Nathaniel Morris House in Trinity Offered For Sale

Nathaniel Morris House c. 1862, Trinity, Newfoundland

Nathaniel Morris was referred to in the mid 19th century as “Gentleman Nat”. He was an educated man for his day, and served as a church warden in St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Trinity, Newfoundland, the place of his birth. He was also an active member of the Loyal Orange Lodge and the Trinity Benefit Club. He is referred to in the historical records as a merchant and was known to have been a draper (dry goods manager) for the prominent Trinity merchant Bremner, in the 19th century.

His house, which is adjacent to the old Methodist Cemetery in Trinity and referred to as Nathaniel Morris House was first thought to have been built in 1878 after his first child was born. However recent interior renovations have called this construction date into doubt. Newspapers found in the house were dated 1862, which means the house could have been built earlier.

The house remained in the Morris family for decades and then it was sold. It has had several different owners and is now a private residence owned by Chris and Margaret O'Dea. The house, which is a registered heritage structure, has undergone extensive renovations in an attempt to restore the house to its original condition.

The house is a two-and-a-half-storied, fully-studded wooden dwelling. This implies that it is made of a frame that is connected by mortise and tenon joints with outside vertical board with splines serving as the underlying surface of the outside walls. The clapboard is applied to the full studded walls. Unlike contemporary construction, studded houses do not have an interior wall cavity as the studded walls are constructed of sold wood that exceeds 2” in thickness. An elderly gentleman from Trinity, the late Joe Hayter, used to live in the house and he said that the lumber used in the construction of the house was local fir that was cut at Trinity Pond. He also advised that Nathaniel Morris House was involved in the social development of the community as a place where members of the community frequently gathered with many a “time” held in the kitchen.

 Over a 20 year period Chris and Margaret O’Dea have personally undertaken a considerable effort to restore the house. This included the installation of new corner boards with hand beaded edges, new clapboard, reconstruction of the linhay at the rear of the house, restoration of the front entrance, the construction of a five sided dormer window in the attic, etc.. The work that was undertaken did indeed focus on maintaining and enhancing the heritage integrity of the house. In addition, work that was undertaken on the inside was in keeping with the integrity of the house. Elements of modern structures, such as kitchen cabinets, were built in a traditional manner. The linhay has wainscoting on the walls that came from the old Benevolent Irish Society building in St. John’s.

The house has a very attractive and well constructed front entrance complete with: vertical and domed framed panels; pilaster and plinth; molded cap with ˝ moon fan light above the paneled door. Two-by-two side windows are complemented by six-by-six main and bedroom windows. Its steep pitch gable roof has a centre chimney.

Another undertaking of the O’Dea’s related to the neighboring property, the old Methodist Cemetery. When the O’Dea’s bought Nathaniel Morris House, the cemetery was overgrown and in a sorry state with only one headstone visible. That was the headstone of Jacob Christian dated from 1816. Chris and Margaret O’Dea have personally restored the cemetery. All the headstones have now been found, eight in total. Many were in pieces and have been re-laminated with epoxy and galvanized dowels and remounted in the ground. The grounds have been tidied and maintained with shrubs planted. Since the restoration, the O’Dea’s have undertaken the regular maintenance of the cemetery.

Chris and Margaret O’Dea have decided to offer the Nathaniel Morris House for sale. Certain exclusions will apply and will be clarified in discussions with interested parties.

The price has not been determined, however, an irresistible offer may be accepted by the owners from a buyer who will continue the tradition and maintain the integrity of the house. It is also the hope of the current owners that the buyer will keep the small cemetery in good order.


Offers will be accepted until mid to late summer of 2004.


Visitors can view the Photo Gallery of Nathaniel Morris house by clicking on the appropriate section below:

1.      Old archival photos of Trinity

2.      Photos of the restoration process

3.      Current inside photos

4.      Current exterior photos

5.      Floor plan

6.      Cemetery restoration

Interested parties should contact:

Chris O’Dea
O’Dea’s Realty & Auction Room
Caribou Hill
132 Waterford Bridge Rd.
St. John’s, NL
A1E 1C9
Phone 709-685-6559
Fax: 709-579-5200

Links to Trinity

Will of Nathaniel Morris
Registered Heritage Structures (Nathaniel Morris House)
Trinity Bight Community Access Site
Trinity Bight Vacations
Rising Tide Theatre
Random Passage
The Discovery Trail
Trinity - Explore Our Past
Trinity Historical Walking Tours
Terra Nova Golf Resort
The Dock at Trinity and Atlantic Adventures Tours
The Newell Family
Things To Do In Eastern Newfoundland
Lester/Garland Premises Archaeology Project, 1996
Newfoundland - Journey Into a Lost Nation


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