The history of Blaise Hamlet

Blaise Hamlet water pump and village green

This unique, picturesque early 19th-century housing project is part of Blaise Castle Estate, on a site which dates back to medieval times. It is 4 miles north of central Bristol, near Henbury villlage.

The estate

In 1789, John Scandrett Harford, a well-respected Bristol banker and Quaker, bought the estate for £13,000. In 1795, he commissioned an eminent Bristol architect, William Paty, to build a new house for him and his family. The house is substantial but plain, in keeping with Quaker principles. Harford also invited the leading landscape architect of his day, Humphry Repton, to redesign the grounds. In 1796, Repton went into partnership with John Nash, the architect who is best known for designing the Brighton Pavilion. Repton introduced Nash to Harford who commissioned him to design cottages for the estate.

History of the hamlet

John Harford's idea was to build a group of cottages which would enhance the look of the estate and provide housing for his servants when they retired.

The design

George Repton used Nash's attractive sketches and turned them into practical dwellings. The 'mini village' has its own green, complete with village pump, which Harford's son built as a memorial to his father.

National Trust

Blaise hamlet was given to the National Trust in 1943. The cottages, which are still lived in, have been modernised inside, but we have carefully restored the exteriors, keeping the tall chimneys, thatches and seats.