Enchanted Castle

"27th....Then I came into the main county road, that leads from Fredericksburg to Germanna, which last place I reached in ten miles more. This famous town consists of Col. Spotswood's enchanted castle on one side of the street, and a baker's dozen of ruinous tenements on the other, where so many German families had dwelt some years ago..."

-William Byrd*


Until very recently the location of Spotswood's Germanna was unknown, despite numerous speculations. The first definitive evidence of the Enchanted Castle site was found by Ned Heite, Howard McCord, and Randolph Grymes in 1969. The site of the Enchated Castle had been radically changed since the 18th century when Spotswood lived there and there was a small town.

The Gordon House was built on the site of the actual castle after it burnt, destroying what little remained of the Enchanted Castle.

Little excavation and research took place after this initial find until the site was threatened in 1976 and again in 1983 by developers. Both of these threats led to salvage archaeology. In 1984, a large scale salvage project was undertaken which identified the majority of footprint of mansion foundation.

Further excavations by Mary Washington College from 1985 to 1995 included sampling of the castle site and the landscape. This work established that the Enchanted Castle was formed of a main house, two western dependencies and two western hyphens. The eastern dependencies and eastern hyphens were speculated as being part of the site, but archaeological work was not completed in that area. Numerous landscape features and artifacts were also found, including a metal fireback.

The site plan that has been developed for the Enchanted Castle is a 90' x 40’ main house flanked by 4 outbuildings connected with hyphens. There were also terraces to north of the property. Evidence of fire was also found.


*Source: Byrd, William. The Westover Manuscripts: Containing the History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; A Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1733; and A Progress to the Mines. Written from 1728 to 1736, and Now First Published. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/byrd/byrd.html (accessed March 21, 2007).