Church Point manor & The Cellars

Church Point Manor History

Our History

Located in a Virginia Beach Historic & Cultural Overlay Zoning District, Church Point Manor is built on the original tract of land bequeathed by King Charles I of England to colonist Adam Thoroughgood. After serving his indentured servitude to the Virginia Company of London, as a means to pay for passage to Virginia Colony, Thoroughgood was granted land in 1639 and elected to the House of Burgesses, the Governor’s Council, and eventually a Justice of the Court. A captain in the local militia, he also started the area’s first ferry service. Naming the Lynnhaven River after his home in England, Thoroughgood established the first Lynnhaven Parish Church, a court, and a glebe, or farm, house. Known today as Old Donation Church, it is the oldest Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach.

The congregation built three separate churches: the first completed in 1639 at Church Point (Lynnhaven Parish Church
No. 1), the second in 1692 on the West Branch of the Lynnhaven River (Lynnhaven Parish Church No. 2), and the third was completed in 1736 near the second building (present day Old Donation Church). Old Donation is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the stops on the Bayside History Trail. Today Old Donation Church stands as the oldest Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach.

The Church was originally established as Lynnhaven Parish Church. The word “Donation” was informally added after 1776 when the last colonial rector, the Reverend Robert Dickson, (who is buried under the altar), donated land to the church to continue the funding of his boys orphanage. “Old” first appeared in the Vestry Record in 1822, when the vestry ordered that the “church called ‘old Donation Church’ be put in repair”.

The original structure was built on what was then known as Churches Point on the Lynnhaven River in the eastern portion in what was later subdivided to form Princess Anne County in 1691 (and the present City of Virginia Beach in 1963). The church and its graveyard are known to have fallen into the Lynnhaven River at the end of the 17th century. Early settler and Thoroughgood’s godson, Adam Keeling, dug the present Lynnhaven Inlet to provide an alternative route for fisherman to enter Chesapeake Bay. The swift currents eventually eroded the point where the church stood.

The London Company lost its franchise and Virginia became a royal colony in 1624. In 1634, the Colony was divided into shires, soon renamed counties, a term still in use in Virginia 350 years later. In 1635, he earned a land patent for over 5,000 acres (20 km²) in this area for having persuaded 105 new residents to settle in Virginia, including Augustine Warner, a progenitor of Virginians George Washington and Robert E. Lee. He is credited using the name of his home in England when helping name New Norfolk County when it was formed from Elizabeth City County in 1637. From New Norfolk County, there were several additional smaller entities formed including most notable Norfolk County, which existed from 1691 to 1963 and is now the City of Chesapeake and most famously the town which became the modern City of Norfolk.

Thoroughgood granted rights to 262 acres to the church, so the original pastor could cultivate crops and defray his costs of living. The farm remained a vegetable producer for the next 350 years. One of the rare surviving 19th century farmhouses in the area, the Victorian farmhouse features the original Italianate detail at the cornices and decorative window lintels. Elijah Fillmore Truit, a Norfolk man, owned the house for most of the early part of the 20th century. Granddaughter, Margaret Truitt Joyal, claims that the original owners may have been the Garrison family, who sold it to her grandfather. The Burroughs family bought the property in 1932, combining the farm and its property to the adjacent Bayville Farm, and eventually Pembroke Farm and Hickory Farm. Mr. Burroughs hired and housed different farmers and their families throughout his years of ownership to help manage the farms: the Mast family in the 1930’s and the Porter family from 1945-1972. In 1993 developer, Jahn Summs, purchased, renovated and converted the historic property into a charming and splendid bed & breakfast and neighborhood pub. The B&B passed through the hands of local developer and Norfolk’s Admirals hockey team owner, Mark Garcea, to the current owner and philanthropist, Gerald F McDonnell. Today we strive to bring the community a thriving venue to remind us of our rich history while providing a luxurious retreat and fine epicurean treats.