Shropshire History


Follies & Monuments


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Owners of large country estates often had their grounds landscaped and many competed to have the most unusual folly or monument on their land.  These varied greatly from tall columns to mock buildings or grottos.


Acton Burnell Sham Castle, Acton Burnell (SJ544015)


Built in the late 1700s by local squire Sir Edward Smythe to contain a  large music chamber where the family listened to concerts. in the 1900s it became known as Black Dick’s Castle after a local highwayman. Later it was called Keeper’s Tower as the keeper of the estate lived here. By 2001 it was in a poor condition but was bought and renovated as a residence.


Acton Burnell Shell House, Acton Burnell (SJ535014)


Built around 1779-80 on the north-western slopes of Acton Burnell Hill. It is built of squared sandstone blocks with a corbelled roof of flatter stones. Inside, the ceiling is covered with shell designs and the walls have remains of Chinese-type glazed picture tiles.


Acton Round Indian Kiosk, Acton Round  (SO638954)


A modern folly built to disguise a water tank


Acton Round Monument, Acton Round  (SO637955)


Small column in field opposite Acton Round Hall, with which it is probably associated.


Acton Round Pagoda, Acton Round (SO635955)


Folly in the gardens of Acton Round Hall.


Aldenham Park Ionic Temple, Morville (SO670954)

Built as a folly around 1780 and converted into a chapel around 1840. The chapel was demolished in the late 20th century, leaving only the facade.  


Arley Tower, Upper Arley (SO764802)

Grade II listed Arley Tower, Upper Arley

Built in 1842 for Earl Mountnorris, the owner of the Arley Estate. It was said that the earl had wanted to buy the adjacent Hafren House from its owner, a wealthy proprietor of a local quarry. When this offer was refused, the earl took his revenge by building the tower to block the views from Hafren House. It is currently used as holiday accommodation.


Bache Tower, Bache (SO473817)

Bache Tower

Folly tower now used as a residence.


Badger Dingle Rotunda, Badger (SO763991)

Built in 1806 as part of the improvements to Badger Dingle (see entry for Badger Temple). It is constructed of sandstone and stuccoed red brick and has a circular open fronted colonnade of 4 Tuscan columns, approached by a flight of 4 shallow steps. It is terraced into the hill on a rock outcrop and the back wall of the interior retains a stone bench The lower of the 2 paths to the east is tunnelled for a distance of approximately 45ft through the natural rock.


Badger Dingle Temple, Badger (SO771993)

Built in 1783 to a design by James Wyatt as a summer house in the 40 acre Badger Dingle. The latter was landscaped for Isaac Browne of Badger Hall by William Emes, who worked in the style of Capability Brown. Emes dammed the brook which flowed through the Dingle to form three pools separated by cascades. Further additions and improvements were made in 1806 by Emes' partner John Webb. As well as damming the brook to form three long, ornate pools, Webb created a network of paths and installed several architectural features such as the boathouse, Rotunda, an icehouse and caves. In 1828, the dam burst after a storm and men spent 9 weeks reconstructing the Dingle.  In the mid 19th century other alterations were made. The original boathouse was replaced by ones on the middle and upper pools, a pond was made north of upper pool to provide a waterfall down the Dingle's side and various walls, caves and gateways were made in the side of the Dingle. Badger Mill on the north side of the main dam, built in the 1830s, was perhaps designed as a scenic addition to the Dingle. In 1849 the Dingle was opened to the public and it remained a popular resort for tourists throughout the 19th century. The Temple is constructed of local sandstone and had a basement containing a service area and a main salon above, with views out over the pool. The salon was heated by flues in the rear wall, which conducted heat from fires in the basement, a system based on the Roman hypocaust.


Barrell Oake, Catherton Common (SO626778)

An old oak tree, depicted on a map of 1571, that used to mark where the enclosed lands of Cleobury Mortimer and Hopton Wafers met Catherton Common. The tree has now disappeared but seems to have stood west of Welling's Brook.


Bicton Grotto, Bicton (SJ445153)

Bicton Grotto

An old grotto built into a mound. Inside, the shell decoration on the ceiling still remains.


Burford House Greek Temple, Burford (SO582679)

Greek Temple, Burford House Gardens

Built in 1728 and restored in 1954. Construcd of brick with a curved plain-tiled roof and a portico of 4 Roman Doric columns.   The upper front has elegant twisted wrought-ironwork and a shield with the arms of William Bowles MP (proprietor of Vauxhall Glass Works).


Brynkinalt Gatehouse, Rhoswiel (SJ302363)

Gatehouse to Brynkinalt

Gatehouse of Brynkinalt mansion, now used as the Brynkinalt Estate Office.


Castle House Folly, Newport (SJ744194)

Folly at rear of school. The gargoyles probably came from one of the local churches.


Caynton Temple, Ryton (SJ775028)

see entry under Rock Shelters


Chipnall Shooting Folly, Chipnall (SJ740315)

A folly built as a shooting lodge in the 19th Century. At one end is a crenelated mock church tower, at the other end is a stepped gable and in between is a brick and timbered thatched cottage. Was restored and is now let as holiday accommodation.


Coton Hall Chapel, Birdsgreen (SO774863)

Built around 1760 as a mock chapel in the grounds of Coton Hall. It is now roofless but some windows remain, together with moulded plaster work in the east window and a plaque on the east gable.


Cove Coppice Summer House, Cound (SJ556048)

No photo available

A stone construction made of big slabs where the Rev Thursley Pellion used to sit and write his sermons. Much of the interior is now filled with sand and rubble.


Cross Houses Bus Stops, Cross Houses (SJ539074)

SJ5407 : Cross Houses Bus Shelter by Mr M Evison 

Constructed by local artists with materials from the demolished hospital.


Nearby is a newer one constructed in 2010. The interior is lined with handmade blue tiles and lots of small heads, some set into the wall, other in cages.


Decker Hill Temple, Shifnal (SJ747098)

Built in the grounds of Decker Hill around 1810 of sandstone, with a domed ashlar roof. Circular design with a 3 bay colonnade.


Dracup’s Folly, Bridgnorth (SO716930)

A terraced folly created in the back garden of Dracups Cottage, 30 Railway Street, by artist Anthony Dracup when he lived there. He also extended a cave at the back of the house. See entry under Rock Shelters


Ercall Hall Arches, High Ercall (SJ594174)

Adjacent to the current house is a row of arches, the only remains of a larger 17th-Century house that was badly damaged during the English Civil War.


Eyton-on-Severn Tower, Eyton-on-Severn (SJ572061)

Eyton-on-Severn Tower

Built in 1595 as the summerhouse of a mansion. The mansion has now gone but this and a barn (now converted into cottages) is all that remain. The turret has an ogee cap and is octagonal in cross section.


Flounders Folly, Lower Dinchope (SO460850)

Built in 1838 by Benjamin Flounders (hence the name), the folly fell into disrepair in the 20th Century but was restored in 2004-5 by the Flounders’ Folly Trust. It is now open to the public one day each month so people can climb to the viewing platform at the top of the 78 stairs and enjoy views of the Malverns, Black Mountains, Cader Idris and much more. Specially commissioned illustrations that run round the viewing platform enable visitors to work out exactly what landmarks they are looking at in the landscape.


Fort Pendlestone, Bridgnorth (SO724943)

Pendlestone Mills

Originally there was a corn mill on the site but this is a more recent cotton mill. It was originally water powered but was later supplemented by a vertical steam engine which has now been removed. Now converted into apartments.


Haughmond Castle Folly, Uffington (SJ536138)

A folly that was demolished in the 1930s.


Hawkstone Hall Rotunda, Marchamley (SJ583299)

An octangular rotunda built sometime before 1784 of grey sandstone. The base has a moulded plinth, square Tuscan piers and a high ribbed dome. There is  a flight of 5
stone steps to east and west with side walls and end piers with cast-iron urns. This was formerly one of a pair of rotundas sited along Temple Walk to the east of Hawkstone Hall. The other, further to the east, collapsed in 1957.


Hawkstone Park - Citadel, Weston-under-Redcastle (SJ571284)

The Citadel

The Citadel was built by Sir Rowland Hill for his mother and sister Jane in the 1820s.  It is constructed in local salmon-red sandstone, ingeniously designed in the form of three interlinked  towers, set to the points of an isosceles triangle. Bought by the Griffiths family in 1957, who farm the surrounding 200 acres and use the house for wedding receptions.


Hawkstone Park - Grotto Arch, Weston-under-Redcastle (SJ571298)

Hawkstone Park Arch Folly

An arch on Grotto Hill created in the 18th Century by Sir Rowland Hill and his son Richard. Part of parkland centred around the Red Castle that covers 100 acres and includes pathways, ravines, arches, bridges, towering cliffs, follies and a hermitage. The grotto is actually underneath the arch. See entry under Rock Shelters


Hawkstone Park - Rowland Hill Monument, Weston-under-Redcastle (SJ578292)

Rowland Hill Monument, Hawkstone Park

A 100 ft high column in the grounds of Hawkstone Park with an internal staircase. On top is a statue of Sir Rowland Hill, who purchased Hawkstone in 1556 and became the first Protestant Lord Mayor of London.


Hawkstone Park  - White Tower, Weston-under-Redcastle (SJ583292)

White Tower, Hawkstone

Built in the 18th Century by Sir Rowland Hill and his son Richard as one of many follies in Hawkstone Park. The tower's brickwork was originally painted white, hence the name.


Hinstock Court Castle, Hinstock (SJ686275)

A folly built of red sandstone in 1842 in the grounds of Hinstock Court. It is a miniature castle consisting of a tower, circular bailey walls and outer retaining walls. The Tower is single storey with a basement and has 2 pointed-arched windows. The folly is now floorless, semi-ruinous and very overgrown.


Hodnet Hall Portico, Hodnet (SJ610288)

Former portico, Hodnet

The surviving three-and-a-half Ionic columns and fragment of pediment from Joseph Bromfield's Apley Castle built 1794-97. It was demolished in 1955 and brought to Hodnet in 1970 to be placed in alignment with the main entrance to the hall.


Iron Horse, Donnington Wood (SJ709122)

Iron sculpure of a horse pulling a coal wagon, made to commemorate the now defunct local mining industry. Was originally sited at Granville Country Park but moved because of vandalism.


Iron Horse, Longville in the Dale (SO543928)

Life size horse made of horse shoes alongside the drive to Wilderhope Manor.


Lady Oak, Cressage (SJ582047)


The name Cressage is believed to be derived from “Christsache” (“ache” being the old Saxon term for oak).  it is said that the old Lady Oak was once in the centre of the village and early Christian missionaries preached under it. The village was moved to make way for the Severn Valley Railway and the tree now stands a quarter of a mile away in a field beside the road to Shrewsbury.  It was regarded with veneration by the inhabitants, who braced it with iron and propped blocks of wood underneath to keep it up. They also planted an acorn within its hollow trunk, from which a new tree grew.  It was nearly destroyed by fire in 1815. There are references to two other named trees in the parish, the Gospel Oak and the Curst Oak, but the location of these is not known.


Laura's Tower, Shrewsbury (SJ494127)

Laura's Tower, Shrewsbury Castle

A tower built around 1790 by Thomas Telford as a summerhouse for Laura, the daughter of Sir William Pulteney, who owned the castle at that time. It is octagonal and made of red sandstone with conical copper roof.


Limes Arches, Shrewsbury (SJ495119)

No photo available

A 30ft long wall of three arches built in the 1860s by the architect Samuel Poultney Smith in the original garden of The Limes. It now forms part of the grounds of the local primary school. Other surviving elements of the garden include retaining walls (incorporating pieces of carved stone and some herringbone work), drum columns and a stone with a Latin inscription and the date 1834. The arches are finely carved with rosettes and other details and are believed to have been part of the stone screen by John Carline, removed from the Church of St Mary Magdalene.


Longden Hall Summer House, Longden (SJ442061)

A late 19th Century summer house built into the south-west wall of the garden of Longden Hall Farm. It is hexagon in shape and made of red and grey brick and ashlar, with an ornate pyramid tile roof.


Longner Hall Folly Tower, Atcham (SJ5211)

Folly Tower, Longner Hall

A small folly tower on the side of Longner Hall, built in 1803 by the architect John Nash.


Lord Hill’s Column, Shrewsbury (SJ 506120)

A 133ft high column built 1814-16 by Thomas Harrison as a fluted Greek Doric column, raised on steps with lions on star-shaped stone plinth. On top is a 17ft high statue of Sir Rowland Hill.


Mawley Hall Summer House, Cleobury Mortimer (SO689753)

   Mawley Hall Wendy House

Octagonal summerhouse ,built in 1973 using windows from am 18th Century Georgian chapel. Opposite is a wooden model built at the same time for children. It stands about 6ft tall and is furnished inside with child-sized furniture but is now rather dilapidated.


Mawley Oak, Cleobury Mortimer (SO697757)


An ancient oak tree, around 240 years old and pollarded around 150 years ago. It stood 90ft high and had a circumference of 24ft, with the maximum spread of canopy at 130ft. Preservation work was carried out in 1974 and young oaks were planted near to it. In 2001, after strong winds for several days, witnesses at the garage opposite heard a loud crack and it fell down. The tree is not quite dead and a portion survives intact with a tall upright branch and several long branches spreading at various angles from the original crown. The short main trunk has split through its diameter down to ground level.


Millichope Park Obelisk, Munslow (SO528883)

Millichope Park Obelisk

Built in 1770 by George Steuart as part of the landscaped grounds for the More family. It stands 30ft tall.


Millichope Park Temple, Munslow (SO5288)

Built in 1770 by George Steuart as a folly for the More family. It is made of ashlar with leaded domed roof and 8 Ionic columns. Inside is a pedestal memorial surmounted with statue of a winged cherub and globe commemorating L More (died 1744) and J More (died 1763).


Orleton Hall Chinese Summerhouse, Wellington (SJ636112)

Chinese Summerhouse, Orleton Hall

Built as part of the landscaped grounds in the second half of the 18th Century.


Oteley Hall Folly Tower, Ellesmere (SJ413345)

Folly Tower, Oteley Hall

Oteley Hall was built for Charles Kynaston Mainwaring around 1830 and the gardens were laid out in an Italian style in 1835,. It would be during this time that the tower was built. The hall was rebuilt following a fire during the early 20th Century.


Quatford Castle, Quatford (SO735916)

Quatford Castle

Built by John Smalman in 1830 and originally called Morf Mount. Constructed in red sandstone and brick, 4 storeys high with Gothick glazed windows, square tower, arrow slits, curtain walls, etc. 


Quinta Circle, Weston Rhyn (SJ280363)

Victorian Folly

Built around 1850-60 by the owner of Quinta Manse as a replica of Stonehenge. It uses limestone slabs  with an outer circle of orthostats, surmounted by a continuous curving lintel comprising linked capstones, several of which have now fallen. These enclose an inner U-shaped arrangement of trilithons, some paired. Many of the uprights have drill-holes and the lintels are fixed by means of iron ties. The stone circle is partially ruinuous but this may well have been the original intention.


Royal Oak, Bishops Wood (SJ837081)

Situated 130 yards to the south-west of Boscobel House. This is really a descendant of the tree in which the future King Charles II and his companion William Careless hid from Cromwell's troops after the rout of his army at Worcester in September 1651. As soon as the story of the King's concealment at Boscobel became known, the tree became a target for souvenir hunters. By 1680, the Fitzherberts had been forced to crop part of the tree and to build a tall brick wall around it. By the early 18th Century, the original tree was almost dead but a new tree was growing close by. The tree stands is protected by cast iron railings erected in 1817 and the site is now in the care of English Heritage.

Selattyn Tower, Selattyn (SJ255341)

Built in the 1840s but the purpose is unknown. There were no trees on the hill then so it was probably just a decorative folly. In the Second World War it was used as a lookout post by the Home Guard, who installed a large gun here. The tower actually stands on the site of a Bronze Age cairn and you can still see the ring of stones surrounding it.


Shelton Oak, Shrewsbury (SJ466133)

An ancient tree reputedly used for observation by the Welsh leader Owain Glendwyr during the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. It stood near the junction between the Welshpool road and the old A5. It was around 600 years old when it died in the 1940s and the remains were removed in the 1950s during road improvements.


Shirlett Obelisk, Shirlett (SO665976)

A ruin of an obelisk

Built around 1803 by George Forester, squire of Willey. It was a chimney-like obelisk made of sandstone blocks and commemorated one of Forester’s favourite retriever dogs that was killed when it fell down a coal mine shaft. The base is square and an iron ladder and piece of wood ran up the west side. There used to be a pole on top, from which a flag flew when Forester was at home. It is currently in ruins.


Sundorne Castle, Shrewsbury (SJ5215)

  Sundorne Castle

Built by John Corbett around 1800 to provide a spectacular entrance to Sundorne Farm. Farm buildings lean against the back of the battlemented wall, which is terminated by what appears to be a chapel. It was. Beyond the chapel used to be a large country house, now gone, owned by John Corbett who owned most of Haughmond Hill in the late 1700's.


Three Forked Pole, Cornbrook (SO602770)

A 20ft high tree trunk, retaining some bark, with three sawn-off branches and set on a low partially turf-covered mound. The mound, 15ft in diameter and 1ft in height, is partly covered by concrete and contains brick, stone and ashes. The pole was first documented on a map of 1571 when it was described as a "A fforked pole neare to a place whence on old Stone Crosse stood formerly". It has been regularly replaced since.


Walcot Hall Dacha, Lydbury North (SO346850)

The Dacha, Walcot Hall

A three-storey wooden house with metal domes, based on St Basils Cathedral in Moscow, in the arboretum of Walcot Hall. It is rented out as holiday accommodation.


Watchtower, Quatford (SO739910)

The Watchtower, Quatford

Early 19th Century folly made brick, perched on a red sandstone cliff and featuring a stuccoed corner tower with clock face.


Weston Park - Knoll Tower, Weston-under-Lizard (SJ803092)

Knoll Tower, Weston Park

A folly tower built in 1883 and standing on a hill within Weston Park. It was recently converted to a private house.


Weston Park - Obelisk, Weston-under-Lizard (SJ810097)

A 30ft high obelisk erected in 1815 to celebrate the Duke of Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo.


Worfield Dovecote, Worfield (SO756955)

Worfield Dovecote

Built sometime between 1730-50 as an ornate dovecote. It stands near the pathway up to Davenport House.


Wroxeter Sham Ruin, Wroxeter (SJ563082)

Wroxeter Sham Ruin

A sham ruin, probably 19th Century, constructed from Roman and possibly medieval remnants.