Northampton Historic Preservation Society

Enriching lives through the preservation of historical sites and cultural heritage in Northampton County, Virginia.

Learn More About Northampton History and the Northampton Historic Preservation Society's Activities

View the NHPS 2019 Summer Newsletter online at:  Summer Newsletter 2019


View the NHPS 2018 Summer Newsletter online at:  Summer Newsletter 2018 


View the NHPS 2017 Spring Newsletter online at:  Spring Newsletter 2017


View the NHPS 2016 Summer Newsletter online at:  Summer Newsletter 2016


View the NHPS 2016 Winter  Newsletter online at :  Winter Newsletter 2016


View the NHPS 2015 Summer Newsletter online at:  Summer Newsletter 2015

Excavations in Northampton at Pear Valley and Newport House/Eyreville

Through 2017-2018, the Department of Agriculture/Forest Service  sponsored multiple  George Washington and Jefferson National Forest - Passport in Time excavation project in Northampton  Virginia.  In conjunction with the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Chesapeake Bay Archaeological Consortium, Department of Historic Resources, they have tested and documented two important sites in Northampton County - Pear Valley and Newport House/Eyreville.


Pear Valley, owned by the Northampton Historic Preservation Society, is the earliest surviving, single-room-plan house in Virginia. The site was a small Yeoman’s Cottage, dating to ca. 1740, once occupied by a gentleman farmer raising crops for market. The field school undertook to test excavations in an attempt to locate the foundations of the structure’s outbuildings, which will aid in site management and interpretation.
The Newport House/Eyreville Site, is located on the grounds of a late 17th - to 19th-centuries plantation house. During initial testing, numerous artifacts dating to the 17th-century were recovered. The assemblage, to date, includes rose-head nails, bricks, blue and grey stoneware, tin-glazed ware, gin and wine bottle fragments, and numerous pipe stems. Also recovered, were Dutch yellow bricks several elaborately-decorated Dutch pipes, farthings and a jetton (counter). With field testing and documentary research, the excavations may isolate the structure’s foundations and other features in order to determine the site’s function and to learn more precise dates of its occupation.

Winner of the 2017 VIRGINIA SHERMAN AWARD - Council of Virginia Archaeologists

In late October, Dr. Garrison “Doc” Brown was awarded the Council of Virginia Archaeologists “Virginia Sherman Award” for his significant contributions both above and below ground to historic preservation in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  “Doc” was nominated for this award because of his above and beyond efforts in supporting historic preservation.   

 

In receiving this award, Brown’s active membership in the Northampton, Virginia Historic Preservation Society and role as caretaker of Pear Valley, an 18th century yeoman’s cottage which is significantly unique to this region was highlighted. His nomination specifically recognized his involvement in the current excavations at Newport House/Eyreville where a second/third quarter 17th century dwelling was discovered. 

 

Last winter, Dr. Brown identified the research value of the site when a Northampton county land owner removed a tree stump which in turn lead to a recovery of a casting counter, Irish farthings and yellow Dutch bricks. He immediately notified the DHR and the site remains under study to this day. His quick and thoughtful action will uncover many precious artifacts to tell our regions history.


Court Green Added to PVA's 2015 List of Virginia's Most Endangered Sites

While the Court House and many supporting structures have been lovingly preserved over the years, it is the uncertain future of the two old jails. State and local historians and preservationists are concerned about the two structures, and in turn, the integrity and continuity of the court green complex.


Lack of funding and threat of demolition by neglect have dominated the conversation recently as county and town officials struggle to come to some viable agreement about the future of the buildings. Northampton Historic Preservation Society remains an integral part of these conversations as an advocate of protection, stewardship, and feasible solutions. The 1914 Jail, a four-square brick, currently sits vacant. In use until 2000, it was shut down in 2009 after the conclusion of lead and asbestos abatement. In its time, it was considered a large, modern facility "worth a dozen of the dinky little hovels" now in use as a jail. And one which "could handle a good portion of the speak-easy crowd even if they are numerous." The  smaller 1907 jail, which sits behind the 1914 building, is a one-story brick structure needing repair though it still retains many of its original architectural elements.  (The 1914 Jail was torn down in late 2017, but the 1907 Jail still remains.)


See Activities of  the Northampton Historic Preservation Society on YouTube


Northampton Historic Preservation Society

P.O. Box 501

Eastville, VA 23347

email: nhps100@gmail.com