Featured image of Blaise Castle

The History of Blaise Castle

LocationHenbury, Bristol, England (Google Map Location)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byBristol City Council
Official WebsiteBlaise Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Blaise Castle is a folly or ‘mock castle’ built in 1766 near Henbury, Bristol. The Castle is situated in the picturesque Blaise Castle Estate, which also includes the Blaise Castle House, an elegant mansion house built in the 18th century, the Blaise Hamlet, which consists of nine small cottages, an orangery, and a dairy. A gorge is cut in the Estate by the Hazel Brook, which joins the River Trym at the southern end of the gorge. The Blaise Castle Estate has a long and fascinating history. Historical evidence has shown that the site was occupied during the Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as the Roman period. The Blaise Castle House was opened for the public as a museum by the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. The Castle House holds several interesting, centuries-old artefacts.

History

Archaeological studies have indicated that flint fragments found in the Blaise Castle Estate are evidence of Neolithic farmers. There is also evidence of human activity during the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as the Roman period. There are hill-forts constructed in the area which are from the Roman era.

The earliest historical records on the site show that the land was granted to the Bishop of Worcester as a part of the Kingdom of Mercia. Though the records do not indicate when exactly this took place, it is certain that the land was granted to the Bishop before the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century. The site was a property of the Church, and a chapel for St Blaise was constructed here during this period.
In the 16th century, Henry VIII introduced a policy of dissolving monasteries and other houses of worship. The Blaise Estate was granted to Ralph Sadler, an English statesperson in the court of Henry VIII, who later served Edward VI. Until 1675, Ralph Sadler let out the Estate to tenants. A large part of the Estate was then purchased by Sir Samuel Astry of Henbury.

In the late 18th century, Thomas Farr, a sugar merchant and investor in the slave trade, purchased the castle from Sir Astry’s descendants. Farr commissioned Robert Mylne to build Blaise Castle on the site where the Saint Blaise chapel once stood. Thomas Farr went bankrupt after his ships were blockaded during the American Revolutionary War. The Estate was purchased in 1778 from him by Denham Skeate, a lawyer from Bath.
After passing several owners, the castle was sold to John Harford, a merchant and banker from Bristol, whose family occupied the site till 1926. Harford demolished the old dwellings in 1789 and constructed an elegant, neoclassical mansion in its place. He also built the Blaise Hamlet to house servants and tenants in 1811 and also built the dairy and orangery.

In 1926, the Estate was sold to Bristol City Council and was established as a public park. During World War II, the Castle House was largely unused and was occupied by armed forces. Efforts have been ongoing to improve the landscape and archaeological features of the castle.

Architecture

The Folly Castle at Blaise Estate Park in Bristol, England
The Folly Castle at Blaise Estate Park in Bristol, England”, by Chris Lathom-Sharp, is licensed under  CC BY-SA 4.0

Blaise Castle Estate contains the Blaise Castle House, Blaise Hamlet, the orangery and dairy, and Blaise Castle itself. The Blaise Castle House is of neoclassical design and is two stories tall. It consists of a square stone block with adjoining domestic offices. There is an entrance to the northwest which has five bays with a central semicircular projecting porch and Ionic columns. Blaise Castle House is today open as a museum and has an exquisite collection of paintings in its Picture Room, which extends into the portico.
The castle was constructed in 1766 and was dedicated to St Blaise, in whose name a chapel stood earlier on the same site. It is a folly or a ‘mock castle’ built in the Gothic Revival style. The Castle is situated on top of a hill above a gorge in the Estate. It is a circular building made of local ashlar stone with limestone dressing. The Castle is also fitted with three turrets and crenellated parapets.

Frequently Asked Questions

What buildings are situated in the Blaise Castle Estate?

Blaise Castle- an 18th-century mock castle constructed in Gothic Revival style- is located on a hill in the Estate. The Blaise Estate is also home to the Blaise Hamlet and the Blaise Castle House, a neoclassical mansion constructed in 1789, now open as a museum.

Is Blaise Castle available for booking?

Blaise Castle does not provide rooms for accommodation, but the Castle and Castle House are open for visitors.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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