County Durham, Lancashire, Monument

Clitheroe Pinnacle, Lancashire and Hamsterley Hall follies, Co. Durham


This gothic fragment can be found in the public park surrounding Clitheroe Castle in Lancashire. It was given to the town by Captain Sir William Brass, the local MP, to mark the coronation of King George VI in 1937. The pinnacle was rescued from the masons’ yard after it was removed as part of the extensive repairs to the stonework of the Houses of Parliament begun in the 1930s. The ladies bowling team selflessly allowed their green to be converted into a rose garden to surround the pinnacle.

The pinnacle was restored by the Clitheroe Civic Society in 2015 and there is more information here

Brass boldly stated that the pinnacle was the only one to have been relocated from London in its entirety, but there’s another at Hamsterley Hall in County Durham. In the 1920s Hamsterley, near Rowland’s Gill, was home to the Hon. Standish Robert Gage Prendergast Vereker, later 7th Viscount Gort, a title in the Irish peerage. He was something of an antiquarian and during his time at Hamsterley added an eclectic range of stonework, panelling, stained glass and architectural fragments to the mansion, resulting in a fabulous and unique house.

Turning his attention to the garden in the 1930s, Vereker added a cupola salvaged from the roof of Beaudesert, Staffordshire and turned it into a gazebo. The Marquess of Anglesey had sold the fabric of Beaudesert in 1935 and the building was demolished the following year. An exact date is not known but the cupola seems have been installed at Hamsterley soon after the demolition, with the gothic pinnacle from the Houses of Parliament as a companion.

Hamsterley Hall follies

As debate rages about the cost of a 21st century restoration of the Houses of Parliament perhaps further fragments can be salvaged and sold as work begins?

Hamsterley Hall has recently undergone a painstaking restoration and the results are stunning. The house and grounds are strictly private but the hall and the the ornaments can be seen from a public footpath.

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3 thoughts on “Clitheroe Pinnacle, Lancashire and Hamsterley Hall follies, Co. Durham”

  1. Steve Burke, Chairman, Clitheroe Civic Society. says:

    During the project to repair, conserve and better interpret the Listed Grade II pinnacle which resides in the Clitheroe Castle Gardens were were aware of ‘rumours’ about another extant pinnacle obtained at the same time but we were unable to locate this during the lifespan of the project (2011-2015).
    It is most interesting to see a similar near complete example from the Palace of Westminster and pleased to note that – at this point in time – ‘our Pinnacle’ remains the only known example which is publicly accessible and with detailed interpretation adjacent to the monument.

    1. Editor says:

      Congratulations on the restoration. It looked wonderful in the sunshine yesterday.

  2. Gwyn says:

    Former government minister Alan Lennox-Boyd, Lord Boyd of Merton, acquired a 25ft pinnacle from Westminster Abbey and erected it in his garden at Wiveliscombe (not Wivelscombe as that notoriously unreliable FG&GB would have you believe) in Somerset. It’s probably not publicly accessible.

    And as I always like a nice unrelated anecdote to go with my follies, Lennox-Boyd was Minister of Transport in Churchill’s government from 1952 to 1954. He said that road accidents were the result “not of the taking of large risks, but of the taking of small risks large numbers of times.” He was run over and killed while crossing the Fulham Road in 1983. At last a politician who was right about something, then.

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