Captain Archibald Macpheadris completed this mansion, the oldest brick house in Portsmouth, around 1716-1718.
The Warner House, three stories high with 18-inch-thick walls, is considered to be one of the finest examples of an early 18th-Century urban brick home in America.
A native of Scotland, Captain Macpheadris served in the King’s Council and became an extremely wealthy Portsmouth merchant. His company started the first iron works in America, located in Dover. He married Sarah Wentworth, one of Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth’s daughters, about 1717 and died in 1729.
The house next passed to Mary Macpheadris, the daughter of Captain Macpheadris and Sarah, who married Jonathon Warner around 1760. Warner, for whom the mansion is named, inherited the house when Mary died in 1776. Jonathon Warner was also a wealthy merchant and member of the King’s Council until the Revolutionary War ended British rule in New Hampshire. His father, Daniel Warner, built the mansion on Islington Street known as Buckminster House, where Jonathon was born in 1726.
A local legend claims that Benjamin Franklin oversaw the erection of the first lightning rod in New Hampshire on the west end of the mansion’s roof in 1762.
Descendents of Archibald Macpheadris and Jonathon Warner owned the home for six generations, until 1931.
The Warner House is one of the few structures that survived all of the great Portsmouth fires of the 1800s. In 1932, developers considered demolishing the mansion and building a gas station in its place! Thankfully, the Warner House Association stepped in and saved the historic mansion from destruction. Today the Warner House, named a National Historic Landmark in 1960, is open to the public from April through October.