From England to Richmond, Agecroft Hall goes the distance to shape history

(Photo: Agecroft Hall and Gardens)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — From a distance, Agecroft Hall makes a grand presence, but inside is where the story truly begins.

“I like to think that he knows all of the secrets of Agecroft because he’s watched over it for five centuries,” says Anne Kenny-Urban as she gestures towards a portrait of William Dauntesey.

Kenny-Urban, the Executive Director of Agecroft Hall, explains Dauntesey inherited the manor through marriage in 16th century Lancashire, England. It is the same home that stands in Richmond, Virginia today.

“This is a wonderfully unique attraction,” Kenny-Urban says with a smile.

(Photo: Agecroft Hall and Gardens)

In the 1920’s, Richmond businessman T.C. Williams purchased the Tudor mansion, dismantled it and shipped it across the Atlantic. The Windsor Farms neighborhood of Richmond was its final stop.

“Having an authentic English house was an ultimate luxury in this wonderful neighborhood,” Kenny-Urban describes the mindset of the era.

Agecroft Hall was a private home until the 1960’s when it became a museum. Generations of visitors have realized what the earliest inhabitants of the home witnessed around them.

“The plague wiped out about a third of the population of the towns it touched,” Kenny-Urban mentions one period in history that took place during Agecroft Hall’s existence.

There are reminders of a different time throughout the manor, including on paneling in the Great Parlor.

“It’s just been hiding in plain sight for the past century,” Kenny-Urban points out a hex mark etched into the wall to ward off witches.

She adds, “They were usually put near doors or windows or fireplaces, in this case, which is the way a witch would get into your house.”

Outside, Elizabethan and Tudor-designed gardens include plants cultivated during those periods in England.

Kenny-Urban says Agecroft Hall really does offer a visit to an Old English village.

“But without the jet lag,” she chuckles. “Zip right over and be home in time for dinner. Step back in time.”

Agecroft Hall and Gardens is one of 18 historic sites taking part in this year’s Time Travelers program on September 23 and 24, 2017.

Follow this link for more information about the special admission-free weekend and participants.

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