A Mystery, the Warners and the Petsworth Parish Silver

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

We do and are thrilled that authors Dave Brown and Thane Harpole highlighted the story of the Warners and the Petsworth Silver in their book, Warner Hall: Story of a Great Plantation.

Here’s an excerpt!


On Jan. 31, 1937, in the Sunday Magazine section of an unidentified newspaper, Fannie James Nicholson discussed the numerous myths and anecdotes surrounding Warner Hall, including one concerning the Petsworth communion silver.  Her article, entitled “Warner Hall and its Lucky Names,” claimed that Augustine Warner II presented a set of communion silver to Petsworth Parish, which is now held by Ware Parish Episcopal Church, she believes this may be the original silver given to Kiskiak [York-Hampton] Parish [York County] by Nathanial Bacon the elder.

Around the time of Bacon’s Rebellion, the silver apparently disappeared from the York County parish and may have been presented to the Gloucester Parish by Warner.

Fannie Nicholson speculated that “while Speaker Warner was high in government councils, he was, nevertheless, a secret though devoted follower of the rebellious Bacon.”

Warner took the silver that was secretly presented to him by the rebel Nathaniel Bacon and presented it to the Petsworth Parish. The author concluded that Warner Hall was, along with Carter’s Creek, one of Bacon’s private headquarters in his fight against Governor Berkeley in Gloucester County instead of being the scene of extensive pillaging. But is this true?

Historian Spotswood Jones described a very different turn of events passed down over the last three centuries. Instead of suggesting that Warner secretly supported the rebel Bacon, she concludes that he returned to his ransacked home after the attack and claimed the silver Bacon left behind. At Augustine Warner II’s death, he willed the silver to Petsworth Parish. Jones agrees that the silver made its way to Ware Parish upon the dissolution of the Petsworth church, but that the flagon was lost when the pastor attempted to collect water from Poplar Spring.

The story behind the Petsworth Parish silver remains a mystery to this day.



Warner Hall: Story of a Great Plantation.

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