(Click on the image to see a large view)
One typical definition of the word ‘folly’ says, ‘A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.’
Hiorne Tower overlooks the valley of Pughdean, Swanbourne Lake and the sweeping Downs.
Rather than being built with ‘no practical purpose’ as per the definition of the word ‘folly’, Hiorne’s architectural masterpiece was built with a very definite purpose in response to a direct request from the Duke of Norfolk who wished to see an example of his building style as he was planning to commission him to undertake the restoration of Arundel castle.
Now a Grade II listed building, it was designed and built around 1787 in the newly-established park under the superintendence of the architect Francis Hiorne of Warwick.
It consists of a 50ft-high triangular structure in Gothic revival style consisting of three octagonal corner turrets made in flint and stone chequer-work with pointed and mullioned windows.
It is said that the Duke was unimpressed by this design and decided against employing Hiorne and the work on the castle went ahead to the duke’s own design.