Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia


Eyre Hall

Eyre Hall, Cheriton, Northampton County, Virginia (37.313366, -75.980844)

Main House Felling dates: Winter 1756/7 and Winter 1758/9

East Wing Felling dates: Winter 1805/6 and Winter 1806/7

Dairy or Buttery Felling dates: After 1757

Smoke House Felling dates: Winter 1804/5

Architectural description and historical documentation Eyre Hall consists of a two-storied gambrel-roofed house approximately 41 feet square with four porches of varying size, one on each side. A 20 foot wide wing extends 23 feet to the east, originally single storied, and which was later extended a further 34 feet at which time the whole 57’ wing was raised to two stories. In Whitelaw’s Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the earliest part of the building was considered to be the single storey 23’-long east wing, and thought to have been constructed in the 1760s. The same source also proposed that the main block was added between 1780 and 1796, and the east wing extended after 1805. The same theory is repeated in The Virginia Eastern Shore and Its British Origins by Forman in 1975. To the east of the east wing, there are two detached outbuildings, a smoke house to the north, and a dairy or buttery to the south. Buildings are shown in the same locations on Mutual Assurance Society insurance policies in 1796, and 1805, but the smokehouse is called a dairy in both instances. The buildings at Eyre Hall have been extensively studied by Michael Bourne and are detailed more fully in his report. As part of this study, he has proposed a different order of development in the house phasing to that published, with the original being the large square block dating from about 1760, the first eastern extension dating to before 1805, and the easternmost extension being constructed after 1805. In order to resolve the contradictory phasing theories, a thorough programme of dendrochronology was commissioned. To accomplish this, it was felt desirable to independently date the main gambrel-roofed block, both sections of the east wing, and to gain a fuller picture of the development of the grounds, a limited exercise on both the Dairy and the Smoke House.

Worthington, M J, and Miles, D H, 2003 “The Tree-Ring Dating of Eyre Hall, Cheriton, Virginia”, ODL unpubl rep 2003/8.




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230