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© Mr John H. Sparkes

IoE Number: 373830
Photographer: Mr John H. Sparkes
Date Photographed: 27 March 2007
Date listed: 24 March 1950
Date of last amendment: 24 March 1950
Grade II*

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BRIDGWATERST3036BLAKE STREET736-1/9/14(East side)

BRIDGWATER ST3036 BLAKE STREET 736-1/9/14 (East side) 24/03/50 The Admiral Blake Museum GV II* House, now a museum. Late C15/early C16, remodelled early C17 and refronted C19. Limestone rubble with some C18 irregular English-bond brick to the right and Ham Hill stone, painted rough-cast to the first floor, pantile roof with stone stacks to gable ends and brick stacks to rear. PLAN: 2 bays flanked by 2 half bays through-passage plan, possibly L-shaped, now double-depth plan. 2 storeys; 3-window range. At eaves level the first floor has late C19 two-light casement windows with Tudor arches to each light and some C20 timber-framing to the left. Similar full-height late C19 windows with C20 timber lintels and C19 brick jambs flank late C19 four-panel double doors with Tudor-arched panels to the top. A similar smaller window to the far right. Set into the wall to either side of window to left are moulded Ham Hill stone jambs and the corners of smoothed-off label moulds to former stone-mullioned windows. A stone jamb to a former door to the left of the present door and a blocked door with timber lintel to right. The rear right wing is of red Wembdon Hill rubblestone and blue lias limestone rubble; it has a C19 outshut, mostly brick, with a pantile roof to the rear; the right return has a slit window with Ham Hill stone quoins to the first floor and top of a 2-light stone mullioned window. The late C18/early C19 rear left wing is of Flemish-bond brick with a roof parallel to the front; it has semi-elliptical brick arches over C20 two-light casement windows; a lean-to with 2-light glazing-bar casements and a half-glazed door with stained-glass margin panes. INTERIOR: the room to the ground-floor left has hollow-chamfered beams to a 6-panel ceiling with early C17 plaster moulding to the edge and a roundel to the centre of each panel. The hall is stone-flagged with C19 wainscoting in C17 style, below a dado rail and two 2-panel doors with raised-and-fielded panels to the right; an early C19 staircase with stick balusters, swept rail and turned newels to the rear left with C19 wainscoting. The former through-passage, now part of the room to right of the door, has a heavy unmoulded beam to right; rest of room to right has a hollow-chamfered quartered ceiling, a late C15/early C16 open fire to right has a hollow-moulded shallow Tudor-arched oak lintel on Ham Hill stone chamfered imposts and moulded jambs. To left of it is a late C15/early C16 two-light stone-mullioned window with cinquefoil heads to each light, looking onto a further room; to right is a C20 doorway with steps down to that room, a former C19 cottage, now an exhibition room. A room to the rear right has a 2-light timber window frame with a chamfered stone lintel, a diagonally-set vertical iron bar to each light and some thinner horizontal bars, it is bricked up on the outside. The first floor is 6 bays with arch-braced trusses; exposed timber cross-wall frame with tension braces to the left and front corner. The right-hand wall has a Ham Hill stone shallow-pointed lintel and jambs to a open fireplace to right of centre. The first-floor room to the right has 2 exposed panels with C17 graffiti including a ship, a man on horseback, shoes and a spinning wheel. History: Admiral Robert Blake, 1599-1657 was born and lived in this house. A scholar at Wadham College Oxford, on the death of his father he gave up his literary career to see to the education and settlement of his 13 brothers and sisters. Concerned in politics of Church and State, he became Member of Parliament for Bridgwater in the Short Parliament dissolved by Charles I and for Taunton in 1645. A supporter of the parliamentary cause, he distinguished himself in the sieges of Bodmin, Lansdown, Bristol and Taunton. In 1649, at the age of 50, he took up his first command of a ship and until his death was regarded with an enthusiasm bordering on idolatry; even those against whom he fought considered him as a knightly foe. The body of the hero was embalmed and placed in a new vault in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. In 1660 Charles II ordered the body to be removed and thrown into a pit. The house was described in 1889 as "an old and interesting structure, two stories high, built of blue lias stone, with walls of immense thickness, heavy stone stairs, oak wainscots and decorated ceilings; altogether a habitation of Tudor origin, and of unmistakable importance in those times." (Harmam S J: History of Bridgwater).

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