Surrounded by approximately 6,728 lush acres, the driveway is lined with a double avenue of oak tress dripping with moss. Construction of the home dates back to 1686, makes it the oldest masonry structure in South Carolina. It was rebuilt in 1704 after a fire, after which substantial additions made in 1855 and was completely renovated in 1929.
Jan Van Arrsens, the Seigneur of Wernhaut (also “Weirnhoudt”), led a small group of settlers from Holland to the province of Carolina around 1686. He built his house on the Back River, which was formerly called the “Meadway” or “Medway”. Van Arrsens died soon after his arrival and was buried at Medway.
His widow, Sabrina de Vignon, married Landgrave Thomas Smith around 1687, which made Smith one of the wealthiest men in the Province. Sabrina Smith died in 1689 and was buried at Medway. Thomas Smith was appointed governor of the Province of Carolina in 1693, died in 1694 and was also buried at Medway.
After his death, the plantation went to his son, Thomas Smith II. In 1701, Smith sold it to Edward Hyrne. When Hyrne failed to pay the mortgage in 1711, it reverted back to Thomas Smith II. It was sold numerous times in the 18th century and was eventually purchased by Theodore Samuel Marion, a nephew of Francis Marion, a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress and a prominent figure in the American Revolution. In 1827, it passed on to his grandson, Theodore Samuel DuBose. In the period 1833 to 1835, Dubose sold it to his brother-in-law Peter Gaillard Stoney, who also owned the West Point Rice Mill in Charleston.
During Stoney’s ownership, Medway Plantation was productive both winter and summer. In the summer, rice was the principal work and during the winter, brick-making was a major activity. Medway and other plantations in the area produced “Carolina Grey” bricks from the local clay along the river bank. Medway’s bricks were used in constructing buildings in Charleston and were some of bricks used to build Fort Sumter. The plantation also produced timber and some naval stores. Finally, the plantation was used for recreational hunting.
In 1906, it was purchased by Samuel Gaillard Stoney, who was a nephew of Peter Gaillard Stoney . John Bennett (1865–1956), who was a friend of Samuel and his wife, Louisa, used Medway as the setting for his novel The treasure of Peyre Gaillard. A son of Samuel and Louisia Stoney, also named Samuel Gaillard Stoney (1891–1968), wrote Plantations of the Carolina Low Country, other books on the architecture of the South Carolina Lowcountry and co-authored books of Gullah freed slave stories.
In 1930, Medway was purchased by Sidney and Gertrude Legendre. Although Sidney died in 1948 and was buried at Medway, it was Gertrude Sanford Legendre who is best known for her experiences as a big-game hunter and as an SS agent during the war. She was the first American woman captured in World War II and after six months’ in captivity, she escaped to Switzerland. Gertrude died in 2000 and is buried at Medway.
Medway is a magnificent home having retained the original Dutch design. It has an impressive living room graced with 10-foot ceilings, heart-pine flooring and wainscoting. The dining rooms cypress-panelled walls lead into a commercial-grade kitchen as well as a pantry.
The master suite boasts a fireplace and there are five additional bedrooms and five full and one half baths that are charming and elegant.
There are four guest houses, three staff houses, an indoor and outdoor pool and a boat landing on the river.
There is a later addition lakefront lodge built by the current owners stepfather that looks out over the superb boating lake.
There is a 12-stall horse stable , a greenhouse and traditional formal gardens.
Also on the property is an old smokehouse and the original carriage house that overlooks one of the 13 lakes for recreational fishing.
In times past the owners had hunting parties of quail, deer, turkey, duck and dove.