The High Life of the English Gentry at Historic Green Spring
Historic Green Spring Day 2015: Looking Ahead
JAMESTOWN, VA. – On Sunday, September 20, and Saturday, September 26, 2015, Historic Jamestowne and the Friends of Green Spring, a park partner, will host two special events.
On Sunday, September 20, at 2:00 p.m., park guests are invited to join members of the Friends of Green Spring conducting an interactive presentation inside the theater at the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center, “THE HIGH LIFE OF THE ENGLISH GENTRY AT HISTORIC GREEN SPRING”.
The new, 3D, computer-generated images of the 17th-century Green Spring mansion will be displayed on theater screens allowing visitors to visualize the once imposing and elegant home of former Virginia colonial governor, Sir William Berkeley, and his wife, Lady Frances Berkeley. The Friends’ educational traveling trunk full of hands-on learning props, which has been presented to more than 900 local 6th graders, will also be featured. The program will run until 3:30. Free with park admission.
On Saturday, September 26, a fee-free day at all National Parks across the nation, the Green Spring plantation site will be open and free for the public to visit and enjoy from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For this “HISTORIC GREEN SPRING DAY 2015: LOOKING AHEAD” free bus service will run to the Green Spring site from the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center as well as from Jamestown High School, a 10-minute ride. There is no parking at the Green Spring site. Join Governor Sir William Berkeley and Lady Frances Berkeley for a stroll through the grounds of their 17th-century plantation and learn about their fine house. Family activities presented by the Rho Kappa history fraternity from Jamestown High School provide fun for the younger members of the family. There will also be a preview of the 2016 event focusing on the 1781 Battle of Green Spring. Refreshments will be served. Sponsored by The Friends of Green Spring. In case of inclement weather, please see the Friends’ website for updates. www.historicgreenspring.org.
About Green Spring Plantation and the 17th-century Mansion:
1607: Jamestown secures an English foothold in the New World.
1699: Williamsburg becomes Virginia’s new colonial capital city. In those intervening years the Virginia colony metamorphosed from a deeply forested wilderness full of unknowns to a firmly established, prosperous English colony.
In the epicenter of it all was Governor Sir William Berkeley, knight and a former member of the King’s court in London. Dominating the political and social landscape during his long and turbulent tenures, 1641-1650, and 1661-1676, he was ruined by Bacon’s Rebellion, but not before he had significantly influenced the colony’s evolution in many ways.
Berkeley’s many years in office brought him immense wealth and influence, making his accomplishments on his vast plantation at Green Spring possible. His great brick house overlooking the green spring, built in stages from 1643-1674, was unique and innovative, a trendsetter for his time, hosting both official and social guests in grand style. His experimental farm, where he sought to produce sugar cane, rice, indigo, hemp and silk, among other things, as lucrative exports for himself and the colony was extensive. As he and his wife, Lady Francis, stood high on their grand stairway to welcome visitors to their home, they stood at the very pinnacle of elite landowners—the gentry—who, with the knowledge of their far-reaching power and prestige, proudly surveyed the new world they were creating.
2015: All this history and much more lies buried on the 300 acres remaining of Berkeley’s original landholdings at Historic Green Spring, now under the stewardship of Colonial National Historical Park. The park and the Friends of Green Spring, a park partner organization, invite you to experience this unique and compelling part of Virginia’s history.
If You Go
Historic Jamestowne, the site of America’s first permanent English settlement, offers a wealth of family activities on the island. Witness archaeology-in-action at the 1607 James Fort excavation, watch costumed glassblowers demonstrate one of America’s first industries at the Glasshouse and visit the original 17th-century church tower. Explore the Natalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, an archaeology museum filled with unique artifacts from the James Fort site. Also tour the remains of New Towne, the historic town site dating from the 1620s. The Visitor Center offers exhibits, a multimedia presentation and a museum store.
Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation (on behalf of Preservation Virginia) and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Entrance to the site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and the grounds remain open until dusk.
All programs and demonstrations are included in the Colonial National Historical Park admission fee of $14.00 per adult (which includes both Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield). Children under age 16 and holders of Federal Interagency Military and Accessp asses (with up to three additional adults) are admitted free. Preservation Virginia memberships are accepted, buta $5 fee may apply for entrance to Historic Jamestowne. Federal Interagency Passes and Golden Age and Golden Access passports to the National Parks are accepted, but a $5 fee may apply for entrance to Historic Jamestowne.