Mount Hope Farm, Bristol

The land on and around Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, RI had been the sacred land of the Pokanoket Tribe for thousands of years until it was taken by the Crown and sold to four Proprietors in 1680 following the King Philip War. The grounds have been farmed since the 1680s. The first farmhouse (pictured above) was built there in 1745 for Isaac Royall and his wife Elizabeth. Click here for the application for the National Registry of Historic Places filed in 1976. Click here for the historic marker at Mt. Hope Farm.


The historic estate, a refuge for the Pokanokets, the First People of the area, a prized farm for colonial settlers, and a superb example of “country life” in the 20th century, was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and Places in 1977. In 1999, it was acquired by The Mount Hope Trust in Bristol, which operates the Farm today.

At nearby Cold Spring (pictured above, left) on the south slope of Mount Hope, KingPhilip was surprised and killed by Captain Benjamin Church and Alderman, an Indian friendly to the. colonists, on August 12, 1676. Philip’s death ended bloody King Philip’s War which had ravaged the English colonies since June of 1675. Immediately these ancestral lands, including the Seat of Metacom (above, right), exempt from the Pokanoket Purchase of 1653, were claimed by four colonies — – Massachusetts Bay, Plimoth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Plimoth won the dispute and in 1680 sold the land to four Boston merchants, including Nathaniel Byfield who acquired Mt. Hope as part of his share.

The present 211 acres are a remnant of a much larger property that included Mount Hope, the traditional seat of the Pokanoket People. In the early 1950’s, the family of Rudolph Haffenreffer deeded Mount Hope and approximately 250 acres of the north part of the original farm to Brown University. Today, the Farm includes Cove Cabin (above, left) and an 1860 barn and education building (above, right) as well as an extensive collection of farm animals.