Agecroft Hall: Discover 17th Century England in Richmond
 

From Elizabethan England, to the banks of the James. Built in England about 500 years ago, Agecroft Hall now overlooks Virginia's James River.

 

A landmark of history, framed in beauty. Agecroft's Elizabethan knot garden.

 

England's past. Crated, shipped, and carefully reassembled in Richmond, Virginia.

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The story of Agecroft Hall begins more than 500 years ago in the northwestern county of Lancashire, England. Thereafter follows a long and colorful history that documents the lives of the Langley and Dauntesey families in Lancashire and the Williams family in America. Much of the information known about Agecroft and its inhabitants comes from archival material that was preserved at Agecroft until the early 20th century.  These remarkable documents, some of which are retained at Agecroft today, include deeds, settlements, and royal letters dated between 1199 and 1926.

Agecroft Hall was built on land in the Irwell River Valley, between the villages of Prestwich and Pendlebury, not far from the city of Manchester. The house was constructed in stages over the course of many years, and was expanded according to the needs of the residents. The greatest expansion took place under the auspices of William Dauntesey in the mid-16th century.

By the late 16th century, Agecroft was a quadrangular structure surrounding a central courtyard. The house contained approximately 20 rooms, including a kitchen, great hall, great parlor, dining parlor, several bedchambers, and a private chapel.

In 1561, Sir Robert Langley, last of the male Langley heirs, died, leaving Agecroft and adjoining lands in Pendlebury to his daughter, Ann Langley. She married William Dauntesey of London and Wiltshire sometime before 1570. Upon their marriage, Agecroft Hall became the property of of the Dauntesey family and remained so until 1811. Thereafter, as was often the custom when distant relatives inherited English estates, subsequent owners assumed the Dauntesey name.

Developments during the Industrial Revolution, such as the discovery and mining of coal near the house and the placement of railroad tracks through the property, led to the deterioration of the house. in 1867, attempts to modernize Agecroft resulted in the destruction of much of the interior of the original building. Additional modernization took place in 1894 after a serious fire destroyed the east and south wings of the house.

Finally, with increasing industrial development, the residents of Agecroft moved away. The house was unoccupied from 1904 until 1925 when it was put up for auction.