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Historical Follies >

The Pantheon_Stourhead_Gardens
The Sham Castle_Bath

The Pantheon at Stourhead Gardens
One of the great examples of Palladian splendour is Henry Hoare’s almost perfect landscape garden at Stourhead. On the circuit walk around a huge lake are classical temples, grottos, monuments and a wonderful bridge. Perhaps most impressive of all is The Pantheon, originally heated by a stove and probably used for picnics and supper parties.

 

The Sham Castle by Ralph Allen in Bath;  
Nowadays, with new buildings springing up all around, it is difficult to pick out the Sham Castle from the city. At one time it stood alone on a hill, across the valley form Mr. Allen’s Prior Park Villa, looking proudly down on once glittering Bath – the perfect Eye-Catcher.

Abbey Cloisters_Abingdon
 
The Gothic Folly Shotover

The Abbey Cloisters, Abingdon;  
These ruins deceive many visitors and probably one or two residents of the town. Easily accessible in a public park they are large, elaborate and fraudulent. Some of the components of the extensive ruin are indeed mediaeval, genuine fragments of the dissolved Abbey. In about 1860 a Mr. E. Trendall gathered them all together and built this fine fake abutting the wall of his garden in Abbey House!

 

The Gothic Folly, Shotover; 
One of the earliest of the Gothic Revival buildings in Britain . As a model it could hardly be bettered – it has all the requirements. It is large, gabled, battlemented, pinnacled, turreted, vaulted, mysterious, enigmatic and old. Oh, and Gothic – an inspiration to us all.

Romulus & Remus
 
Headington Shark_Oxford

Romulus and Remus;  
The story behind this monument to the famous tale actually emanates from the Send World War. There was an Italian prisoner of war camp outside Wells and the prisoners were allowed to work on the local farms. One of the prisoners, Gaetano Galestro, carved this monument in thanks for the friendliness of the locals. So friendly were the locals that there is a large Italian contingent in the Wells area, obviously descendants of Celestra as most of them are builders.

 

The Headington Shark;  
Visitors to Oxford ’s dreaming spires hurry through Headington unaware of the treat they are missing. Literally just off the High Street, amongst a row of terraced houses, the skyline is broken by the carcass of a 25 foot basking shark which has plummeted through the roof of No. 7, impaling itself in the upstairs bedroom. The owner fought a planning battle with the local council for years claiming that the shark was merely a sculpture and therefore not subject to planning permission. He even renamed his house ‘The Plinth’ and one neighbour changed the name of her’s to ‘Shark View’.

The Wolery_Chewton_Keysham
 
Jack the Treacle Eater

The Wolery at Chewton Keynsham;  
One of the more fascinating examples of the Tower Folly. Built with an untrained hand (often the best way!) it is leaning daringly over the river beside it as if to fall at any moment. Either that or it is about to take off for the moon. Wolery is the local patois for Owlery.

Jack the Treacle Eater;  
One of four Follies built to mark the boundaries of an estate south of Yeovil built in the 1820’s. The story is that Jack, a noted local runner who is commemorated by the figure on the top, trained on a diet of treacle.

 
Redwood Stone, The Stoneworks, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset BA5 3EH, England   Tel 01749 677777
 
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