Highclere Castle I was watching Downton Abbey last night (no spoilers- I know not everyone has seen the end yet) and after the episode there was a feature on Highclere Castle, the country house and estate that “play” Downton Abbey in the mini-series.

The house as it exists today was remodeled in 1839-42 in the style of the new Houses of Parliament so it did not exist in “our” Regency time, but, in the late 18th century the 1000 acre parkland was designed by Capability Brown and developed by the second Earl of Carnavon. At scenic points in the park the Earl placed follies to add to the beauty of the  landscape.

Follies are extravagant buildings constructed just for show and for no other purpose. They were popular among the wealthy in the 18th century, often inspired by Roman and Greek ruins gentlemen had seen on their grand tour, but they could also mimic old English ruins,  castles and towers and abbeys.


Highclere Castle
Neoclassical Temple Folly Highclere Castle Gardens
Gothic Temple Painshill Park
Abbey Painshill Park
Brizlee Tower
Brizlee Tower

If you could have a folly, which one of these would you choose? Or would you prefer some other folly?

Remember there is still time to comment on Michelle Willingham’s Interview and earn a chance at one of four free books. I’ll select the winners at random after midnight tonight ET.


About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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9 years ago

Um, I must have a thing about follies, because my characters sometimes use them for purposes other than show…. I like the Neoclassical ones best.

9 years ago

I think I would like the BRIZLEE TOWER. It looks like you could enter it and go up to the top. If I were going to have something, I would want to be able to use it, not just look at it.

Laurel Hawkes
9 years ago

I like the Gothic but probably because it reminds me of a gazebo. I want something where I could enjoy a picnic in the rain without ending up soaked. If I owned a large piece of land, I’d want the tower so I could stand at the top and look out over my property. 🙂