Fonthill (house)

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Fonthill Castle
Fonthill Castle.JPG
Fonthill (house) is located in Pennsylvania
Fonthill (house)
Fonthill (house) is located in the United States
Fonthill (house)
LocationDoylestown, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°19′16″N 75°07′22″W / 40.321158°N 75.122902°W / 40.321158; -75.122902Coordinates: 40°19′16″N 75°07′22″W / 40.321158°N 75.122902°W / 40.321158; -75.122902
ArchitectDr. Henry C. Mercer
Architectural styleMixed (more Than 2 Styles From Different Periods)
Part ofFonthill Castle, Mercer Museum, and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works (ID85002366)
NRHP reference No.72001094
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 1, 1972[1]
Designated NHLDCPFebruary 4, 1985[2]

Fonthill, also known as Fonthill Castle,[3] was the home of the American archeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Despite sometimes being referred to as Fonthill Castle, it is a large house and not a castle.


Fonthill Castle was the home of the archaeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer. Built between 1908 and 1912, it is an early example of poured-in-place concrete and features 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces, 10 bathrooms and one powder room. The interior was originally painted in pastel colors, but age and sunlight have all but eradicated any hint of the former hues. One room in the Terrace Pavilion (built on the site of the former home's barn), has a restored paint job so visitors can view the home's former glory. The castle contains built-in furniture and is embellished with decorative tiles, made by Mercer at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. The castle is filled with an extensive collection of ceramics embedded in the concrete of the house, as well as other artifacts from his world travels, including cuneiform tablets discovered in Mesopotamia dating back to over 2300 BCE. The home also contains around 1,000 prints from Mercer's extensive collection, as well as over six thousand books, almost all of which were annotated by Mercer himself.

The Castle was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972,[1] and was later included in a National Historic Landmark District along with the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and the Mercer Museum.[2] These three structures are the only poured-in-place concrete structures built by Mercer. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is located on the same property as Fonthill Castle, and the Mercer Museum is located about a mile away.

Fonthill Castle and the Mercer Museum are operated by the Bucks County Historical Society, whereas the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is operated by the County of Bucks.


Fonthill Castle is open Tuesday- Sunday for guided one-hour tours. Due to its historic nature, Fonthill Castle has limited accessibility with steep stairs and narrow, uneven passages throughout the site. Personal photography is permitted during tours; commercial, wedding, or event photography permits are available.

Community Programs[edit]

Throughout the year, community programs are held at Fonthill Castle as enrichment activities and/or fundraisers for the Bucks County Historical Society. These events have included Winter Wonderland Tours, Shakespeare in the Park, Candlelight Holiday Tours, Tower Tours for Families, Mercer's Night Tales, Behind the Scenes Tours, Escape Rooms, etc.

Popular culture[edit]

The house is featured (by name and description) in Lewis Shiner's 1990 novel Slam, although in the book it has been relocated to Galveston, Texas.

On the Viva La Bam Seasons 2 & 3 DVD, it is revealed that Bam Margera shot the video for "And Love Said No" by HIM at Fonthill Castle. In 2007, Margera filmed parts of Minghags at the Fonthill Castle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Fonthill, Mercer Museum, and Moravian Pottery and Tile Works". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  3. ^ Ocean, Justin (2012-08-09). "12 Awe-Inspiring American Castles". Budget Travel. Retrieved 2013-10-06.

External links[edit]