Thursday, March 02, 2023

The Hoares and Stourhead Part 1

Stourhead, Wiltshire was home to an illustrious goldsmith-turned-banking family, the Hoares. Henry I 'the Good' purchased the estate in 1717. It was inherited by his son Henry II 'the Magnificent' in 1725. His daughter and heir Anne married her first cousin Sir Richard Hoare, of Barn Elms. Their son Richard Colt Hoare built the house's fabulous library and picture gallery.  Sir Richard's second wife was Frances Acland (3rd cousin twice removed of Mad Jack Fuller). Her 1st cousin once removed, Sir John Palmer Acland, married Mad Jack's sister Elizabeth Fuller. Their grandson Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare gave Stourhead to the National Trust in 1946. The 1000 ha (2500 acre) site with its manmade lake, is liberally sprinkled with follies, monuments, ornate bridges and other curious structures. 

The Obelisk,  topped by a golden sun. 

St Peter's Pump was built at Bristol in 1474 to help provide the city with water. It was purchased and relocated by Henry 'the Magnificent' in 1768. 

Also salvaged from Bristol, is this ornate medieval cross brought to Stourhead in pieces by six wagons in 1764. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Fuller's Sugar Loaf Folly

Many unanswered questions remain: Did Mad Jack Fuller win his bet? Who did he wager with and what was at stake? How was the site chosen? Legend has it the Sugar Loaf Folly was built overnight. Is this true? I've been trying to read the artist's signature on the bottom left. The initials A D can be seen followed by????

Monday, February 20, 2023

Brightling Church Postcard 1904


Postcards were a quick, inexpensive way of communication back in the days before everyone had a telephone. Sent from Etchingham on 8 June 1904, the message reads 'Much better shall be in by the 10-8 at T. W. hope all are well Gr.' I trust Mrs Francis of Windmill Street was glad to see them arrive by train. Mad Jack Fuller's pyramid mausoleum is seen to the left of Brightling Church.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Broadway Tower

Part of the buzz I get from researching is making connections, most of all between John 'Mad Jack' Fuller and seemingly different things. Barbara, Countess of Coventry wondered if the beacon on Middle Hill, Broadway could be seen from her house, Spring Hill, in Worcester 35km (22 miles) away. The construction of Broadway Tower, designed by James Wyatt and built in 1794, confirmed this to be true. 'Mad Jack' allegedly had the Sugar Loaf folly built at Dallington to win a bet that the spire of the village church could be seen from his home at Rose Hill. He had an obelisk, known as the Brightling Needle, erected on the hill where Brightling Beacon has been traditionally lit. In 1779, diarist Fanny Burney wrote about the coquettish Peggy Pitches flirting with the young Captain Fuller at the card table. Four years later, Peggy married Lord Deerhurst George William Coventry, the 7th Earl of Coventry, stepson of the aforementioned Barbara.

We visited Broadway tower on a rainy day when, unfortunately, water started leaking into this magnificently furnished folly. Thankfully, property owner Annette Will was on hand to quickly get the situation under control.