Historic Structures

Carters Grove Mansion, Williamsburg Virginia

Date added: July 13, 2016 Categories: Virginia House Mansion

Carter's Grove mansion was commenced in 1751 and completed in 1753, if the evidence of Carter Burwell's account book is reliable. The first dated payment in the book (which is now owned by his descendant, Mr. George Burwell, of Millwood, Virginia) is June 14, 1751, though three small items are mentioned before it. The last item in the book is dated December 8, 1753. Unfortunately the accounts are not very explicit, and, aside from enumerating the names of craftsmen and others, merely list a few materials which were purchased for the structure. These latter include &69.0.0 for Mr. Page - perhaps Mann Page of Rosewell in Gloucester County, as a further entry shows an item of L6.0.0 paid two bricklayers from Gloucester. The most significant payment is &115 to David Minitree for "building me a brick House according to Agreement" and a supplementary gift of L25. A further account disproves the now generally accepted story that Minitree was brought from England for the purpose of building the mansion. This is that of Hichard Bayliss. Dated 1752, this occurs below Minitree's account on the same page. The division between the two accounts was evidently not noted and the entry "To Cash paid to Captain Matthew Johnson for the Passage of yourself and Family L23.13.9" was ascribed to Minitree. The accounts make it perfectly clear, however, that Baylies as transported and not Minitree.

Unfortunately nothing is known of the source of the design for Carter's Grove. Minitree may or may not have been the designer, although he was certainly the builder. The exterior of the house shows its kinship with the architecture of the region, while the interior is much finer and savors more of the work at Kingston-on-Thames near London and in London itself, This is no doubt attributable to Bayliss, who may have designed and worked the interior trim.

The house was built by Carter Burwell on land given him by his father-in-law, Robert Carter of Corotoman.