Sunday, January 31, 2010

CHARMING 1600’s HISTORIC HOME, ROSEGILL, IN ONE OF THE OLDEST TOWNS IN VIRGINIA



One of the oldest Colonial brick homes in the country still stands, with 11 rooms, built in 1650.  Originally a grant from King Charles I of England of 10,000 acres, it now contains 735 acres in Middlesex County with 2 mils of Rappahannock River frontage in Urbanna, Virginia, a historic port town.

Rosegill was acquired by Captain Ralph Wormeley in the early seventeenth century, as a grant from King Charles I of England.  Myriads of wild roses gave the place its name.  Wormeley was one of the most influential men in Virginia. Rosegill is listed in the National Historic Register of Colonial Plantations. Eventually Rosegill included an airstrip. To wind up the long hill from the little village of Urbanna, along a shady road, and to behold the fine old mansion a way off from its double outer gates is to realize delightfully how well some Virginians planned and built.  The kitchen includes a fireplace.  There is a dining room, paneled in mahogany, sitting room and library in oak and white drawing room.  At either end of a very large hall you will find winding stairs.  Five bedrooms are upstairs.

As the international sailing vessels of the colonial tobacco trade yielded to Chesapeake Bay schooners, then steamboats, then the pleasure boats of today, one thing remained constant: Urbanna’s history and fortunes are one with the Bay.  There is one huge bedroom in the attic with 14 beds for bachelors.  The lawn is 5 miles wide.  The green walk from the house to the river is bordered with roses its whole length.

First area commercial activities revolved around the tobacco trade, then shifted towards retail sales, fishing and tourists.  By the early 20 C. the town was known for oyster beds and packing plants, and as a summer resort.  Most of the original structures remain.  Included are the dwelling, a washhouse, kitchen and storage house.  The house has been continually occupied and is associated with some of the Colonies most prestigious individuals, making Rosegill perhaps one of Virginia’s richest archaeological sites as well as one of the oldest and most historic estates in America.

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