Afficianados of John Schlesinger's 1967 film Far from the Madding Crowdwill 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.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph