House of Burgesses Way and Chelsea Road
(off Route 60, Bypass Road)
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Burgesses Quarters is a 97-unit Townhouse Community. Open by appointment only. For more information visit the website.
The House of Burgesses was an assembly of elected representatives from Virginia that met from 1643 to 1776. This democratically elected legislative body was the first of its kind in English North America. From 1619 until 1643, elected Burgesses met in unicameral session with the governor and the royally appointed Governor's Council; after 1643, the Burgesses met separately as the lower house of the General Assembly of Virginia. Each county sent two Burgesses to the house; towns could petition to send a single representative, as Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Norfolk did. (The College of William and Mary also had representation in the House.) Most Burgesses were also members of the gentry class, though the colonists they represented were usually small landowners and tenant farmers. In 1774, when the House of Burgesses began to support resistance to the Crown, it was dissolved by Virginia's royal governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore. The Virginia Constitution of 1776 created a new General Assembly that replaced the Governor's Council with an elected Senate and the House of Burgesses with an elected House of Delegates. The House of Burgesses is notable for being the training ground of many of America's Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry.
From the Encyclopedia of Virginia. For further reading click here.