Step back in time for a week at one of the oldest and most historic estates in America. Hike around two beautiful fresh water lakes, home to one of the largest concentrations of river ospreys on the east coast (or explore the lakes via canoe or kayak). Eagles live in the woods and kids will love catching Chesapeake blue crabs at the boathouse dock. You’ll sleep to the sounds of the wind rustling through the huge oaks, and enjoy lovely walks to the beach.
History of the property:
In 1649, shortly after the settlement of Jamestown and more than 80 years before George Washington was born, Ralph Wormeley received a Crown grant of 3,200 acres, and within a few years established the Rosegill plantation on the southern shore of the Rappahannock River. The first buildings were built between 1650 and 1654, when it was the home of Sir Henry Chicheley, a governor of Colonial Virginia who married Wormeley's widow. The first house was a stone-chimney log house like those of early Jamestown. In 1650, the town of Urbanna was created on 50 acres of Rosegill.
The present Rosegill was built between 1730 and 1750. Originally the house was one and a half story brick with two chimneys. The building was enlarged with a wide hall across the entire river side in the mid 1770s, and a marble mantel in the drawing room appears to be of that time.
Five generations of the Wormeley family lived at Rosegill until the Revolution. Ralph Wormeley V — a staunch Royalist — was so careless expressing his political views that he was banished to his father's 10,000 acre 'shooting box' in Berkeley County. While he was in exile, Rosegill was plundered by Tory privateersmen.
As an old plantation, the houses at Rosegill include several buildings: the main house, which is being offered for vacation rentals, and two cottages, several storage sheds and a barn. Members of the owners’ extended family may occupy or use these other buildings during your rental. The lawn has Middlesex County's best swing.
In 2008, the main house was given a complete renovation and historic restoration, including new heating and air conditioning so it's comfortable all year.
Description of the property and activities:
While we have added modern amenities, it is still a very old house and requires tender loving care. If you're not prepared to treat the property with great respect, please look elsewhere for a place for your vacation. None of the three fireplaces have been relined so they are not to be used. Also, expect to find a little peeling paint; we address the continual maintenance requirements as we can.
Rosegill totals about 700 acres, which includes two large fresh water lakes, a dock and waterfront on Urbanna Creek, and a mile of waterfront on the Rappahannock River. We encourage you to take advantage of the property and its proximity to Urbanna. Colonial Williamsburg is 45 minutes away. Fun things to do include walks in the fields, to the lakes and to the beach. The dock on Urbanna Creek is an excellent spot for children to go crabbing.
We have two canoes and two kayaks, and Urbanna Creek offers a large expanse of protected water to explore. The Rosegill lakes abound with fish and are accessible via your jon boat or a canoe. You can launch a motorboat in Urbanna at a commercial boat ramp, and keep it at the Rosegill dock for your vacation – it easily handles a 5’ draft. Water skiing and wakeboarding are fun on Urbanna Creek above the bridge. In the summer, the swimming pool at Rosegill is available, albeit shared by those who might be in other houses on the property, and for rainy days, there are games and puzzles in the breakfast room cupboard.
Rosegill sleeps 11 in 9 beds in 5 bedrooms. There are 3 full baths upstairs, and 2 half baths downstairs. We are limited to 11 staying overnight, and total guests at any one time — without permission of the landlord — is limited to 25.
The house is entered via a front door, which faces away from the river. Downstairs there is a modern kitchen – with island, two sinks, a new gas range, Bosch dishwasher, and large built-in refrigerator. You can choose to eat in a small breakfast room which seats 6, the large dining room (seats 12 or more), the river porch (not heated or cooled), or outside on the lawn under the huge oak trees.
The wood-paneled den has cozy seating for watching TV. The large formal living room, also wood paneled, is wonderful for formal entertaining. On the river side of the house, there is a large stair hall that extends the full length of the house. There are two small half-baths downstairs.
The house has central heat and air conditioning. The living room has an iMac computer available for guest usage. We have new laundry machines – washer and dryer – on the East Porch. On the West porch is an extra refrigerator and the exterior door to the swimming pool.
A flat screen TV in the den has DirecTV service and a DVD player. We have good Apple wifi coverage throughout the house and the nearby lawn and pool area, but it is connected to a sometimes unreliable Verizon DSL broadband connection. Welcome to country living! And really, if wifi and TV are vital to you, Rosegill is probably not the place for you.
Each season is special - cozy and private in winter, beautiful in spring and fall, and active in the summer when the pool is open.
Come to Rosegill. Prepare to fall in love.