Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
Ownership and Administration. Adam Thoroughgood House Foundation, Norfolk.
Significance. This restored house, one of the oldest in Virginia, is a fine example of the central-hall house of 17th-century Virginia. Adam Thoroughgood came to Virginia in 1621 as an indentured servant. After working off his indenture, he rose rapidly in position and in 1629 became a member of the House of Burgesses. By the time of his death, in 1640, at the age of 35, he owned some 7,000 acres of land in Princess Anne County.
In 1636, Thoroughgood bought the tract on which the present house stands. The Adam Thoroughgood House Foundation does not believe that this house is the one listed in his will in 1640, but that he may have built it for one of his sons, or that it may have been built by a son or grandson. In any event, it is of authentic 17th-century design and workmanship. Of brick, it measures 45 by 22 feet. Three walls are laid in English bond and one in Flemish. The house is a low-eaved, one-and-a half story structure and has a steep gabled roof. Of the two huge end chimneys, one is projecting and one set inside the wall. A hall, 10 feet wide, separates the two rooms below, the one to the north being the larger. The house was altered in 1745, when the original leaded glass panes in the parlor were replaced with Georgian windows; the exposed ceiling beams were covered with plaster; and paneling was added to the walls.
Present Appearance. Under the auspices of the foundation, the Thoroughgood House was restored to its 17th-century condition and opened to the public in 1957. The restoration included removal of dormers, reduction in the size of windows, return of leaded glass panes, and the removal of plaster and other later additions. In several places, glass inserts show details of the original construction. The original 5,350-acre estate has been subdivided through the years, and a recent housing development has reduced the house tract to 4-1/2 acres. The grounds, which have been nicely landscaped, include a 17th-century garden donated by the Garden Club of Virginia. 
NHL Designation: 10/09/60
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005