Scott Castle – Royal Orchard – Afton VA

 Scott Castle
Suit of Armor – CCA SA 3.0 Unported by Anthonyjonker23
It was about November 1981 when I came from New Jersey to live in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was driving in a Volkswagen Beetle with a couple of friends, who told me a tale concerning the Scott Family. They informed me the famous paper towel Scotts purchased a sizable chunk of land in Albemarle County. On the land they had built a castle – Scott Castle. In addition, there was a family airstrip. Tragically, one took his own life, suffocating himself with a plastic bag.

Relating the “Facts”

Then, today, in November 2013, I was in a van with 5 friends when I recollected the story, now a twice-told tale. With conviction, I related the events spoken to me 32 years previously. When I got home, I decided to look for pictures and further narrative to widen my understanding of the situation. I succeeded in finding what I was looking for.



The Reality – Scott Castle?

The reality is, the information I had been given was only partly correct. The family lived in Virginia, but miles away from where it was indicated to be—at the border between Albemarle and Nelson Counties. As far as I have been able to determine, there was no suicide, either. The family is named Scott, but they are not the paper towel people. Instead, they are from Richmond, Virginia.*
Scott Castle
Aerial View


The actual address of “Scott Castle” is 501 Royal Orchard Drive, Afton, VA. It is not Scott Castle, but Royal Orchard. Formerly they had given tours of their residence, but following a robbery, tours were discontinued. The family desires strict privacy. To that end, access is gated and guarded.

My wife thinks the place is a bit creepy, but I find it enchanting. Curiously, I’ve often driven right past its entrance and I’d be heard to remark, I wonder what’s up there? Here is an image of part of the grounds.

* It should be noted that the same Scott family who owns the castle in Afton, owns a farm where my friends said the family was located—Bundoran Farm. In fact, it does have an airstrip.

Note: You might also enjoy Deciphering a Cryptic 1700s Philadelphia Tombstone

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6 thoughts on “Scott Castle – Royal Orchard – Afton VA

  • Sarah

    My mother used to take us there on occasion when I was a child. We had picnics on the grounds near the castle and we were free to roam around. I remember the stairway always being roped off. I wanted to go up there very badly but never did for fear of being caught. I even found an old medicine type bottle buried half way in the ground once. There were several things like that to be found but that was the only [thing] my mother let me keep. I figured if you dug around there very much then surely there would be treasure, ha-ha! Fun memories.

  • dick hofheimer

    Right. Scott was founder of the Richmond, VA brokerage firm, Scott and Stringfellow, and rector of UVA, whose football stadium carries his name. (He made a substantial contribution.) I’d previously heard the stadium was named for the toilet paper Scotts–not so. That attribution may be due to the quality of football historically played there. Of interest, Royal Orchard is accessed from Rt. 250 by a massive concrete overpass, traversing I-64 and ending at the RO gate. It was built, doubtlessly at huge expense, apparently for the sole purpose of providing access to the estate.

  • Jerry Thompson

    The “massive concrete overpass” as referenced by Mr. Hofheimer is simply a small driveway bridge spanning I-64 and connecting each section of the original driveway to Scott’s Castle. The original driveway or Royal Orchard drive was interrupted and separated during the construction of I-64. A temporary driveway (bypass) to the Castle was created while the bridge was being construction. The expense to construct the driveway bridge was solely the State’s responsibility as part of the Scott family’s agreement with Virginia, that in-part granted land access to the State as necessary to construct I-64. It is important to note that the Scott family owned the east section of Afton Mountain where I-64 was then slated to be constructed. Without the full cooperation of the Scott family, I-64 very possibly would cross Afton mountain in a different location.

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