Blue Lodge is a 19th-century garden with mature specimen trees, a kitchen garden with old espaliers and an old orchard. There is also a 19th-century greenhouse, sundial and various stone ornaments. This description was checked as correct with South Gloucestershire Historic Environment Officer 17th June 2010.
The origins of the present house are probably 17th century, when it was a long, low farmhouse.
The following description dates to the time of the last survey in 1988:
The site is approached by a long drive, which divides to give access to the two parts of the house. The northern entrance leads to a large gravelled area. To the north of the drive is an overgrown vegetable garden, then an orchard with very old trees. The north-west corner of the garden is fenced and a pony is kept there.
There are many mature trees, including copper beech, ash and chestnut. The south-west part of the garden consists of a large lawn behind the house, and an area of overgrown trees and bushes along the south-west wall. This has several large hollies and birches, and was probably a shrubbery. The whole southern part of the garden is enclosed by a high stone wall, and a wall also separates the two halves of the garden behind the house. It pre-dates the later additions to the building.
Adjoining the southern driveway is another orchard, with both fruit trees and walnut trees. Three cobnut trees are planted on the grassy bank which divides the two drives. On either side of the gateway are low stone outbuildings. A stone wall about 14 feet high divides the area immediately behind the house from the rest of the garden, and most of this area is flagged.
Against the wall is another single storey building which may once have been farm workers' accomodation. This has been converted into a weekend cottage by the present owners. The foundations of a similar building were found further along the wall to the east. A stone-lined drain was also discovered under the flagstones.
The flagged path runs through an archway into the main garden. To the east is the kitchen garden, surrounded by a hazel hedge planted about five years ago. There is also a 19th century greenhouse housing a flourishing grapevine. Against the wall are a number of espaliered fruit trees of considerable age. Most of the rest of the garden is lawn, with many newly-planted trees and shrubs.
The southern wall has been partially demolished by a previous owner to give a view over the surrounding country, and is now only about four feet high. The weekend cottage, which backs onto the northern wall of this part of the garden, has had windows and a door put into the side facing the lawn. A terrace and pond have been built outside it. Against the south-west facing wall of the cottage is an old fig tree, and another grows in the south-facing corner opposite the cottage.
On the north side of this part of the house is a gravelled area containing a sundial, and various shrubs growing through the gravel.
- House (featured building)
- Description: The house dates from the early-19th century, incorporating some older fabric. The front has two storeys with pantile roofs, and the west wing is rendered.
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- Garden Shed
- Description: This feature dates from the early period of the house, probably dating to the early 18th century. The building was originally a sheep shed. Many of the original roof beams remain, although both this building and the stable have been re-tiled and are used for garden storage.
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- Description: This feature dates from the early period of the house, probably dating to the early 18th century. The building was originally an apple store and single stable. Many of the original roof beams remain, although both this building and the shed have been re-tiled and are used for garden storage.
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- Description: The stone from the demolished north-east wall was found to contain a complete stone niche, about three feet tall, which has been incorporated into the wall of the new entrance hall.
- Description: There is a very worn sundial stone, which may once have been suspended vertically. This, together with some other Bathstone fragments, may possibly have come from a church which is thought to have stood in the fields to the west of the house.
- Description: There is a pair of Bathstone Ionic capitals on either side of the path behind the house. Their origin is unknown.
- Garden Ornament
- Description: Two very weathered stone globes (about 18 inches high) stand in front of the main entrance.
- Description: Two stone urns, about two feet high, stand on pillars outside the kitchen entrance to the house.
- Garden Building
- Description: This feature is the coach house. It has a large stone arched entrance at each end, said to have been brought from Bristol Castle. A coat of arms above the north arch is thought by the present (1988) owner to be that of a regiment raised during the Napoleonic wars. The building has been renovated and the entrances made into windows.
- Well Head
- Description: In the southern orchard a huge flagstone covers the entrance to a well, which was in use up to the time of the last owner.
The history of the site goes back to Saxon times, when a hunting lodge is said to have stood here. During medieval times the area was owned by the church. From the 16th century it belonged to the Haynes family, who eventually owned a great deal of land, property and mines in the area.
The origins of the present house are probably 17th century, when it was a long, low farmhouse. Many minor alterations and additions were made up until the early 19th century, when a larger building was added to the west side, actually overlapping the original house so that some of its rooms project into the new building.
The house was not always occupied by the family. One of the tenants in the 1860s was the novelist Anna Sewell, author of 'Black Beauty'. Further Victorian alterations and additions were made, with taller gabled roofs being built and a coach house (with living accomodation above) being added onto the west end. The upper storey of the coach house, which had become ruinous, has been removed by the present owners, and a flat roof put on. It is now a room of the house.
After 1900, the house was owned by the Hale family, who built a ballroom (since demolished) on the south side of the house in the right-angle of the central wall. In 1946 it was sold to a Mr. Hodgkinson, and the owners at the time of the last survey (1988) had been in posession since 1971.
Since 1971, the owners had renovated the outbuildings on their side of the house and built an entrance hall on the east side using stone from a short stretch of wall near the outbuilding north-east of the house. The owners had also removed screens of leylandii planted by the previous owner, and some of the least productive trees from the orchard.
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Avon Gardens Trust