NWT on the 4th July 1885. This monument is erected by his native town by his admiring countrymen throughout Canada assisted by his companions in arms and the Government of the Dominion.”
The Penryn Park property includes three buildings which are designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, Rose’s Cottage on the property is not designated nor is currently listed as a building slated for future heritage designation. Hopefully the citizens of the town will come together and help save this rustic old cottage for future generations to enjoy. Stay tuned for updates.