The Bathford Society

Picture: Eagle House - view from garden (c 1910)

Eagle House

This is a fine eighteenth century mansion which has been attributed by Mowbray A. Green, in his Eighteenth Century Architecture in Bath, to John Wood the elder but this has yet to be authenticated. The deeds of the house show that the estate was acquired by James Ferry, silk mercer of Bath in 1753 and when he conveyed the property to Michael Lejay, Esq. in 1763 it is described as a 'new erected freestone capital messuage'.

John Wood the elder died in 1754 but it could be that his design was used, supervised by his equally competent son, John Wood the younger. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner agrees with a date about 1750 and says that the style suggests John Wood the elder as the architect.

A coat of arms carved in the stone of the pediment on the north front of the house has not yet been attributed to any family known from the deeds to be connected with the house.

One might say that Eagle House is over-modest in presenting itself for public view. The south face of the house opening on to Church Street is one of restrained dignity compared with the handsome north front. This has Venetian windows, Ionic pilasters, a balustraded roof parapet on each side of the finely decorated pediment surmounted by the carved stone eagle from which the house takes its name.

Eagle House has been owned and occupied by a number of prominent families and, for a period of forty years was known by the name Eaglehurst, reverting in 1914 to Eagle House, a name which first appears in the deeds in 1863 although it was used long before that date. In addition to having been a private residence it has twice been an educational establishment, at one time in the ownership of Somerset County Council.

It is once more occupied by its owners who have painstakingly restored its exterior and interior to their former elegance and share their comfortable and gracious living with their guests as it is, unobtrusively, an hotel. The stable block, separate but adjacent to the house on its west side, has been restored and converted to a private residence - 'The Coach House'.

Source: Bathford Past and Present
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