King Alfred's Tower - an unusual architectural whim (11 photos)

25 October 2023

What is noteworthy is that Alfred has nothing to do with the construction, since the English king died 860 years before its construction. But the subjects, in gratitude, decided to honor the memory of their ruler in this way.

In architecture, there is such a term as folly - an object built to entertain guests of the park of a noble estate. That is, it does not carry a special functional load.

Alfred the Great

This tower is a clear example of this direction. A lonely monumental building looks alien among the forests and fields of Somerset. And, accordingly, it raises questions.

According to legend, the tower was erected on the very spot where two armies met - English and Danish. The British were victorious. The years passed and turned into centuries. But it never occurred to descendants to somehow celebrate the merits of the man who was the first of the Anglo-Saxon rulers of Britain to call himself the King of England.

This idea came only much later - in 1763 to the banker Henry Hoare. Judging by his occupation, he was a wealthy man. And in this way I decided to celebrate England’s victory in the Seven Years’ War, and to pay tribute to the memory of Alfred the Great, and to immortalize myself a little.

Egbert's Stone

A few years later, construction work was completed. The architectural whim is located not far from the Egbert Stone (a memorial in honor of the Battle of Ethandun, erected in 2000 near the site of Bratton Castle).

It can be assumed that the choice of a non-standard triangular shape is due to the fact that the tower is located simultaneously in the territory of three counties. There is nothing inside the 49-meter structure. The only exception is the staircase leading to the observation deck. Above the entrance is a statue of the king.

In 1944, an American plane fell on the tower, causing serious damage to it. After the war it was restored. And the building continues to attract the attention of tourists from different countries. Which is paradoxical, remaining just an architectural whim without much meaning.

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