History of Blaise Hamlet
The site of Blaise Castle Estate has a history dating back to medieval times. However, it was John Scandrett Harford, a respected Bristol banker and Quaker, who bought the estate in the late Georgian period and began creating the buildings that still stand today. He and his son worked with the famous architect John Nash to build the small collection of cottages of Blaise Hamlet in the early 19th century.
History of the Blaise Castle Estate
John Scandrett Harford bought the Blaise Castle Estate for £13,000 in 1789. Six years later he commissioned the well-known Bristol architect William Paty to build a new house for him and his family on the estate.
Paty created a house that was large, but relatively plain, which matched the no-nonsense style popular with Quakers at the time.
Redesigning the grounds
Harford then invited Humphry Repton, the era’s leading landscape architect, to redesign the grounds. Repton soon went into partnership with Nash, the famous Georgian and Regency era architect.
Nash went on to eventually design the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and even worked on Buckingham Palace.
Nash and the cottages
It was through their partnership that Harford commissioned Nash to design the cottages in what is now Blaise Hamlet.
Cottages built in Blaise Hamlet
Harford hoped to build a group of cottages that would not only add to the estate but also provide housing for his servants when they retired.
In the early years of the 19th century, Nash created sketches of picturesque cottages and Repton’s son George turned them into reality.
The 'mini village' was born
Over the years, the ‘mini village’ was given its own green and village pump, which Harford’s son, John Harford Jr, had built as a memorial to his father.
Blaise Hamlet today
Fast forward a century or so to 1943 and Blaise Hamlet was donated to the National Trust. The cottages have been modernised and are still lived in today, but the exteriors have been carefully restored, keeping the tall chimneys, thatches and seats.
Learn about people from the past, discover remarkable works of art and brush up on your knowledge of architecture and gardens.
Find out the National Trust places you can visit to see the dramatic landscapes created by Humphry Repton, one of Britain’s best-loved landscape designers.