Medfield, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°11′15″N 71°18′25″W / 42.18750°N 71.30694°W / 42.18750; -71.30694
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Medfield, Massachusetts
Dwight-Derby House (1651)
Dwight-Derby House (1651)
Flag of Medfield, Massachusetts
Official seal of Medfield, Massachusetts
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°11′15″N 71°18′25″W / 42.18750°N 71.30694°W / 42.18750; -71.30694
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total14.6 sq mi (37.8 km2)
 • Land14.5 sq mi (37.6 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
178 ft (54 m)
 • Total12,799
 • Density882.7/sq mi (340.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code508 / 774
FIPS code25-39765
GNIS feature ID0618323

Medfield is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,799 according to the 2020 United States Census.[1] It is a community about 17 miles (27 km) southwest of Boston, Massachusetts, which is a 40-minute drive to Boston's financial district. Attractions include the Hinkley Pond and the Peak House.


The territory that Medfield now occupies was, at the time of colonization, Neponset land. As part of the English settlement of the area, it was sold by the Neponset leader Chickatabot to William Pynchon in the late 1620s. In 1633, Chickatabot died in a smallpox epidemic that decimated nearby Neponset, Narragansett and Pequot communities. Because Chickatabot and Pynchon's deal left no written deed, the Massachusetts General Court ordered "those Indians who were present when Chickatabot sold lands to Mr. Pynchon, or who know where they were, to set out the bounds thereof". Fifty years later, Chickatabot's grandson Josias Wampatuck brought a land claim against Medfield and the other towns created within the borders of the Chickatabot purchase, for which he received payment. Of those lands, Dedham was the first town formed.[2]

The majority of present-day Medfield had been granted to Dedham in 1636, but the lands on the western bank of the Charles River had been meted out by the General Court to individuals.[3] Edward Alleyn, for example, had been granted 300 acres in 1642.[3] Dedham asked the General Court for some of those lands and, on October 23, 1649, the Court granted the request so long as they established a separate village there within one year.[3] Medfield (New Dedham) was first settled in 1649, principally by people who relocated from the former town. The first 13 house lots were laid out on June 19, 1650.

Dedham sent Eleazer Lusher, Joshua Fisher, Henry Phillips, John Dwight, and Daniel Fisher to map out an area three miles by four miles and the colony sent representatives to set the boundaries on the opposite side of the river.[3] The land that Dedham contributed to the new village became Medfield, and the land the colony contributed eventually broke away to become Medway in 1713.[3][4] Millis would later break away from Medway.

The separations were not without difficulty, however.[5] When Medfield left there were disagreements about the responsibility for public debts and about land use.[5] There were some residents who did not move to the new village who wanted rights to the meadows while others thought that the land should be given freely to those who would settle them.[3] A compromise was reached where those moving to the new village would pay £100 to those who remained in lieu of rights to the meadows.[3] It was later reduced to £60, if paid over three years, or £50 if paid in one year.[6]

Tax records show that those who chose to move to the new village came from the middle class of Dedham residents.[3] Among the first 20 men to make the move were Ralph Wheelock, Thomas Mason, Thomas Wight, John Samuel Morse and his son Daniel, John Frary Sr., Joseph Clark Sr., John Ellis, Thomas Ellis, Henry Smith, Robert Hinsdale, Timothy Dwight, James Allen, Henry Glover, Isaac Genere, and Samuel Bullen.[7] By 1664, several of their sons would join them, as would Joshua Fisher and his son John, and several other Dedhamites.[7] Those who moved there often moved with family members, and many would move on from Medfield to other inland communities.[8] It is also possible that those who left Dedham for Medfield were those most disaffected by the political or social climate within the town.[8]

Town Meeting voted to release Medfield on January 11, 1651 and the General Court agreed the following May.[9][10] Medfield became the 43rd town in Massachusetts.[10]

The Rev. Ralph Wheelock is credited with the founding of Medfield. He was the first schoolmaster of the town's school established in 1655,[11] and now has an elementary school named after him.

The Pool, Medfield, 1889, by Dennis Miller Bunker. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Half the town (32 houses, two mills, many barns and other buildings) was destroyed by Native Americans during King Philip's War in 1675.[11] One house, known as the Peak House, was burnt in the war but was rebuilt shortly thereafter near downtown Medfield.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.8 km2), of which 14.5 square miles (37.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km2) (0.62%) is water. The Charles River borders almost one-third of Medfield. Medfield is surrounded by the towns Dover, Norfolk, Walpole, Millis, and Sherborn. The Charles River marks the Millis border.


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

Population and housing[edit]

  • 12,024 people, 5,284 households, and 5,462 families
  • Population density = 845.8 people/sq. mi (326.6 people/km2)
  • 5,048 housing units
Race Population (%)
White 96.78
Black or African American 0.51
Native American 0.04
Asian 1.76
Pacific Islander 0.01
Other 0.23
Two or more races 0.68

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.

  • Of the 5,284 households, 50.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.8% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.3% were non-families. 15.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older
  • Average household size = 3.02
  • Average family size = 3.41

Age distribution[edit]

  • 33.6% under the age of 18
  • 3.5% from 18 to 24
  • 28.4% from 25 to 44
  • 25.2% from 45 to 64
  • 9.3% who were 65 or older
  • The median age was 38 years.
  • For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males, and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

Income data[edit]

  • Per capita income = $62,076
  • Median household income = $133,931
  • Median family income = $144,263
  • About 0.8% of families and 1.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 1.6% of those aged 65 or over.


Medfield Public Schools consistently ranks among the top ten school systems in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).[23] As recently as 2017, Medfield was ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as the number 5 ranked school system in Massachusetts. As of 2013, Medfield High School Seniors scored an average of 591 on the SAT Critical Reading Section, 618 on the SAT Math Section, and 598 on the SAT Writing Section.[24]

In 2005, Medfield High School and T.A. Blake Middle School switched buildings as a result of a massive construction project updating the current Medfield High School (formally Amos Clark Kingsbury High School).

Public schools:

  • Memorial School, 59 Adams Street (grades K–1)[25]
  • Wheelock School, 17 Elm Street (grades 2–3)[25]
  • Dale Street School, 45 Adams Street (grades 4–5)[25]
  • Thomas A. Blake Middle School, 24 Pound Street (grades 6–8)[25]
  • Medfield High School, 88R South Street (grades 9–12)[25]

Private schools:

  • Montrose School, an independent school for girls, inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church, 29 North Street (grades 6–12)[26]


Medfield's Free Public Library began in 1873.[27] The public library is located on Main Street.[28] In the late 18th century some of the residents of Medfield and surrounding towns formed a subscription library, called the Medfield Social Library.[29]


  • On the third Saturday of September, Medfield Employers & Merchants Organization[30] hosts Medfield Day in Medfield Center, which is an annual celebration of the town.
  • On the first Friday of December, Medfield Employers & Merchants Organization[30] hosts the annual tree lighting in Baxter Park in Medfield Center.
  • On the Saturday following the first Friday of December, Medfield Employers & Merchants Organization[30] organizes the annual Winter parade which takes place on the streets near Medfield Center.
  • On the first Sunday of December, Medfield Foundation[31] hosts the Angel Run, which is an annual 5k fundraising road race, held to raise money to support people in need in the town.

Medfield State Hospital[edit]

One of many abandoned buildings on the grounds of the former Medfield State Hospital

Medfield State Hospital, located at 45 Hospital Road, opened in 1896 and originally operated on 685 acres (2.77 km2) of pasture. At its peak in 1952, it housed 1,500 patients. By 2001, it was down to about 300 acres (1.2 km2) and employed 450 people (including four psychologists) to care for a maximum of 147 patients. The cost to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was $21.5 million. On April 3, 2003, the doors were closed. Although the buildings are not open to the public (they have been boarded up), the grounds may be visited during daylight hours.

  • The film The Box was filmed at the hospital in December 2007.[32]
  • The film Shutter Island started prepping February 2008 and started filming at Medfield State Hospital in March 2008.[32]
  • The film The New Mutants started filming at the Medfield State Hospital in the summer of 2017.

Points of interest[edit]

Main Street
  • Rocky Woods is a 491-acre (1.99 km2) reservation in the northeast part of town. The property has 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of nature trails for hiking or biking, a few ponds for fishing, and open space for picnics and barbecues, and includes Cedar Hill (435 feet (133 m)).[33]
  • Noon Hill is a hill in Medfield at 370 feet (110 m) with a trail to its peak. There are a total of 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of trails around the hill and offer views of the hills of Walpole, Norfolk, and Gillette Stadium.[34]
  • Peak House. Burnt during the Native-American attack on the town during King Philip's War in 1676, the Peak House was rebuilt in 1680. It was turned over to the Medfield Historical Society in 1924 and restored to its original Colonial look. It is open every Sunday from 2 PM–5 PM from June to September and by appointment at other times. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and the steep roof has the highest pitch on record in Massachusetts for a 17th-century house.
  • Medfield Historical Society[35] on Pleasant Street. The Society museum contains historic artifacts and documents. The Society also owns the Peak House.
  • The Dwight-Derby House: Constructed in 1697. It was long thought that the house was built in 1651, but irrefutable scientific evidence has established that this house was not built until 1697. Still, it is one of only several dozen documented 17th-century houses still standing. Numerous additions have been made to the home over the years as the property changed owners.
  • Hinkley Pond, named after Vietnam fatality Stephen Hinkley, a native of Medfield, located on Green Street, is a site for public swimming and has a playground and sand area. Swimming lessons are taught on-site.
  • Lowell Mason Museum and Music Center. Birthplace of Lowell Mason and a rare example of First Period American architecture and construction. Portions of the house date to 1651 according to a dendrochronology survey.[36] A community effort saved the home from demolition and relocated it to Green Street in April 2011. The Lowell Mason Foundation[37] maintains the house, which will house the Lowell Mason Museum, community space, and a music center.
  • Kingsbury Pond, named after Amos Clark Kingsbury (a Medfield native and graduate of Medfield's High School Class of 1916) who served in the United States Marines, American Expeditionary Force, and fought in almost every major battle in France during World War I.[38] Kingsbury Pond is located on Route 27, across the street from St. Edward's Catholic Church. It is a site for public fishing and ice skating. Fishermen have caught very small Largemouth Bass in this pond.[39]
  • Metacomet Park, named after King Philip (who was also known as Metacomet or Metacom), the chief of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in the King Philip War.[40] Metacomet Park is an athletic complex and activities area located at 145 Pleasant Street. It offers four tennis courts, a little league baseball diamond, a multi-use field (used for lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer), and a small playground.[41]
  • Charles River Reservation maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is home to the Bill Martin Flying Field maintained by two clubs, the Millis Model Aircraft Club and the Charles River Radio Controllers.

Medfield Rail Trail- Opened October 1, 2022, is 1.7 miles long and runs through most of the town of Medfield.

Notable people[edit]

  • Hannah Adams (1755–1831), Medfield native and Christian author; the first female professional writer in America
  • Uzo Aduba, actress, best known as "Crazy Eyes" on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, grew up in Medfield, and was a member of the Medfield High School Theater Society[42]
  • Matthew Aucoin, award-winning pianist, conductor/composer with the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Theater and Chicago Symphony orchestras, opera composer and lyricist[43]
  • Jerry Bergonzi, world-renowned tenor saxophonist and jazz educator; currently holds a full-time professorship at New England Conservatory and is the author of the Inside Improvisation musical book series
  • Raymond Berry, Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver for the Baltimore Colts, and former head coach of the New England Patriots
  • Steve Berthiaume, former ESPN anchor and current play-by-play broadcast announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Drew Bledsoe, retired NFL quarterback, former quarterback of the New England Patriots. He resided in Medfield while he was the quarterback of the Patriots. He bought the entire Medfield football team cleats before he moved out of Medfield
  • Donald E. Booth, American Diplomat and current US Ambassador to Ethiopia
  • Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and former coach of the University of Southern California and the New England Patriots, also lived in Medfield. He donated money to keep the high school weight room open all season long during the summer for the football players. Carroll also help start the Middle School football program by getting a $30,000 grant from the NFL
  • Ron Erhardt, former head coach of the New England Patriots lived in Medfield. Ron coached from 1979 to 1981
  • Rich Gotham, president of the Boston Celtics
  • John Hannah, former New England Patriots guard and Hall of Famer
  • George Inness (1825–1894), artist, some of whose paintings are of Medfield in the nineteenth century. A street in town, near the vantage of one of his paintings, bears his last name
  • Ted Johnson, former linebacker of the New England Patriots lived in Medfield. Ted played for the Patriots from 1995 to 2004
  • Matt Klentak, special assistant, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Charles Martin Loeffler (1861–1935), a German-born American composer. A street in town off South St. on the development of Southern Acres bears his last name
  • Rick Lyle, former defensive end for the New England Patriots, lived in Medfield. Rick played for the Patriots from 2002 to 2003
  • Eric Mangini, former assistant coach for the New England Patriots, lived in Medfield. Eric also coached the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns
  • Lowell Mason (1792–1872), a composer of hymns and pioneer of music education in American public schools. A street in town bears his name. His birthplace houses the Lowell Mason Museum and a music center
  • Peter McNeeley, boxer. In 1995, Peter McNeeley fought former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson after Tyson's release from prison. The fight lasted a mere 83 seconds
  • Tom McNeeley, boxer, who had been KO'd by Floyd Patterson in the 4th round of their fight years before his son Peter's fight with Mike Tyson
  • Randy Moss, former receiver for the New England Patriots, lived in Medfield
  • Jason Nash, American actor and popular YouTube personality, best known for his popular Vine channel and his minor acting roles in Drake & Josh and House
  • John Preston (1945–1994), author of gay erotica and editor of gay non-fiction anthologies
  • Darrelle Revis, former cornerback for the New England Patriots
  • Curt Schilling, former World Series pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. His family formerly lived on Woodridge Road in a 26-acre (110,000 m2) estate formerly occupied by another athlete, Drew Bledsoe. Schilling bought the home in 2003 for $4,500,001.[44] After losing his game company, Schilling sold his home and moved to another home in the town. In 2008, a baseball field and a softball field behind Blake Middle School were dedicated to him and his wife, Shonda Schilling


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  2. ^ Tilden, W. S. (1887). History of the town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650-1886 : with genealogies of the families that held real estate or made any considerable stay in the town during the first two centuries, pp. 21-23. Boston: G. H. Ellis. Quotation from the General Court, qtd. by Tilden.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hanson 1976, p. 68.
  4. ^ Tilden 1884, p. 443.
  5. ^ a b Lockridge 1985, p. 95.
  6. ^ Hanson 1976, p. 68-69.
  7. ^ a b Hanson 1976, p. 69-70.
  8. ^ a b Hanson 1976, p. 78.
  9. ^ Hanson 1976, p. 69.
  10. ^ a b Tilden, W. S. (1884). "Medfield". In D. Hamilton Hurd (Ed.), History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, pp. 439–41. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co.
  11. ^ a b Tilden 1884, p. 442.
  12. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
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  18. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  23. ^ "2011 MCAS Results - Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System". October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ a b c d e "Medfield Public Schools". Archived from the original on January 11, 2006.
  26. ^ "Montrose School, an independent girls' school for grades 6-12 in Medfield, Massachusetts". Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  27. ^ Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, v.9. 1899
  28. ^ "". Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  29. ^ Medfield Library [catalog]. Dedham, Mass.: Printed at the Dedham Gazette office, 1816.
  30. ^ a b c "MEMO". MEMO.
  31. ^ "About Medfield Foundation". Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "Film crews visit Medfield State Hospital - Medfield, MA - Medfield Press". Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  33. ^ Rocky Woods (August 15, 2011). "Rocky Woods | Medfield, MA | The Trustees of Reservations". Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  34. ^ Noon Hill (August 15, 2011). "Noon Hill | Medfield, MA | The Trustees of Reservations". Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  35. ^ "HOME -". Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  36. ^ Knapp, Theresa (November 29, 2010). "Wicked Local Medfield, "Timber analysis dates Mason house beams to 1600s" Theresa Knapp/correspondent GateHouse News Service (Nov 29, 2010 @ 12:53 pm)". Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  37. ^ "Welcome -".
  38. ^ Richard DeSorgher (May 7, 2011). "The Mystery of Medfield's 'Lady of Route 27' - Medfield, MA Patch". AOL Inc. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  39. ^ "05/03/09 - Kingsbury Pond - Medfield, MA Details". MA Fish Finder. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  40. ^ "Metacomet - Connexipedia article". August 10, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  41. ^ Tremblay, Debbie. "Metacomet Park - Medfield, MA Patch". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  42. ^ "Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba: How I Learned to Love My Teeth's Gap". June 15, 2014.
  43. ^ Matthew Aucoin
  44. ^ " - MLB - Schilling buying Bledsoe's old home - Monday December 22, 2003 5:37PM". December 22, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2011.

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]