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The History of Wedmore Place

The 300 acre farm where Wedmore Place stands today was acquired in 1983 as a virtually abandoned parcel by Patrick and Peggy Duffeler. They named it Wessex Hundred; “Wessex”, meaning Saxons of the West, to reflect their combined cultural heritage, “Hundred” the traditional identification of early settlements for a tract of land that could provide for one hundred residents.
The Duffelers and their two sons, Patrick II and Terence moved from Spain where they had resided for several years to Virginia in the summer of that year.

Considerable research was done to uncover the history of the farm. In 1607, as the British expedition that was to begin the history of the new world from Jamestown Island, the peninsula of land that is constituted by the farm had been selected as a more desirable place by captain Gabriel Archer of the Godspeed.

 

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However he had been overruled and the three ships dropped anchor at Jamestown. The farm, settled in 1615 had remained identified as Archer’s Hope. In 1781, it was shown on the military maps of the French armies of Lafayette in its participation in the Revolutionary war against the British crown as the plantation of “Maitre Bland” a reverend active in the movement towards American independence.

Though the first project that was begun on the farm besides the reconstruction of a dwelling that was found out to have dated from 1736, was the start of the first planting of grapes in 1985 and the establishment of a winery, the planning for the design of a Country-Hotel was very much on the mind of the Duffelers.

The Williamsburg Winery was to release its first wine in 1988 to acclaim at the Norfolk wine competition and receive a “Best of Show" award. It grew from a modest 2,000 cases in that year to some 60,000 cases establishing itself as the largest winery in the Commonwealth. (See also, history of the Williamsburg Winery.)

The original Wessex was, in the IXth century, the kingdom of Alfred the Great, considered by distinguished historians as one of the “noblest of English rulers” and “the most perfect character in history”. In 878 he established the peace of Wedmore by a treaty between the Saxons and the Danes to come to peaceful terms and provide for a period of economic, social and cultural development.

Wedmore Place was the name selected for the Country-Hotel located in the middle of the farm, a place of quiet surroundings, “far from the madding crowd”, a place conceptualized to feature art, history and culture in its stylistic design, its themes and decoration.

Patrick Duffeler traveled to Somerset, in Western England, the heart of the then Wessex kingdom and stayed at the village of Wedmore, at the George hotel, to research its history and visit its surroundings. The George hotel in Wedmore, Somerset takes its name from Baron George Jeffreys (1648-1692).

The hotel was built in the XIVth century and one of its most colorful and celebrated moments was its use as the Court of "George Jeffreys, Lord Chief Justice of England." Baron Jeffreys had been sent as the judge to punish the supporters of the Duke of Monmouth who had rebelled against King James II. While in Wedmore, Patrick Duffeler bought several books on Wedmore, Somerset, which are in the library.

 

         

5810 Wessex Hundred | Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Phone: 1 -866-WEDMORE (866-933-6673) | Reception: 757 941-0310 | Fax number: 757 941-0318
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