A selection of five of the best follies for sale in Britain and elsewhere
A folly is unlikely to make an ideal home for a family, but for someone a little more quirky – a writer or artist perhaps – they can easily make an ideal home.
Our selection of five of the best currently on offer follows:
Church Brow Cottage, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire – £280,000 ($367,000 or €328,000) through Davis & Bowring
Originally built by an eccentric vicar in the 1830s and spread over three floors, this Grade II* listed folly was restored by the now defunct Vivat Trust and opened as a holiday let by HRH The Prince of Wales in March 1993. It features in JMW Turner’s painting of what is known as ‘Ruskin’s View’ (sold for £217,250 in 2012) and includes one bedroom, a sitting room with a balcony, a kitchen and a bathroom. An informally landscaped leads down to the banks of the River Lune and access – on foot only – is via the adjoining graveyard.
Treia, Macerata, Marche, Italy – £337,000 ($441,000 or €395,000) through Cella-Shirley Immobilliare
Built in medieval style in the 18th century, this “landmark building” outside the ancient walls of the town of Treia stands on a hill with about 2.5 acres of land including secular olive trees. A former farmhouse, the property needs complete renovation, currently consists of 8 rooms and a number of outbuildings and has been reduced in price from £440,000.
The Summer House, Alderley, Gloucestershire – £990,000 ($1.3 million or €1.2 million) through Knight Frank
Grade II listed and built circa 1770, The Summer House is a completely refurbished “perfect romantic weekend getaway” that is being sold fully furnished. Originally used as a small banqueting house by the great-great-grandson of Lord Chief Justice Matthew Hale, the 1,108 square foot Georgian property stands in 2.1 acres of gardens and woodland and features a sitting room, breakfast kitchen, two double bedrooms and a bathroom.
The Tower, Sway, Hampshire – £2 million ($2.6 million or €2.3 million) through John D. Wood
Believed to be the world’s tallest unreinforced concrete structure at 218-foot tall, Sway Tower – also known as Peterson’s Folly – was constructed between 1879 and 1886. The structure cost Andrew Peterson (1813 – 1906) some £30,000 (the equivalent of £3.4 million today) and came about after a medium told the Anglo-Indian barrister, socialist and spiritualist named that Sir Christopher Wren expected him to prove concrete could be used to create such an edifice. It now provides 4,707 square foot of accommodation over a total of 14 floors and includes 4 bedrooms, 3 en-suite bathrooms and a crucifix shaped ground floor with a drawing room, dining hall, sitting room, kitchen and conservatory. The top three floors of the Grade II* listed building are let to mobile telephone providers at an annual rate of some £34,000 and within the 0.7 acre plot, there’s also an indoor swimming pool, extensive garaging and a tennis court.
Woodstock Castle, Connecticut, USA – £24.4 million ($32 million or €28.6 million) through Christie’s
Described as “just weird”, Woodstock Castle was built “for exotic women, exotic animals, both or neither” according to a 2008 feature by the Worcester Massachusetts Telegram. John Pizzi of Randall Realtors Christie’s International Real Estate takes a different view and describes the 18,177 square foot, 126-foot tall building as “majestic” and “a dream come true”. Used by its “colourful and impulsive” owner, importer-exporter Christopher W. Mark as a home for his family and his collection of emus, zebras and camels, this oddity comes with 9 bedrooms, an auditorium with a stage and 75 acres of land.
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