Currently under the stewardship of the Radley Run Country Club, the rich history of the Mansion House spans hundreds of years, occupying a unique niche in Chester County, PA. Our primary goal is to restore and preserve the 250-year-old Mansion House that was in the path of soldiers marching to the Battle of the Brandywine during the Revolutionary War. The Mansion House has served many purposes over the years, from a farming house to a foxhunting base. Today it remains a landmark to the Radley Run community for its’ beauty and educational value.
The Mansion House is part of the Painter Complex and is on the Birmingham Township list of Historic Resources. We have recently been approved by the State Historical Preservation Office as eligible to apply for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The parcel presently comprising Radley Run Country Club was originally part of a 1000-acre tract purchased from William Penn in 1686 by John Cornwell and William Hudson. In 1722, two smaller tracts were divided off, with 312 acres purchased by Samuel Painter, Sr. and 250 acres by John Collier. In 1747, the Collier tract was again divided after the death of John Collier, with George Gilpin purchasing 118 acres “in trust and for the use of” his brother-in-law, Samuel Painter, Jr. The Samuel Painter, Jr. House, the James Painter House (Mansion House), the Springhouse/Lye House, and the Forebay Stone Barn (Clubhouse) all stand on this 118-acre tract.
James Painter House aka The Mansion House
The James Painter House was constructed in several episodes, with the original house built in 1770 by James Painter (one of three sons of Samuel Painter, Jr.) and his wife Jane and remaining in the family until it was sold in 1897. The original house measured 30 by 30 feet, was two stories tall and had a stone kitchen. James Painter’s grandson (also James) inherited the property upon his grandfather’s death in 1822. James and his wife Betsy expanded the house in 1847 (a date stone demarcating this event can be seen today). This included the addition of a third story, a two-story kitchen with bake oven, and a two-bay, three-story wing. The original 1770 date stone was relocated to the third story of the west gable end at this time.
Charles Mather Era
Over the ensuing century and a half, the property remained in the Painter Family’s possession until 1897, when Charles E. Mather, an insurance broker headquartered in Philadelphia, purchased it. Mather was a long-standing Master of Fox Hounds at the Radnor Hunt, and he quickly transformed the Painter Farm into a “hunting box” known as “Brandywine Meadows Farm”. In 1902, Charles Mather added a three-story massively-pillared portico to the south façade of the building. In 1912, he added a 42′ by 24′ brick ballroom to the east gable end of the 1847 addition (also demarcated by a date-stone). This transformation, including the introduction of formal gardens and landscaping, the conversion of the Painter barn (Clubhouse) into a hunting stable, and the construction of an elaborate kennel, was accomplished by the Philadelphia architectural firm of Keen and Mead.
The James Painter House (Mansion House) served as the headquarters of the Mather Hunt until 1963, when the estate was sold to an enterprise headed by Z. Edmund Prince and Nick R. DuPont, who had a grand vision for what ultimately would become the Radley Run Country Club and the surrounding community.
On the site of the Mansion House is the Radley Run Country Club. The majestic 18-golf course was designed by Alfred Tuttle and opened to play in 1965. Today’s Mansion House is Radley’s gem and we are in the process of developing our annual calendar for bi-monthly open houses, semi-annual educational seminars and collaborative community events with the Township and County.