Blandfield, U.S. Route 17 & State Route 624, Caret, Essex County, VA
Significance: Blandfield, in Essex County, is one of Virginia's largest houses of the Georgian period, and one of its major essays in the Palladian style. The mansion dates from 1769-1773, and was built by Robert Beverley (1740-1800) on property that had been inherited from his father, and named for his mother - nee Elizabeth Bland. A number of Beverley's accounts relating to the building of Blandfield remain, and show that many of the materials and decorative items, as well as furnishings, were ordered from England. One surviving letter mentions his need for a house joiner "well acquainted with his business," but none of the documents yet uncovered names the master builder/architect responsible for the conception and design. Although some design features are parallel to houses known to have been by William Buckland, no documentary evidence has yet linked him to Blandfield. After the death of the builder, Blandfield was inherited by his son, Robert Beverley, Jr., who was presumably responsible for changes in the porticos on both the land and river fronts. Upon his death in 1843, his son, William Bradshaw Beverley, inherited the estate, and soon contracted for major alterations to the house. Under his direction, G.H. and W.P. Van Ness, joiners from Washington, D.C. were hired to rebuild (and redesign) the porticos, install new window sash, and repair the roof. Although the most extensive of the Van Ness alterations were interior ones, the original plan was left largely unchanged. All interior trim, most of the mantels, and the stairways were removed and replaced with the simpler-style trim then considered fashionable. In addition, several new doors were installed on the first floor "to open a communication from the (corner) rooms to the saloons." Other repairs were undertaken in 1851 and 1852, and in more recent times a kitchen, bathrooms, and a furnace were installed. Most of these alterations were accomplished with little change to the plan, or to the work done by the Van Ness brothers. Blandfield continued to be owned and lived in by members of the Beverley family until 1983. Unfortunately, during the last several decades, the house was not maintained in prime condition, and some structural problems that developed were left unattended. The property, consisting of the mansion and 57.08 acres, was purchased from the Beverleys in 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. James C. Wheat, Jr., of Richmond. The remaining 3429 acres were purchased by B. and W. Partners, consisting of Mr. James C. Wheat, Jr., James C. Wheat, III, Mr. Robert Pratt and the Berco Corporation, all of Richmond, VA. After sponsoring a thorough architectural and documentary study, including the production of these drawings, the Wheats will restore the mansion and make it their home.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-297
Survey number: HABS VA-1198