Located in Northhampton County, Virginia, the Eyre Hall property is significant for the remarkable preservation of its 18th century character. The house that Littleton Eyre built was expanded and modernized in the late 18th and early 19th century by his grandson John Eyre. The preservation of historic architecture and plantation landscape has been made possible by two-and-a-half centuries of ownership within one family. The original gambrel-roofed house was built in 1759 by Littleton Eyre, a wealthy merchant-planter. It was John, along with his wife Ann Upshur Eyre, who renovated the Georgian house and landscape to the architectural standards of the Federal period. Their careful stewardship is responsible for the high level of integrity found in the house, outbuildings, and surrounding grounds.


Although Littleton was "part of the interlocking gentry network of parish, plantation and courthouse that controlled politics and shaped life in colonial Virginia", the exterior of his wooden house was seemingly modest, in keeping with his neighbors and speaking more of Littleton's taste than his actual position. Circa 1807, the Eyres oversaw the development of a boxwood and crepe myrtle parterre garden within a walled garden behind the house. Eyre Hall now occupies 600 acres of the original 700 acres purchased by Littleton Eyre in 1754. There's more to an exceptional mowing machine than a great engine, or a great deck, or a great cutting system. However, visitors would have appreciated the larger scale and refinement of the interior, including the elaborate paneling, molding, and other fine woodwork.
Today, it is considered the oldest continually maintained ornamental garden in the state, and one of the oldest in the country.


The exceptional preservation of the property with its mirrored landscape and spatial hierarchy of agricultural fields, garden, outbuildings, and house presents a rare opportunity to gain insight into plantation life in colonial Virginia. Moreover, the planned landscape would have reflected his prominent position in the center of local Chesapeake politics, economics, and society. John and Ann were also responsible for the 1818 neoclassical orangerie built next to the family cemetery, both of which are now carefully preserved ruins.
As it approached the heart of the property, the long, central drive passed through progressively cultivated fields, lawns, and gardens.




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Comments

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    14.07.2014

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