In 1638-9, Richard Kemp, who served as Secretary of the Virginia colony during the tenure of the irascible Sir John Harvey, built his “brick house” on 3 ½ acres of land to the east of the present-day Ambler ruins. This “brick house” was designated S44 by NPS archeologists; it is the building that would eventually pass into Walter Chiles I’s hands. Governor Sir John Harvey identified Kemp’s house as the first brick dwelling at Jamestown and two eyewitnesses used the word “faire” to describe the house. Governor Harvey himself referred to Kemp’s house as “the fairest that ever was knowen in this countrye for substance and uniformity.”
Archeological evidence (excavations done in the 1930’s and 1990’s) indicate that structure 44 was a one- or possibly two-story home raised on a shallow footing of brickbats. A central, H-shaped chimney was shared by two rooms on the ground floor. Both rooms may have been paved with brick or tile.