Courtesy of Hampton National Historic Site, National Park Service
Hampton mansion reflects a style of architecture, developed in the 1750s, which is characterized by formal, symmetrical arrangements and classical details. Hampton's formal Georgian design follows the traditional five-part plan: a main house or "block," two flanking wings, and "hyphens" - enclosed passages which connect the wings to the central block.
Indentured servants were men and women who, in exchange for the price of passage, food, clothing, and shelter, were contracted to work for a specified period of time in the service of the holder of the contract. In the mid- to late-1700s, many of Hampton's indentured workers were from the England and Ireland.
An ice house was a special outbuilding found on many large estates. The structure stored ice cut from ponds in the winter and used during the hot summer months. With its subterranean, circular, stone-lined shaft, Hampton's ice house is unique because it is larger and deeper than average. The Hampton ice house was probably constructed at the same time as the mansion in 1790. Menus at Hampton show that different flavors of ice cream, presumably made from Hampton ice, were served for dessert during formal dinners.
An orangery is a type of greenhouse, used to grow plants and citrus trees in large pots. The Hampton orangery has large glass windows and a hypocaust furnace that provided heat through flues that ran under the floor. At Hampton, the potted trees were taken out in the summer to decorate the terraces. There were other greenhouses on the property. The original orangery was constructed around 1824. The current structure is a reconstruction built in the 1970s to replace the original, which burned in 1926.
The parterres were formal gardens built on terraces to the south of the main house. The ladies and gentlemen of Hampton mansion and their guests often walked in these gardens. At one time, there were at least eight parterres and five terrace levels. The word comes from the French, meaning "on the ground." The original idea behind parterres was to mimic a vivid indoor carpet.