The pyramid is a very important monument, not only to the village of Brightling, but also throughout Sussex; even further afield too, as can be evidenced by the entries in the visitors’ book inside the church. It brings many people here, to be amazed at the edifice itself and the inevitable rumours attached to it and its occupant.
It is the start of about a seven mile walk along public footpaths, through AONB countryside around the various follies built by John Fuller, the Georgian Squire of Brightling, who is entombed inside the Pyramid. Brightling also shares history with Bodiam Castle. Mr. Fuller saved Bodiam from being demolished by builders as a source of building materials and , passing through a varied history since then, is now under the care of The National Trust. You will find out more about this connection if you visit Bodiam.
For those of you who would like to know more about Mr. Fuller, this website leads you to the books to read (see Information section “Books and Publications“). A smaller booklet about Mr. Fuller and his Follies is available for sale inside the church, but without the detail of the larger books. For others who are more interested in the construction of the Pyramid itself, it is 25 feet square and 25 feet high. We speak in ‘feet’ as that is what Mr. Fuller himself would have understood. It was built in 1811 of Sussex Sandstone with clay and lime mortar. If you look through the iron gate you will see what is in effect a vestibule. Opposite you is a sandstone wall. Behind this wall is a brick built beehive shaped chamber which is the actual burial place. The Pyramid is now Grade 2* Listed and dominates the churchyard of the the Grade 1 Listed church, St. Thomas a Becket. Mr. Fuller survived the completion of the Pyramid by some 23 years and it was not until 1834 that he was buried inside, along with the rumours.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO VISITORS. As October 2022 advances the restoration of the Pyramid will have neared completion and will be wrapped in hessian to protect it from winter frosts whilst the hot lime mortar cures. This means that until after the frosts have passed in spring 2023 you will not be able to see the Pyramid properly, only the shape. Herewith a photograph taken on 28th October 2022, the day of completion of the main works, showing the Pyramid wrapped against frost and rain over the winter
The protective plastic cover was removed on 17th May 2023, leaving the hessian on to protect the lime mortar from drying out too quickly.
On 28th May 2023 it was officially completed.
Interested in Pyramid Mausoleums?
You can find another Pyramid mausoleum at Blickling Hall in Norfolk. Built in 1793 for the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and both of his wives it stands 45 feet square and is of Portland Stone.