Fashionable Fakery: 8 Fantastical Follies

The Historic England Blog

One way to spot an 18th century landscape is by the presence of an extravagant, expensive, and purposeless structure.

Like a set piece, but with more staying power, many follies were born of the humour and goodwill of the financier. Fashionable faux castles, gothic ruins and roman temples representing a sense of fun in a predominantly practical, built environment.

Here are 8 of our favourite follies. Tell us about the fanciful buildings that you like in the comments.

1. The Druids Temple, Ilton, North Yorkshire Grade II listed

geograph-000427-by-Paul-Allison Druid’s Temple, Masham © Copyright Paul Allison

In a quiet clearing surrounded by the serene Yorkshire countryside, you wouldn’t expect to see what looks like the crumbling remains of a prehistoric monument.

The structure was commissioned in 1820 by then-sheriff of Yorkshire, William Danby, in an attempt to alleviate local unemployment. Workers were paid a shilling a day for their labour, and…

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7 thoughts on “Fashionable Fakery: 8 Fantastical Follies

  1. When I was doing my research for my M.Litt. at NUI Galway in Ireland, I was traveling through Co. Donegal to find a “Giants Grave” that wasn’t. On my way to and from the site, I noticed something that looked almost like a Bronze Age bolder burial. When I returned to my B&B, I asked the proprietor about it. He told me that the local farmer found some stones and assembled it into that shape to attract passers-by.

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  2. Follies have continued right up to our present day, sadly they just are not as visible most of the time. Then again politically they shine a bright light on them self. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people


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