Old John at Bradgate Park

Old John is a hilltop folly built in 1784 by the 5th Earl of Stamford, at Bradgate Park, Leicestershire.
Normally the tower is closed to the public, but a couple of days a year the park trust open it for a small fee (booking required) The tour I went on included a guided walk around the park with stop off at the ‘Deer Barn tea Rooms’ in addition to viewing the inside the tower.SGP_9865 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkSGP_9910 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park B&WAccording to legend  the landmark building was named after an estate worker, an aged man named John who in 1786  died in a tragic accident during the 21st birthday celebrations for the future 8th Earl of Stamford, George Harry Grey. A huge bonfire was lit in the park & in the centre was a large tree or pole, the pole burnt through at the bottom and suddenly fell amongst the guests striking the old man and killing him. In 1792  the archway was added, creating a handle like arch making the folly resemble a beer tankard, perhaps deliberately to show the old mans liking for ale. However maps around 1745 show the hill being called Old John, 40 years earlier than the accident.
SGP_9907 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9867 SGP_9904 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkLord Stamford used the folly to watch horses gallop around the racecourse at the base of the hill & to enjoy the magnificent views that can be seen all around from this hill top vantage point.
It was quite hazy on our visit so wasn’t as easy to see into the distance but I’m sure you will agree what a view over the Leicestershire countryside.
SGP_9891 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9882 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkSGP_9874 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9888 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkAs you might expect the interior is circular, there’s a small fireplace which must have made the tower extremely snug in cold months.
SGP_9899 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkMeasuring 10 metres from floor to the top of the castellations, 19 metre circumference and 6 metre diameter it’s a compact but beautiful tower and defiantly worth a visit the next time it’s open
SGP_9921 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkEven if the tower isn’t open the parkland has some magnificent old trees, lovely walks & the ruin of Bradgate House.
SGP_9924 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park B&W SGP_9925 SGP_9928 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9919 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9943 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9947 Susan Guy_Bradgate Park SGP_9951 Susan Guy_Bradgate ParkThese photos were shot on a previous visit, the beautiful brick Bradgate House a magnificent Tudor house built by Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset in 1499 and finished by his son in 1520, River Lin that runs through the park and the Red and Fallow Deer that roam the parkland.
Susan Guy_Bradgate Park Autum Montage

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