Monday, August 30, 2021

The Mad Jack Walking Tour


Enjoy a walk, drive or cycle ride around the Sussex village of Brightling to see the intriguing follies built by John 'Mad Jack' Fuller. Download a pdf of the map and guide here. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mad Jack, the many lives of John Fuller, squire of Brightling

In a country and era renowned for its colourful characters, John 'Mad Jack' Fuller stands out as the archetypical eccentric English Georgian squire. Born in 1757 to a family of wealthy landowners, Fuller carved his own niche in the annals of Sussex history.
'Mad Jack is best known for his follies in the village of Brightling, Sussex and apocryphal tales about his eccentricity. His lengthy political career has been eclipsed by one scandalous incident, during which he spent two nights in custody.'

During his lifetime, Fuller took on many roles including that of soldier, absentee planter & slave owner,  politician and philanthropist.  He was a patron of the arts and sciences who promoted the works of such greats as JMW Turner and Michael Faraday. 

'Looking back, one wonders what it was about his behaviour that others saw fit to brand as ‘mad’. Why, after a lifetime of contributing to society, is John Fuller most remembered as the folly-building eccentric squire? When and why the ‘Mad Jack’ sobriquet was first applied to Fuller is unclear, but to determine whether it was ever really warranted, we need to take a closer look at the man and his life – and examine his true legacy.'


  • Richly illustrated with contemporary artwork and bespoke watercolours.
  • Fully indexed.
  • Comprehensive endnotes. 
  • Black ribbon marker.

Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1999922238
Publisher : Otherwise; 22 October 2020​
Distributor: York Publishing Services, York, UK

Order your copy here. Worldwide delivery is available. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A few years ago, I purchased these two original pen and ink sketches made by Paul Sharp in about 1963.  They were made in preparation for a drawing that appeared in the Follies volume of the National Benzole Books series published in 1963. The final drawing and text appear below. 

Paul Sharp was born in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire in 1912.  He studied at the Royal College of Art, between 1946 and 1949. He died in 1998. "His distinctive, well-ordered graphic style developed into a personal trademark, his work always demonstrating a formal sense of proportion, careful use of white space and preference for sans serif typefaces. His style illustrates the continuing impact of Bauhaus on mid-twentieth century British design." Source:

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Excursion: On the Trail of Mad Jack Fuller


Friday 2 August 2019 


John “Mad Jack” Fuller was an eccentric Georgian squire who built a number of follies in some of the highest and most attractive countryside in the South of England. Your guide for this fascinating day out will be Mark, who will introduce you to the life and times of this larger-than-life character, who became known as the “Squire of Brightling”. Our tour will take you to some of Fuller’s follies, including the Sugar Loaf and Brightling Needle, and ends at Brightling Church. Mad Jack lies buried in the churchyard in a bizarre 25-feet tall pyramid he had built 24 years before he died! There will be stops for refreshment (cost not included). To get the most out of the tour, a small amount of walking will be required so we recommend walking shoes.
Pick-up Points
Horsham (D&B)
Horsham (Station)
Horsham (Library)
Hop Oast (Park & Ride)