architecture, belvedere, Column, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, garden history, landscape, Monument, Northumberland, Observatory, Tower

Brizlee Tower, Alnwick, Northumberland

Brizlee Tower. Photo' courtesy of Robin Kent Architecture and Conservation.

Brizlee Tower* stands high on Brizlee Hill, near Alnwick, and overlooks Hulne Park, a detached pleasure ground close to the Duke of Northumberland’s principal park at Alnwick Castle. It was built in the late 18th century as a prospect tower and eye-catcher, and also as an object to be visited on a drive from the castle through Hulne Park. The park was designed by ‘the inimitable Brown’, aka Capability, working with local engineers and designers, and was also home to the ruins of mediaeval Hulne Abbey, embellished and repurposed by the Duke and Duchess as a banqueting house, pleasure garden and menagerie for exotic pheasants. This is one of The Folly Flâneuse’s favourite follies: the detail is just so joyful, or as historian Alistair Rowan so wonderfully put it: ‘at Brizlee there is fantasy and flamboyance’.

architecture, belvedere, eyecatcher, Folly, landscape, Monument, North Yorkshire, Obelisk, Tower

Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle, Sutton in Craven/Cowling, North Yorkshire

The Folly Flâneuse is playing safe here with the locations of these two structures, as the inhabitants of the villages of Cowling and Sutton in Craven, south of Skipton, each claim a monument as their own. Locals are at least agreed on a nickname: for very obvious reasons the tower and pinnacle are known as the Salt and Pepper Pots.

architecture, belvedere, Folly, garden, Grotto, landscape, North Yorkshire, Summerhouse

The Grotto, Ingleborough Hall, Clapham, North Yorkshire

Constructed early in the 19th century, this rocky grotto was built in the grounds of Ingleborough Hall, home to the Farrer family. Later it was a favoured spot of Elizabeth Farrer (1853-1937), and has thus became known by the wonderfully comforting name of Aunt Bessie’s Grotto. Here tea was served by the staff, whilst the family enjoyed the wonderful view to Thwaite Scars.

architecture, belvedere, Column, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, landscape, Lincolnshire, Monument

Dunston Pillar and Statue of George III, Lincolnshire

The Dunston Pillar as featured in the Illustrated London News, April 1859. Courtesy of a private collection.

In the middle of the 18th century the area around Dunston was unenclosed heath, and travel was a dirty and dangerous business, especially in the dark winter months. Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781), 2nd baronet, of West Wycombe and Hell-fire Club fame, came into property in the area when he married Sarah Ellys of nearby Nocton in 1745. Dashwood erected the Dunston Pillar in 1751 as a beacon to guide ‘the peasant, the wayfaring stranger, and the horseman with his dame on pillion’.

architecture, belvedere, Column, Folly, Tower, West Yorkshire

Wainhouse Tower, Halifax, West Yorkshire

The Tower in June 2019.

Halifax has been much in the news recently following the restoration of the wondrous Piece Hall, a Georgian cloth trading centre on a monumental scale. But the town is also home to another amazing structure, the Wainhouse Tower, one of the country’s finest follies. Factory chimney turned witness to wealth, it thrusts 253 feet into the sky above the town.

architecture, belvedere, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, landscape, public park, Republic of Ireland, Summerhouse, Temple

The Casino at Marino, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. And the ones in Yorkshire…

18th century Italy was bustling with rich young noblemen on the Grand Tour. This extended study trip/holiday filled the years between formal education ending and the responsibilities of inheriting an estate, and producing heirs of their own, kicked in. In the early years of the 1750s, a coterie in Rome centred on Charles Caulfeild, Viscount Charlemont, a young Irish dilettante as well read as he was well travelled: Charlemont would travel further than most and see Egypt, Constantinople and Greece. Within his circle for the obligatory sojourn in Italy were two men with strong Yorkshire connections: Thomas Brudenell, Baron Bruce of Tottenham, who had a seat at Tanfield Hall near Ripon, and Henry Willoughby of Birdsall Hall in the East Riding of the county. 

architecture, belvedere, East Riding of Yorkshire, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, landscape, Tower

Bettison’s Folly, Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire

In 1829 William Bettison Esq. purchased a country retreat on Newbegin in Hornsea, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. From here, he commuted by phaeton to Hull, where during his career he was owner of the Humber Street Brewery and proprietor of the Hull Advertiser. The house came with ‘extensive Pleasure Grounds’ and some time around 1844 he constructed this curious tower built of what are called treacle bricks, over-baked rejects from the kiln.

architecture, belvedere, eyecatcher, Folly, landscape, Summerhouse, Surrey, Tower

Broadwood’s Folly, Surrey: Season’s Greetings from The Folly Flâneuse

Photo’ courtesy of Andrew Wright.

The Folly Flâneuse confesses she has never visited Broadwood’s Folly in Surrey, and although she seldom writes about buildings she has never seen, the photo below explains the interest. Finding an English sparkling wine named after a folly was just too good an opportunity to miss in this festive season.