Description du lieu patrimonial
Binstead is a large, wood framed Neoclassical/Adamesque influenced home built by John Levitt Esq. in 1833. The home is situated on a former estate and farm overlooking the Hillsborough River. Although the lot is not as large as it once was, it is a large piece of property set back from the road on a lot shaded by mature trees. The designation includes the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The historic value of Binstead lies in its association with several wealthy members of early Island society, the Neoclassical aspects of its architecture, its role as a country estate and the home’s association with local legends.
Robert Montgomery, Esq. and James Montgomery, Baronet granted a 1000-year lease for the property, on which Binstead stands, to James Robertson in 1807. In 1816, Charlottetown merchant, Ewan Cameron, purchased the lease. Sixteen years later, Cameron’s widow sold the property, then named Fasfern Farm, to John Levitt Esq., a wealthy English gentleman who would later go on to become a Member of the Island’s Legislative Council. Levitt built Binstead the following year in 1833. With its prominent placement near the Hillsborough River, Binstead was constructed in the tradition of a "country estate" to have a waterview and would have been a noteworthy feature in its landscape, when there would have been few houses of its size and style in rural Prince Edward Island. In May 1842, Levitt sold the lease to local farmer and shipbuilder, Charles Braddock.
Braddock had lived in Nan’s Villa, a nearby property, with his family until he sold the property to merchant, John Grubb of Charlottetown, shortly after he bought Binstead. From the transaction, Braddock realised a substantial profit. In September 1849, Braddock sold Binstead to Robert Albion Fellowes Esq. and obtained a lease for a 138-acre farm adjacent to Binstead. Braddock later moved to Mt. Herbert and again moved to Scotchfort where he became a mill owner.
Fellowes only lived in the home for five years before he offered the home for sale or lease in 1854. Finally, in 1856, the home was rented to the Pennée family. It was during the Pennée’s time at Binstead that Mrs. Pennée reportedly saw a ghost in the figure of a woman with a small child and heard screams throughout the house. Mrs. Pennée told her story to Britain’ s Society For Psychical Research, which was later published verbatim on the front page of the 28 November 1889 edition of the local newspaper, the Daily Examiner under the title, “A Real Ghost!”.
The Pennée family left Binstead for Quebec in 1859. Fellowes again took up residence in the building after trying unsuccessfully to sell or rent out the home. Finally, in 1867 he sold Binstead to John Clark Binns. Binns died three years later and the home was sold to William Carey, whose wife, according to Mrs. Pennée, had requested a rite of exorcism for the home. Later, the prominent Heartz family took up residence in the home and lived there for many years. According to a historian who has spoken with later owners, there have been no sightings of the ghost in the twentieth century but the legend lives on.
The beautiful Neoclassical/Adamesque influenced home had been added to in the early 1800s changing its overall shape. The home fell into disrepair in the late 1900s, but restoration work was completed in 1995. The Neoclassical style is a later, more refined version of the Georgian style. The additions of classic Greek and Roman details, as interpreted by Britain’s Robert Adam, reflect the Neoclassical/Adamesque tradition. The simple Doric order columns of the Binstead verandah with their plain saucer shaped capitals and the applied pilasters indicate the Neoclassical/Adamesque influence on the home.
Binstead was incorporated into the boundaries of the City of Charlottetown, when the City amalgamated with its outlying areas in 1995. Originally, part of the community of Marshfield, 5 miles from what was once Charlottetown, the home and its grounds served as a country estate for various prominent Charlottetown residents throughout the years. A part of local legends and a beautiful example of a country estate; Binstead is an important part of Charlottetown’s history.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements illustrate the Neoclassical heritage value of Binstead:
- The overall massing of the home
- The wood framed construction of the building
- The style and placement of the large rectangular windows, as well as the large multi-paned windows of the porches
- The style and placement of the paneled doors with sidelights
- The various decorative details such as the applied pilasters and shutters
- The hipped roof with its simple cornice
- The placement and style of the chimneys
- The various additions to the home
- The verandah on the southern section of the home with its classical Doric columns with plain saucer-shaped capitals
Other character-defining elements of Binstead include:
- The location of the building on a large farm property overlooking the Hillsborough River