Colston's School (also known as Stapleton House)893

Bristol, England

Brief Description

The school is surrounded by 14 hectares of mostly open grassland between Bell Hill and the River Frome.

History

The school grounds were laid out in 1857 on 18th-century parkland.

Detailed Description

The school is surrounded by 36 acres of mostly open grassland between Bell Hill and the River Frome. The main entrance, to the north of the site by Stapleton Church, has a grand 20th century gateway. The building itself is an 18th century red-brick house. There have been several additions to this, particularly in the 19th century. It is difficult to see any obvious trace of the old garden.

To the south of the house, the garden is terraced. An acacia tree used to stand either side, but both are now stumps. The garden is separated from the rest of the parkland by a ha-ha. The ha-ha also runs along in front of an area which was once an orchard, but now contains only a handful of trees.

The planting at this south façade is rather symmetrical and probably dates from the 19th century.

Some steps to the west of the house lead down to the playing fields. A plaque on the pillar by the steps reads ‘These playing fields were remodelled in memory of the old Colstonians who fell in the war 1939-1945'.

The River Frome circles around the grounds from the north-east. Here it passes over a weir and past an area marked as a ‘bathing pool' on the map. There is little trace of this pool except for the sluice. Perhaps in the winter it was this pool which provided the ice for the icehouse close by. Lathebury Mill is said to have stood at this bend in the river.

Tradition has it that underground tunnels led from the house to the riverside.

Colston's School is a large site mostly put over to playing fields. The grounds are well looked after.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The main entrance, to the north of the site by Stapleton Church, has a grand 20th-century gateway. The building itself is an 18th century red-brick house. There have been several additions to this, particularly in the 19th century.
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  • Ha-ha
  • Description: The garden is separated from the rest of the parkland by a ha-ha. The ha-ha runs along in front of an area which was once an orchard, but now contains only a handful of trees.
  • Icehouse
  • Description: The icehouse is fairly typical of such structures. It is a semi-underground room with a domed brick-lined interior. There is quite a deep drop from the doorway. The actual doorway is arched and the entrance tunnel or hallway is no longer standing. Behind the icehouse the path is supported by a stone wall which has an archway in it, apparently just into the ground. Such a feature lends authenticity to tales of subterranean passageways.
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  • Pool
  • Description: There is little trace of this pool except for the sluice.
  • Gateway
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  • River
  • Description: The River Frome circles around the grounds from the north-east.
History

Detailed History

Originally a house called Wyld House or North Wege stood on the site. The present house was built in the early-18th century. It is likely that the icehouse is also of 18th century origin.

As ‘Stapleton House' it was a private residence for about one hundred years. In 1840 it became a residence for the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. The buildings were altered and extended over the next few years by Decimus Burton. In 1861, it became Colston's School and further building work was undertaken.

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here

Other websites

References