History of Wedmore Place
The 300 acre
farm where Wedmore Place stands today was
acquired in 1983 as
a virtually abandoned parcel by Patrick and
Peggy Duffeler. They named it Wessex Hundred; “Wessex”,
meaning Saxons of the West, to reflect their
combined cultural heritage, “Hundred” the
traditional identification of early settlements
for a tract of land that could provide for
one hundred residents.
The Duffelers and their two sons, Patrick II
and Terence moved from Spain where they had
resided for several years to Virginia in the
summer of that year.
Considerable research was done to uncover
the history of the farm. In 1607, as the
British expedition that was to begin the
history of the new world from Jamestown Island,
the peninsula of land that is constituted
by the farm had been selected as a more desirable
place by captain Gabriel Archer of the Godspeed.
he had been overruled and the three ships dropped
anchor at Jamestown. The farm, settled in 1615
had remained identified as Archer’s Hope.
In 1781, it was shown on the military maps of
the French armies of Lafayette in its participation
in the Revolutionary war against the British
crown as the plantation of “Maitre Bland” a
reverend active in the movement towards American
Though the first project that was begun on the
farm besides the reconstruction of a dwelling
that was found out to have dated from 1736, was
the start of the first planting of grapes in
1985 and the establishment of a winery, the planning
for the design of a Country-Hotel was very much
on the mind of the Duffelers.
The Williamsburg Winery was to release its first
wine in 1988 to acclaim at the Norfolk wine competition
and receive a “Best of Show" award.
It grew from a modest 2,000 cases in that year
to some 60,000 cases establishing itself as the
largest winery in the Commonwealth. (See also,
history of the Williamsburg Winery.)
The original Wessex was, in the IXth century,
the kingdom of Alfred the Great, considered by
distinguished historians as one of the “noblest
of English rulers” and “the most
perfect character in history”. In 878 he
established the peace of Wedmore by a treaty
between the Saxons and the Danes to come to peaceful
terms and provide for a period of economic, social
and cultural development.
Wedmore Place was the name selected for the
Country-Hotel located in the middle of the farm,
a place of quiet surroundings, “far from
the madding crowd”, a place conceptualized
to feature art, history and culture in its stylistic
design, its themes and decoration.
Patrick Duffeler traveled to Somerset, in Western
England, the heart of the then Wessex kingdom
and stayed at the village of Wedmore, at the
George hotel, to research its history and visit
its surroundings. The George hotel in Wedmore,
Somerset takes its name from Baron George Jeffreys
The hotel was built in the XIVth century and
one of its most colorful and celebrated moments
was its use as the Court of "George Jeffreys,
Lord Chief Justice of England." Baron Jeffreys
had been sent as the judge to punish the supporters
of the Duke of Monmouth who had rebelled against
King James II. While in Wedmore, Patrick Duffeler
bought several books on Wedmore, Somerset, which
are in the library.