The Great Valley House of Valley Forge
Table Of Contents
"Did George Washington sleep here?" is a question often asked by visitors to The Great Valley House of Valley Forge Bed and Breakfast in Malvern, Pennsylvania. This 300 year old house dates before the house George Washington stayed at during the Valley Forge encampment.
While the house retains much of its original splendor, like the original fireplaces and random-width wood floorboards, it still offers the modern conveniences that visitors have come to expect. The hosts are always willing to describe all the fascinating historical features of their home, like the hand forged iron hinges and other antiques that decorate the walls and rooms of the inn.
But the beauty of the Great Valley Forge House does not end indoors! The Great Valley House was built into bed rock near the banks of the Little Valley Creek, which flows into Valley Forge. The property's four acres are a mixture of history and modern amenities, from the old underground cold storage stone smoke house to the ancient trees that surround the large swimming pool. If you wish to relax outside the house, there are two patios and a front porch.
- Colonial atmosphere
- Country setting
- Swimming pool
- Near Valley Forge Park
- Historic Philadelphia
- Kid friendly
Just a short driving distance from Philadelphia, Lancaster, King of Prussia and Brandywine Valley, The Great Valley House has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post and featured on theTravel Channel's, "The History Traveler" as part of a show on George Washington's travels. Most recently selected by Dateline NBC as a production location for one of their programs.
We are conveniently located near the Great Valley Corporate Center, so we are the perfect choice for business travelers looking for a change of pace from the typical hotel stay. We offer reduced rates for single occupancy between Sunday and Thursday, as well as flexible check-in, early breakfasts as needed and wireless internet.
Each morning, a full gourmet breakfast is served in the pre-revolutionary old kitchen. The kitchen itself is a marvel, featuring a stone sink that is thought to be one of only two pre-1700's in the country. During cooler weather, guests may enjoy the warmth of the 12 foot wide walk-in fireplace with the original swing crane and carved 300 year old mantle.
Guests are able to select their breakfast time between 8 and 9:30 AM. The menu changes daily, but the innkeepers are willing to make every effort possible to honor any dietary restrictions. Please let the innkeepers know in advance.
For an additional $12 per seat and 24 hours advanced notice, guests are invited to bring friends, relatives or business associates not staying at the inn to enjoy the special breakfast prepared by the innkeepers.
While visiting the Great Valley Forge House, explore the history and beauty of the surrounding cities. You can find something to suit everyone's interests in valley Forge, but Philadelphia and Chester County are only a short drive away. For more information about all the local attractions, please visit our Area Activities page. Below is only a sample of the available activities:
- Historic Valley Forge National Park provides information on the museum, the history, who served there and George Washington.
- Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau is a great resource for information on our area.
- Brandywine Battlefield Park brings to life the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War, fought on September 11, 1777 between the Continental army and the British army
- Chester County Historical Society Explore 300 years of Chester County history.
- Longwood Gardens offers 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows; 20 outdoor gardens; 20 indoor gardens within 4 acres of heated greenhouses; 11,000 different types of plants and spectacular fountains.
- Winterthur Museum World's premier collection of American decorative arts 1640-1860, showcased in Period Rooms and exhibition Galleries, Garden & tram.
- Historic Brandywine Valley Discover the natural beauty, history, art, antiques, mansions and gardens. Brandywine is nestled amidst the rolling hills of southern Chester County, PA, and northern New Castle County, DE where the paper was milled for the Declaration of Independence and America's first currency.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- Historic Bartram's Garden America's oldest living botanical garden, a pastoral 18th century homestead surrounded by the urban bustle of Philadelphia.
The Great Valley House History
William Penn received the royal charter for Pennsylvania from Charles II, in 1681. William Penn granted land to John ap John, the chief disciple of Quakerism in Wales. This tract of land was part of the original Welsh Tract that covered most of what is known today as the Main Line of Philadelphia.
William Penn deeded to William Mordant, on 10/24/1681, a tract of 607 acres in Philadelphia, William Mordant later died leaving as heir Thomas Mordant.
During the period of time from 1681 to the 1700s there were many squatters and informal leases in the area. The original construction of the Great Valley House began prior to 1700 by undocumented tenants. This conclusion is based on the architectural feature of the stone sink built as part of the stone wall in the Old Kitchen. Sinks of this nature were typical of Welsh construction prior to the advent of the Dry Sink in the late 1600's
Thomas Mordant and Osmand Mordant by deed dated 1/28/1711 conveyed the land to John Evans. John Evans, by deed dated 3/5/1716 in Philadelphia, conveyed the property to John Moore.
John Evans was the Lieutenant Governor of Pa. and heavily involved in acquiring land during this period. John Moore was a whig and the Customs Collector. Evans had to return to Great Britain and transferred the land to Moore to sell for him. The Evans/Moore relationship was not strictly business as Evans married Moore's daughter in 1708.
John Moore by deed dated 7/7/1720 conveyed to Thomas James the tract of 607 acres. (deed was signed by Benjamin Franklin, Justice of the Peace, one of his earlier jobs)
Thomas James is the first person to take up legal residence in 1720. Thomas James lived a full life here and built most of the house, one stone at a time.
Thomas James by will dated 12/8/1750 provided as follows: "I give and bequeath unto Ann James, wife free and full use of this real estate during her natural life. And at her decease to Lewis James in fee." Ann James by deed dated 2/23/1753 conveyed unto John Kinkade tract of 322 acres.
John Kinkade's mortgage was foreclosed in 1760 in a suit brought by William Moore, Exr. of Robert Moore. The 322 acre property was sold to JOHN WILSON by Sheriffs Deed Poll dated 9/13/1760.
John Wilson was the owner during the Revolutionary War and he was a Tredyffrin resident who, we believe, was raised on the Wilson farm just east of here in what is now known as The Wilson Farm Park in Chesterbrook. John Wilson sub-divided his land, 30 acres going to Isaac Davis in 1760 (Chester County deed book F-2, Vol 30, pg 506), 112 acres of it going to his son David Wilson in 1779 (deed book Z, Vol 24, pg 287). A portion of the David Wilson tract of land, with the original house he built, had remained with Wilson family descendants until the death of Martha Wilson in 1997. The David Wilson house is no longer owned by Wilson's but has being restored and expanded.
This web page is dedicated to the memory of
who passed away August 8, 1997 at the age of 80
Another 190 acres with the John Wilson house, AKA The Great Valley House, was sold to Fredrick Houseman in 1785 (deed book A-2, Vol 25, pg 178).
John Wilson and Judith, by deed dated 6/30/1785 conveyed to Fredrick Houseman messauge (dwelling house) and plantation in Tredyffrin
A date stone in the west peak of the house is inscribed "Fredrick Houseman 1791". The west part of the house was added by Fredrick Houseman and the addition, the "modern" part of the house, was completed in the year 1791.
Fredrick Houseman died 3/12/1800. All heirs filed that George Beaver son-in-law of decedent may accept same at $3664. George Beaver and Susanna, by deed dated 3-13-1801, conveyed unto John Zook and Christian Zook, messuage and tract in Tredyffrin, containing 190 acres. Christian Zook and Magdalena, by deed dated 1-11-1802, conveyed unto John Zook aforesaid tract. John Zook and Elizabeth, by deed dated 11-26-1811, conveyed unto William Thomas two tracts of land in Tredyffrin.
WILLIAM THOMAS left his mark, his initials with the date 1812 is carved on the mantle over the old colonial fire place. William Thomas died 1829 and left the property to Joseph Thomas who sold it with 93 acres for $8,111.
Many owners had the pleasure of this house from 1833 until we bought it in 1982. The acreage is now down to 4 acres and the purchase price was considerably more than the $8,111 that was paid in 1833.
We hope you can come and share our house with us.