A surprisingly nasty history of follies

Taken from The English Folly

Source: Gwyn Headley

Gothick architecture sells tea towels and tickets by the charabanc-load. But behind the whimsy are some dark tales, says Gwyn Headley

England isn’t the only country in the world to be blessed with architectural follies, but it is the only place where the word “folly” isn’t seen as a pejorative. In fact it’s a tribute, as the English pride themselves on individuality and eccentricity.

In our new book, The English Folly, the Dutch art historian Wim Meulenkamp and I look at the type of people who erected these remarkable structures. And the news is: most of them weren’t very nice.

In today’s cancel culture, or presentism, people find it impossible to comprehend that someone living 250 years ago would not have exactly the same outlook on life as a 19-year-old student of today. Correct thinking demands they must therefore be expunged from history.

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