The 06 June summer outing of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society brought 30 members to the site of William Beckford’s great Gothic folly at Fonthill Old Abbey. Only a fragment remains of the original cruciform pile, built on the proceeds of sugar and slavery. That the tip of the northern limb of the Abbey still stands is a credit to the current owners, the Morants, who have added a modern house in sympathetic style. In the Tower Room Sidney Blackmore of the Beckford Society outlined the ambitions of the son of Alderman Beckford, a former Lord Mayor of London and MP for Shaftesbury. William’s own dreams were frustrated by his association with scandal – he was gay in an intolerant age – and he compensated by grandiose building which later collapsed, as did his income from the sugar plantations. He was still wealthy enough to remodel numbers 19 and 20 Lansdown Crescent in Bath, where Beckford Tower is his monument. The afternoon concluded with a delicious tea at The Angel in Hindon, where members thanked Lavender Buckland for conceiving and Claire Ryley for organising a memorable outing.
Blog Latest News
- 550 Years Ago England’s Worst King Murdered In The Tower7th May 2021 - 5:43 pm
- Mr Toad’s Abandoned Caravan, and Other Amazing Spaces28th April 2021 - 3:17 pm
- Three Hundred Years Ago The First Prime Minister Enters Office6th April 2021 - 11:16 pm
- Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill Museum Reaches For The Skies28th February 2021 - 6:12 pm
Sorry – Currently Closed
Next open (hopefully) from early June 2021
Depending upon end of Lockdown, roll-out of vaccinations and availability of Volunteer Stewards.
New Volunteers Welcome
Days of the Week and Hours to be Advised
(Donations very welcome)