Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Up to a Point by David Winpenny

Order David Winpenny's Up to A Point
from his website 
In search of pyramids in Britain and Ireland

I highly recommend this comprehensive reference book, a mammoth undertaking, which includes historic pyramids as well as those built in recent years. Chock full of pictures and well researched text, I'm sure I'll return to it again and again.

On the two page spread about Mad Jack Fuller's mausoleum (68 & 69), Winpenny begins by wondering why Fuller's pyramid is so well known today, when so many others have faded into obscurity. He proposes that it may be because at 25 feet tall, it's hard to miss. He adds that it may be because Fuller had a number of follies built in and around his Rose Hill, Brightling estate, of which his pyramid mausoleum is only one. There are also the myths surrounding Fuller's pyramid: he's interred seated on a iron chair in a top hat in front of a table with a full dinner and bottle of wine, around him on the floor a circle of broken glass to keep the devil from claiming one of his own. When renovations were made in 1982 this was proved wrong but a stanza from Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard inscribed on an interior wall was revealed.

Perhaps the pyramid's notoriety is just part of the larger legacy left behind by a larger than life Georgian Squire - his parliamentary career; the Fullerian Professorships at the Royal Institution; Eastbourne Lifeboat; Belle Tout Lighthouse; JMW Turner's Views of Sussex and other works; Bodiam Castle; the bells and barrel organ at St Thomas à Beckett Church, Brightling; the Fuller family's Sussex landholdings, ironfounding at Heathfeild and sugar plantations in Jamaica.

Fuller's pyramid was completed on 15 June 1811 and Winpenny writes, "For the remaining 23 years of Fuller's life he could see it from the windows of Rose Hill", Winpenny, pg. 69. An interesting notion. I can't help but wonder if this is still the case. From the aerial view, seen below, it is plausible but it would depend on the height of the trees separating the churchyard and what is now known as Brightling Park.

1 comment:

Annette said...

Have received this reply from an authoritative source, "The mausoleum cannot now be seen from Brightling Park house due to trees being in the way."