North Wales exterior and pool

North Wales History

In 1718, this historic property was granted by Lady Catherine Culpeper Fairfax to Col. Rice Hooe, Jr., and Capt. John Hooe. John willed his interest in the property to his daughter, Ann, who later married William Allason. William was a successful merchant from Falmouth, VA, and together, William and Ann built the original five-bay, two-story Georgian-style stone home between 1776 and 1796. In 1815 the home was appraised for $1,500, placing it in the ten most valuable residences in Fauquier County. This portion is now preserved as the central passage of the manor. 


The estate remained in the original family for six Hooe-Allason generations until 1914 when it was sold to Edward M. Weld, a Harvard educated Wall Street broker for $20,000. Weld was an avid horseman and began transforming North Wales into an equestrian estate with the additions of the carriage house, equestrian center, stables, barns, offices, tenant houses and a Dutch Colonial Revival-style house.


Between 1916 and 1920 and with the aid of Arthur Little and Herbert Brown, leading period architects from Boston, Weld added large wings and north- and south-facing porticoes to the main house in the Colonial Revival style which resulted in the current five-part Palladian plan. Weld, also with the help of Little and Brown, constructed the two-story stone carriage house, added extensive Renaissance- and English-style landscaping, and built terraced lawns. 

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North Wales was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. View the complete registration and nomination form here:

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In 1922, Weld deeded the estate to North Wales Farms, Inc., a private corporation of which he was president. In 1929, a corporation called Colonial Estates with Robert C. Winmill as president bought North Wales. Robert C. Winmill was a neighbor and owner of the adjacent Clovelly estate who subsequently convinced forty men, mostly from New York, to pay $5,000 each to purchase the property as a private sportsman’s club for shooting, fox hunting, and general socializing, calling it “North Wales Club.” The Club added viewing stations, a bathhouse, hunt pavilion, and lookout tower to the hunting landscape.  


Walter P. Chrysler Jr., son of auto magnate and founder of Chrysler’s Air-Temp division, purchased the property in 1941. Chrysler was an industrialist, scholar, and art collector who used the paneled walls of the manor as a backdrop for his collection of works by Picasso, Rodin, Degas, and Matisse, among others––one of the most important collections of Expressionistic art in the country. Chrysler also took advantage of the equestrian facilities to breed racehorses. He added a small conservatory to house his mother’s orchids, rebuilt Weld’s tennis court, constructed a swimming pool, an equestrian arcade, and barns. Chrysler also held roaring parties and balls and North Wales became a renowned venue that entertained ambassadors, justices, congressmen, and members of high society. 


Chrysler sold the estate in 1957 to former Oklahoma Congressman Victor Wickersham because, “Virginia did not have pari-mutual racing.” For the next 30 years development––including a 1968 request by then owner Cooper Communities Inc. for rezoning––threatened the historic value of North Wales until the Board of Supervisors denied it. It was held until 1996 when it was bought by Michael V. Prentiss and his wife, Patricia, who placed the property under conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and who painstakingly maintained the manor and its dependencies. North Wales was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. 


The current owners have continued in this tradition to ensure that meticulous attention is paid to even the smallest details and that North Wales retains its long-lived glory.


Source: United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Continuation Sheet 8

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