SURRY, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia lays claim to hundreds of historic homes all across the commonwealth, but there is one that dates back to the mid 17th century and has ties to Nathaniel Bacon.
8News meteorologist visited the home of Arthur Allen in Surry on Wednesday for this week’s installment of 8News Daytrippers.
It was built back in 1665. Now, the name Allen might not mean much to you – it’s better known today as Bacon’s Castle – and this home has quite the story to tell.
Who is Major Arthur Allen II and why is the home no longer named after him? Well, it all stretches back to an event that set the stage for uneasiness towards the English crown in the 1600s. Does Bacon’s Rebellion ring a bell?
“When the house was first constructed in 1665 it was called Arthur Allen’s brickhouse for the name of the builder and the fact that it was rare to be a brick building,” said the museum’s Director of Operations Jenifer Hurst-Wender. “In 1676, this house sees occupation by rebels that are follows of Nathaniel Bacon.”
Thanks to Major Allen’s support for Governor Barkley, he was driven from his home by Bacon’s supporters and the rebels occupied his home for months, drinking and smashing his wine as well as killing his livestock.
The home was later renamed Bacon’s castle for the events that occurred here despite no historical evidence that Nathaniel Bacon himself was at the home.
Being built in mid 1600s makes this home one of the oldest in the country, in fact it lays claim to two titles.
“Bacon’s castle is the oldest brick dwelling in North America, it’s the only example of this time periods architecture that is still above ground, all the rest of them are archaeological remains,” Hurst-Wender said. “Bacon’s castle is built in Jacobian architectural style, there are 3 that exist in the entire western hemisphere and this is the only one in continental North America.”
There are 3 characteristics attributed to that form of architecture, triple stacked chimneys, shaped Flemish gables and window surrounds.
“We also have the oldest English formal garden in North America; it’s an acre and a half and built completely for pleasure purposes,” Hurst-Wender said.
Bacon’s castle is open to visitors Friday through Sunday and is sure to take you on a daytrip back in time!