Just along the road from Blackfen stood Blendon Hall, a large country villa built in 1763 on the site of a much earlier building. When the banker John Smith, MP lived there he decided in 1816 to redesign the hall and re-landscape the gardens. Fences were erected around the estate, but around the new fruit garden “a more substantial guard against man must be provided and brick walls are the best security”. Was he worried about the people of Blackfen helping themselves?!
Incidentally, there were reports around 1900 of people in Blackfen being caught blackberry-picking – it was an offence to trespass and take the fruit!
Blendon Hall was demolished for a housing estate in 1934.