Friday, 20 June 2008

Wessex Interlude 3

Afficianados of John Schlesinger's 1967 film Far from the Madding Crowd will probably recognise this tower. One of my all time favourite buildings, Horton Tower was used as the scene of a particularly viscious cock fight involving Sergeant Troy, played by a moody Terence Stamp. But I wouldn't blame you if you only remembered it for Julie Christie as the wilful Bathsheba Everdene. Heavy sigh.

Horton was built by Humphrey Sturt in the 1760s, probably following the contemporary fad for having an observatory, but it was more likely to have been used as a viewpoint for watching the local foxhunt. But if you had the money and the land to put it on, wouldn't you build something like this just for the hell of it? Just to look out over the surrounding hills and woods. I had photographed the tower ten years ago or so, but always wanted to picture it against a more characterful sky, which did the right thing by boiling up over Dorset on Saturday. It can now take pride of place in a book I've planned for some time- Preposterous Erections, which is still being eyed nervously by my publisher because I won't budge on the title.


Diplomat said...

Bloody hell - do I spy a splattering of cell 'phone antennae ? Top building otherwise.

If these are indeed voda-go-zed-4U-billmebig-Oh3- wassnames that'd just about sum up the situation in blighty.

Peter Ashley said...

Yes, they are Vodaphone thingies. But for once they have been as subtle as can be in trying to match them into the fabric. And without taking the Vodaphone Shilling the whole thing may well have gone into terminal decline. Although since the restoration I see that an elder tree has taken root high up on the south side.

Philip Wilkinson said...

A classic tower. I've always thought there was something menacing about it, with its looming shapes, and that sky emphasizes this quality.