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Circa 1916: Relatives visit the Wingards at Combsberry. Pictured from left to right: Blanche Layman, Catherine Layman, Sallie Kaufman Wingard, Catherine Layman (mother/daughter shared the same name), Elizabeth Layman and Simon Layman

Circa 1916: Relatives visit the Wingards at Combsberry. Pictured from left to right: Blanche Layman, Catherine Layman, Sallie Kaufman Wingard, Catherine Layman (mother/daughter shared the same name), Elizabeth Layman and Simon Layman

A short sail up the Great Choptank River from Oxford, MD is an inlet called Island Creek. As you turn in, directly ahead stands an impressive old plantation home – The Historic Combsberry Inn Bed and Breakfast. It is steeped in history. The last owner of the original families lived here until death claimed her in 1859.

In 1649 Josias Cooper was awarded a grant of 100 acres “Combsbury”, for transporting he and a woman to Maryland. The grant was later reassigned to William Riche in 1664, a planter who owned the adjacent property. Riche was living on the neighboring land, and used the plot deemed “Combsbury” for production purposes. In 1685, his will read that his eldest son William shall inherit “all that parcel of land by the name Combsbury whereon I now live.” William continued caring for the land which included 150 acres plus more that he purchased, houses and other various outbuildings. When William Jr. passed, his will stipulated that the house and all land be sold.

In 1718, John and Mary Oldham, purchased “Combsbury” for the price of 21,000 pounds of good, marketable tobacco and fifty pounds silver of the Province. What Mr. Oldham must have purchased had been acreage and some worn down houses since the land had been paid for with mainly tobacco. Usually the more expensive plots were purchased with only silver and gold. Mr. Oldham immediately set about building an imposing brick house for himself and his family. This house has survived the years and is one of the finest examples of early architecture in Talbot County, Maryland.

There were no architects in the colonies at this time and a builder had to depend on pattern books brought over from England. John Oldham built with an exquisite sense of proportion and a restrained use of curvilinear for embellishment. He started with a deep cellar, a “Great Room”, a dining room with a stair tower above it. The two rooms have fireplaces with huge oval openings, the windows also have arched brick openings and the wide pine floors that you still see today, are original. Three bedrooms grace the second floor, and two more on the third story.

This house is similar to “Troth’s Fortune” further up the Choptank, as they are the only two houses in Talbot County with a stair tower. The exterior of the home is laid in header bond on the water side and English bond elsewhere. Many of the headers are glazed. This is a house that lets the sunlight in, the breezes through and seems planned for gracious living and hospitality. Beyond the dining room was the original kitchen with its big cooking fireplace and loft above for the cook. This was still standing until the late 1970’s but is gone now. This was one of the earliest two and a half story houses to be built in the county.

Our Barn

200330_10150100647145998_6331474_nOur barn was built by the Wingard family in 1877. They originated from Pennsylvania and thus used the traditional Amish bank-type blueprint for the barn, so reminiscent of that area. The views are breathtaking from the second story, overlooking Bringman’s Cove and the lush garden setting of the estate. The barn can seat up to 75 guests and is the perfect venue for rustic barn weddings, chic barn weddings, or the classic Eastern Shore wedding of your dreams.

This picturesque barn is situated on the grounds of Combsberry, an historic 1730 English Country Manor Home. The Inn is located on the outskirts of Oxford on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore, near St Michaels and Easton. It is just 90 minutes by car from Washington, D.C. and less than 2 hours from Baltimore and Philadelphia. Rent our entire property for your wedding weekend – have your rehearsal dinner in our secret garden, your wedding ceremony on the lawn with a water view, and your wedding reception in our beautiful barn.

Check out our Events & Weddings page for more rustic barn wedding inspiration.

During our off-season from November to March, the Cottage and Carriage House will be available for rent with a 20% off discount to accommodate for a temporary absence of breakfast.


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