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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Manor House

The home of the Virginia planter was referred to as the "manor house". The typical manor house in the 17th century was a framed building of moderate size with a chimney at one end. In 1679, Major Thomas Chamberlayne, one of the most prominent citizens of Henrico, entered into an agreement with James Gates, carpenter, whereby Gates was required to prepare the frame of a house that was to be 40 feet in length and 20 feet in width. He was to put the different parts of this frame together on the spot selected as the site of the proposed dwelling and then cover the sides with boards and place a roof on the top. There was to be no cellar, the house being supported by sills resting on the ground. A chimney was to be constructed at either end. The upper and lower floors were to be divided respectively into two rooms by wooden partitions. The joists and posts were to be squared by a line. In consideration of the satisfactory performance by Gates of the provisions of this agreement, Chamberlayne bound himself to pay twelve hundred pounds of tobacco in cask and the house was to be finished in seven months. Source: Records of Henrico County, vol. 1677-92, p. 88.
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