Named for the German landgraviate, Hesse was the Mathews County seat of the Armisteads, a colonial family whose members, by virtue of marriage, were progenitors or relatives of nearly every leading landed family in Virginia. Archaeological investigation has revealed the foundations of the original colonial house, which burned in 1798. It was replaced soon afterwards by the present brick structure erected a few feet away. The situation of both houses was likely chosen because of the impressive view of Godfrey Bay at the mouth of the Piankatank River. The present house, with its formal, five-bay facades and paneled woodwork, illustrates the persistence of traditional Georgian forms in Virginia’s eastern counties during the Federal period. Hesse was meticulously restored in the late 1970s at which time the gambrel-roofed wings were added.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
DHR has secured permanent legal protection for over 700 historic places - including 15,000 acres of battlefield lands
DHR has erected 2,532 highway markers in every county and city across Virginia
DHR has engaged over 450 students in 3 highway marker contests
DHR has stimulated more than $4.2 billion dollars in private investments related to historic tax credit incentives, revitalizing communities of all sizes throughout Virginia