Westover Plantation was founded in 1619 in this area near Jamestown that had been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 1,000 years before the arrival of the English settlers. When the Native American chief Powhatan passed away in 1622, relations between the settlers and the native people deteriorated, and the chief's brother and successor led systematic, ruthless attacks on the Jamestown area settlements, including Westover and nearby Berkeley plantations. Secret tunnels and passageways leading to the river were dug under Westover as an escape route from Indian attacks. Yet, Westover survived those tough early years and continued to expand as a tobacco plantation.

One of the most impressive examples of Georgian architecture in America, the manor home was built between 1730 and 1750 by William Byrd II, the founder of Richmond. Westover was occupied by the Union Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, and that summer Confederate artillery fired on Westover from across the James and may have destroyed the original east flanker at that time.

Fans of the AMC series TURN will spot Westover serving as Abe Woodhull's alma mater 'Kings College' in New York City. Westover continues today as a working family farm, and through the generosity of the present owners, the grounds and gardens are open daily for visitors to enjoy. The self-guided tour among ancient boxwoods and centenarian tulip poplar trees offers scenic views of the James River and Westover's magnificent wrought-iron gates. The manor home itself is available for private tours, weddings, and special events.

Pictured at the top: The James River entrance of Westover Plantation.

westover plantation carriage entrance

The carriage-side entrance of Westover.


One of Westover's wrought iron gates overlooking the James.

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