The Manor House

Annefield is a well preserved example of the plantation houses built in the style of Jacob W. Holt (1811-1880), a noted builder active in Southside Virginia and North Carolina during the antebellum period. Sited on the highest point on the property, this Italianate-style villa was built in three stages. The oldest part of the house dates from 1858 and consists of the traditional Virginia “I-house” with a center hall flanking a parlor and a bedroom, with a hall and two bedrooms upstairs. Behind the main block was a single-story section in a slightly simpler style that includes a dining room, hall and bedroom. The second addition (presumably added after 1882, since the foreclosure sale notice bearing that date describes a six-room dwelling) consisted of two “shed” rooms, one of which was the kitchen and the other a storage room, flanking an open porch. The last addition completed in 2008 added a second floor to the single-story section which includes a bedroom, two bathrooms, closets and a laundry room. Downstairs, the rear porch was eliminated and made part of the kitchen, and a full bath installed in the storage room.

Annefield Vineyards: The restored house.
The restored house.

Behind the house stand a small collection of domestic outbuildings; all are finished with weatherboards and hip roofs that complement the house—the original kitchen, smoke house, office, and a twentieth-century dairy barn with an attached milk house. It appears that the kitchen burned at one point, for charred timbers are evident inside the structure. Two nineteenth century tobacco barns stand in the fields north of the house, and a tenant house dating from about 1830 stands near the road on the other side of a branch flowing from a pond to Horsepen Creek.

A Symmetrical Form

The house follows the familiar conservative symmetrical form—two stories tall beneath a low hipped roof, with a central entrance and flanking windows. There are four main rooms per floor, which are heated by interior chimneys between the front and back rooms. The main block of the house is set apart by the use of double-Palladian windows set within a square casing, a motif consistent throughout the main block of house, taking the form of a simple Roman arch in the front door and the interior doors of the principal rooms.

Interior details continue the motifs of the exterior. The mantels of the two front rooms combine Greek Revival proportions and a fluted bar across the frieze with Italianate brackets. The doors and windows on the first floor have massive casings with large bases. Mantels in the back rooms and on the second floor are much simpler. Newly conceived features becoming popular in the mid-nineteenth century appear in the house, such as built-in, glass-front cabinets flanking the fireplace in the dining room, and closets in the bedrooms.

Annefield displays distinctive characteristics of the Italianate villa house form popular in the middle nineteenth century as interpreted by Jacob W. Holt, a master builder of the region.  It has been recognized by architectural historians as a locally significant example of a relatively rare form of high-style architecture within Charlotte county that is the work of a master builder, so the property is listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and in The National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.