Wilton House will be the site of the annual fundraising event of the Fairfield Foundation to be held on June 18, 2016 between the hours of 6pm and 8pm. The Fairfield Foundation promotes and involves the public in hands-on archaeology, preservation and education activities within Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas. A 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Gloucester, Virginia, Fairfield Foundation has been expanding its public programs, research opportunities and outreach activities since 2000. For further information about the June 18 event, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tom Karow at 804/694-7216 or www.fairfieldfoundation.org.
Wilton House will be featured on the Middle Peninsula-Middlesex County house tour on Friday April 29, 2016 as part of Virginia Garden Week. For further information, see http://www.virginiagardenweek.org.
The article begins:
Virginia, they say, is for lovers. It is also for old-house lovers, who dote on antique dwellings from the Eastern Shore to the Shenandoah Valley, and sometimes take great pains to do the right thing by history when updating these homes for 21st-century living.¶
One of those people is Washingtonian Stephen M. Foster, who spent more than two years renewing Wilton, a 1763 plantation manor in Middlesex County east of Richmond near Chesapeake Bay that, though remarkably intact, had decayed and faced demolition.
June 2014. The rehabilitation of the slave cabin, begun last September, was completed this month. Though structurally sound, notwithstanding its use in the early 20th century as a garage and auto repair facility, the cabin required extensive work. Plaster and lathe, which made up the finish on the ceiling and above wooden plank siding and on the interior walls, was severely deteriorated. All of the plaster and much of the lathe were removed; the old lathe was then re-installed and new plaster applied. The sash on the cabin’s four windows, which contained some early glass, was removed, repairs and re-installed. These and other repairs were carried out by Chuck Rackley and his crew, who also performed the bulk of the rehabilitation work on the main house at Wilton. The cabin’s two end chimneys had been completely lost over time, and had to be entirely built anew. The extensive masonry work was competed by Charlie Harris (pictured below) and his crew from King and Queen County.
The cabin dates to approximately the 1840’s, some 80 years after the main house was built, and is thought to have housed slaves and served as well as a kitchen and laundry. Archaeological and other evidence from the structure itself showed the two end chimneys to be different in size. A single interior wall divided the 16 x 32 foot cabin into two rooms, each with its own exterior doorway.
The cabin has been furnished with a variety of 18th and 19th century tables and chairs, some of them rustic in character while others have the look of pieces that may have started out in gentry or planters houses. All the furnishings and accessories were purchased through Brian Penniston and Queen Street Mall in Tappahannock.
On Saturday, May 10 from 10 AM to 4 PM, Wilton opened its doors to the general public.
Over 216 people visited Wilton, hosted by a spirited team of volunteers from the Middlesex County Museum & Historical Society, Inc. whose mission is to preserve, and foster the telling of, the rich history of Middlesex County. The open house raised over $5,000 for the museum and historical society.
The day before the open house, 60-plus members of the newly formed Tidewater Historical Society, located in Williamsburg, visited Wilton as part of a day-long tour of historical sites in Middlesex County.