• Structure 17, Glassblowing and Island Drive

    Historic Jamestowne

    Part of Colonial National Historical Park Virginia

Efforts to Build a Town 1660 - 1699

NPS artist Sydney King sketch of brickmaking at Jamestown

Brickmaking at Jamestown

NPS artist Sydney King

Although no artifacts associated with this four-dwelling brick rowhouse provide a definite date of construction, historians conjecture that it was built in accordance with an act passed by the Virginia Assembly in September 1662, which stated:

That the towne to be built shall consist of thirty two houses, each house to be built with brick, forty foot long, twenty foot wide, within the walls, to be eighteen foote high above the ground, the walls to be two brick thick to the water table, and a brick and a halfe thick above the water table to the roofe, the roofe to be fifteen foote pitch and to be covered with slate or tile.

It is likely that this rowhouse was standing by September 1668, when the justices of James City County asked permission to use “one of the Countrie Brick houses” as a prison. Perhaps the quartered left leg and pelvis excavated from an abandoned well behind one of the houses is a gruesome souvenir from “that house where the goale was kept.”

In 1676, the entire row was badly damaged by Nathaniel Bacon’s burning of Jamestown and was “lyeing in ruins” by 1680. Although one or two units were repaired and altered shortly thereafter, the whole row was abandoned after the capital moved to Williamsburg in 1699.

 

Did You Know?

Young boy dressing up as Samuel Collier, one of the four boys brought to Jamestown

Of the first 104 English settlers at Jamestown in 1607, four were boys. Several boys were sent to live with the Powhatans so they could learn the language and customs and then return to the English to become interpreters.