About The Folly Flâneuse
The Folly Flâneuse has been fascinated, some might say obsessed, with follies since she was a child. This blog was started as a way to share that passion.
Most posts are based on The Folly Flâneuse’s own visits to a site, but occasionally posts will be research-based only, particularly in the case of lost follies.
The Folly Flâneuse aims for the stories to be easy to read and enjoy, and for that reason they do not have footnotes, or references. But she is always happy to help with further information and elaborate on sources, and she is always pleased to correct any errors. Contact can be made via the comments box under each post, or by the email on the contact page.
Do get in touch with any folly news.
All photos are taken with an iPhone and are seldom adulterated, as the Folly Flâneuse has no technical nous whatsoever.
The small print: All photos by The Folly Flâneuse unless otherwise credited. All text and photos copyright The Folly Flâneuse, unless otherwise credited, and may not be used without permission. Please get in touch if you would like to use any images or text.
Every attempt has been made to ensure that historic images are appropriately credited and permission obtained for the use of copyrighted material.
Some folly definitions:
In these pages the Folly Flâneuse works with a broad definition of follies, allowing the inclusion of mausolea, monuments and other examples of quirky structures that ornament a landscape. Here are a selection (which will be added to over time) of definitions from others with an interest in the subject:
Follies are those buildings which are ‘seemingly purposeless to the utilitarian commonality’, Dorset County Chronicle 1864
J.B. Priestley on the builders of follies in his English Journey of 1934: ‘… a famous company, the eccentric English country gentry, the odd and delightful fellows who have lived just as they pleased, who have built follies, held fantasia beliefs, and laid mad wagers’
Follies are ‘the supreme expression of unreason in architecture’. Olive Cook in The Saturday Book, 1959.
‘Ideally a folly is an ostentatious, overambitious and useless structure, preferably with a wildly improbably legend attached – but in real life it must be admitted that follies defy even such broad definitions. That’s the pleasure of the things…’ Gwyn Headley & Wim Meulenlamp Follies, Grottoes & Garden Buildings, 1999.
The ‘delightful eccentricity of a great nation’. John Betjeman.
‘Useless but usually delightful and expensive buildings put up for fun’. Poet Charles Causley in notes to his poem ‘Jack the Treacle Eater’.