Friends Of Blaise

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And for those wishing to delve further back into the pre-history of the site on which the Castle stands, here is a timeline of events:

A Timeline of the History of Blaise Castle - compiled by Dr Kathryn Monk.

Date Activity Area Owner Conservation and gardening
5,000 BC Neolithic farmers     Agriculture transforms relationship between people and nature, local communities recognising specific sites as sacred and protected from human use
1800-800 BC Bronze Age Burial mounds on Kings Weston Hill    
800 BC -43 AD Iron Age Defended enclosure on Kings Weston Hill. Later hill-fort on Blaise Hill    
43-410 AD Romans Objects from Blaise Hill   Romans brought concepts of ornamental gardens, 278 AD vine planting allowed
692 Mercian King Ethelred grants Saxon Medieval Manor of Henberie (Henbury) Included present day Blaise Castle Estate Bishops of Worcester Medieval gardens were enclosed, cottage, herbs, and pleasure. New Forest early protected area.
1086 Domesday Book data collected - Henberie   Bishops of Worcester Kings Westone also mentioned
Date Activity Area Owner Conservation and gardening
1500s       Formalised Renaissance gardens - classical order of beauty
1536 and 1541 Dissolution of the monasteries      
  Edward V1 grants Henbury Manor to Sir Ralph Sadlier, (1503-1587) Sadlier leased land to local tenants as his seat was in Hertfordshire Henbury Manor 1547-1587 Sir Ralph Sadlier  
1599       Kingsweston Elizabethan house and formal gardens
1608 Census shows almost 80% of the population of Henbury is in agriculture      
1649-1660       Many formal gardens ripped up as seen as frivolous during Puritans' rule
1653 Sadliers leased Manor House to Edward Caple, Bristol Manor House and 14 acres plus common pasture for 30 sheep Edward Caple, Bristol merchant  
1660       Charles II restored and formal garden becomes popular again
1665 Sadliers sold part of Henbury Manor to George Morse New house built (adjacent to Manor House) 1655 -1688 George Morse  
1675 Sadliers sold all of Henbury Manor, mostly to Sir Samuel Astry   1675-1704 Sir Samuel Astry, lawyer and son-in-law to George Morse  
1688 recognisable private pleasure park George Morse died, Astry inherited his house for recognisable private pleasure park Enlarged father-in-law's house = The Great House with parterres, and enclosed park Sir Samuel Astry  
1689       William and Mary bring Dutch formal gardening influence
Date Activity Area Owner Conservation and gardening
1700s Henbury becoming popular retreat for Bristolians      
1700   Laid out formal gardens incorporating Manor House Sir Samuel Astry  
1704 Astry died and passed estate through daughter to ? Suffolk?      
1712 Engraving of The Great House and Sir Samuel Astrys park by Johannes Kip (but Astry already dead)     Demolition of Elizabethan manor house at Kings Weston - Sir Edward Southwell commissioned Sir John Vanburgh in 1710 to design the new House
1715 Home of 7th Earl of Suffolk, son-in-law of Astry   1715-1721 7th Earl of Suffolk, son-in-law of Astry  
1721 Both died in 1721, and it passed through another daughter to the Smyths of Ashton Court   1721 - Smyths of Ashton Court, another son-in-law of Astry  
1730   Great House sold,    
Manor House renovated Smyths of Ashton Court (daughter of Samuel Astry)      
c. 1750 Pen and ink and body colour of view of Henbury with Blaise Hill in left prior to construction of the castle by Thomas Robins Blaise Hill without trees , manor house, church and Great House   1751 Capability Brown sets up business - romantic landscapes
1760 Sadliers sold the estate      
1762 private pleasure ground Thomas Farr bought for private pleasure ground Manor House, gardens, and estate 45 ha 1762-1789 Thomas Farr, sugar merchant  
1763       Kingsweston remodelled by Robert Mylne
1766 Built walks up to Castle Hill, Blaise Castle (Gothick), landscaped hill with ramparts to entertain guests. Designed by Robert Mylne Castle Hill, Blaise Castle, landscaped hill with ramparts Thomas Farr  
1789 Thomas Farr went bankrupt because of American War of Independence. John Scandrett Harford bought Blaise Castle estate for £11,000 Blaise Castle estate 1789-1815 John Scandrett Harford Snr, Quaker banker Director of Harford Bank established in 1769 and involved in iron and brass industries
1795 William Paty commissioned to design new house, started work Oct   John Scandrett Harford Snr  
1795-96 Picturesque School of Gardening Henry Repton commissioned to improve gardens and estate (Capability Brown was a predecessor in Picturesque)   John Scandrett Harford Snr Repton's first commission is in 1788
1796   Gardens still in formal layout    
17 Oct 1798 Family moved into new house. Blaise Castle Inn active. Blaise Castle House completed. Medieaval/C17 Manor House demolished John Scandrett Harford Snr  
Date Activity Area Owner Conservation and gardening
1812 John Nash with Repton's son commissioned for building projects Orangery, Dairy, and Blaise Hamlet John Scandrett Harford Snr Enclosure laws approved by Parliament. Kingsweston buys marsh and common land
1815-1866 classical grandeur John Harford died, Eldest son John S Harfod Jnr inherited estate. Had travelled in Europe   1815-1866 John Scandrett Harford Jnr  
1830   Great House demolished   1830s Lawnmower invented
1833 Charles R Cockwell, architect interested in classical art, commissioned Urns, balustrades, ionic columns added John Scandrett Harford Jnr  
1866 John Scandrett Harford Jnr died. Nephew John Battersby Harford inherits. Estate now 191 acres 1866-1926 John Battersby Harford and wife/widow  
1872       First US National Park, Yellowstone
1890s       UK Wild gardens and herbaceous borders
Date Activity Area Owner Conservation and gardening
1914-1918, 1918-1921       Many gardeners went off to fight WW1. Large gardens were expensive to run and many were forced to divide them
1926 public park Bristol City Council bought estate Estate now 122 ha/ 301 acres Bristol City Council  
1951       First UK National Parks, Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia
1967       Campfire - Zimbabwe rural people and wildlife programme
1972       World Heritage Convention for natural heritage and culture
1992       Rio - Convention on Biological Diversity
2002       World Summit on Sustainable Development
2011 Blaise Castle Estate Grade 2 listed buildings Blaise Castle, Blaise Castle House    
    2 scheduled ancient monuments    
    Site of Nature Conservation Interest    
    3 regionally important geological sites    


Useful Links:

  • Blaise Castle Estate
  • Bristol Avon Rivers Trust
  • Friends of Badock's Wood
  • Henbury Conservation Society