Castle Hall
National Historic Site


Photo and description courtesy of Maryland Historical Trust

        Thomas Hardcastle, the builder of Castle Hall, was a prominent member of a family long active in county and state affairs.  He built a house commensurate with his his social position.  Castle Hall is not only a large, solidly built brick house, but also a well proportioned and finely detailed structure.  The decorative changes in the bond of the brickwork, the masonry lintels over the first floor windows, and the Chippendale porch on the main facade are details that give a clear feeling of elegance.  The unusually large size of the kitchen wing, at one time detached or connected to the main block by a colonnade, is a further reflection of Hardcastle's wealth.
        An additional explanation for the fine detailing of Castle Hall's front facade may be that Thomas Hardcastle was a "master builder."  He was also a planter, although on the several deeds he was granted, he is designated as "Gentleman."  He received considerable acreage at his father's death but Castle Hall was built on 12681/2 acres he bought himself between 1778 and 1783.  He surveyed these holdings in 1791 and named the estate "Golden Bottom".  The extent of Hardcastle's acreage made him one of Maryland's largest landholders in the mid-1780's.
        Hardcastle was an energetic participant in local affairs during the revolutionary era and the several decades that followed.  During the Revolution, he was a member of the Caroline Committee of Safety, the body empowered to raise troops in the county.  In 1776, he was elected quartermaster of the West Battalion of the Caroline County troops.  A year later, he and three others were appointed by the County Court to determine a place of meeting for that body.  He served as a Justice of the County Court, and as a member of a board of trustees appointed to establish an almshouse in 1788.

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