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Blake House Craft Centre, Blake End, Nr Braintree, Essex CM77 6SH

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Blake House barns
Picture of Rachael Banham

Rachael Banham

Blake House History

Blake House Craft Centre has a rich history with records dating all the way back to 150 AD, when Romans were the first known inhabitants. The Earls of Essex owned Blake House Farm alongside other farms, totalling about 5,000 acres, from 1549 until 1901 when the whole estate was sold. 

In 1901, the farm was brought by a Mr Bayley who farmed it until his death; then it was inherited by his brother, a rubber planter in Malaya, who let it until it sold in 1934. It was then purchased by Sir Follet Holt, a shipping magnate, as a speculation and sold to WH Harvey just six months later… and the same Harvey family still own and work Blake House Farm to the present day.

The site was once a traditional farmyard with a thatched Essex corn barn in a courtyard alongside other now-restored 18th and 19th century listed buildings of stables, cattle sheds and cart lodges. When you visit, look for the small signs dotted around the walls, detailing what could once be found in each barn. One of the barns here once even played host to the television series Lovejoy, where an auction scene was filmed for the programme.

In 1987, John Harvey began renting out the barns to small businesses and Blake House Craft Centre was born! From the early days, it housed a range of craft shops, antiques, tea rooms and an art gallery with a range of different artists in the old donkey shed.

Today, this wonderful site is transformed into a vibrant and flourishing craft centre, housing a wide range of small local businesses. The Sconch Tea Rooms offer a range of delicious food options and during the summer, families visiting with the kids are entertained in our wooden play area and Minigolf course, plus a range of events and activities can be enjoyed through the year.

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