Ante-Bellum Home in Lunenburg Co., VA

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Submitted by the Lunenburg County Historical Society 16 November 1999

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Flat Rock is owned by Mr. Bagley Reid and sons, who live at Fishers Island, New York. It is located 1.8 miles southwest of Kenbridge on route 655, just after crossing Flat Rock Creek. It was built in the 1760's by the Protestant Episcopal Church of Cumberland Parish in compliance with the colonial law that the vestry of every parish be required to purchase a tract of land and erect upon that land a home for the minister of the parish. The first minister to occupy the house was the Rev. James Craig, who rendered valuable service to the American cause at the time of the Revolution. He owned a grist mill, which was converted into a depot of supplies for the American soldiers. The mill was burned during Tarleton's raid through the county in 1781. After the war, the Craigs continued to live in the house. A number of other families who have owned the house include Chambers, Macfarland, Smith, and most notably the Bagley family since the late 1820s.

The lovely old home is very much alive with history. The home was originally called "Prospect Hill" and is featured in Evelyn Ferguson Arvinís book, Antebellum Homes of Lunenburg. The house rests on a hill which enables visitors to view the majesty of the surrounding area, including a beautiful view of Flat Rock Creek.

The architectural design of the house is quite unique. The two large chimneys on each end of the home are quite large and are very unusual in design. Stone steps leading from the kitchen in the English basement indicate much usage throughout the years. Visitors will be amazed at the beauty of the old heart-pine flooring throughout the house.

Since Mr. Reidís purchase of the home, many improvements have been made. The over-all run-down condition of the home has been improved tremendously, including the addition of a screened porch to the back of the house.

A great deal of detail has been given to the landscape design used on the grounds. A vineyard is currently providing enough fruit for the making of wine, a special family event. On one end of the home a beautifully shaped espaliered pear tree provided a good harvest of fruit this year. Front and back walkways have old bricks laid in sand to replicate the colonial style of masonry used in that period.

A visit to Flat Rock takes you for a delightful visit back in time to an era when life was simple, but the work was harder. The ambiance found in this home could not be replicated in a new dwelling. It comes only when so much history lies within and great care to taken to preserve it.