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Royal Fort House

Royal Fort House Facade 3 Royal Fort House Facade 2 Royal Fort House Facade 1

Royal Fort House was built in 1758-62 on the site of a Civil War fortification for Thomas Tyndall, a wealthy Bristol merchant, and his young wife Alicia.

Its three facades in three different classical styles: Baroque, Palladian and Rococo, were a compromise after three separate architects: Thomas Paty, John Wallis and James Bridges, had submitted designs. Bridges ultimately pulled the three together with a wooden model that survives in the house. Thomas Paty's firm actually built the house, creating brilliantly figurative Rococo plaster work and wood carving for the reception rooms, but it was Alicia who projected the Paty team of craftsmen into this poetic invention.

Some rooms were inspired by daringly French plates in contemporary pattern books by Thomas Johnson, while the eight vines trails of the staircase hall are fantasy worlds on the themes of Chinese wallpaper. A later Tyndall generation called in the landscape designer, Humphry Repton, to screen their little park from urban sprawl after a disastrous housing scheme fell through. Repton's original drive and planting around the house have recently been reinstated.

Royal Fort House, window at top of stairwell Royal Fort House, top of stairwell Royal Fort House, the Verdon-Smith Room