Saturday, February 22, 2014

Preston Capes, Northamptonshire

Englishman's home, Englishwoman's folly...

Just a couple of hours before finding the eccentric houses in the previous post, I came across this, another unusual building. It's known as The Folly, and it's two brick-built, crenellated dwellings with an archway between them. The picture shows them from the lane that gives access to them, but they must originally have been built to be seen from the other side, from across the fields. From that angle, there are more crenellations and the sloping roofs are largely hidden – but looking that way the day I was there, the building seemed to be largely screened by trees. So I was left admiring the building from the public road. It's still a rewarding view, with its engaging mixture of turrets and gables, its combination of tiny castle-like windows and larger, more domestic-looking ones, and its pleasing colour combination of red brick and green leaves.

According to the Preston Capes website, the building was originally commissioned in the 18th century by Lady Knightley of Fawsley Hall. It had the dual purpose of an eye-catcher and estate accommodation and in those days, apparently, the building contained four separate dwellings, each with a largish downstairs living room and a scullery downstairs and main bedroom and small room upstairs. The turrets contained staircases. So the building was hardly the grand castle that it might have looked like from a distance, just a cluster of very compact cottages, as down to earth as they are eye-catching.

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