Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
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Following the British in August 1814

10 am to 5 pm


Special Projects: .To provide funds for ghost structures at Mount Calvert, located in Croom, MD, and which is the headquarters of the Prince George’s County Historical Society (PGCHS).  The town at Mount Calvert was established by the 1684 Act for the Advancement of Trade.  It became the county seat when Prince George’s County was organized in 1696 and was renamed Charles Town.  By 1710, an Anglican Church, courthouse and jail had been built.  Ordinaries (taverns) provided food, drink and lodging to planters and merchants.  In coordination with Mount Calvert’s owner, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, funds raised will be used to build ghost structures to assist in interpreting the history of Charles Town.
The second project is to assist the Town of Upper Marlboro with signage for historic sites within the town.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now celebrating the 318th anniversary of its founding as a British Colonial settlement, Prince George’s County was a staging ground for the British on their march to seize and burn Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1814.  Travel part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Byway that “connects the places, people and events that led to the birth of the National Anthem.” On August 19 and 20, 1814, over fifty British ships landed an army of more than four thousand troops at Benedict, Maryland, under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross. Their mission - the destruction of Washington, D.C. Over the next five days, this fighting force traveled north through Prince George’s County, keeping parallel with the Patuxent River, as far as possible before they turned west toward the Nation’s Capital. At the same time, the Royal Navy sailed north along the Patuxent River and provided protection to the land forces.  Commodore Joshua Barney, commander of the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla, had spent the summer successfully fending off British attempts to sail up the Chesapeake. However, on August 22, 1814, the British trapped the Flotilla in the Patuxent River near Pig Point. Barney ordered the Flotilla scuttled in order to keep it out of enemy hands. Barney and his men then marched to Bladensburg to join the American Army.  One of the worst defeats in the War of 1812 occurred on August 24, 1814, at the Battle of Bladensburg. The inexperienced Americans were routed by the seasoned British troops and their Congreve rockets. Only Comm. Barney and his men put up a valiant attempt to stop the British advance. This devastating defeat allowed the British to proceed into Washington, D.C, where they burned numerous government buildings including the U.S. Capitol and the White House. This is the only time in our nation’s history that a foreign army has invaded the United States and captured our capital. The British withdrew the next day and headed back to Benedict via Upper Marlboro.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


BALTIMORE: Baltimore Beltway/I-695 to I-97 South to MD-3/US 301 South (Exit 7 towards Bowie) to Croom Station Road; Turn left onto Croom Station Road for 1.6 mi.; Turn left on Croom Road/MD-382 for 5 mi.; Turn left onto Nottingham Road for 2.7 mi.; Entrance for Locations #1a, #1b, and #1c is straight ahead, before road curves right.  Parking will be in field in front of Location #1c.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: MD-4 East to US 301 South towards Richmond, VA for 1.6 mi. to Croom Station Road; Turn left onto Croom Station Road for 1.6 mi.; Turn left on Croom Road/MD-382 for 5 mi.; Turn left onto Nottingham Road for 2.7 mi.; Entrance for Locations #1a, #1b, and #1c is straight ahead, before road curves right.  Parking will be in field in front of Location #1c.
US 301 North across Patuxent River Bridge.  After Waldorf, stay on Route 301 North towards Baltimore, bearing right for 7.6 mi. to Croom RD/MD-382; Turn right onto Croom Road for 6.5 mi.; Turn left onto Nottingham Road for 2.7 mi.; Entrance for Locations #1a, #1b, and #1c is straight ahead, before road curves right.  Parking will be in field in front of Location #1c.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Milloff’s Catering will provide a hot lunch at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, from 11 AM to 2:30 PM.  The menu includes Southern fried boneless chicken breast, Maryland Black Oak ham, cole slaw, seasoned cut green beans, old fashioned potato salad, dinner rolls & butter, chocolate or yellow cake, iced tea or water.  Reservations are suggested by sending a check payable to PGCHS for $15/meal.  Please mail by April 15, 2014, to PGCHS, PO Box 14, Riverdale, MD 20738.  Lunches will be available on the day of the tour at $17 each.  RESTROOMS ARE AVAILABLE.




The Patuxent Riverkeeper Center in Nottingham is a gateway to the Patuxent Water Trail, a network of publicly accessible, low impact recreational sites along the Patuxent River Corridor. The Center provides trip assistance to paddlers, heritage and eco-tourism information and also serves as the Headquarters for the Patuxent Riverkeeper organization, a grassroots environmental watchdog for water quality in the entire Patuxent River. It is the only Waterkeeper organization active in Southern MD with members and activities ongoing in each of the seven counties of Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate river.



NOTTINGHAM SCHOOL, 17410 Nottingham Road

Nottingham School is one of the few surviving one-room schools in Prince George’s County.  It was built circa 1911 for $744.50 with materials from earlier schools on that site used in its construction. The building has a capacity for 40 students in grades 1 to 8. The school was closed in 1947 when the consolidation of county schools made one-room schools obsolete. The school is now restored with interior furnishings of the period.  


 MAGNOLIA KNOLL, Nottingham Road

Magnolia Knoll, also known as the Turton-Smith House, is a small early-to-mid-19th century vernacular dwelling, well situated on the picturesque Patuxent River.  The only remnant of those early years, the house is located on what was once North and Water Streets. North Street, now part of the property, existed in the gully next to the house and is where the hogsheads of tobacco were rolled onto the ships. The house is of wood frame construction and rises a low 2-½ stories, with an extended west plane suggesting an old-fashioned saltbox roof line. A large L-shaped porch provides an exquisite view of centuries of undisturbed surrounding lands, marsh and river. From the house a brick path takes you a short distance through recently created gardens to the original 1-½ story gable-roofed summer kitchen (now guest quarters).


ST. THOMAS’ EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 14300 St. Thomas Church Road

Built by Daniel Page between 1742-1745 as a chapel of ease for St. Paul’s Parish, this brick cruciform church is in the design of an English “auditory” church.  The church is mentioned in first-hand accounts from the War of 1812 as the British marched by on August 22, 1814, on their way to burn Washington, D.C.  According to local lore, seven British soldiers are buried in unmarked graves on the north side of the church.  A Gothic style renovation according to plans by J.W. Priest was accomplished during the 1850s-1860s.  The bell tower was added in 1888 in memory of Bishop Thomas John Claggett, first Bishop of Maryland.  The Church was renovated in the 1950s under the direction of noted architect Milton Grigg.  Members of the Calvert family of Mount Airy are buried here.  Daniel Dufford, parish organist, along with organists Michael Lodico, Timothy Smith, and Bradford Wilson, will play a “mini organ marathon” throughout the day on the recently installed 19 rank, custom built, pipe organ by Chesapeake Organ Builders.  St. Thomas’ is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is the centerpiece of the St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish Historic District.  Restrooms will be available.



 BELLEFILEDS, Duley Station Road

The main block of Bellefields was built in the first half of the 18th century; it was the home of Major Benjamin Oden during the War of 1812. On August 22, 1814, Brigadier General William H. Winder and his U.S. forces met James Monroe, the Secretary of State, at Bellefields to reconnoiter and possibly intercept the enemy. The British saw American horsemen and advanced west toward Bellefields to attack. The Americans withdrew; the British halted and reversed course and headed back toward Upper Marlboro. This feint fooled the Americans into thinking that the British were headed to Washington D.C. via Fort Washington and not through Bladensburg. Brig. Gen. Winder and Monroe reportedly spied the British advance from the attic window.  Bellefields is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




Commodore Joshua Barney and British war ships sailed past this point.  Visitors are encouraged to explore Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area.  This half-mile boardwalk trail provides a unique opportunity to observe the tidal and non-tidal wetlands of the Patuxent River.  This area offers an up-close look at the biodiverse communities. While in the park, visit the Patuxent Rural Life Museums which offers a collection of museums and farm buildings dedicated to preserving the heritage of southern Prince George’s County. The museum complex is composed of the W. Henry Duvall Tool Museum, a Blacksmith Shop with Farrier & Tack Shop, the Tobacco Farming Museum, Duckett Log Cabin with its privy, chicken coop, and meat house, a 1923 Sears catalog house, and the Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Museum: Working the River. Restrooms will be available.


WAVERLY, Duvall Road

Constructed c. 1855, Waverly is an excellent example of a Victorian Italianate frame house, in near original condition.  It exhibits many fine features of Italianate style, with its deeply overhanging eaves punctuated by bold jigsawn cornice brackets.  The casing of the principal entrance strikingly combines elements of both the Greek Revival and Italianate styles.  Waverly’s interior is distinguished by its handsome marble mantels, molded plaster cornices, ceiling medallions, and elegant Italianate staircase.  Immediately behind the house, two outbuildings (a meat and meal house, and a wash and wood-storage house) closely reflect architectural details in the main dwelling.  Waverly is a rare local example of period board-and-batten siding, and inspired at least one other prominent local house-builder of its time.  Today, it is the unique surviving example of its genre in Prince George’s County, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


PLEASANT HILLS, Croom Station Road

This Sasscer family home was constructed in the 1830s, with an earlier wing; it stayed in the family until 2012.  Under new stewardship, the property is being renovated and revived as a showcase that balances modern-traditional beauty with historic integrity.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, Pleasant Hills is an excellent example of the side-hall-and-double-parlor plan popular among the wealthy planter class of Prince George’s County during the early and mid 19th century.  The main house and adjoining outbuildings sit on ten acres of rolling meadows encircled by 350 acres of protected Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission woodlands.  The property is filled with a variety of unique trees planted over the course of the past two centuries, and the home is filled with an eclectic mix of old and new. The addition of chickens, goats, and bees help bring life back to the original farm.  .



CONTENT, Church Street

Content exemplifies the early Federal town house with terraces surrounded by informal plantings of trees.  The earliest (southmost) part of the house was built in 1787 by David Craufurd, Jr.  The two-story front porch, the broad hallway and the handsome stairway were added to the original house about 1800.  The north wing was built before 1844 by Dr. Benjamin Lee.  Content was home to members of the Contee, Beanes, Magruder, Lee, Bowling, and Smith families.  Although altered on the inside over the years, the pine floors, stairway, doors with carpenter locks, basement fireplace crane, and much of the woodwork remain as historic elements of Content.  An interesting feature is the tiny pent room between the two un-matched chimneys at the south gable end.  Content is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




Trinity Church was established in 1810 by Anglican Bishop Thomas John Claggett. The present Gothic Revival style  church was erected in 1846. Parish records note that during the War of 1812, British soldiers entered the church and tore pages from the parish register. “… several leaves here and some other parts of this book were torn out by Ross’s soldiers who found the book in the Church where it [was] put for safe keeping. To their eternal disgrace be it recorded …” The bell tower was added to the façade in 1896 to mark the 50th anniversary of the building.  In 1985, a complete renovation of the building restored many of the historical aspects of the space. The Gothic pews are highlighted with a trefoil design symbolizing the Trinity. The stained glass windows are remarkable in color and in theme. While visiting the sanctuary, please note the ceiling where you can see Halley’s Comet which was visible during the 1986 renovation. Also note the historic Tracker Organ in the balcony.  Restrooms will be available. 




The Bunnell-Anderson House is located next to the historic Trinity Episcopal Church cemetery.  This light and bright home was named for the two families who lived on the property for many years, one of whom was a skilled carpenter who built other homes in Upper Marlboro.  Lovingly maintained for 170 years, the home was added onto three times, providing a fascinating visual history of the progression of construction methods over time.  With shining hardwood floors, French country furnishings, welcoming porches, and a quiet, tree and flower filled garden, the home invites guests to relax, watch the wildlife, and escape the hustle and bustle of the historic Town of Upper Marlboro. 


KINGSTON, Old Crain Highway

The house was built in about 1735 by David Craufurd, Sr., a wealthy merchant and patriot.  The original structure was a typical one and one-half story colonial dwelling with four free-standing chimneys.  These architectural elements exist today within a Victorian makeover brought about by Dr. Frederick Sasscer who purchased Kingston in 1858.  The Victorian additions included front and back porches, enlarging the wing, board and batten siding, and decorative verge board.  The interior has several original colonial features that include paneling in the dining room and kitchen; wainscoting in the hallway; stairway and railing to the second floor; had pine floors; and crown molding.  The kitchen has a colonial mantel that was reconstructed from a ghost outline found during recent renovation; the contiguous firebox has highly unusual, decorative cross-hatching.  There are several old trees on the property judged to be the largest in the county; the cucumber tree (magnolia accuminata) is the largest in the state.  The outbuildings include a colonial smoke house.  There is also a family cemetery in the adjacent woods where many members of the Craufurd family are buried.  Kingston is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




The Turner House was constructed in 1853 by a local carpenter, Reuben W. Bunnell.  The original owner, Thomas J. Turner, a publisher of the local newspaper, The Planters’ Advocate, lived on the third level and rented the lower levels.  After numerous owners, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sparrough purchased the home in the mid-1970s.   A major renovation was carried out during the mid-1980s.  A majority of the original flooring survives, as well as five original fireplaces.  Both this vernacular dwelling and the house next door (#10b) contribute to their 19th-century streetscape, and are included in the Upper Marlboro Residential Historic District, recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




The house was constructed in 1852 as a side hall colonial by local carpenter Reuben Bunnell and was the home of William A. Jarboe, Clerk of the County Court and Register of Wills.  The home has been unoccupied for the last thirty or more years and is presently in the beginning stages of a complete restoration.  Visitors will be able to observe details of the original construction. 




On August 27, 1814, several townspeople including Dr. William Beanes imprisoned some disorderly British soldiers. Beanes, considered the instigator by the British, was taken hostage along with two other Americans (who were later released) and confined to a vessel in the Chesapeake Bay. Francis Scott Key and Col. John Skinner were sent to negotiate his release. The Americans were successful in securing the doctor’s freedom, but the British insisted that the three men, who were privy to their battle plans, stay in their custody until after their attack on Baltimore. That night, the Americans witnessed the 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry. When the bombing had subsided, Key saw that the tattered American flag still waved proudly over the fortification. Key was so moved by the American victory that he composed a poem later set to the tune of a popular song that would eventually become our National Anthem.


DARNALL’S CHANCE, Governor Oden Bowie Drive

Darnall’s Chance was built in 1742 for James Wardrop, a Scottish immigrant who amassed a fortune as a merchant and entrepreneur in the bustling 18th century port town of Upper Marlboro.  The dwelling complex included outbuildings, an underground burial vault, orchards, livestock, and ornamental and vegetable gardens.  The house was remodeled in 1858, which produced such a drastic change that the appearance of Wardrop’s home was forgotten. In 1986, the house was saved from demolition and restored to its 1742 appearance.  During the War of 1812, John Hodges of Darnall’s Chance was asked by local citizens to take custody of the imprisoned British soldiers and exchange them for the Americans. For his actions he was arrested and tried for treason, but found not guilty. He is the only known person to be tried for treason during the War of 1812. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Trail and The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Restrooms will be available.


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