Thomas Eyre Hall: Cheriton, Northampton County, Eastern Shore Virginia

by DerdriuMarriner

Thomas Eyre Hall invites visitors to view one of the United States of America’s loveliest homes during April Garden Week and oldest gardens year-round.

Thomas Eyre Hall brings together architecture- and landscape-lovers

Thomas Eyre Hall accepts visitors to the eighteenth-century house during every April’s Garden Week tours and to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century grounds year-round. The Northampton County historic structure still belongs to a direct descendant of the property’s original owner. It compels locals and travelers to visit Virginia’s Eastern Shore because of:

• agreeable proximity to Atlantic Ocean marshland inlets and Chesapeake Bay navigable necks;
• cedar-lined entrance lane;
• easy access to Northampton County’s Almshouse Farm and Pear Valley yeoman’s home at Machipongo, Custis Tombs and Historical Society Museum at Cape Charles, Clerk’s Office, Courthouse, and Debtor’s Prison at Eastville;

• garden enclosures of ballast brick transported from England;
• inspiring views of Cherrystone Creek;
• kempt Georgian interiors.

It simply never disappoints.

*****

Email:
chamber@northamptoncountychamber.com (Northampton County Chamber of Commerce)
info@esvatourism.org (Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism)

Mailing address: Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 475, Eastville, VA 23347

Physical address:
Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism, 25-A Market Street, Onancock, VA 23417
Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, 16404 Courthouse Road – Suite 210, Eastville, VA 23347 Thomas Eyre Hall, 3215 Eyre Hall Drive, Cheriton, VA 23316

Telephone:
757 – 331 – 1660 (Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism)
757 – 678 – 0010 (Northampton County Chamber of Commerce)

Website:
http://www.esvatourism.org/es_what_to_do/what_to_do_select.asp?cat2ID=54&filterby=1
http://www.northamptoncountychamber.com

*****

Northampton County's historic courthouse complex is sited in Eastville, only a few miles north of Eyre Hall:

Debtor's prison, built in 1816, and 1731 Clerk's Office
Eastville, Northampton County, Eastern Shore of Virginia
Eastville, Northampton County, Eastern Shore of Virginia

Thomas Eyre Hall claims Federal-period gardens, Georgian-style architecture

 

Thomas Eyre’s relocation to Jamestown in 1622 and right to 1,600 patented acres (647.49 hectares) in 1623 explains 12 continuous generations of direct descendants owning land in lower Northampton County. Occupancy of 700 additional acres (283.28 hectares) by great-grandson Littleton Eyre (1710 – 1768) and great-granddaughter-in-law Bridget Harmanson (1715 – 1768) in 1754 furnishes means for:

  • construction of a 41-square-foot (3.81-square-meter), gambrel-roofed, two-and-a-half-story wooden residence by 1760;
  • cultivation of grains, tobacco.

Ownership by John Eyre (1768 – 1855) and Ann Upshur (1780 – 1829) gives reasons for:

  • boxwood enclosures;
  • neo-classical chimney-building;
  • one-and-a-half-story extension expanded into second-floor dining room, housekeeper’s room, storeroom;
  • orangery clippings from John McHenry (1791 – 1822);
  • Rives du Bosphore (“Banks of the Bosporus”) wallpapering by Joseph Dufour et Compagnie. 

 

east view of Eyre Hall's stair hall with Les Rives du Bosphore (The Banks of the Bosphorus), scenic wallpaper made ca. 1816 by French firm of Joseph Dufour et Compagnie:

Ca. 1755 - 1770 open card table (right) is attributed to shop of cabinetmaker Anthony Hay (ca. 1739 - December 4, 1770) of Williamsburg, Virginia.
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)

Thomas Eyre Hall draws upon continuous, same-family owner-occupancy

 

Twenty-first century visitors have current owner, retired bank executive Henry Furlong Baldwin, to thank for the accessibility and authenticity of the grounds. The present owner in fact is the son of Margaret Eyre Taylor Baldwin (1898 – 1979), granddaughter of John’s inheriting nephew, Severn Eyre (1831 – 1914). He therefore joins quite logically his predecessors in:

  • maintaining barn, caretaker’s house, garage, guest house, machine shed, stables, tenant houses, woodshed from the twentieth century and the office from the twenty-first;
  • preserving the dairy from 1759/1760, graveyard, mansion, orangerie ruins from 1818, overseer’s house from 1798, smokehouse from 1807;
  • respecting modernizations and restorations in the 1930s by the architectural firm of Victorine and Samuel Homsey of Wilmington, Delaware and Boston, Massachusetts. 

 

view of Eyre Hall's stair hall looking north toward exterior door, which opens onto north porch; at foot of stairway is east door (right) leading to library:

John Eyre (May 2, 1768 - June 19, 1855), grandson of Eyre Hall's builder, Littleton Eyre, and his wife Ann Upshur Eyre (October 4, 1780 - June 17, 1829) had Dufour's scenic wallpaper installed.
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)

Thomas Eyre Hall encourages repeat Eastern Shore visits

 

Visitors know that public access cannot be expected to overlap with a private residence’s National Historic Landmark (since March 2, 2012), National Register of Historic Places (since November 12, 1969), and Virginia Landmarks Register (since September 9, 1969) status. Such a confluence lends to the special experience of strolling Eyre Hall’s grounds year-round and witnessing Eyre Hall’s interiors in April. It makes the appreciation culturally enriching, educationally entertaining, and geo-historically enthralling even outside Garden Week when visitors have access only to what may be the United States of America’s most continuously cared, oldest-known English-styled garden of:

  • boxwoods, crape myrtle, dwarf-cedar, magnolia;
  • brick-and-wood picket wall;
  • four square parterres;
  • modern beds;
  • swept paths;
  • 380-foot (115.82-meter) by 170-foot (51.82-meter) dimensions. 

 

Eyre Hall's West end, South front, and west side: photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

Collection: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
Collection: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

view of Eyre Hall's library, located on original house's garden (north) side; over mantel is portrait of Severn Eyre (1735-August 1773), only son and heir of Littleton Eyre (ca. 1706/1710 - 1768), who built Eyre Hall as family seat and working plantation:

oil on canvas by Thomas Sully (June 19, 1783 – November 5, 1872) is copy of portrait by Benjamin West (October 10, 1738 - March 11, 1820) which hangs above c. 1800 chimney piece in parlor room.
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)
1930 photograph by Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (January 15, 1864 – May 16, 1952)

Sources Consulted

 

Ancestry.com. 2012. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.

“Anna M. Upshur [1780 – 1829].” Find A Grave > Memorial #125793999 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015. .

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125793999&

Bourne, Michael; and Harper, Marilyn. 18 March 2011. “Eyre Hall.” National Historic Landmark Nomination. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.nps.gov/nhl/news/LC/spring2011/EyreHall.pdf

“Bridget Harmanson Eyre [1715 – 1768].” Find A Grave > Memorial #125796733 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125796733&  

Calder, Loth. 1999. The Virginia Landmarks Register. Charlottesville, VA, U.S.A.: University Press of Virginia for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Carson, Cary, and Carl R. Lounsbury, eds. 2013. The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial WilliamsburgChapel Hill NC: Published in association with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation by the University of North Carolina Press.

“Eastern Shore.” Virginia Garden Week 2015. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://vagardenweek.org/warehouse/fm/documents/2015HGW_TourDetails/2015HGW_EasternShore.pdf

“Eastern Shore Gazetteer – Northampton County.” Ghotes of Virginia. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.ghotes.net/gazetter/northam.htm

“Eyre Hall.” Eastern Shore Garden Tours > Homes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.esgardentours.com/easternshoretourhomes/eyrehall.html

“Eyre Hall.” Facebook. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eyre-Hall/112123248799470

“Eyre Hall Gardens.” Virginia Is For Lovers > Historic Sites. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.virginia.org/Listings/HistoricSites/EyreHallGardens/

“Eyre Hall Gardens – Cheriton.” Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism > What To Do. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.esvatourism.org/es_what_to_do/what_to_do_select.asp?cat2ID=54&filterby=1

“Grace Taylor Eyre Taylor [1872 – 1910].” Find A Grave  > Memorial #125805089 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=125805089

“Henry duPont Baldwin [1898 – 1974].” Find A Grave > Memorial #65792720 Created by Fred Sanford. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=65792720&ref=acom

“Henry Furlong Baldwin [born 15 Jan 1932 married 18 Jun 1988 Constance Hoffman Hoffman Macdougall born 10 August 1939] in the Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936 – 2014.” Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936 – 2014 [database on-lline]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gss=angs-c&new=1&rank=1&gsfn=h+furlong&gsln=baldwin&msypn__ftp=Accomack+County%2c+Virginia%2c+USA&msypn=103&msypn_PInfo=7-%7c0%7c1652393%7c0%7c2%7c3245%7c49%7c0%7c103%7c0%7c0%7c&msfns=baldwin&msmng=margaret+eyre+&msmns=taylor&MSAV=0&uidh=lx5&pcat=BMD_MARRIAGE&h=13406720&recoff=8+9+35+36+37+50&db=General-9279&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

“John Eyre [1768 – 1855].” Find A Grave > Memorial #125793468 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125793468&

Loth, Calder. 1999. The Virginia Landmarks Register. 4th Edition. Charlottesville, VA, U.S.A.: University Press of Virginina for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

“Margaret L. Taylor Eyre.” Find A Grave > Memorial #125797090 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125797090&

“Margaret S. Parker [married 19 Jan 1865 Severn Eyre] in the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940.” Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=5542&db=FS1VirginiaMarriages&indiv=try&h=3765678

“Margaret Stanton Parker Eyre.” Find A Grave > Memorial #125796232 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125796232&

“Mary Burton Savage Eyre [1804 – 1866].” Find A Grave > Memorial #125796090 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125796090&

“Richard Baker Taylor [1874 – 1947].” Find A Grave > Memorial #92709013 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=92709013

Savage, J. Thomas. September 2009. “Eyre Hall on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.” Photography by Langdon Clay. The Magazine Antiques > Articles. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.themagazineantiques.com/articles/eyre-hall-on-virginias-eastern-shore/

“Severn Eyre [1831 - 1914].” Find A Grave > Memorial #125796139 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125796139&

“Severn Eyre [1831 – 1914 married 19 Jan 1865 Margaret S. Parker 1840 - 1899] in the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940.” Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=severn+&gsln=eyre&mswpn__ftp=Accomack+County%2c+Virginia%2c+USA&mswpn=103&mswpn_PInfo=7-%7c0%7c1652393%7c0%7c2%7c3245%7c49%7c0%7c103%7c0%7c0%7c&MSAV=0&msbdy=1831&catbucket=rstp&uidh=lx5&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=3765676&db=FS1VirginiaMarriages&indiv=1&ml_rpos=7

“Severn Eyre [married 19 Jan 1865 Margaret S. Parker] in the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940.” Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=5542&db=FS1VirginiaMarriages&indiv=try&h=3765678

“Thomas Eyre [1625 – 1674 married Susannah Baker 1614 – 1687, parents of Thomas Eyre 1647 – 1715 married Jane Severn 1655 – 1755, grandparents of Severn Eyre 1680 – 1728 married Gertrude Harmanson 1690 – 1728, and great-grandparents of Littleton Eyre 1710 – 1768 married Bridget Harmanson 1714 – 1768].” Ancestry > Historical Person Search > Search Results. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/thomas-eyre_671201  

“William L. Eyre [married Mary B. Eyre] in the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940.” Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785 – 1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.A.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=5542&db=FS1VirginiaMarriages&indiv=try&h=3765675

“William Lyttleton Eyre.” Find A Grave > Memorial #125796011 Created by Linda Dukes. Retrieved September 2015.

  • Available @ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=2532195&GRid=125796011&

 

view of Eyre Hall from southeast: photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS):

Gambrel roof section (left), completed ca. 1759 for Littleton Eyre; wing (right), added in late 18th century and enlarged in 1807
Collection: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
Collection: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg ~ edited by Cary Carson and Carl Lounsbury ~ Available now via Amazon

Lavish color photographs + essays by conservators, curators, and historians spotlight the grand building traditions of the Chesapeake Bay area, including Eyre Hall.
Eyre Hall information

Satellite Image of Chesapeake Bay Meteor Impact Crater, Virginia: Available as Photographic Print and as Premium Photographic Print ~ Available now via Amazon

Impact of a bolide (=very bright meteorite) created Chesapeake Bay ca. 35.5 million years ago during Eocene Period; Eyre Hall is bounded by Chesapeake Bay-fed Cherrystone Creek on the west, Eyreville Creek on the north, and Eyre Hall Creek on the south.
Satellite Image of Chesapeake Bay Meteor Impact Crater, Virginia, USA

The Virginia Landmarks Register, 4th edition ~ Available now via Amazon

Each of over 1800 entries features photograph + brief description and history.
Eyre Hall information

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: 09/14/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 09/18/2015

Mira, The access to the gardens without appointment or fee, authenticity of the exteriors and interiors, location on the Delmarva Peninsula, owner-occupany, participation in the Commonwealth's April garden tours week, proximity to other eloquent Eastern Shore landmarks, and views of Cherrystone and Eyreville Creeks are what keep me attracted to Thomas Eyre Hall.
The offshore islands and peninsula rank really high on my ample list of sites to appreciate and re-visit in Virginia.
And me too, I like the spindly furniture since I can be quite a minimalist ;-].

Mira on 09/16/2015

It's a beautiful place. What attracted yourself to it? I really like the spindly furniture myself :)

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