Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Statehouse Foundations

Our final bit of heraldry at Jamestown, Virginia, is at the markers at the site of the original Virginia Statehouse. As the marker there notes, this was the site of the first purpose-built statehouse, and recognizing the influence in America of the laws and legal institutions of England. “American representative government is the legacy that had its start in England. The people of early Jamestown brought not only cargo and supplies, but ideals of the rule of law, which were successfully planted in this new place.”

The Statehouse was built about 1663, and burned in 1698. The following year, the capitol was moved up the road to Williamsburg. The Statehouse was never rebuilt, and some of its bricks were used for construction in Williamsburg. Nothing was rebuilt on the foundations. Excavations in the last decade to uncover the foundations have discovered that the Statehouse was built over an unmarked burial ground which probably dates back to the earliest days of the settlement.

A memorial plaque next to the descriptive marker was presented by, and has the coats of arms of, the English Inns of Court and commemorates the 400th anniversary of the founding of the colony at Jamestown in 1607.

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