Situated on a spacious green, the Hanover County Courthouse is very similar to other arcade courthouses, especially that in contiguous
Patrick Henry argued several cases here and in 1774 gave an important address. Until the Virginia legislature passed a law in the early 1790s requiring the construction of fireproof clerk's offices, many court clerks kept the county records in their personal possession, often miles from the courthouse. Such was the case in Hanover County, where only in the second quarter of the nineteenth century was the first purpose-built clerk's office built just northwest of the colonial courthouse. The building has more than tripled in size over the last 150 years from the original three-bay, one-story brick portion measuring 35 by 22 feet. Also on the grounds is the jail (c. 1840), built of locally quarried sandstone.