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Agecroft Hall

( Originally Published 1932 )



Four thousand miles from its original site on the bank of the Irwell, in Lancashire, England, stands historic Agecroft Hall, one of the most distinguished relics of mediaeval England. This ancestral seat of the Langley family, who were a branch of the royal Plantagenets, is a typical wood and plaster mansion in the architecture prevalent prior to and during Elizabethan times.

The building is two stories throughout, and is roofed with time-worn gray stone. The black timber, white plaster, gray stone of the roof, and the rich red of the chimneys rising tall above it, creates a satisfying harmony of color.

The fine architectural points of Agecroft Hall include an oriel, timber window surmounting the oaken archway to the service courtyard, its bracket delicately carved with Gothic tracery. The gable above the great hall window is an excellent example of magpie work in the quartrefoil pattern. With its overhanging gables-centuries old oak window brackets each carved in a different design, and heavy, nail-studded doors with original wrought-iron fastenings-Agecroft Hall presents the charm of old-world picturesqueness and the craft of the artisans of an earlier date.

The interior, with its great hall, minstrel's gallery and wonderfully carved oak screen, has handsome oak panelling throughout and beautiful, stained glass windows which once bore the coat-of-arms of John of Gaunt.

In 1925 Agecroft Hall was purchased by the late Thomas C. Williams, Jr., and brought to Windsor Farms near Richmond, where it was rebuilt. The garden at Agecroft Hall is designed after the garden at Hampton Court, England.

Under the terms of Mr. Williams's will, Agecroft Hall will eventually become a generously endowed art museum for the City of Richmond.

The following excerpt concerning the original site of the Hall is taken from The Landmark, monthly magazine of the English-speaking Union:

"Into its original surroundings it fitted perfectly, but it must be confessed that it accorded ill with its modern environments as represented by calico printing, dyeing and cotton spinning mills and coal works. The knowledge of this fact softens somewhat the pangs of regret at its removal from this country. It might have suffered a much worse fate in complete destruction like so many other buildings of historic interest in Great Britain, where sentimental considerations are all too frequently subordinated to utilitarianism; but in America it is in good hands. It has been reconstructed in circumstances which ensure for it adequate care and attention, and there is a certain appropriateness in the fact that it is located in one of the earliest of the British Colonies."

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