The history of The Belmont Estate encompasses many different and complex family and romantic relationships alongside the development and growth of the estate itself.
In 1760 William Turner bought Belmont House as a cottage before turning it into ‘a gentleman’s residence’. Seven years later, in 1767, William proposed to Hannah More, a writer, poet and philanthropist 20 years his junior and, together, doubtless influenced by Capability Brown’s work of the period, they were almost certainly responsible for the remarkable ladscaping of the woods behind the house as well as the Parkland in front.
Several of Hannah’s poems were mounted on wooden plaques throughout the estate. Three times over the six year engagement, William postponed their marriage, however, and Hannah’s poem The Bleeding Rock, about a rejected lover turned to stone (except for the heart which bled when struck) was based on the Belmont rock strata, whose iron deposits appeared to bleed after rain. It was William’s £200 annuity (recompense for the cancelled engagement) that rendered Hannah More independent, enabling her move to London and a life of literature, theatre and philanthropy before returning to Bristol many years after.
In 1804 William Turner died, leaving Belmont to his nephew George Penrose Seymour who in 1813 also bought Tyntes Place, the site on which Tyntesfield was later to be built. In 1828 Seymour’s eldest son, the Reverend George Turner Seymour let the Belmont Estate to George Gibbs before building (1836-40) the original Georgian mansion of Tyntesfield on the site of Tyntes Place.
George Gibbs married his cousin Harriet, but they died childless and in 1870 his cousin William Gibbs bought Belmont reuniting it with Tyntesfield.
For several generations thereafter, the Belmont Estate passed through the hands of the Gibbs family until 2001, when Richard, 2nd Baron Wraxall, died and Tyntesfield was sold to the National Trust. At this time, Belmont briefly became an independent estate before being broken up and sold in pieces to multiple owners.
Remarkably, within the same decade, it was then reassembled by the current owners, a family that has been part of Bristol life for the last 175+ years. In a poetic circle it was the tug boats of the family firm of the current owners that brought one of the Gibbs’ family vessels, The SS Great Britain, back to Bristol when she returned from the Falkland Islands in 1970.