top of page

Five Hundred Years to Fascinate

While oceans may separate England and Virginia, Agecroft Hall traveled on ships, trains, and a little luck from Lancashire to be reconstructed overlooking the banks of the James River in the 1920s. Agecroft now tells centuries of English experience as a manor home that grew and evolved from the 15th century on -- a history that continually intersects with significant events in both Virginia and the United States. Our stories include everything from distinguished families circling monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I (b. 1533 - d. 1603) to celebrations during World War II held by Agecroft's dedicated 20th-century owner, Elizabeth (Bessie) Williams Morton. Travel with us through time and space learning about the quirky famous and the relatively unknown, but fabulous, along the way.

Our gardens are a significant part of that story. Designed by noted landscape architect Charles Gillette, Agecroft's grounds reflect the order and opulence of English gardens. Here, a fragrance garden blooms with Elizabethan aromatics. The sunken garden explodes with annuals. A walk through these gardens feels much like a stroll back in time, with elaborately clipped herbs of the knot garden, a collection of exotic plants once recorded by John Tradescant the Younger, and a living exhibit of medicinal, flavoring and aromatic plants.


Agecroft in England


The first recorded mention of Agecroft is in a deed dated February 14, 1376. However, the building we see today is more typical of structures begun in the late 15th century. The name is derived from 'croft,' a field, sometimes small or enclosed, and "ache" a Middle English word for wild celery. For hundreds of years, Agecroft was the Lancashire home of the well-regarded Langley and Dauntesey families during the Tudor and Stuart ages (1485-1714). During this pivotal 200 years, England became a major European power with trade routes wrapping the globe while establishing colonies in Powhatan-controlled lands within today's Virginia. Agecroft and its English inhabitants witnessed the reigns of legendary monarchs including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James I who shaped England's future as a global political presence.

By the mid-1920's, the building in Lancashire had deteriorated largely due to coal mining in its vicinity, and the structure was bought by the successful Richmond businessman T.C. Williams Jr., dismantled, and shipped across the Atlantic to Richmond, where it has stood since 1926-27. After decades of service as a private residence, it then became a house museum with glorious gardens, all of which pay tribute to the Elizabethan Age.

Visit Agecroft, and you'll walk into the lives of the landed gentry in England's Tudor and early Stuart periods.

Tour the Great Hall, and you'll imagine the feasts and merriment its richly-paneled walls have seen.

The Great Hall's leaded glass window was transported from England completely intact.

Enter the manor's Great Parlour, where family and guests retreated for comfort, privacy and 16th- and 17th-century diversions. See the sleeping chambers, where residents not only rested, but also dressed and dined.

From its "dyninge parlour," up its intricately carved staircases and through its noble passageways, this manor home has 500 years of stories to tell.

Agecroft's Location Today

Our museum is located in Windsor Farms, just west of Richmond, Virginia's Carytown shopping district and is among the city's first planned neighborhoods. Curving streets with names like Canterbury, Dover, and Berkshire lead to a central town green at the heart of the community designed in 1926 with a layout inspired by English villages. There are a variety of 20th-century architectural styles to enjoy on your way, including the Tudor Revival style that borrows features from manor homes like Agecroft. Our 23-acre site is located along the James River at the southern edge of the community's original plan. Next door to Agecroft, Virginia House is operated by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture and functions as a venue with special events throughout the year. Virginia House is also a moved and reconstructed English house once the part of the Warwick Priory (a monastic property closed during the reign of Henry VIII) located 125 miles south of Agecroft's initial location.

bottom of page