15 Hereford was built in 1872-1873 by John Floyd Richardson, a mason, for building contractor Silas Whitton Merrill. one of four contiguous houses (363 Marlborough and 13-15-17 Hereford). 13-15-17 Hereford were numbered 1-3-5 Hereford through about 1879.
The land on which 13-15-17 Hereford and 363 Marlborough were built was part of a larger parcel purchased on June 12, 1868, from the Boston Water Power Company by Daniel Davies, a housewright and carpenter. He and his wife, Amity Bacon (Hastings) Davies, lived at 131 Mt. Vernon until the early 1870s, when they moved to 445 Beacon.
Daniel Davies appears to have entered into an agreement with Silas Merrill to sell him the land at the corner of Marlborough and Hereford, with a frontage of 80 feet on Marlborough, with Silas Merrill paying for and taking title to the land as he developed it.
The parcel consisted of five lots, four fronting on Hereford, each 60 feet deep, and one fronting on Marlborough, 20 feet wide, running from Marlborough to the alley behind the other four.
Silas Merrill took title to the lot where 17 Hereford would be built on March 13, 1872. John F. Richardson filed a Notice of Intention to build the four houses in April of 1872 (reported in the Boston Traveller on April 26, 1872) and construction probably started soon thereafter. As the construction continued, Silas Merrill took title to the remaining lots: the lot for 13 Hereford and the 20 foot lot fronting on Marlborough (where 365 Marlborough later would be built) on October 1, 1872; the lot for 15 Hereford on October 31, 1872; and the lot for 363 Marlborough on December 9, 1872.
On November 30, 1872, Silas Merrill sold John F. Richardson the lots at 15 Hereford and 17 Hereford. The sale probably was part of Silas Merrill’s agreement with John Richardson for construction of the four houses, allowing him to sell the two houses once they were completed. Silas Merrill retained the land at 13 Hereford and 363 Marlborough, and sold the completed houses along with the 20 foot wide lot fronting on Marlborough, which remained vacant.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 15 Hereford, click here for a plan of the original land, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Marlborough between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On September 22, 1873, 15 Hereford was purchased from John F. Richardson by Rev. Alexander Stevenson Twombly. He had recently become pastor of the Winthrop Congregational Church in Charlestown, where he and his wife, Abigail Quincy (Bancroft) Twombly, lived.
By 1874, 15 Hereford was the home of James R. Bayley and his wife, Susanna H. (Bancroft) Bayley, who was Abigail (Bancroft) Twombly’s sister. They previously had lived at 12 Hereford (433 Beacon). On May 1, 1875, Susanna Bayley acquired 15 Hereford from Alexander Twombly.
James Bayley was a commission merchant and dealer in hay and straw.
The Bayleys’ three surviving children lived with them: Anne Bayley, Gertrude Bayley, and Edward Bancroft Bayley.
Anne Bayley married in September of 1876 to Phineas Sprague Tobey, a bookseller and stationer. After their marriage, they lived at 15 Hereford with the Bayleys until about 1881, when they moved to 19 Chestnut to live with his parents, Edward S. Tobey and Hannah B. (Sprague) Tobey.
Gertrude Bayley married in October of 1882 to Frank Everett Peabody, an investment banker. After their marriage, they lived at 173 Newbury until about 1895, when they moved to 120 Commonwealth.
James Bayley died in April of 1886. Susanna Bayley continued to live at 15 Hereford with their son, Edward.
Susanna Bayley died in April of 1892. After his mother’s death, Edward Bayley continued to live at 15 Hereford.
Edward Bayley was affiliated with the shipping firm of Henry W. Peabody & Company, a partner in the Boston Office, which dealt primarily in hemp, sisal, and other fibers.
In June of 1893, he married Mary Richards Clark and they moved to an apartment at 224 Marlborough.
By the 1893-1894 winter season, 15 Hereford and it had become the home of Susanna H. (Bancroft) Bayley’s unmarried sisters, Martha G. Bancroft and Mary E. Bancroft.
Mary Bancroft married in May of 1900 to Edward Henry Burr, a retired merchant. After their marriage, they lived at 15 Hereford with Martha Bancroft.
Edward Burr died in June of 1905. Mary Burr continued to live with her sister at 15 Hereford until her death in June of 1912.
On August 14, 1917, 15 Hereford was purchased from Edward Bayley by Gerald Arthur Bramwell. He and his wife, Emily Faithful (Ames) Bramwell, made it their home. They previously had lived in an apartment at 8 Gloucester.
A former banker, Gerald Bramwell was treasurer of the American Felt Company.
In October of 1917, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior of the house. On his application, he indicated that the current and proposed occupancy was as a three-family dwelling.
The Bramwells continued to live there in 1922, but by 1923, they had purchased and moved to 235 Commonwealth.
On June 30, 1922, 15 Hereford was acquired from Gerald Bramwell by Thacher Loring. He was the retired president and treasurer of the National Dock and Warehouse Company, founded by his father, Elisha Thacher Loring. He and his wife, Margaret Fuller (Channing) Loring, lived at the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth and, before that, at 35 Marlborough.
15 Hereford became the home of the Lorings’ son-in-law and daughter, Dr. William Lothrop Edwards, a physician, and Alice (Loring) Edwards. They previously had lived at 33 Gloucester.
William and Alice Edwards continued to live there until their deaths, both in January of 1934.
On September 17, 1934, George Stanley Reed acquired 15 Hereford from the estate of Thacher Loring (who had died in April of 1928). He previously had lived at 122 Mt. Vernon.
George Reed lived at 15 Hereford and operated as a lodging house until about 1976. He was personnel director of the Recording & Statistical Corporation. He was unmarried.
On February 25, 1977, 15 Hereford was purchased from George Stanley Reed by Michael Southworth and his wife, Susan Southworth.
The Southworths were architects and urban planners, and authored The AIA Guide to Boston.
In March of 1977, Michael Southworth filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into two apartments. The previous legal occupancy noted on the occupancy was as a three-family dwelling, as indicated on Gerald Bramwell’s 1917 permit application.
On June 11, 1985, the Southworths converted the property into two condominium units, the 15 Hereford Street Condominium.