History

The Glebe House

The House:

The house was built about 1750 and is an architecturally interesting and unusual combination of gambrel and saltbox roof styles.

In 1771 Woodbury's first Episcopal priest, John Rutgers Marshall of New York City, arrived with his wife Sarah. By the end of the Revolutionary War, John Marshall and his family had endured the oppression suffered by many New England Anglicans who were often presumed to be loyal to the king, whether or not they were in fact.

Only weeks after American independence was secure, a group of Episcopalians met secretly at the Glebe House to make a momentous decision; to take part in the building of a new nation while upholding their religious heritage. The group elected the Reverend Dr. Samuel Seabury as the first Bishop in the new world, a decision that assumed both the separation of church and state and religious tolerance in the new nation.

After the Marshalls had moved from the Glebe House, Gideon B. Botsford, a silversmith, lived in the house. Botsford lived and worked at the Glebe House with his wife and family of eight children through the mid-19th century. By the 1920s the house had passed through several owners and fallen into great disrepair.

As plans were discussed to tear down the house, it was saved by the Seabury Society for the Preservation of the Glebe House, which repaired the building, began collecting furniture, and raised funds to ensure continued operations as a museum.

The Glebe House was restored in 1923 under the direction of William Henry Kent, pioneer of early American decorative arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. One of the early historic house museums in the country, The Glebe House opened its doors to the public in 1925.

The Garden:

In 1926, the famed English horticultural designer and writer was commissioned to plan an "old fashioned" garden to enhance the newly created musuem. Gertrude Jekyll (pronounced jeek uhl) had a profound influence on modern garden design and is widely considered the greatest gardener of the 20th century. Although a small garden, when compared with the some 400 more elaborate designs she completed in England and on the continent, the Glebe House garden includes 600 feet of classic English style mixed border and foundation plantings, a planted stone terrace, and an intimate rose allee.

For reasons unknown today, the garden Miss Jekyll planned was never fully installed in the 1920s and its very existence was forgotten. After the rediscovery of the plans in the late 1970s the project was begun in earnest and is now being completed according to the original plans.