Friends of Blaise

Blaise Castle

Blaise Castle is a gothic style folly (sham castle) located on Blaise Hill within the Blaise Estate, Henbury, Bristol.

Opening

Every year volunteers endeavour to open up the castle to the public between March and October on the third Sunday of each month, plus Bank Holidays. Come up and visit us between 2.00pm and 4.30pm, entry is free but donations are welcomed. .

2018 Opening Dates

These dates are provisional and are subject to change at short notice. We will also aim to open the castle on Bristol Doors Open weekend and The Goram Fair, these will be posted once these dates are announced.

Volunteering

We are always looking for more volunteers to help open the castle for just a few hours on a Sunday or Bank Holiday afternoon. Without your help, we will struggle to open this fine gothic folly to the public.

If you think you could help us, then please Contact Us contact@friendsofblaise.co.uk

Blaise Hill has always been an important site and has been occupied since the Iron Age in one form or another.

Romans

In Roman times the hill was homed to a hill fort, the remains of the fort were descovered by a dig in 1918, when stone foundations and Roman artifacts here found.

Blaise Chapel (C.700-1766)

Blaise Hill was formerly home to St Werburgh's Chapel, which is thought to have been founded around the year 700, but could have been as late as 960.

Although there is no record of St Werburgh's after 1299, there are records of a St Blaise Chapel, which is believed to have be located on the same site. The Chapel was abandoned by the year 1577.

In 1707 some excavation took place, and many human remains were found in a vault, near the Chapel site.

Blaise Castle (1766-)

Blaise Castle was commissioned by Thomas Farr a wealthy Bristol merchant as a summerhouse and was built in 1766 by Robert Mylne on the site of the former Blaise Chapel at a cost of 3,000.

The castle was built on the highest part of the estate at a height of 250 feet above sea level. It was built with Carboniferous Limestone, Dolomite Conglomerate, Lias Limestone and Pennant Sandstone, which was mainly taken from the hill itself and the sourounding area. Bath Stone was also used for ornamental purposes, and was probably shipped along the River Avon from Bath to Sea Mills, where it was hauled up to the site.

Originally the castle had two floors which were furnished and there was access to the roof via a staircase. One of the turrets contained a wooden staircase to reach the very top of the castle, to provide an even better view.

The Estate was bought by Bristol City Council in 1926. In 1957, the castle underwent a significant restoration and in 1959 the building was Grade II listed.

The Friends of Blaise were formed in 1981 to restore the castle to its former glory after it had once again fallen into disrepair. It was also subject to vandalism and arson to the point of being condemned and partially demolished. With the hard work and fund rasing of the friends the castle was partially restored to enable people to enjoy it once more.

From the top of the castle you could use to see as far as Chepstow, The Cotswolds, The Mendips, Dundry, Kings Weston Down and Portbury, although in recent years the view has become more obstructed by trees, although it is an aspiration to cut the very tops of the trees down to once again provide stunning views of the whole area.