Charlton House is a complex building combining a North front with two Elizabethan bay windows with Georgian South wing. All this was much altered by the Victorians when they added a West wing in 1883. There is a recently restored ha ha across the lawn on the West front with a fountain feature above it. The drive is long and meandering and most attractive. The walls of a kitchen garden are still in place but now surround a tennis court. The site taken over under lease by the Downs school in 1927 and purchased by them in 2002. Since then a number of school buildings have been added making visualisation difficult
- Associated Buildings
The adjacent site is a Victorian Model Farm built into the hillside to assist the movement of animals, foodstuff and waste. It is built with some style and includes an octagonal dairy. It is now the South West Children's Hospice. The farm was built by Antony Gibbs circa 1880 as a practice run for his model farm at Tyntesfield.
The Charlton site has two fine lodges to the South and to the North. To reach the northern one,the road leads through Priors Wood which was part of the estate and is well known locally for its Bluebells in Spring. There is full time public access to this area with fine way-marked walks.
The other pieces of building work tend to focus on water supply. They include a large concrete pond, apparently used for bathing in the school's early days, a brick tower that seems to have been connected to water supply and an enormous covered water tank built in the 1880s with water pumped from the Yeo river to feed water to both Tyntesfield and Charlton.
- Historic Development of the site
The schools's history leaflet speculates that the building first appeared around the time of Henry VIII being built by the Gorges family of Birdcombe Court. It later became the Families main home.Over the next two hundred years, the house went through a number of owners including two Lord Mayors of Bristol. It was finally sold in 1865 to William Gibbs as a residence for his newly married son, Antony. The house was effectively merged into a large estate that by now included Belmont House. The property was run as one except that each had its own Kitchen Garden and, apparently, Head Gardener. A series of social and family changes meant that Charlton was used less and eventually left empty. The Downs school were delighted to get out of the dirt of central Bristol by leasing it in 1927. They were also pleased, in 2002, to purchase Charlton after the death of Richard Gibbs, the second Lord Wraxall.