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Summer house in Blake Gardens

A Grade II Listed Building in Bridgwater, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1277 / 51°7'39"N

Longitude: -3.0005 / 3°0'1"W

OS Eastings: 330080

OS Northings: 136971

OS Grid: ST300369

Mapcode National: GBR M5.99MY

Mapcode Global: VH7DH.YX3C

Entry Name: Summer house in Blake Gardens

Listing Date: 16 December 1974

Last Amended: 8 October 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1297182

English Heritage Legacy ID: 373823

Location: Bridgwater, Sedgemoor, Somerset, TA6

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor

Civil Parish: Bridgwater

Built-Up Area: Bridgwater

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Summary

A summer house probably of the C18 or C19 but incorporating earlier fabric; later alterations and repairs.

Description

MATERIALS: it is constructed predominantly of local Wemdon sandstone rubble and brick; some limestone rubble is also present. It has a shallow, domed concrete roof but the original form of the roof is not known.

PLAN: it is circular in plan with seven projecting buttresses and a diameter of approximately 3m.

EXTERIOR: the walls are divided into bays with regularly-spaced, substantial brick buttresses that include re-used C17 and C18 bricks. The upper part of each buttress is chamfered, above which are two courses of brick and a dentil cornice. To the west side of the building is an entrance with alternate raised bricks forming the pointed-arched head. It is flanked by crudely-fashioned, single-light windows with pointed heads. To the south side are also two lancet-styled windows that are situated close to the ground round, with a matching opening to the north side. Roughly opposing the west entrance but slightly offset to the north is a second entrance but this has been blocked.

INTERIOR: there are shallow fixed curved seats to either side of the entrances; the ceiling is vaulted.


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 08/10/2012

History

The summer house is situated within Blake Gardens, a municipal garden within the town centre on the west bank of the River Parrett. Some sources suggest that the area now occupied by Blake Gardens was originally part of the grounds to a house nearby (now part of No.3 Blake Street) that has C17 origins. A town plan of circa 1835 shows that by this date the land had become the garden to Binford House which is shown occupying the northern end of the plot, at the junction between King Street and Dampiet Street. Both Binford House and its land were purchased by Bridgwater Corporation in 1898 with the intention of creating a public garden. Blake Gardens, named after the C17 Bridgwater-born General Blake, opened on 9 August 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. Binford House was demolished and replaced by a public library (Grade II listed) which opened in 1905. Historic photographs illustrate other structures within the municipal gardens of which a folly and a small stone building have since been demolished.

The building has previously been described as a garden seat but based on documentary research it may have been a summer house. Although it appears to incorporate some re-used C17 brickwork, it probably dates from the late C18 or early C19. The building appears to have undergone various alterations and repairs, most recently in the early C21.

Reasons for Listing

The summer house in Blake Gardens, Bridgwater, a late-C18 or early-C19 ornamental garden building, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a picturesque and highly distinctive summer house in a Gothic style;
* Historic interest: it incorporates earlier fabric and retains evidence for historic alterations;
* Alteration: despite some alteration, it remains a good and indicative example of an ornamental garden structure.

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