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VA 745 and 626, 6 miles north of Middleburg

A modest crossroads village reinvented to reflect the country life aspirations of its twentieth-century property owners, Leithtown was originally known as Pot House because of the brick and pot factory located there. William Benton, a builder from Leesburg, constructed two houses, New Lisbon and Leith House, in the 1830s. In the second decade of the twentieth century two notable enthusiasts of the country life movement, Joseph B. Thomas and Charlotte Haxall Noland, remade New Lisbon and the Leith farm. Writing in Country Life magazine about 1906, Walter A. Dyer exclaimed: “Loudoun County exemplifies country life in about purest and pleasantest form that I have yet found in the United States.… The ideals there are practically identical with those that have made country life in English counties world famous.” This bucolic image of the county inspired Thomas and Noland to undertake their respective projects.

Huntlands (1837, William Benton, builder; renovation, 1913; northwest corner of Virginia 745 and 626) as it exists today is the creation of Joseph Thomas of New York, who married Clara Fargo, a Wells Fargo heiress, and aspired to become the lion of the local fox-hunting scene. He remade New Lisbon to serve this end, adding a portico and wings and redecorating the interior. Site improvements included a massive stone wall pargeted with stucco and equipped with brick coping and the porter's lodge at the entrance. Thomas became master of the Piedmont Hunt and, on the basis of study in Europe, wrote the landmark work Hounds and Hunting through the Ages. His enthusiasm for the hunt is reflected in the symmetrically placed stables and kennels behind the main house. Each of the large structures consists of arcaded ranges around a courtyard. The kennels were equipped with a trophy room and hound hospital.

Down the road a few hundred yards is Foxcroft School (1837, William Benton, builder; renovation and additions, 1914–1947; southeast corner of Virginia 745 and 626), created by Charlotte Haxall Noland, a native of the Middleburg area. She was a teacher who had begun her career at private schools in the Northeast. She acquired the Leith farm in 1914 and over the next fifty years rebuilt it to replicate the schools where she had taught. The daughters of the eastern elite were and are schooled in the virtues of the country life at the school. Horsemanship has always been a major part of the school's regimen, as reflected in the equestrian facilities and country setting. The original farmhouse was expanded and several additional buildings were constructed during the first ten years of the school's history. The campus has evolved since in a fairly random manner.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Leithtown", [Alexandria, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 112-112.

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