Rosewell

5113 Old Rosewell Plantation Road, Gloucester, Virginia

Built from 1725, for Mann Page I (1691-1730) and his second wife, the heiress Judith Carter (1695-1750), daughter of Robert 'King' Carter. Page set out from the start to build the grandest mansion in Virginia, something that would make even the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg pale in comparison. He succeeded, though he did not live to see its completion and instead the task fell to his son, the English-educated Mann Page II. In 1914, a fire gutted the venerable old hall, but as testament to its extraordinary craftsmanship (the foundation walls alone measured 3.5-feet in width) its ruins still stand today as both a popular and haunting reminder of the past.....

This house is best associated with...

Mann Page I

Mann Page I, of "Rosewell" Gloucester County, Virginia

1691-1730

Matthew Page

Colonel Matthew Page, of Middle Plantation, Virginia

1659-1703

Mann Page II

The Hon. Mann Page II, of "Rosewell" Gloucester County, Virginia

1718-1780

John Page

John Page, 13th Governor of Virginia

1743-1808

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 here which was also supposed to be the birthplace of Pocahontas. The spring was later renamed Carter's Creek, but "Rosewell" was the name that Mann Page gave to his 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 cupolas, and in total it allowed for 12,000-square feet of living space. 

Believed to have been overseen by an English master-builder, Rosewell was essentially a grand English mansion, serving as the centerpiece of the family's 70,000-acres of land in Virginia. In 1837, Rosewell passed out of the hands of the Page family when the hyphens were removed and the roof was 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 sold it on to John T. Catlett. Perhaps realizing the enormity of the works, Cartlett disposed of it just six years later (1853) to Josiah L. Deans whose family were in possession of the old mansion when it burned down 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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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 02/12/2018 and last updated on 23/11/2021.

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Nikki Shawntee Hall's ancestor, Mann Page I, owned Rosewell