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Rosewell

Gloucester, Virginia

Built from 1725, for Mann Page I (1691-1730) and his second wife, the heiress Judith Carter (1695-1750). Mann set out from the start to build the grandest mansion in Virginia, something that would pale even the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg in comparison. He succeeded, though he did not live to see its completion, the task of which fell to his son, the English-educated Mann Page II (1718-1780). In 1914, a fire gutted the grand old mansion. However, as testament to its extraordinary craftsmanship (the foundation walls alone measured three-and-half feet in width), the ruins of Rosewell still stand today as both a popular and haunting reminder of the past.         
The land on which Rosewell was built had originally belonged to the Powhatans. The mansion was so named for the "abundantly clear" spring that bubbled up there which was also supposed to be the birthplace of Pocahontas. The spring was later renamed Carter's Creek, but Rosewell was the name given to the mansion.

The first European house to be built on the land was a wooden one put up in about 1700 by Colonel Matthew Page (1659-1703). Four years after that burned down in 1721, his son, Mann Page I (1691-1730) began to build Rosewell. He died within five years when the task of seeing its completion was taken up by his son, Mann Page II (1718-1780). The finished mansion was a 60 square foot central house with hyphens and dependencies, double octagonal cupulas, and measuring a total of 12,000 square feet of living space. 

Considered to have been overseen by an English master-builder, Rosewell was essentially a grand English mansion typical of the era and the centerpiece of the family's vast estates in Virginia of some 70,000 acres. In 1837, Rosewell passed out of the hands of the Page family when the hyphens were removed and roof remodelled, losing much if its original grandeur. 

The new owner was Thomas B. Booth who purchased the property for $11,000. By then the interior of the house was in already in a bad state of repair and the ceiling in the great hall was close to collapse. Just ten years later (1847), Booth disposed sold it on to John T. Catlett. Perhaps realising the enormity of the works, Cartlett sold it on just six years later (1853) to Josiah L. Deans whose family were in possession of the old mansin when it burnet in 1914. The ruins were acquired by the Gloucester County Historical Society in 1979 and since 1995 they have been managed by the Rosewell Foundation, Inc.

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