DiCamillo Companion

Blaise Castle House

  • Built / Designed For: John Scandrett Harford

    House & Family History: Blaise Castle House was built for John Scandrett Harford, a noted Quaker banker. The Northwest Facade is of five bays with a semicircular Ionic porch, while the Northeast Façade has a six-column Ionic center.

    Comments: Pevsner, writing in "The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol," said "Blaise Hamlet is indeed responsible for some of the worst sentimentalities of England. Its progeny is legion and includes Christmas cards and teapots."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Nash designed the Orangery (with Tuscan columns and Venetian openings at the ends) and the thatched Dairy. Humprhy Repton laid out the grounds, which include a Lake, caves, the Lover's Leap, and the seat of a giant. There is also Blaise Castle, an early example of a sham castle, built in 1766 by Thomas Farr, a merchant who owned the Estate before Harford. Blaise Castle is triangular in shape and has three circular towers. In 1811 Harford engaged John Nash to build Estate cottages for pensioners; the famous result is Blaise Hamlet, where each of nine Picturesque houses differs completely from the other; the only similarity in common is that all are built of rubble. Blaise was immortalized by Jane Austen, who described it as "the finest place in England" in "Northanger Abbey."

  • Architect: John Nash

    Date: 1811
    Designed: Blaise Hamlet (9 pensioners' cottages) for John Scandrett Harford

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    Architect: William Paty

    Date: 1796
    Designed: House for John Scandrett Harford

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    Architect: Charles Robert Cockerell

    Date: 1832
    Designed: Alterations to House

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    Architect: Humphry Repton

    Date: Early 19th century
    Designed: Grounds, including Lake.

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    Architect: John Nash

    Date: Early 19th century
    Designed: Orangery, Dairy, and Conservatory for John Scandrett Harford.

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 121, 1852.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. II, 1819.

  • Title: Great Drawings from the Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects
    Author: Harris, John; Lever, Jill; Richardson, Margaret
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: pg. 80
    Publisher: London: Trefoil Books
    ISBN: 0862940362
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1958
    Reference: pgs. 468-469
    Publisher: London: Penguine Books
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Blott on the Landscape" (1985 - TV mini series, for the gatehouse scenes; the Lodge, where Blott lives, was built on land at Blaise).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Farr, 18th century. John Scandrett Harford, early 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Government

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Museum

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01179-039-818

    Fax: 01179-222-047

    Email: general_museum@bristol-city.gov.uk

    Website: http://www.bristol-city.gov.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No