Rosewell: Early Georgian Architecture in Gloucester County, Virginia

by DerdriuMarriner

Rosewell Plantation has early Georgian architecture, marvelous York River views, and noteworthy cultural events for guests of Gloucester County, Virginia.

Rosewell endures on lands originally occupied by Powhatan

Rosewell Manor attracts Virginians and northeast Commonwealth visitors to Gloucester County’s York River banks. It brings together lovers of:
• architectural ruins;
• barbecue and wine fundraisers, buried treasure;
• ghost stories, gift shops, grassy expanses;
• informal museums;
• marble tombstones;
• picnic lunches, Pocahontas stories;
• river views;
• visitor centers.

It culls from extinct eighteenth-century fields and formal pleasure gardens cultivated memories of 3,000 (1,214.06 hectares) corn, grain, tobacco cash-cropped acres and of:
• American boxwood, sycamore;
• big-leaf periwinkle, black walnut, bull-bay magnolia;
• Christmas fern;
• daffodil, day-lily;
• eastern cottonwood, red cedar;
• English ivy;
• flowering dogwood, forsythia;
• hackberry;
• Kenilworth ivy;
• mock-orange;
• pear, pecan;
• red maple;
• sassafras, spice-bush, spirea;
• tulip-poplar;
• white ash, mulberry;
• wild cherry, raspberry, strawberry;
• willow-oak.

Since 1995, Rosewell Foundation defends Rosewell’s sustainability.


Email: [email protected]

Open hours, April through October:
Monday through Thursday, Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.;
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Physical address: 5113 Old Rosewell Lane, Gloucester, VA 23061
Telephone: 804-693-2585


Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, in his lodge in Werowocomoco (Powhatan: werowans [weroance], "leader" + komakah [-comoco], "settlement"), chief's headquarters encompassed within Page family holdings at Rosewell Plantation:

depiction by John Smith (c. January 1580–June 21, 1631) on his 1606 map of Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia's Tidewater region (latitudes 36°-41° N.; 1624 engraving by William Hole (Holle) (fl. ca. 1607-1624)
sixth state map: 32 x 41 cm
sixth state map: 32 x 41 cm

Rosewell furnishes clean, cool water from Pocahontas’s birth-spring


Abundantly clear waters named Rosewell before and Carter’s Creek after 1686 explains Rosewell’s name per Lucy Burwell Page Saunders (1808–1885), builders/masons Mann Page II’s (1718 – 1780) and Mann Page I’s (1691–1730) respective granddaughter and great-granddaughter. Lucy’s great-great-great-grandfather Colonel John Page (1628–1692) finds himself memorialized as 7,000-acre (2,832.79-hectare) owner of:

  • Matoaka (“Bright, Bubbling Water between Two Hills”), Pocahontas’s (1595?–March 21, 1617) birthplace and Rosewell’s spring;
  • Rescue Cove, site of Pocahontas’s saving Captain John Smith (January 6/9, 1580–June 21, 1631);
  • Werowocomoco (“Leader Settlement”), Powhatan’s (1542/7?-1618) York River headquarters/residence and, since 1794, Shelly Manor.

Rosewell’s wooden predecessor gets built by Lucy’s great-great-grandfather Matthew Page (1659–1703) in 1700 and burned down in 1721. 


Woodcut of Rosewell prior to Thomas B. Booth's purchase in 1837

Rosewell Manor is known for six sets of owners: Page family, Thomas B. Booth 1837-, John T. Catlett 1847-, Josiah L. Deans 1853-, Gloucester County Historical Society 1979-, Rosewell Foundation, Inc., 1995-
Bishop William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia (1861), Vol. I, opp. p. 332
Bishop William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia (1861), Vol. I, opp. p. 332

Rosewell gives Thomas Jefferson inspiration to declare independence


Rosewell has a construction date of 1725. A dining-room fire is doused then, but not on March 24, 1914. Rosewell’s 12,000-square-foot (1114.84-square-meter) area juxtaposes similarities with:

  • England’s Althrop; Banqueting, Dodlington, Haddo, Hatfield, Longleat, Queen’s, Roehampton, Somerset Houses; Belvoir; Chatsworth; Ickworth; Melbourne Hall; Weston Park;
  • Inigo Jones’s (1573–1652), John Ariss’s (1725–1799), John Prince’s (flourished 1700s), Richard Taliaferro’s (1705?–1779) designs;
  • Virginia’s Bruton Parish, Christ Churches; George Wythe, Nelson, Peyton-Randolph, William and Mary College President’s Houses; Governor’s Palace; Mannsfield, Shirley Manors; Sabine Hall;
  • William Salmon’s (1703?–1779) Palladio Londinensis.

It possibly keepsakes inputs by:

  • John Tyler (1685?–1727), Colonel Page’s great-grandson, colonial master-builder, President John Tyler’s (1790-1862) grandfather;
  • Daniel Wilkinson (flourished 1700s), County Cumberland-born overseer. 


Rosewell's capacious floor plan: one of "half-dozen notable Colonial houses with a hall expanded to one side"

"Houses with a stair hall expanded to one side": Fiske Kimball, Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic (1922), Figure 49 (page 76)
room identification by Derdriu Marriner via Claude Lanciano Jr., Rosewell Garland of Virginia (1978), p. 84
room identification by Derdriu Marriner via Claude Lanciano Jr., Rosewell Garland of Virginia (1978), p. 84

Rosewell hallows Hanoverian English architecture, 1720 to 1830


Private and public images and information lead to:

  • cellar vaulted for servants quarters, storage, utilities;
  • first floor walled for dining, great hall, library, parlor, two closets;
  • second floor wielded into chambers -- blue (for President Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826]), master, red -- three closets, upper hall;
  • third floor worked into four chambers, closets;
  • top wrought into deck, four chimney-towers, telescope corner, two cupola apartments.

They make reconstructible:

  • balustraded lead roof;
  • black Belgian-marbled, white Purebeck-stoned floors;
  • mahogany-paneled, tapestry-covered walls;
  • paneled, transomed doors;
  • parapeted eaves;
  • 17 fireplaces;
  • six-foot-wide (1.83-meter-wide) mahogany staircase.

They nudge uniqueness through:

  • flat, not high-pitched, roofing;
  • Flemish bond brickwork, not wood exteriors;
  • mahogany, not cherry, oak, pine, walnut interiors;
  • sashed, not dormer, windows.

Rosewell offers unforgettable actual and imaginary adventures. 


Four chimney towers and east wall bolstered by 18th-century Midlothian farmhouse stabilizer-bricks as well as vaulted cellar and nearby icehouse still stand

Gloucester County, Middle Peninsula Region, Virginia
Gloucester County, Middle Peninsula Region, Virginia

Page Family Genealogy


1. Richard Page and Frances Mudge of Bedfont, Middlesex, England

2. Francis Page (Middlesex, England, Oct. 13, 1594 - London, England, Oct. 12, 1678) married 1622 Isabel Wyatt (1603-1670), Daughter of Sir George Wiat (Kent, England, 1550 - buried Sept. 1, 1624, after death in Ireland) and Jane Finch (Eastwell, Kent, England, 1555 - Kent, England, 1644), Daughter of Sir Thomas Finch (died Eastwell, Kent England, 1563) and Lady Catherine Moyle (Eastwell, Kent, England, ? - Kent, England, Feb. 9, 1586); Granddaughter of Sir Thomas Wyatt (Boxley, Kent, England, 1522 - London, England, April 11, 1554) married 1537 Lady Jane Hawte (born Bishopsbourne, Kent, England, 1522), Daughter of Sir William Haute and Mary Guildford; Great-granddaughter of Sir Thomas Wyatt (Allington Castle, Kent, England, 1503 - Dorset, England, Oct. 11, 1542) married 1520 Lady Elizabeth Brooke (1503 - Tower Hamlets, London, England, August 1560), Daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th Lord of Cobham and Dorothy Heydon    

3. John Page (Middlesex, England, Dec. 26, 1628 - Warren Mill, James City County, Virginia, Jan. 23, 1692) married 1656 Alice Luken (Baptised Isleham, Cambridge, England, July 9, 1626 - June 22, 1698)

4. Matthew Page (1657-Jan. 9, 1703) married 1690 Mary Mann (Gloucester County, Virginia, 1672 - Gloucester County, Virginia, March 24, 1707), Daughter of John Mann and Mary Kemp  

5. Mann Page I (1691-Jan. 24, 1730) married 1712 Judith Wormeley (1695-1716) 

                                                married 1718 Judith Carter (1695-1736/50) 

6. Mann Page II (Dec. 8, 1716-Nov. 7, 1780) married Dec. 29, 1741, Alice Grymes (Middlesex County, Virginia, Aug. 10, 1724 - Rosewell, Gloucester County, Virginia, Jan. 11, 1746), Daughter of John Grymes (Piankatank Shores, Middlesex, Virginia, 1691 - James City County, Virginia, Nov. 2, 1748) and Lucy Ludwell (Nov. 2, 1698 - Surry County, Virginia, Nov. 2, 1748), Daughter of Philip Ludwell (1672 - James City County, Virginia, Jan. 11, 1726) and Hannah Harrison (1678-April 4, 1731)  

                                                married Dec. 5, 1747, Ann Corbin Tayloe (Aug. 25, 1723-Sept. 17, 1784) 

7. John Page (April 17, 1743-Dec. 11, 1808) married 1765 Frances Burwell 

                                                married Margaret Lowther (1759-1835/6) 

8. Mann Page III (1766-1813) married 1788 Elizabeth Nelson (Dec. 26, 1770-May 7, 1854) 

9. Mann Page IV (June 9, 1794-Feb. 14, 1841) married 1819 Judith Nelson (1801-1827) 

                                                  married 1829 Lucy Ann Jones (Nov. 16, 1808-Aug. 18, 1877) 

10. Richard Mann Page (Nov. 20, 1837-March 6, 1901) married 1878 Katherine Mallory Wray (Nov. 1850 - Oct. 3, 1934) 

11. Cecil Wray Page (June 8, 1883-Nov. 6, 1978) married 1919 Elizabeth Agnes Rush Greaves (Sept. 29, 1892-Dec. 16, 1977) 

12. Cecil Wray Page Jr. (Oct. 16, 1920 - April 16, 2011) married 1943 Nina Griswold Garfield (Aug. 23, 1921-March 20, 2009) 

13. Nina Wray Page Waltzer, Anne Cecil Page, John Mann Page

14. Eloise Page Spetko, Thomas Nelson Page, Virginia McCabe Page, John Mann Page Jr., Caroline Margaret Page, Christopher Carter Page and Katherine Brooke Page 



balustrade for Rosewell's second floor

Thomas Allen Glenn, Some Colonial Mansions (1898), p. 181
Thomas Allen Glenn, Some Colonial Mansions (1898), p. 181



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Nine years before ruinous fire of March 24, 1916 ~ Rosewell: main house with a brick dependency (right)

1907 photograph by Huestis Pratt "H.P." Cook (July 13, 1868-August 1, 1951)
Fiske Kimball, Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic (1922), Figure 65 (page 94)
Fiske Kimball, Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic (1922), Figure 65 (page 94)

Sources Consulted


"About the Page-Nelson Society." Page-Nelson Society of Virginia. Retrieved October 16, . 

  • Available @

Bemiss, Margaret Page Bemiss. 2009. Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of The Garden Club of Virginia 1975-2007. Photographs by Roger Foley. Charlottesville, VA, U.S.A.; and London, England, U.K.: University of Virginia Press. 

"Cecil Wray Page Jr." Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal > Obituaries > April 20, 2011. Retrieved October 2015.

  • Available @

"Cecil Wray Page Sr." Find A Grave > Memorial #7599953 Created by Kenneth Williams June 20, 2003. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Davis, Virginia Lee Hutcheson. June 2007. "Colonel John Page." The Family Tree Searcher Volume 11, Number 1, Pages 14 - 16. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Ebeling, Ashea Ball. 31 January 1990. "Top of the Hill: York River Farm Yields Prehistoric Indian Artifacts." Daily Press > Collections > York River. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Glenn, Thomas Allen. 1898. Some Colonial Mansions and Those Who Lived in Them, with Genealogies of the Various Families Mentioned. Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.: Henry T. Coates & Co.

  • Available via Internet Archive @

Kimball, Fiske. 1922. Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic. New York NY: Charles Scribner's Sons.

  • Available via Internet Archive @
  • Lanciano, Claude O. 1979. Rosewell, Garland of Virginia. Art work by Richard Genders. Gloucester, VA, U.S.A.: Gloucester County Historical Committee.

LTC Cecil Wray "Wray" Page Jr." Find A Grave > Memorial #84709431 Created by J. Edward Ross February 9, 2012. Retrieved October 2015. 

  • Available @

Matrana, Marc R. 2009. Lost Plantations of the South. Jackson, MS, U.S.A.: University Press of Mississippi.

Meade, Bishop William. 1861. Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia. In two volumes. Volume I. Philadelphia PA: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

  • Available via Internet Archive @

"Nina Griswold Garfield Page." Find A Grave > Memorial #49345880 Created by John C. Anderson March 6, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Noël Hume, Ivor. 1962. Excavations at Rosewell in Gloucester County, Virginia, 1957 - 1959. Washington, D.C., U.S.A.: Smithsonian.

Page, Jr., Cecil Wray. June 2007. "Autobiography of John Page." The Family Tree Searcher Volume 11, Number 1, Pages 9 - 13. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Page, Jr., Cecil Wray. June 2007. "John Page 1627 - 1693." The Family Tree Searcher Volume 11, Number 1, Pages 5 - 8. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Page, Richard Channing Moore. 1893. Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia. Also a Condensed Account of the Nelson, Walker, Pendleton and Randolph Families, with References to the Bland, Burwell, Byrd, Carter, Cary, Duke, Gilmer, Harrison, Rives, Thornton, Wellford, Washington, and Other Distinguished Families in Virginia. Second edition. New York NY: Press of the Publishers' Printing Co.

  • Available via Internet Archive @

"Rosewell's Timeline." The Rosewell Foundation, Inc. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Warden, Page Laubach. June 2007. "John Page 1627 - 1693." The Family Tree Searcher Volume 11, Number 1, Pages 3 - 4. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

  • Available @

Waterman, Thomas Tileston. 1945. The Mansions of Virginia 1706 - 1776. Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.: The University of North Carolina Press. 


lost grandeur: stairway at Rosewell

Thomas Allen Glenn, Some Colonial Mansions (1898), opp. p. 171
Thomas Allen Glenn, Some Colonial Mansions (1898), opp. p. 171
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Rosewell: Garland of Virginia by Claude O. Lanciano ~ Available now via Amazon

Rosewell Plantation history

Pocahontas Wears a Turkey-Feather Robe by W. Langdon Kihn ~ Available as Photographic Print and as Premium Photographic Print ~ Available now via AllPosters

Historic Rosewell is linked with Pocahontas ~ image from color lithograph of 1945 painting by W. Langdon Kihn (September 5, 1898 – December 12, 1957)
Pocahontas Wears a Turkey-Feather Robe

The Mansions of Virginia. 1706-1776 by Thomas Tileston Waterman ~ Available now via Amazon

Architect and architectural historian Thomas Waterman (1900-1951) specialized in colonial American architecture, especially in Virginia's super-historic Tidewater region.
Rosewell Plantation history

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 05/14/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/11/2021

WriterArtist, Thank you for visiting and writing so wisely about beautiful Rosewell.
The comments section preserves explanations by the son of the mansion's last owners. Rosewell was lost through fire, theft and vandalism over a 50-year span during which it could have been saved. You went to the very heart of what we've lost when you wrote, "The 4 chimney towers and the east wall shows the testing time for Rosewell and how it endured a sad past." How many buildings today would showcase similarly well their remains (if there even are any) 300 years from now?

WriterArtist on 05/11/2021

The historic remains of Rosewell show its past grandeur and promises of a beautiful mansion cum plantation. The 4 chimney towers and the east wall shows the testing time for Rosewell and how it endured a sad past. I wonder why it was not conserved if it was an example of Georgian architectural heritage. Probably not much remained after it was plundered and vandalized.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/26/2016

Veronica, Thank you for liking my tribute to beautiful Rosewell. It shows how much a place means when people are willing to visit only the tip of the iceberg that remains.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/26/2016

Mr. Greaves, I'm sorry for your and your family's loss of Rosewell. I appreciate your visit to my tribute to Rosewell. I hope that the money will be found to do whatever needs to be done, accurately and tastefully, to preserve this beautifully unequaled gem of culture and history.
Thank you for the valuable personal perspectives that you share. Thank you also to you and your family for sharing Rosewell with all who have the honor of visiting.

Veronica on 09/26/2016

What an excellent page. I feel like I have had a tour and the inclusion of the genealogy gives it the personable touch too. Fascinating and what a charming piece of architecture. I hadn't heard of this.

Thank you.

Jim Greaves on 09/24/2016

Rosewell burned completely in 1916. Remember, the South was poverty-struck after the Civil War - no free labor and punitive measures inflicted by the victors. There was no money except among New Englanders and big business owners, mostly in the North, and they were about to enter a world war, so their investments would go to that effort. The saving was not possible due to a lack of funds, and dare I say it, slaves to do the work that the original owners were able to utilize in exchange for food, clothing, and shelter. The old wood [by 1916] that comprised the interior was completely gone from the fire that gutted the place - vandals took care of tearing down walls and removing keystones over window arches and truckloads of brick over the following 50 years. The closest that could come to saving the remains by the mid-20th century was for my parents and aunt to gift what remained to the APVA.

DerdriuMarriner on 02/03/2016

Mira, It's a shame that the house was not saved since its floor plan is spectacular.
It's amazing to me when names, such as the builder and designer of Rosewell, do not get preserved in modern times so posterity does not know whom to give posthumous praise to.

Mira on 01/22/2016

That floor plan is really nice :) Too bad they didn't save the house.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/17/2015

blackspanielgallery, Yes, Rosewell is impressive as a ruin, as a reconstructed actuality, and as the site of, or near to, some of pre-colonial and colonial America's most accomplished people.

blackspanielgallery on 10/16/2015

This is impressive.

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