Broadway Tower:Thank Goodness for English Folly

Broadway Tower, Worcestershire, United KingdomBroadway Tower, Worcestershire, United Kingdom.

When I think of folly I think of foolishness, of mistake, of one big “oops.” So when I learned that Broadway Tower is a folly, I wondered what the owner, architect, or builder did that was so wrong. Silly me.

Architecturally, a folly is a building or structure built for a purpose other than what its purpose would appear. For example, a cottage never meant to be lived in, a temple never meant to be a place of worship, or a tower never meant to defend anything. Instead, a folly’s purpose is something other, such as its aesthetic appeal, as a statement, as adornment, or, perhaps, just to see if it can be done.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

View with Sheep at Broadway TowerUpon arrival at Broadway Tower’s car park, I step out of the car and gasp. What a view! And to be greeted by sheep, no less.

Broadway Tower SheepHello, there, little lady. And, yes, Mr. Sheep, I’m leaving to go see the tower now. Have a nice day.

Broadway Tower, Worcestershire, United KingdomAlthough Broadway’s “Saxon” tower sits atop a beacon hill and features battlements, gargoyles, and turrets, its large, un-medieval windows and elegant balconies indicate that the tower’s real purpose was not defense. I’m beginning to think that the purpose of this folly was to improve the view; I’m liking what I see.

Broadway Tower DetailJames Wyatt, a specialist in “Gothic” style, designed the 55-foot (17m) tower using a mixture of early styles, because overall effect mattered more than accuracy.

Broadway Tower Spiral StairsThe Tower’s ground level houses a small but well-stocked gift shop and entry to a bright and airy spiral stairway that seems from an all-together different era. The stairway climbs up one of the turrets, providing access to each of the three upper levels, which feature exhibits on the Tower’s history, William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, the Royal Observer Corps, and the Tower’s uses during the World Wars and the Cold War.

Broadway Tower Window ViewAnd on each level, one can appreciate the extraordinary view.

Broadway Tower Red DeerNot to mention the red deer.

Broadway Tower Red Deer

Too cute! But then again, I’d heard about the breath-taking views from the roof and was anxious to see them.

Broadway Tower ViewBroadway sits below with rapeseed fields beyond and then…

Broadway Tower’s official website states that as many as 16 counties can be seen on a clear day from the top of the Tower. I’m not sure if I could see all 16, but I’ll bet it was close.

Broadway Tower ViewNo one is sure why George William, 6th Earl of Coventry, decided to carry out the vision of the great 18th-century landscape designer Capability Brown and the designs of renowned architect James Wyatt. Some say that it served as a signalling station to notify the staff at Croome Court, some 12 miles (19km) away, that the Earl and his wife were on their way from the nearby Spring Hill residence. Others speculate that the tower was built for Lady Coventry as she wondered if a beacon on the hill could be seen from her house in Worcester (which it could).

Built atop the second highest point of the Cotswolds (second only to Cleeve Hill), I’d like to think that perhaps the tower was built simply to take advantage of these stunning views.

Broadway Tower ViewAs the clouds moved across the sky, the look of the landscape was constantly changing. Here, first in shadow.

Broadway Tower View

And then full of sunlight.

Broadway Tower ViewJust as the land is amazing, so too are the clouds.

Broadway Tower ViewBut as lovely as the views are, it can get a bit windy up there and hunger does tug. Fortunately, a cafe sits beside the car park or the town of Broadway and all it has to offer is just a short drive away.

Broadway Tower

Before I leave, I think, “Thank goodness for the Earl of Coventry’s folly.”

Much of the information for this post was taken from plaques within the Tower and from the Broadway Tower brochure available for download on the Tower’s official website.

If you’d like to see a 360° view from the roof of Broadway Tower, check out 360cities.net.

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About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Animals, Buildings, Cotswolds, Landscape and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Broadway Tower:Thank Goodness for English Folly

  1. avian101 says:

    Very nice landscapes, the area looks so tranquil and pleasant! 🙂

  2. Jack Viere says:

    Really neat piece to compliment such great shots!

  3. leiah says:

    Magnificent! I read counties first as countries and I was trying to figure how on earth you could see so many…Silly me. Gotta learn to read slower.

  4. BobR says:

    Those REALLY are some great views!

  5. Vicky says:

    Excellent post of a beautiful area.
    Thank you for taking me up the tower, I’ve visited many times, but never ventured up (always had dogs with me), your post has given me a taste to do so 🙂

  6. Beautiful! Your posts and pictures always make me miss England.

  7. I want to live in that castle.

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