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.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Nore Folly, Swindon

Following Countess Newburgh's tradition, we took a picnic lunch to Nore Folly near Slindon. The views from its hillside site were spectacular. Built for her al fresco parties in 1814, this flint structure is also known as Slindon Folly. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Wern Manor, Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd, Wales

This folly temple is situated in the 15-acre gardens & woods of Wern Manor, one of the most delightful airbnbs we've ever stayed at. Hosts Paul and Marie-Ann have worked tirelessly to restore the property to its former glory. In 1892, the house was remodeled in the Jacobethan Arts & Crafts style for Richard Geaves the manager of Llechwedd Slate Quarry (Blaenau Ffestiniog). He was the uncle of architect Clough Williams-Ellis whose masterwork is Portmeirion village.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Wellington Clock Tower, Swanage, Dorset

In 1854 when the Wellington Clock Tower was originally erected at the southern end of London Bridge it had four clock faces and housed a small telegraph office. It was relocated to Swanage, Dorset in 1868 when local building contractor George Burt disassembled it, transported it as ship's ballast and gave it to his friend Thomas Docwra, another builder, as a gift. For obscure reasons, the original spire was removed in 1904 and replaced by an ogee-shaped copper cupola. The tower now stands on private property.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cranmore Tower, Somerset

Located on the highest point of the Mendip Way, Cranmore Tower is about 45m (148 ft) tall. Built by Thomas Henry Wyatt for John Moore Paget of Cranmore Hall between 1862 and 1864, it is now on private land and closed to visitors. Unsurprisingly it was used by the Home Guard and Royal Corps of Signals during the Second World War. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

St Audries Park

In 1835, Mad Jack Fuller's nephew and heir Sir Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland purchased St Audries, East Quantoxhead, Somerset. It became home to his daughter Isabella and her husband Sir Alexander Bateman Periam Fuller Acland Hood when they married in 1849. Over the years the house was much improved and expanded. It remained in the family until their grandson sold it in 1925. It is now a wedding venue.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Watchet Barometer Gift of Sir A A Hood

Like Mad Jack Fuller, Sir Alexander Bateman Perriam Fuller Acland Hood was a generous benefactor to his community. His wife, Lady Isabella Harriet was the only surviving child of Mad Jack's nephew Sir Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland. As well as family ties, Hood shared Mad Jack's interest in saving lives at sea and scientific instruments. In 1862, Sir A A Hood gifted the town of Watchet, Somerset an Admiral FitzRoy's Storm Barometer made by Negretti & Zambra. Robert FitzRoy, for whom the instrument is named, captained the Beagle of Charles Darwin fame. In 2012, the barometer was restored by the Watchet Conservation Society. It continues in daily use and can be viewed in its original position, set into the wall of a cottage at the west end of The Esplanade (where it meets the corner of Swain and Market Streets).