The Mystique Of Rosewell

About an hour east of us, near Gloucester, Virginia, are the ruins of Rosewell, which was once considered “the best house in Virginia”.

(Now, those of you who know me know that ANY house takes second place in my heart to Bacon’s Castle, but on with this post.)

I had visited Rosewell twice in the past with  Marshall and my sister, June. And, once, when Motor Man and I were in the area, we had seen it from our vehicle. But my friend, Donna, had never been. So last Friday, we made the trip.  It’s important to visit well before warm weather and the accompanying mosquitoes.

Just a brief history: Rosewell was built in 1725 by the Page family. When complete, it was 12,500 square feet on three levels, and had 33 rooms and 17 fireplaces. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire in 1916. Through the years, time, the elements, vines and vandals took their toll on Rosewell.  In 1979, the site was donated to the Gloucester Historical Society by the last family to own it. Now, all that remains are four chimneys, a few walls and the wine cellar. In 1995, the Rosewell Foundation was formed, and since that time, it has worked to prevent further deterioration of the ruins.

This would have been the front of the house. During the 1700’s, visitors arrived by boat by way of the York River and then Carters Creek and were taken by carriage to the front entrance.

 There’s just something about the ruins of an old structure that allows your imagination to run wild.

Donna was feeling a bit Harrison Ford-ish.

There was another family visiting Rosewell that day, so Donna asked if they’d like their picture taken together.  We soon learned that they’re descendants of the Page family.  Meet Jennifer, Gary, Ashley and Kelly.  (And I sincerely hope I have those girls’ names correct!) They were a delightful family, and we were honored to meet them and enjoyed chatting with them.

This may have been my third time at Rosewell,

But it was no less fascinating than the first.

If you’re interested in learning more about Rosewell, click here.

~These Days Of Mine~

12 responses to “The Mystique Of Rosewell

  1. I’ve always enjoyed visiting “ruins” although it’s sometimes a bit sad somehow. How wonderful you met some descendants of the original owners – your timing couldn’t have been more perfect!


  2. What an amazing journey to the 1700’s and on. The Page family had Virginia’s governor among their ranks as well. The visitors center was perfect with videos and an enthusiastic well versed host . Artifacts galore. Woods around a well landscaped perimeter. Biggest Spring house (round) I have ever seen, 30 feet across and about 24 feet deep. Thank you Dianna for sharing this beautiful, unique piece of Virginia history!

  3. Such a gorgeous and mysterious looking place. Love your images.

  4. WOW!!! It’s not hard for your imagination to run wild when looking at those ruins. You wonder what the ruins have seen and what she looked like in her prime.

  5. There is no end to the fascination with old ruins and Rosewell is special since there is much known about it and a dedication to keeping the building alive. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I would’ve loved to have seen this place when it was new… so much care with every detail & feature – inside and out – the finest house of the colonial era. .. but not my favorite, either .. ; )
    Sometimes on tour I would tell visitors to Bacon’s Castle that Rosewell was my second favorite house. Every now and then one of them would ask me which was my favorite.. & I’d just point down at the floorboards !!

  7. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    I love history and this was so interesting. Thanks for sharing, Dianna. So glad Donna has a chance of sharing it with you.

  8. Thanks for sharing a wonderful part of Virginia history, so fascinating! I had never heard of Rosewell, even though I spend a great deal of time in the area during the summers with one of my cousins and her family who owned a cottage on the York River. Look forward to visiting it in the future!

  9. Great old ruins. I bet that place was quite the castle in it’s day.
    I’m glad the ruins are being cared for and shared with the public. There’s a lot of history there.
    Looks like another fun adventure. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. A very interesting and fun thing to do… and with a very good friend, too! I like the last picture with the impressive castle nestled in the trees.

  11. That must have been one majestic place back when it was still a home. I find it interesting yet very sad at the same time. Thanks for taking us along to a place I never knew existed.

  12. The ruins are beautiful in a haunting kind of way.

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