Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Bristol (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
ST 57511 72924


This List entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 28/06/2017

ST 5772, 901-1/41/780

BRISTOL, CLIFTON HILL, Clifton (South-East side), Clifton Hill House and attached front walls

(Formerly Listed as: CLIFTON HILL (South side) Clifton Hill House)




House. 1746-1750, dated 1747. By Isaac Ware. Built by Thomas Paty. For Paul Fisher. Limestone ashlar with lateral and ridge stacks and a slate hipped roof. Double-depth plan. Palladian style. 3 storeys and basement; 11-window range. Very good garden front has a central 5-window block with 3-window basement wings, to which ground floors added mid C19. Vermiculated basement to a band, rusticated ground floor to a plat band, first-floor sill band, cornice and parapet; pedimented central 3-window section broken forward. A large double stair projects from the centre of the basement to the ground floor, with a balustrade and ramped rail, and urns on the half-landings. Balustrades with urns to the wings. Basement windows set in semicircular arches have tall keys and impost bands, and 6/6-pane sashes with thick bars, and a semicircular-arched central doorway below the stair. Ground-floor doorway has a heavy Gibbs surround, split key, thin consoles to a cornice, and half-glazed door; ground-floor windows have deep keys. 6/6-pane sashes, 3/3 panes to the second floor, with blind boxes to the first and left side of the ground floors, and tall 2/2-pane sashes to the C19 wings. The tympanum has a carved armorial shield of the original owner with festoon each side. A cast-iron balcony to the right-hand wing on thin stanchions with pierced brackets and flat balusters. The road elevation is identical apart from the basement, but with a 4-window right-hand ground-floor wing set forward with a balustrade, and left-hand C19 service block; mid C19 porch extended from the doorway with a matching Gibbs surround and console cornice; monogram of the patron and date 1747 in the tympanum.

INTERIOR: a good interior with fine rococo plaster ceilings. A central through passage with vaulted ceiling, a large stair hall with stone open-well stair with wrought-iron foliate balusters and a fine decorated ceiling; fine rococo ceiling to the former dining room, good C19 plaster ceilings to other principal rooms, and good marble fireplaces; study with 3-bay vaulted ceiling, with Gothick ogee labels with crockets and pinnacles to openings; 6-panel door with fielded panels; dogleg service stair to the basement has column balusters, fielded panelling to pantry and basement rooms, stone niche with a tap from the well, kitchen fireplace surround, and bread oven.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached ashlar wall either side of the road doorway, with rusticated piers and scrolled brackets to the sides of the doorway. Now part of a university hall of residence linked by a mid C19 block to Callander House (qv). A fine Palladian villa, part of an important group of early and mid C18 villas at Clifton: the plasterwork is probably by Thomas Paty, who was also responsible for the plasterwork at Redland Court (qv).

Clifton Hill House was the home of writer John Addington Symonds and his wife Janet Catherine North from 1871-1877. It had previously been his father’s house and his boyhood home. Symonds’s writing was inspired by his sexuality and his affairs with other men. He influenced understandings of homosexuality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly with the posthumous publication of Sexual Inversion (1897), which he had co-authored with Havelock Ellis.

Listing NGR: ST5751172924


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gomme, A H, Jenner, M, Little, B D G, Bristol, An Architectural History, (1979), 151
Ison, W, The Georgian Buildings of Bristol, (1952), 177
Mowl, T, To Build a Second City, (1991), 52


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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