Built in 1902, this is a good example of an outport merchant home. It was built by W.J. Ellis for the family of William O'Reilly, whose ancestors came to Placentia from County Cavan, Ireland. The building was originally used to house the magistrate stationed at Placentia. Originally known as "Brefrey House," it remained the home of Placentia magistrates until the 1970s and the death of retired magistrate William Linegar. The house features very large double bay windows, dentil mouldings, pocket doors, roundels, stained glass windows, four fireplaces, large handcrafted mouldings throughout and a handcrafted staircase.
In 1989, the Placentia Area Historical Society received the Southcott Award from the Newfoundland Historic Trust for its work in preserving this house. The Society has been responsible for the maintenance of O'Reilly House since that date. A restoration project took place in 1999, when there were extensive repairs to the roof, chimneys, siding and doors. The building was designated as a Registered Heritage Structure in March of 1999.
Updated July, 2004