Day Trip to a Southern Commonwealth Capitol (Part 2)
The reason for this portion of our day having its own article is that the specific location deserves it. Agecroft Hall was built in Lancashire, England around 500 years ago. The Langley and Dauntesey families called the Hall home for centuries until the 1920s when T.C. Williams, Jr. purchased the Hall, had it dismantled and shipped to Richmond, Virginia. There he had the building re-built in a modified configuration which is the current layout today.
As my son and I pulled into a parking spot on the property, we were blown away by the size of this place. It is massive! Surrounded by large trees, backed by the James River, and with a total property size of about 23 acres, it is like walking into a fairy tale. We took a few minutes photographing the exterior of the building before we headed inside.
Upon entering the Reception area, we were greeted by several staff members. While purchasing our tickets, we were informed that we could photograph the outside of the building and grounds, but no photography would be allowed at all inside the Hall. After purchasing our tickets, we headed back outside to explore the grounds a little before the tour started.
Along the eastern side of the Hall, there is a series of gardens. Even though it was the middle of January, the gardens were still impressive. I could only imagine how beautiful they are in the spring and summer.
Behind the building, there is an enormous open yard that goes down to a tree line that then goes down to the James River. My kids and my dog would love to run and play in an area this big. Heck it’s bigger than some parks in my hometown.
At the beginning of the tour, you are presented with a short film that tells you a little bit about the building and its history. I found it to be very interesting and made me more excited to tour the building. The first area we came into was a the Armour Gallery. On display were sets of armor from the 16th and 17th centuries. We heard about how the original home’s architecture showed simplicity in its design.
The next area we entered was the front hallway. The woodwork and craftsmanship of the handrail on the stairway is unbelievable. There is also a beautiful wooden chest that has such intricate wood inlay that you’d swear it was painted instead of carved.
In the Great Hall, you are greeted by an enormous window that was original to the building when it was in England. With high ceilings, stone floors, and wood paneling walls, you’d think you really were in England. I was fascinated by the tapestry hanging above the fireplace. To think that all of the items in this building are of the time period!
Next was the Great Parlor. This is where guests of the owner would be given the best place to sleep. They would have the best of furniture and linens. With a large fireplace and easy access to the dining area as well as the Great Hall, I’d be more than willing to stay in this room!
After making our way through the dining area and learning about how people were seated, or stood, at the table, we headed upstairs. On the second floor we made our way through two small private bedrooms and into a small study where the man of the house would spend many hours.
The next to last stop was the Williams Library. Now THIS is my dream room! A giant library that could also be used as an office. I would just live in this room and never come out. With a fireplace, plenty of seating, a HUGE table in the center, and shelves upon shelves of books, I’d be in pure heaven.
I’ve been to many historical sites and buildings, but have never been this enthralled with a location. There is so much history in this building. Plus, the fact that someone bought it, had it dismantled, shipped to the U.S., and then re-built, is mind blowing. Had T.C. Williams, Jr. not done this, the building most likely would have been demolished due the state it was in when purchased. If you are ever in the Richmond, Virginia area, make sure you make a stop at this amazing location. The small fee for the roughly hour long tour is well worth it. I promise you will not be disappointed.