Brooke’s Bank (c. 1751) was built by Sarah Taliaferro Brooke following the death of her husband William, who died in a naval battle. The land was granted to Mrs. Brooke in 1751 by King George II in recognition of her husband’s service to the Crown.
Set back from the Rappahannock River approximately one hundred yards, the house is classic Georgian laid in Flemish bond with an elaborately molded belt course across the four sides.
The brickwork is especially noteworthy because the two massive end chimneys, which tower 20 feet above the roof, are adorned with diamond patterns in glazed brick heads.
It is said that the series of diamonds on three sides of each chimney was built to discourage witches from entering the house. As further protection, doors were paneled in the double cross, or cross and open Bible design, with Holy Lord hinges on them.
There are four patterns on one chimney and three on the other to make the lucky number seven. This is unique in Virginia houses.
In the 1770s, Brooke’s Bank saw a second period embellishment of Federal details, primarily around the mantelpieces.
In the 1930s, the Enos Richardson family bought the property and added a series of additions to the east and west wings as well as other modem conveniences.
In 1994, Mr. George Walker Box purchased the property and began restoration of its exterior to its original Georgian character by removing the Richardson era wings and adding new wings to either end to reflect a more Federal era style.
They are restoring the interior as well to its original state with completion scheduled for 1999.
The house is considered to be an architectural gem because most of the interior is original, including woodwork, hardware, hinges, doorways, paneling, etc. Brooke’s Bank is open for the first time to Historic Garden Week visitors. Mr. George Walker Box, owner.