Folly? Not at all - it ‘finishes off’ my 7,500-acre estate

Folly? Not at all - it ‘finishes off’ my 7,500-acre estate

William Gronow-Davis and his folly

The folly in all its glory

First published in News by

A millionaire landowner has defied the recession by having an extravagant 65ft folly built on his estate.

The lavish structure is thought to be the tallest folly to be built in Britain in over 100 years.

Owner William Gronow-Davis has spent tens of thousands of pounds on the structure which sits in the grounds of his 7,500 acre Rushmore Estate in Dorset.

By the very definition of a folly, the building is useless and serves no purpose.

But to Mr Gronow-Davis it “finishes off” his garden and adds to the spectacular vista from the drawing room of his mansion home one mile away.

Bournemouth Echo: The folly in all its glory Pictures: Phil Yeomans, Bournemouth News

Although the gardens of Rushmore are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of parts of it are Grade II listed, the hulking structure was given planning permission.

The folly was to originally incorporate five mobile phone masts and was to be funded by O2.

Planners viewed the need for the new aerials outweighed any conservation worries.

But the mobile phone giant pulled out of the deal and Mr Gronow-Davis decided to go ahead with the proposed folly.

The design of the folly is in an Indian Mogul style to reflect the fact Mr Gronow-Davis was born on the sub-continent.

It has five copper domes on the roof that are capable of housing the phone aerials in the future.

Mr Gronow-Davis, a descendent of General Augustus Pitt Rivers, who inherited the estate in the 19th century, said: “It is unusual and looks so beautiful from my house.

“From my drawing room you look out onto the gardens along an avenue of trees and fountains and about a mile away is the folly.

“It is wonderful and just finishes the garden off.”

He added: “I would say that 99 per cent of the feedback I have had has been positive. Natural England has said it enhances the landscape.”

Comments (20)

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7:49am Thu 9 Jul 09

DemonDiva says...

A photograph of said folly would have been too much for the Echo to manage?
A photograph of said folly would have been too much for the Echo to manage? DemonDiva
  • Score: 0

8:25am Thu 9 Jul 09

boardstiff says...

DemonDiva wrote:
A photograph of said folly would have been too much for the Echo to manage?
They have used a photograph of the folly. It's just that I don't know what the building behind it is!
[quote][p][bold]DemonDiva[/bold] wrote: A photograph of said folly would have been too much for the Echo to manage?[/p][/quote]They have used a photograph of the folly. It's just that I don't know what the building behind it is! boardstiff
  • Score: 0

8:25am Thu 9 Jul 09

david barbara says...

How stupid, why not give this waste of money to something worthwhile.

Typical of the upper class to have no sense of what is right or wrong.
How stupid, why not give this waste of money to something worthwhile. Typical of the upper class to have no sense of what is right or wrong. david barbara
  • Score: 0

8:56am Thu 9 Jul 09

pebble says...

david barbara wrote:
How stupid, why not give this waste of money to something worthwhile. Typical of the upper class to have no sense of what is right or wrong.
What do you propose he does with his money then?
I like it. Also its his money, he can do what he likes with it. Its in 7500 acres, so its not going to bother anybody, and will probably age quite nicely over the years. I like this odd structures. Most large estates have some sort of monolith or something or other, although theyre usualy dedicated to someone or something from years gone by. Stourhead has a nice monolith to go and see. Get of your sofa and go and explore. This country is covered in beautiful houses, bridges, architecture and things to see. Would you rather non of them existed then?
[quote][p][bold]david barbara[/bold] wrote: How stupid, why not give this waste of money to something worthwhile. Typical of the upper class to have no sense of what is right or wrong.[/p][/quote]What do you propose he does with his money then? I like it. Also its his money, he can do what he likes with it. Its in 7500 acres, so its not going to bother anybody, and will probably age quite nicely over the years. I like this odd structures. Most large estates have some sort of monolith or something or other, although theyre usualy dedicated to someone or something from years gone by. Stourhead has a nice monolith to go and see. Get of your sofa and go and explore. This country is covered in beautiful houses, bridges, architecture and things to see. Would you rather non of them existed then? pebble
  • Score: 0

8:56am Thu 9 Jul 09

In Absentia says...

This just shows what an utter shambles the planning process is in this country.

Having seen this thing when visiting the Larmer Tree recently it's an inappropriate blot on the landscape that does nothing to enhance the area at all. Let's hope that future generations of his family decide to restore the view of rolling green countryside.
This just shows what an utter shambles the planning process is in this country. Having seen this thing when visiting the Larmer Tree recently it's an inappropriate blot on the landscape that does nothing to enhance the area at all. Let's hope that future generations of his family decide to restore the view of rolling green countryside. In Absentia
  • Score: 0

9:45am Thu 9 Jul 09

cantique says...

Not really to my taste, but I like the idea, and it does help to support the building industry.

So a folly is useless and serves no purpose - a bit like many of our MPs then!
Not really to my taste, but I like the idea, and it does help to support the building industry. So a folly is useless and serves no purpose - a bit like many of our MPs then! cantique
  • Score: 0

9:58am Thu 9 Jul 09

leebee says...

Nice one Bill, Will look great once it has weathered a bit. Maybe a few doves too.
Nice one Bill, Will look great once it has weathered a bit. Maybe a few doves too. leebee
  • Score: 0

10:07am Thu 9 Jul 09

Swanage says...

...and he is not envan an MP
...and he is not envan an MP Swanage
  • Score: 0

10:45am Thu 9 Jul 09

rook says...

I don't particularly like the look of it, but well done to Mr Gronow-Davis for spending money at a time when most are not.

I have to disagree with David Barbara and say we all have a right to spend our money how we want. The important thing is that he has spent money which is going into the UK building trade whose employees will spend it, helping to get the economy on the up again.
I don't particularly like the look of it, but well done to Mr Gronow-Davis for spending money at a time when most are not. I have to disagree with David Barbara and say we all have a right to spend our money how we want. The important thing is that he has spent money which is going into the UK building trade whose employees will spend it, helping to get the economy on the up again. rook
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Thu 9 Jul 09

Laurie H Marsh says...

If that MONSTROSITY finishes off his garden then his "garden" must be full of weeds!
This man was born to class!
Unfortunately the "class" was all low!
If that MONSTROSITY finishes off his garden then his "garden" must be full of weeds! This man was born to class! Unfortunately the "class" was all low! Laurie H Marsh
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Thu 9 Jul 09

GB1980 says...

I thought "the tallest folly to be built in Britain in over 100 years" was the Imax.
I thought "the tallest folly to be built in Britain in over 100 years" was the Imax. GB1980
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Thu 9 Jul 09

AKKA says...

At least he paid for it and it is only 65ft tall - unlike the monster turbines we all have to pay for, in more ways than one.
At least he paid for it and it is only 65ft tall - unlike the monster turbines we all have to pay for, in more ways than one. AKKA
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Thu 9 Jul 09

divingdave says...

Red trousers, blue jacket, checked shirt and a bow tie...

You certainly can't buy taste, can you!

Seriously though, this guy can do whatever he likes. It's his money and it's his garden. Stop criticising him - you're only jealous.
Red trousers, blue jacket, checked shirt and a bow tie... You certainly can't buy taste, can you! Seriously though, this guy can do whatever he likes. It's his money and it's his garden. Stop criticising him - you're only jealous. divingdave
  • Score: 0

4:04pm Thu 9 Jul 09

miketheplumb says...

Glad to see English eccentricity hasn't died.
Perfect a folly that is built under the classic guidelines.
Bravo.
Glad to see English eccentricity hasn't died. Perfect a folly that is built under the classic guidelines. Bravo. miketheplumb
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Thu 9 Jul 09

KLH says...

Looks like it's been nicked off a theme park...

Probably a cast off from one. no - I'm not jealous, if I was going to build a folly it would look more in keeping with other follies in the area, this is more like he's been to a theme park and asked them for it when they'd finished with it.
Looks like it's been nicked off a theme park... Probably a cast off from one. no - I'm not jealous, if I was going to build a folly it would look more in keeping with other follies in the area, this is more like he's been to a theme park and asked them for it when they'd finished with it. KLH
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Thu 9 Jul 09

dopey says...

divingdave, Southbourne says...It's his money and it's his garden.

Inherited wealth from Augustus Pitt Rivers aka Lane Fox. Probably never done a days "work" in his life, but I do admire his taste !
divingdave, Southbourne says...It's his money and it's his garden. Inherited wealth from Augustus Pitt Rivers aka Lane Fox. Probably never done a days "work" in his life, but I do admire his taste ! dopey
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Thu 9 Jul 09

ferret38 says...

Looks fantastic if i had the money and dint live in bos vegas , id have one too . Well done william :)
Looks fantastic if i had the money and dint live in bos vegas , id have one too . Well done william :) ferret38
  • Score: 0

10:58pm Thu 9 Jul 09

rw says...

Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals.
Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals. rw
  • Score: 0

5:16am Fri 10 Jul 09

cooperman says...

rw wrote:
Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals.
why is everyone so philathropic with other peoples money.
yes why didnt he give the money to a charity instead ?.... maybe because he just didnt want to .. because thats the choice he had ... because he'd rather not stare a mile down his drive at a load of young locals in their modern housing ghetto.
and do you know what ... if i was a multi millionaire ,I would also isolate myself and do what I darned well pleased with my money on my country estate and i wouldnt give two hoots about was what happening outside of my boundary any more than they would about me.
dont people just love to direct everyone elses lives !!
[quote][p][bold]rw[/bold] wrote: Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals.[/p][/quote]why is everyone so philathropic with other peoples money. yes why didnt he give the money to a charity instead ?.... maybe because he just didnt want to .. because thats the choice he had ... because he'd rather not stare a mile down his drive at a load of young locals in their modern housing ghetto. and do you know what ... if i was a multi millionaire ,I would also isolate myself and do what I darned well pleased with my money on my country estate and i wouldnt give two hoots about was what happening outside of my boundary any more than they would about me. dont people just love to direct everyone elses lives !! cooperman
  • Score: 0

11:27pm Fri 10 Jul 09

rw says...

cooperman wrote:
rw wrote:
Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals.
why is everyone so philathropic with other peoples money.
yes why didnt he give the money to a charity instead ?.... maybe because he just didnt want to .. because thats the choice he had ... because he'd rather not stare a mile down his drive at a load of young locals in their modern housing ghetto.
and do you know what ... if i was a multi millionaire ,I would also isolate myself and do what I darned well pleased with my money on my country estate and i wouldnt give two hoots about was what happening outside of my boundary any more than they would about me.
dont people just love to direct everyone elses lives !!
You miss the point, its unfortunate that planning policy permits such intrusions into the green belt and not much needed housing,
[quote][p][bold]cooperman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rw[/bold] wrote: Drives a bus through green belt policy, shame the same bus can't come up with something useful, like houses for the young locals.[/p][/quote]why is everyone so philathropic with other peoples money. yes why didnt he give the money to a charity instead ?.... maybe because he just didnt want to .. because thats the choice he had ... because he'd rather not stare a mile down his drive at a load of young locals in their modern housing ghetto. and do you know what ... if i was a multi millionaire ,I would also isolate myself and do what I darned well pleased with my money on my country estate and i wouldnt give two hoots about was what happening outside of my boundary any more than they would about me. dont people just love to direct everyone elses lives !! [/p][/quote]You miss the point, its unfortunate that planning policy permits such intrusions into the green belt and not much needed housing, rw
  • Score: 0

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