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Hall

Place Made:
New Kent County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
1685-1690
Accession Number:
0000.1
Description:
This room is a reproduction of the Hall from Criss Cross, a house built in New Kent County, Virginia, at the end of the was 17th century by George Poindexter (1627-1693). Poindexter emigrated to Virginia during the English Civil War and initially settled in Gloucester County. He later acquired 850 acres at “Middle Plantation”, the present site of Williamsburg. By the middle of the 1680s his family had relocated to New Kent County, Virginia.

Criss Cross Hall was one of just a small handful of brick houses built in Virginia during its first century of English settlement. Stylistically it is essentially post-medieval with its exposed structural elements providing decoration by way of mouldings and carvings. The cruciform plan included a projecting entryway, a hall (the main living space), and a more private chamber. Additional chambers were located upstairs. Access to the second and third floors was probably by way of a stairway in the tower similar to that still extant at Bacon’s Castle in Surry County, Virginia. A successful planter and merchant, this house marked George Poindexter and his family as among Virginia’s elite.

Unfortunately, the loss of court records from New Kent County, Virginia, during the Civil War, makes a complete accounting of Poindexter’s assets and slaves.

The scarcity of 17th century architecture in the South forced Frank Horton to reproduce, rather than acquire, the architecture for this room. In fact, Criss Cross still stands, though it has been greatly altered. It was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1936:
Historic American Buildings Survey

When MESDA chose to reproduce the hall missing elements, like the original 17th century hall fireplace, had to be conjecturally recreated. MESDA also moved the location of the main paneled door, combined decorative elements from the Hall and Chamber into a single space, and oak was used instead of yellow pine for the framing.

Credit Line:
Original Installation: Gift of Frank L. Horton; Renovations: Jackie and Tony Montag