Monday, August 23, 2010

Five Century House Tour - Runciman House

The Runciman House on upper Saint George Street in Annapolis Royal has often been called the prettiest house in Nova Scotia. When you look at the sloping lines of the bellcast hipped roof and the genteel bays topped with eyebrow windows, I would personally be hard pressed to argue this title. It is hard not to be impressed when you walk past the house and discover it sitting back from the road like a 19th century English country estate transplanted to rural Nova Scotia. This graceful building is so much a part of its landscape that it almost looks like it was grown as part of the elaborate Victorian gardens which once graced the site. This is a rare example of the Regency Style in Nova Scotia.

In 1817, the house was built for the Rector of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Rev. John Millidge. At this point the house was known as Girvan Bank. Following Millidge's death in 1830, the house was sold to the Runciman family. The Runciman family were generally merchants although they has a hand in many business ventures. This prominent local family owned the house until it was transferred to the Heritage Canada Foundation in 1978. The house, complete with a protective heritage easement, was once again sold into private ownership last year.

If you would like to see the Runciman House, it will be included on the Five Century House Tour this Saturday (August 28). This event is a combined fundraiser for the Annapolis Heritage Society and the Historic Gardens. This house tour will be the first opportunity to see the Runciman House since it was returned to private residence status. As an added bonus, some of the original furniture from the Runciman House is currently on display at the O'Dell House Museum in our "Preserving a Legacy" exhibit. Admission to the museum is included as part of your house tour ticket.

All for now,


  1. While growing up, I was always drawn to this house. At age 12 I decided that it would be my house one day even though it was owned by Heritage Canada at the time. 20+ years later, I still plan to return to Annapolis Royal in retirement and yes, I will own the Runciman House.

    I came back to Anna Royal for vacation a couple weeks ago and lightheartedly commented to family that it was nice that someone is so lovingly taking care of my house and property until such time that I can move in.

    And I think it would be fitting as I am the child of an Anglican Priest...who happens to be a descendant of the Rice family of Annapolis.

    Thank you for this post!

  2. You had very good taste in houses from an early age. The Runciman House is a very special building.