architecture, Folly, garden, landscape, North Yorkshire, Summerhouse, Temple

Rievaulx Terrace: A Tale of Two Sketchbooks

The Ionic Temple with Winged Mule by Fiona Bowley.

Not far from Helmsley, in North Yorkshire, are the dramatic ruins of a Cistercian abbey. Named after the valley of the river Rye in which is sits, Rievaulx Abbey is backed by a huge wooded cliff which rises high above the stonework. Look up and you can just see a glimpse of a classical temple, one of two which ornament the curving grassed terrace which overlooks the abbey.

architecture, Folly, Monument, North Yorkshire, Temple

Barbara Jones and the trials and triumphs of folly-spotting

Barbara Jones's sketch of a detail from the Skipton Castle grotto, executed in 1949 and published in the first edition of Follies & Grottoes in 1953.

Last week’s brief post on the sham Druid’s Temple, near Masham, was something of a preamble to The Folly Flâneuse sharing this wonderful letter written by Barbara Jones in 1949. Jones is, of course, the doyenne of folly-spotters, and in this missive she shares the ups and downs of researching for the first edition of Follies & Grottoes. It is a delight to read: camping at the Druid’s Temple, finding Hackfall, and best of all a run-in with the formidable Captain Fordyce, Agent to Lord Hothfield at Skipton Castle. Here’s the unadulterated letter in full:

architecture, Folly, landscape, North Yorkshire, Temple

Druid’s Temple, Masham, North Yorkshire

‘The desire for knowledge and the love of mystery are two of the most powerful human impulses and Stonehenge satisfies both at once. That is why it has never lost its hold over our imagination or our curiosity’.

So wrote Rosemary Hill in her erudite and entertaining history of Britain’s most enigmatic ancient monument. If people were enthralled with this famous site in Wiltshire, how did they react when they found just such a monument in a quiet corner of Yorkshire?

architecture, Folly, garden, landscape, Spain, Temple

Museo Loringiano, Málaga, Spain.

Just outside the city of Málaga is La Concepción, the former seat of the Marquis de Casa Loring, now the Jardín Botánico-Historico. The symbol of the gardens is the Mirador, an open belvedere (built by later owners) with views across the city, but tucked in the shade of the magnificent collection of plants is the Museo Loringiano, a Doric temple which once housed the family’s collection of antiquities.

architecture, Folly, garden, landscape, Summerhouse, Temple, West Yorkshire

Temple of Venus & Bacchus, Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire. And a ‘Hammock of Love’ …

'Summer House at Bretton' J.C.Nattes, 1805 (detail). Courtesy of Barnsley Museums, Cannon Hall Museum Collection.

In the 1760s Sir Thomas Wentworth* (1726-1792) of Bretton Hall, near Wakefield, set about landscaping his park. Initially, he employed Richard Woods, a professional landscape designer, but soon decided he could manage just as well on his own. In the 1770s he added to his grand design without recourse to even the most eminent landscaper of the age: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. A second lake would, he told friends, be completed without the help of ‘Capability or any such pretending Rogues’.

architecture, Cumbria, Folly, garden, landscape, Summerhouse, Temple

The Temple, Duddon Grove (now Duddon Hall), Cumbria

Photograph courtesy of Ashworth Walker Architects.

Duddon Grove was once in Cumberland, separated from the Furness peninsula and Lancashire by the river Duddon. A few miles from Broughton-in-Furness, it is tucked away in a quiet corner of the county that is largely free from the tourist hordes. Since the county boundary changes of 1974 it has been in Cumbria. The present house, originally called Duddon Grove, was built by Richard Towers in around 1805, soon after he came into possession of the estate. In the garden stands a very ornate temple with a pediment supported by pillars with Corinthian capitals, and a level of ornamentation not seen on the austere mansion. 

Folly, Monument, Scotland, Temple, Tower

The National Monument, or “Edinburgh’s Disgrace”, Edinburgh

The National Monument in summer

In 1822 work began in Edinburgh to construct a National Monument to commemorate the men of Scotland who had lost their lives during the long years of war with France. Calton Hill had been purchased for the people by Edinburgh’s Town Council in 1724, making it an early example of a public park in Britain, and the elevated site was chosen for the new monument. After considering various forms the city decided to erect a replica of the Parthenon, giving Edinburgh its very own Acropolis.  Charles Robert Cockerell was asked to design the building, with the Scotsman William Henry Playfair as executant architect in Scotland.

Folly, Kent, Temple

Season’s Greetings

The Temple, Cobham Hall, Kent. Photo courtesy of The Folly Flâneuse's good friend The Garden Historian.

Taking it easy as Christmas approaches, the Folly Flâneuse was flicking through a copy of The Home Owner magazine from December 1937. She was delighted to discover one writer’s thoughts on follies at that date. Follies were, he wrote :

‘the natural off-spring of the union of too much money with too little brain…set up ostensibly to improve the view, but really to advertise some wealthy nit-wit’

On that note a very merry Christmas and there will be more nit-wits and their creations in 2019.

Folly, Temple, West Yorkshire

Thornes Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire: some peripatetic fragments

The Secret Garden in Wakefield’s Thornes Park features these architectural fragments which have popped up at various locations across the Wakefield district. The pinnacle is a bit of a mystery, but is believed to have been salvaged during a restoration of Wakefield Cathedral. The columns were originally part of the Wakefield Market Cross which was demolished, against the wishes of the people of Wakefield, in 1866 as part of the corporation’s ‘public improvements’. The furious scenes at the public auction of the cross in September 1866 made the papers across Britain. It was bought by a no-nonsense Mr Armitage who said  ‘It will do very well for my garden’.