Peyton Randolph House, Williamsburg
The deep red Peyton Randolph House is one of the oldest, most historic, and without doubt most beautiful of Colonial Williamsburg's original 18th-century homes. The original structure was built in 1715.
The west wing of the impressive house has stood at the corner of Nicholson and North England Streets since about 1715. Among the historic figures that took shelter in the house were General Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette.
A full complement of outbuildings stood to the north (in back), including a two-story brick kitchen, a stable for 12 horses, a coach house, and a dairy.
Colonial Williamsburg's primary restoration of the home began in October 1939 and was completed in April 1940. More restoration of the main section was undertaken in June 1967 and was finished 12 months later. The center and west portions of the house opened for exhibition on July 1, 1968.
Built in 1715 by William Robertson and then sold to Sir John Randolph in 1721. It was left to his son Peyton in 1737 who became the elected presiding officer of the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1774. In 1781 his widow Betty welcomed into her home George Washington and a french general for them to prepare for the siege of Yorktown (see my Yorktown page).
Peyton Randolph was an important figure in the history of Williamsburg. He was a statesman and well respected man around town.
He attended William and Mary College afterwards studying law in London. He was appointed attorney general of Virginia in 1744, elected to the House of Burgesses in 1748 and elected speaker of the House in 1766. It was due to this experience he became President of the First and Second Continental Congress.
This home was once the residence of his father, distinguished lawyer Sir John Randolph.
The Randolphs were one of the most prominent and wealthy families in colonial Virginia. Sir John Randolph was a respected lawyer, Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and Virginia's representative to London, where he was the only colonial-born Virginian ever to be knighted. When he died he left his library to a 16-year-old Peyton, "hoping he will betake himself to the study of law." When Peyton Randolph died in 1775, his cousin, Thomas Jefferson, purchased his books at auction; they eventually became the nucleus of the Library of Congress. Peyton Randolph followed in his father's footsteps, studying law in London after attending the College of William and Mary. He served in the House of Burgesses from 1744 to 1775, the last 9 years as Speaker. Known as the great mediator, he was unanimously elected president of 1774's First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and though he believed in nonviolence and hoped the colonies could amicably settle their differences with England, he was a firm patriot.
The house (actually, two connected homes) dates to 1715. It is today restored to reflect the period around 1770. Robertson's Windmill, in back of the house, is a post mill of a type popular in the early 18th century. The house is open to the public for self-guided tours with period-costumed interpreters in selected rooms.
the payton randolph house was built by william robertson in 1715 and is one of the oldest existant homes in colonial williamsburg. this interesting building is a collection of three homes that were added on over the years. sir john randolph bought part of the house from robertson in 1721 and later his son peyton built an addition to the house. peyton randolph was a speaker in the house of burgesses and later an important revolutionary figure. the payton randolph house was the french headquarters just before the battle of yorktown. the payton randolph house is listed on the national register of historic places.