More than 800 years ago the name of the village of Wessyngton, England, after gradual changes, became known as the village of Washington.

William fitz Patric, also known as William de Hertburn, moved to the village in 1183. Before surnames were in general use, nobles and landowners assumed the name of the property they owned. Thus, William de Hertburn became William de Wessyngton. He was the first ancestor of George Washington to live at Wessyngton (Washington). Had he not moved there in 1183, America's first President and its capital might have been named Hertburn, (pronounced Heartburn in England).

Perhaps William de Hertburn built the original Washington Old Hall or  maybe it already existed. Today it is a typical example of a small English manor house of the early seventeenth century. The arches between the Kitchen and the Great Hall are of local sandstone from the original twelfth century house.

Five generations of George Washington's direct ancestors lived in the hall before the family moved South and then emigrated in 1657 to Northern Neck in the New colony of Virginia.