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.