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History Bytes: Godfrey Malbone and Brownstone

A detail of the brownstone above a window at the 1739 Colony House, which is currently being restored.

A detail of the brownstone above a window at the 1739 Colony House, which is currently being restored.

Godfrey Malbone was a prominent merchant from Virginia, best known for financing the construction of Trinity Church in 1725 and erecting the original Malbone estate on Malbone Road. Godfrey and his son Col. Godfrey, Jr. also had interests in Brooklyn, Connecticut, near Pomfret, where he erected another Trinity Church in 1770. His vast Connecticut land holdings also included large deposits of brown sandstone, which he quarried and imported to Newport for building material that was durable and easier to cut than slate or granite. Some of the places that feature Malbone’s stone include:

  • The Colony House window trim and sidesteps
  • Trinity Church
  • Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House
  • Brick Market
  • The foundation of the Masonic Hall on School Street, started by Peter Harrison in 1756
  • Numerous private house foundations and steps
  • Gravestones in the Common Burying Ground