Brightling is famous for its collection of follies that were all built by John ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller in the early 19th century.
The Summerhouse: Believed to be the first of Jack’s follies, the Summerhouse is situated amongst trees to the west of Brightling Park.
The Temple: Fuller often entertained at this circular Grecian temple in Brightling Park, which contains an underground storage room for wine.
The Observatory: Now a private residence, this once contained stargazing equipment and a camera obscura.
The Needle (or The Obelisk or The Beacon): A 65ft high needle-shaped landmark on Brightling Down, the second highest point in East Sussex. It is thought to have been built to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The Tower: Allegedly built to echo and view Bodiam Castle (which can be seen from the top).
The Sugar Loaf: This lies a couple of miles from Brightling, near Woods Corner. Legend has it that Fuller made a bet that he could see the spire of Dallington church from his house in Brightling. When he realised that this was not true he had workmen hurriedly erect this folly in order to win the bet. The Sugar Loaf gets its name from the way in which sugar was supplied at the time – in cones called loaves.
The Pyramid: Fuller persuaded the vicar to give him an area in the churchyard for his pyramidal tomb by paying for a new wall, gate and pillars for the church and by moving the pub (originally opposite the church and thus very tempting after Sunday service) ½ mile down the road to Oxley’s Green.
The Wall: Although not strictly a folly, the wall was built all round Brightling Park, providing employment at a time of high unemployment to not only the soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars but also the poor of the area.
For photos and more information about the follies click here.