The Ludwell family had arguably more impact upon Virginia’s foundations in the shortest amount of time. In just over a century three Philip Ludwells stood atop Virginia’s power structure, and then because of no male heirs, the name vanished in all but first and middle names used by other First Family relatives.
They hailed from Bruton, Somersetshire, England, the same area as Governor William Berkeley. In fact, they were most likely related to the powerful 17th Century Colonial leader, which appears to have aided the Ludwells from the very beginning.
Thomas Ludwell served in the Cavalier army during the English Civil War alongside Governor Berkeley’s brother John. John Berkeley recommended Thomas to become Virginia’s Colonial Secretary of State as a reward for his service to the Crown, and Charles II obliged. Thus, Thomas moved to Virginia. Philip, Thomas’s youngest brother, tagged along, and together they planted the Ludwell name firmly in Virginia’s history.
LINKS TO THE PODCAST:
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- Browne, John. The Story of Ravensworth: a History of the Ravensworth Landgrant in Fairfax County, Virginia. 2018.
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- Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
- Dimmick, Jesse. “Green Spring.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, 1929, pp. 129–130. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1921215.
- Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
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- Virginia B. Price. “Constructing to Command: Rivalries between Green Spring and the Governor’s Palace, 1677-1722.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 113, no. 1, 2005, pp. 2–45. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4250232.
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- Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.
- “Ludwell Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 4, 1911, pp. 295–295. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1919432.
- “Ludwell Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 3, 1911, pp. 199–214. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1915601.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of Philip Ludwell Sr’s Crest. Greenspring Plantation is from Green Spring Plantation as seen by Benjamin Latrobe during the plantation’s Ludwell ownership. The Ludwell Paradise House is from Virginia Places.