Taylor Estate – Hillsborough

Taylor Estate – Hillsborough

The Taylor Estate, situated on Taylor Lane in Hillsborough, is composed of two residences: an original 1786 Cape Cod style home and a larger two-storey Italianate residence built around 1840. The estate also includes various outbuildings.

Following the expulsion of the Acadian people from the Petitcodiac Valley in 1755, their land was divided into 40,500-hectare lots and granted to businesses that promised to repopulate the area. Adam Hoops, a Pennsylvania businessman, acquired a portion of the Hillsborough settlement. In 1764, his surveyor, Charles Baker, divided the township into lots, keeping two of the most promising tracts for himself. One of these tracts was deeded to William Taylor in 1786.

Born in lowland Scotland in 1736, William Taylor first emigrated to Ireland and later to America. He arrived in Hillsborough as a United Empire Loyalist after American Independence. His 400-hectare grant encompassed the area from what is now the United Church to the Valley Baptist Church, extending west from the Petitcodiac River to the present-day golf course. The property included gypsum deposits, forested areas, and a large expanse of dyked marshland. The initial dwelling on the estate is the single-storey section of the current house complex.

Taylor Estate
                                           Taylor Estate circa 1900

As the community of Surrey grew, so did the Taylor family’s fortunes. While male family members guided the family’s success for over two centuries, strong female matriarchs also played a vital role in the community’s development. William Taylor’s daughter, Mary, married Richard Gross, a Boston shipbuilder who relocated to Surrey in the mid-1790s, bringing with him advanced ship design and construction techniques. Mary became the matriarch of a prominent Hillsborough family that included doctors, merchants, public housekeepers, and Union American Civil War soldiers, among others. Her daughter, Martha Taylor, married Joseph Steeves and raised four sons, including Father of Confederation William Henry and the founders of the highly successful ‘Steeves Brothers’ shipping company. Her youngest son, James, became the first director of the Saint John Asylum and is recognized by the Canadian Physiatrist Association for his accomplishments.

NB Provincial Hospital
NB Provincial Hospital

The Taylor Estate is also known for its architectural significance. The original single-storey Cape Cod residence, which forms the central part of the current complex, features a lateral gable roof and a gable-roofed dormer. The original open hearth fireplace can still be seen in the modern-day kitchen. The circa 1840 manor house is an early example of Italianate residential architecture, with its massing, eave brackets, and projecting square frontispiece all reflecting this style. The current owners have meticulously maintained the property, and their addition of a vineyard has further enhanced the estate’s genteel ambiance and old-world charm, a far cry from the rugged frontier life of 1786.

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