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by JoLee Gregory Spears

This page was last updated September 11, 2005

Photographs taken by Sue Gregory during the Christmas Tour of Ravenscroft, tour sponsered by The Lunenburg County Historical Society, December 2002. Randolph Hooks, the owner of Ravenscroft, kindly granted permission to use the photographs.

  • Arrival of visitors
  • Rear entrance
  • Dining room
  • Remains of a structure in the back lawn. Mr. Hooks says of this structure: "The building behind the house was described in the 1958 survey by the Historic American Buildings Survey. Several photos were made at that time and are in the collection of the Library of Congress. One shows the ruined building, which was apparently a kitchen and laundry downstairs, with slave quarters for two familes upstairs. There were two separate quarters upstairs, with no connection between the two."


Lunenurg Co., VA

Article provided by The Lunenburg Historical Society - year 2002

Although no firm documentary evidence as to the date of construction has been found, several sources state that the Ravenscroft home was built in 1793. Lunenburg County records show that the land was deeded to John Stark Ravenscroft in that year by Colonel Lewis Burwell, but make no mention of the house. Construction details and decorative elements indicate that the carpenter and the stonemason for the house were the same as at Prestwould Plantation in Mecklenburg County, the home of Ravenscroft’s aunt, Jean Skipwith, and her husband, Sir Peyton Skipwith. Documents at Prestwould show that the Skipwiths hired John Inge as a carpenter and Jacob Shelor as a stonemason. The house was built in a late-Georgian style with a two-story hip roof center section and one-story hip roof wings on a high stone foundation. The pediment porch on the rear of the house is original. The front porch was added around 1830 and replaced a porch similar to the existing rear porch. Two small rooms on either end of the house were added at an unknown date, and may be small porches that were enclosed.

John Stark Ravenscroft and Ann Spotswood Burwell Ravenscroft

John Stark Ravenscroft was born at Maycox Plantation in Prince George County. He was the son of John and Lillias Ravenscroft. Lillias Miller Ravenscroft was the sister of Jean Miller Skipwith, second wife of Sir Peyton Skipwith of Prestwould Plantation. John Stark Ravenscroft married Ann Spotswood Burwell in 1792. She was the daughter of Colonel Lewis Burwell of Stoneland Plantation, just across the South Meherrin River in Mecklenburg County.

After Mrs. Ravenscroft died in 1814, Mr. Ravenscroft became active in the Episcopal Church, eventually becoming the first Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina. He is buried at Christ Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Other Residents

The home remained in the possession of the adopted sons of the Ravenscrofts, Alexander Hepburn and Ebernezer Hepburn, until 1864. At that time, the plantation included more than 5,000 acres between the Middle and South Meherrin Rivers.

Colonel James C. Levi purchased the home in 1953 and completed an extensive renovation. Later residents included members of the French family who still live in the area.

Restoration of the Home

Randolph Hooks purchased the home in October 1998 and began exterior renovations. The existing tin roof was replaced with a new tin roof. Carpentry work was required at several places in the attic to repair water damaged rafters and beams, particularly around the chimneys, as well as in the roof of the front porch. Almost all of the original heart pine weatherboarding is still in place with its original wrought nails. Minor termite damage was treated and repaired. A complete exterior paint job followed, with new louver shutters matching four remaining pairs of existing shutters.

Mr. Hooks plans to restore the interior of the home to its original appearance, with paint and decoration similar to the "first period" rooms at Prestwould. The first floor will include a master bedroom and bath, library, drawing room and dining room, with two bedrooms on the second floor. The kitchen will be moved to the basement, along with an informal dining room, den and office.