4th July 2017
Happy Independence Day to all of our American customers – we hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!
We’ve been wanting to post this blog for a while now about our trip to Washington Old Hall but were waiting for the perfect opportunity- which we’ve definitely found!
The Washington Old Hall is a National Trust Property, located up in Washington, Tyne and Wear and is the manor in which the First President of the USA, George Washington’s ancestors lived. Found in the heart of the village, the tranquil gardens and picturesque home were a safe haven after the upset of the English Civil War. It is in fact from here the family took their now worldwide known surname, Washington.
There’s been a hall on the site since before 1183 and was lived in – by Washington’s ancestors and others- until 1933. Parts of the medieval hall remain intact, though if you do visit, the hall you’ll see was built in the 17th century. Regardless, it’s a beautiful property to visit and the stories you’ll find there are amazing – to see where one of the Founding Father’s ancestors came from and his heritage as well as many pieces of memorabilia is remarkable.
As we mentioned, the Washington family didn’t originally have that surname. William de Hertburn came to Washington pre 1183 after swapping his Stockton on Tees estate with Prince Bishop of Durham – a hugely powerful man. Arriving in Washington, he took on the name of his new estate – becoming William de Washington – beginning the Washington dynasty.
From England to America; it was William de Washington’s descendant, Colonel John Washington who emigrated to the New World and ended up settling in Virginia in 1656, perhaps leaving due to family difficulties during the English Civil War – whatever the reason, a huge step. It was John’s great grandson, born in February 1732 who would go on to become one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and the First President – George Washington.
George Washington was the son of an American tobacco planter and though most know of the mark he made on the USA and their culture even today, it’s amazing to visit the place where his family name started so long before. The name ‘Washington’ is Anglo-Saxon, and means, according to literature of the National Trust, “Hwassa = a saxon cheif, Inga = the family of, and Tun = the estate. ‘The Estate of the Hwassa Family.”
He was the leader of the forces aimed to secure the independence of the American Colonies from Britain after the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on 4th July 1776 whereby The Thirteen Colonies of America declared themselves to be states and no longer a part of the British Empire – though the revolutionary war did continue for some time afterwards. Washington remains the only President in all of American history to be elected by unanimous voice of the people.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – The Declaration of Independance
Happy 4th Everyone! Remember, if you’re in the area, the Washington Old Hall National Trust property is well worth a visit!