Ludwell Mansion (NB) Historical Report, Block 28 Building 4A Lot 234Originally entitled: "Ludwell's Mansion Block 28, Lot 234 Nicholson Street"

Mary A. Stephenson


Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1528
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library

Williamsburg, Virginia


April 30, 1952
To: Mr. Campioli
From: A. P. Middleton
Re: Ludwell's Mansion
(Block 28, Lot 234)

Attached is research report on Ludwell's Mansion, Block 28, Lot 234, prepared by Mary Stephenson.

A. P. M.

A. P. M.

Block 28 Lot 234
Nicholson Street

Block 28 Lot 234 Nicholson Street


On the north side of Nicholson Street opposite the Market Square. Lot is not numbered on late eighteenth century maps but is marked "Lee."


William Robertson from Trustees of Williamsburg, 1714.
Philip Ludwell II from Robertson, 1715.
Philip Ludwell III from father 1727 to 1767.
William Lee from Philip Ludwell III in right of wife 1767-1839.
Thomas G. Peachy from 18 ? - 1857.
Archibald Peachy 18-- 1858
Richard W. Hansford 1858-
Hansford family to 1884.
M. R. Harrell 1884-1897.
School Board of Williamsburg 1897-1920
Letitia Gregory Warburton 1920-
W. A. Bozarth.
E. D. Spencer 1927.
Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, trustee Williamsburg Restoration 1927.


Large wooden house on property until ca. 1782. Frenchman's Map (1782) shows no houses or buildings thereon.


All evidence from archaeological standpoint is negative since the digging of a tunnel through the lot.


Illustration #1--College Map (1791?)-lot marked "Lee".
Illustration #2--Biographical notes on Ludwell and Lee.
Illustration #3--Archaeological drawings.

Report prepared by:
Mary A. Stephenson
April, 1952

Lot 234 Nicholson Street
Block 28


Lot #234 is located on the north side of Nicholson Street opposite the Market Square. The lot is not numbered on late eighteenth century maps of Williamsburg but is marked, "Lee". On the east, the lot is bounded by Queen Street. (Illustration #1, Appendix)


The first records yet discovered pertaining to the lot was a grant of land from the trustees of the city to William Robertson in 1714:

November 11, 1714.

Trustees City of Williamsburgh
Robertson, William from Trustees Lease
Consideration: 5 shillings

...Eight certain lots of ground in ye City of Wmsburgh designed in ye platt of ye said city by these figures 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 207, 208, with all Pasturages, Woods...
...Shall within 24 months begin to build and finish one good dwelling house on each of said premises according to An Act entitled Building of the Capitol and city of Williamsburgh ..... (York County Records, Bonds and Deeds III, p 28)
Release Deed was given on November 12, 1714. (Ibid, p 29)

It is assumed that Robertson built on the lot in order to comply with the Act of 1705.

A year later Robertson conveyed lots #233 and #234 "with Houses" to Philip Ludwell:

December 19, 1715

Robertson, William of the County of James City
Ludwell, Phillip1 of ye same County
Consideration: 30 shillings

... two Lotts of Ground in the City of Williamsburgh 2 lying on the North side of the Market Place and denoted in the Plan of ye said City by the figures (233, 234) With all & singular Houses, Yards, Gardens... (York County Records, Deeds and Bonds, III, p 95) Recorded Jany 16, 1715. (Ibid, Orders, Wills, Bk 14, p 471)

From subsequent records to follow chronologically, we know that Ludwell's son, Philip III, had a dwelling on lot #234 of considerable size which he used at times when he "lodged" in Williamsburg rather than at his plantation at Greenspring near Jamestown. We know, also, that he owned other property in the city (lot 45 known as the Ludwell-Paradise House), and the "Blue Bell" behind the Capitol. In 1755 Ludwell advertised a "commodious Dwelling-House" to be let immediately. From sources which appear later in the report, it seems that the house offered for rent in 1755 was the Mansion located on lot #234:

To be LET, and ENTERED on Immediately,
A Very commodious Dwelling-House, with a Well of very good water, Out-Houses, Garden pailed in, and other Conveniences, in perfect good Order, and very Convenient for a private Family, or Lodgers, and situated in One of the most agreeable Parts of the Town...
Philip Ludwell.
(Virginia Gazette, Parks, ed., Oct. 17, 1755)

After the death of Ludwell in 1767, the estate in Virginia and the lots in Williamsburg were bequeathed to Ludwell's three daughters: Hannah (who later married William Lee); Lucy (who married John Paradise) and Frances who died single shortly after her father's death. In the Ms Papers of William Lee in the Virginia Historical Society, there is a memorandum account of the division of Ludwell's estate (1770/71) noting "Mrs. Lee's Part" thus:

Mrs Lee's Part
The Lands at Green Spring with all the Improvements, Slaves, Stocks &c £13697.6
Houses & Lotts in Wmsburg viz Warrington's1 Tenement where Colo Ludwell used to Lodge 300.-.- 3 Brick House ...................£750
Blue Bell ..........................250
...[lands] £14 997. 0

The Virginia Estate valued by the Trustees of the late Honble Philip Ludwell Esqr to £15602.10.- Virginia Currency or £12482 Sterg & by them conveyed to Hannah Phillipa Lee-via---1770
Greenspring Estate... 1024 acres... Rich Neck
Williamsburg Estate consisting of 3 freehold tenemts viz
Warringtons, or the Mansion House £ 300
Brick House 750
Blew Bell 250
£ 1300
to be paid in Money by Mrs Paradise 141.3.6

In these two items supplied William Lee in England by the appointed trustees in Virginia-, the division of Ludwell's estate is apportioned. Lee who was living in England found it difficult to manage the property at a long distance, so he began to think of selling the lots in Williamsburg though this sale was not consummated for some years.

In July 1770, Richard Henry Lee, brother of William Lee and one of the trustees in the settlement of the Ludwell estate, wrote from Chantilly to his brother, William, in London:

July 7, 1770.

Dear Brother... I came a week ago from Williamsburgh, about 5 days before the assembly was prorogued, and I was present when the division was made between you and Mr. Paradise. The conveyances were not made, but Colo Corbin promised they should immediately be set about by an able conveyancer, and the whole recorded at the next General Court. The houses in Williamsburg were divided by lott (having been first all valued by an experienced workman) and the large brick house that Rind lives in; the Mansion as it is called, where my Uncles family lived 4 in Town; with the Blue Bell, a large house just behind the Capitol, fell to your share; and you were charged in account with their valuation. The first rents for £60 a year, the other 2 rent for £20 each, making £100 per ann. in the whole. With respect to them, I think fortune favoured you, they being to be chosen in preference to the rest .... (Lee Ms Papers beginning 1770 (folder) Virginia Historical Society)

From the above letter we see that Lee's property assigned to him in Williamsburg had been rented, and that the Mansion rented for £20 per year.

In writing to Robert Carter Nicholas, one of the trustees in the division of the estate, Lee said:

Ap 23, 1772 London

... As it appears that the Houses in Wmsburg when rented do not let for 8 p Cr on the value to wch they were appraised, wch pr cr pr are less than what is common for houses, I shd think it wd be best way to dispose of them all, & as I suppose the appraisors only fixed that value on them, wch they wd be willing to give, I shall be very willing therefore to take for them all, the appraised price, & shall esteem it very kind in you to negotiate this business for me. That is, to sell all the houses in Williamsburg, not under the appraised price, nor wd I have one house Sold without the whole. When the Bargain is made you shall have what Conveyances you think proper... (Lee Ms Papers, Virginia Historical Society)

Another letter from Lee to Nicholas on August 3, 1772, indicates that the houses had not been sold as yet:

...Shou'd you approve of my plan of selling the houses in Wmsburg the sooner they are disposed of the better & I shall be perfectly Satisfied with the value they were appraised at---...

The houses were not sold but rented for some years.

In September, 1773, the tenements of William Lee were advertised for sale:

THE three following TENEMENTS in the City of Williamsburg, which formerly belonged to the Honourable PhillipLudwell, and are now held by WilliamLee, Esquire, of the City of London, in Right of his Lady; namely, the large wooden House, on the Back Street; next Door but one to Mr. Speaker's; the Brick House on the Main Street, where Mrs. Rind Lives; and the House called the BlueBell, below the Capitol, opposite to the Playhouse, and in which Mr. Brammer5 formerly lived, together with all the Lots and their Appurtenances. The Terms may be known of the Subscribers. If these Tenements should not, in the mean Time be disposed of, they will be offered at publick Sale before Mr. Southall's Door, on Friday the 29th of October, at four o'clock in the Afternoon.
RO: C NICHOLAS. (Virginia Gazette, Purdie & Dixon, eds., September 23, 1773.)

The above quoted notice fixes the "Mansion" lot as "the large wooden House, on the Back Street, next Door but one to Mr. Speaker's." Peyton Randolph was Speaker of the Burgesses at this period and lived on Nicolson Street at the intersection with England Street. (See: Randolph-Peachy House History)

The Frenchman's Map (1782) of Williamsburg shows no building on the lot though there is a building on the lot west (also owned by the Ludwell estate which had come to Paradise). What happened to this "large wooden House" after 1773 is not known. Probably it fell a prey to fire or the vandalism of the enemy in the Revolution.1


According to Richard Henry Lee's letter of 1770 (above quoted) "I think fortune favoured you, they [the lots] being to be chosen in preference to the rest [Paradise's lots]." Yet in 1782 the Williamsburg Land Tax Records indicate the same valuations of Lee's and Paradise's property:

1782--William Lee Estate------3 lots----£7
John Paradise Estate------3 lots----£7
(copy from originals, Virginia State Archives)

The College Map (1791?) indicates "Lee" on the lot as does the Bucktrout Map (1803). Sometime before 1843 Thomas G. Peachy had come into the lot along with the lot to the west adjoining his property. Samuel S. Griffin who owned the lot on which the Tayloe house is now located, gave Peachy as his western boundary in a deed of date February, 1, 1843. (Southall Ms Papers, Legal Cases and Estates, folder 293, William and Mary College) In 1853 A. G. Peachy, heir of Thomas G. Peachy, conveyed to Richard W. Hansford "a certain lot with the houses thereon situated in the City of Williamsburg,containing between three and four acres of land, and ...bounded north by the property owned by Robert H. Armistead, south by the Court House Square, east by the lot of S. S. Griffin, since purchased and now owned by the said Hansford, and west by England Street." (James City County & the City of Williamsburg, Deed Bk 1, p 336) This sale comprised four lots (marked "Peachy," "Peachy," "Paradise" and "Lee" on the College Map.

Court Records were destroyed by fire during the Civil War hence it is impossible to give a clear title to the property until ca. 1868 when the records were begun again. In 1868 Charles C. Hansford and Richard W. Hansford gave a deed of trust to Robert F. Cole to secure W. W. Vest. (Ibid, I, p 123)

In 1884 Vest forced sale to satisfy default in the deed of trust, and M. R. Harrell became the owner at the price of $2035. (Ibid, Book 2, pp 79-80) After passing through several hands the property came into the possession of Letitia Gregory Warburton who in 1920 conveyed said property to the Williamsburg Holding Corporation. After division, a part was sold to W. A. Bozarth who in turn conveyed to E. D. Spencer. In 1927 Spencer and wife conveyed to Dr. William A. R. Goodwin 7 as trustee, for Williamsburg Restoration. For further study of the property, consult the Accounting Department, Colonial Williamsburg.

All archaeological evidence which might have been discovered has been removed by the digging of a tunnel through the lot. See: Illustration #3 for drawings of foundations uncovered December 1938 & March 1940.not correct [illegible]


Lot #234 is located on the north side of Nicholson Street opposite the Market Square. The lot is not numbered on late eighteenth century maps but is marked "Lee." In 1714 the trustees of Williamsburg granted to William Robertson the lot along with lots #232, 233, 235, 236, 207, 208. A year later Robertson conveyed lot #234 along with #233 to Philip Ludwell II with all houses, yards, gardens &c. In 1767 Ludwell's son, Philip III, who had been owner after his father's death, died leaving the property to his daughter, Hannah Ludwell Lee. In 1770 it was described as "Warrington's Tenement where Colo Ludwell used to Lodge" and also as "Warringtons, or the Mansion House" valued for as much as three hundred pounds. Another description of the property was "the Mansion as it is called, where my Uncles family lived in Town." In 1773 Lee's property was offered for sale and noted thus: "the large wooden House, on the Back Street, next Door but one to Mr. Speaker's." During the Revolution Lee's property was used by soldiers as barracks and hospitals. Lee claimed damages to the amount of more than £500 but this was not allowed by the Assembly. The house was not standing in 1782 judging from the Frenchman's Map (1782). It may have been burned by Cornwallis or torn down. A French soldier who was stationed in the city in 1781 wrote that Cornwallis tore down or burned only three houses of private citizens - these citizens having "openly declared themselves as partisans of Independence." The Peachy family held the property from ca 1839 to 1858 when the Hansford family came into ownership. M. R. Harrell, John Dahn and Letitia Gregory Warburton held the property at different periods. In 1920 Mrs. Warburton conveyed 8 the property to Williamsburg Holding Corporation. W. A. Bozarth was the next owner followed by E. D. Spencer who conveyed in 1927 to Dr. William A. R. Goodwin as trustee for Williamsburg Restoration. Farther chain to title can be found in the Accounting Department, Colonial Williamsburg.

Mary A. Stephenson
April, 1952


^1. See: Illustration #2 for history of the Ludwell family of Green Spring and Williamsburg.
^1. The writer has not been able to establish the name of the Warrington who rented the Mansion from the Ludwell estate prior to 1770. Perhaps it was John Warrington, tailor, who died in 1771 according to York County Records. John Warrington was the only person by that name appearing in the York County Records. Bruton Parish Church records state that Warrington married Rachael --- and had children baptized: Mary, Ann and John. He may have been the father of Rachael and Camilla Warrington, wards of Dr. George Riddell and his wife Susannah. Rachael Warrington was the mother of Lewis Warrington of distinguished naval fame. See: Name data cards, Research Department, for further history of the Warringtons and Riddells.
^1. A French soldier stationed at Williamsburg in 1781 wrote that "Lord Cornwallis had not torn down or burned the houses, with the exception of three belonging to private citizens who had openly declared themselves as partisans of Independence..." (Diary of Chevalier Dupleix de Cadignan, tr. by Warrington Dawson, copy, Research Department)

During the Revolution Lee's property in Williamsburg was taken over by soldiers For the damage done to the premises, Lee's agent asked the Virginia legislative body the sum of £500:

May 22, 1777.

A petition of John Ellis, agent for William Lee, Esq. of London, was presented to the House, and read; setting forth, that several valuable buildings and improvements belonging to the said Lee in the city of Williamsburg have been occupied by the soldiers as barracks and hospitals, by which they have been damaged to the amount of more than 500£ as will appear by an estimate made by several honest workmen, and praying such relief as shall be thought just and reasonable. (Journal of the House of Delegates, 1777-1780, p 29)

On June 28, 1784, the House of Delegates in session "Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That the petition of William Lee, praying that compensation may be made him for damages done to his houses in the city of Williamsburg, by the troops of this State, whilst used by them, as barracks, be rejected." (Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia 1781, p 83, Richmond 1828)

RR152801 Illustration #1
The Mansion

Illustration #2


Philip Ludwell II (1672-1727) was the son of Lucy Higginson and Philip Ludwell I. His father married the second time Lady Frances Berkeley, widow of Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia. Through this marriage Ludwell came into the Green Spring property.

In 1702 Philip Ludwell II was appointed to the Council. He acted as Rector of William and Mary College, and in 1710 was appointed Deputy Auditor General for the Colony by Governor Spotswood. In 1697 Ludwell married Hannah Harrison of Wakefield, Surry County, Virginia, and by this union had three children: Lucy who married in 1715 Colonel John Grymes of Brandon, Middlesex County; Hannah who married Thomas Lee of Stratford, Westmoreland County; and Philip Ludwell III who married in 1737 Frances Grymes, daughter of Charles Grymes of Morrattico, Richmond County.


Philip Ludwell III (1716-1767) as stated above married Frances Grymes. After the death of his wife, Ludwell went to England where he lived until his death in 1767. He left three children: Hannah Phillipa who married William Lee, a cousin; Lucy who married John Paradise; and Frances who died unmarried a few years after her father's death. Ludwell was appointed a member of the Virginia Council in 1752. A notice of his death appeared in the Virginia Gazette: "In York River, the Lord Baltimore from London, by whom we have advice of the death of the Hon. Philip Ludwell, Esq., one of the members of his Majesty's council in this colony." (June 4, 1767 edition)


William Lee was the son of Colonel Thomas Lee, Governor of Virginia (1749) and president of the Council (1732-3) and Hannah Ludwell. William Lee was one of the six sons of Colonel Thomas Lee - four of whom distinguished themselves in forming the new nation. William Lee married his first cousin, Hannah Phillippa Ludwell, in 1769, in London where Lee had been living for several years. About ten years before Lee's death (1795) he returned to Virginia and established himself at Green Spring in the old home built by Governor Berkeley and the early home of his wife, Hannah Phillippa Ludwell Lee. Mrs. Lee had died in England shortly before Lee's return to Virginia. Their two daughters, Portia and Cornelia, and his son, Philip Ludwell Lee, came to Virginia with their father to live at Green Spring. William Lee died on June 27, 1795 and was buried at Jamestown. He freed all of his slaves and bequeathed his library at Green Spring to Bishop James Madison.

While living in London Lee held an important and influential position. He was elected alderman of Aldgate Ward and at the beginning of the Revolution held the office of High Sheriff of London. In 1777 Lee was commercial agent for the
Continental Congress in France.

William Ludwell engaged Benjamin Latrobe to design a new house at Green Spring and the old house was torn down in 1806.

NOTE: Information in these notes were taken from STRATFORD HALL... by Ethel Armes (Richmond 1936) and VIRGINIA HISTORICAL PORTRAITURE (1929)

Illustration #3