A comprehensive planning project is now underway to restore Wentworth Villa. Everything from structural stability of foundations, new wiring to paint and wallpaper analysis, is being considered to contribute to an overall restoration plan.Learn More >
During restoration work, we regret that individual visits to Wentworth Villa are not possible. Group visits may be prearranged by emailing us to arrange a convenient time.
Tours of the architectural and family history can be arranged.Learn More >
The building was constructed in the Carpenter Gothic style in 1863 for Mrs. Ann Blinkhorn and Henry Bailey Ella and his wife Martha Beeton Ella.
Thomas and Ann Blinkhorn married in the village of Great Gidding, Huntingdonshire, England in 1827. They sailed to the Colony of Vancouver’s Island on the barque Tory in 1851. Accompanying them was Ann’s 16-year-old niece, Martha Beeton Cheney, who would later become Mrs. Henry B. Ella of Wentworth Villa. Their marriage took place at Metchosin in 1855, with Governor James Douglas in attendance. The Blinkhorns farmed, and were the first independent settlers in Metchosin, after the Hudson’s Bay Company staff. After Thomas died in 1856, Mrs. Blinkhorn moved into town, first living in a house on Broad Street with Henry and Martha Ella.
While planning to build their new house, Ann Blinkhorn chose their building site on Fort Street. Fort Victoria had been built in 1843 in a strategic location on the harbour’s edge. From the fort’s main gate, Fort Street led directly east, away from the harbour. By the 1860’s the dirt road was the epitome of a frontier town: small wooden buildings edged the unpaved street, housing a few businesses and homes. A small wooden church spire added a hopeful touch of civilization to the scene. Six blocks to the east and up a short, gentle slope to a low ridge of bedrock was the furthest end of Fort Street, and Mrs. Blinkhorn’s chosen spot for her new home. From the building site there were low views to the south and west over the growing town and sunsets over the distant Sooke Hills. Beyond Wentworth Villa’s property line the thoroughfare narrowed to a dirt track, and was known as “Cadboro Bay Road”, leading through the fields and forest to the distant bay some six miles away.
Ann Blinkhorn purchased the first building lot from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1862; her nephew-in-law, ship captain Henry B. Ella purchased the adjoining second lot in 1863, also from the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Wentworth Villa was built in the spring and summer of 1863, and was one of the grandest houses in Victoria, with an entrance hall with two statue niches, a large double-drawing room and eight fireplaces.
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