Britain’s tallest folly is up for sale

    If you dream of owning a piece of history, the perfect opportunity is heading your way.

    Three historic listed British properties –including the UK’s tallest folly, the 53m, Grade I listed Hadlow Tower near Tonbridge in Kent,  a 15th-century timber framed gatehouse in North Yorkshire and a 14th-century manor house near Hereford – are up for sale.

    And you won’t have to sacrifice your creature comforts to indulge your passion for history because,  despite their historic pedigree, many of the stunning properties have been fully restored and are cosy modern places to live.

    Inside the Hadlow Tower near Tonbridge in Kent

    Hadlow Tower, built by Kent industrialist Walter Barton May, is a fully restored rare Grade I listed early 19th century Gothic tower which originally formed part of Hadlow Castle. 

    The tower was begun in 1838 to a design by naval architect George Ledwell Taylor. Constructed of brick and rendered with Roman Cement, it stands 53m high – 1m taller than Nelson’s column which was built at the same time – and is the tallest folly in the UK.

    In the Second World War it served as a vegetable store and observation post for the Observer Corps and Home Guard. It was used as a landmark by Luftwaffe pilots on their way to London, who dropped bombs in nearby fields.

    The buildings were owned by the Vivat Trust, which went into liquidation in August 2015. The trust, a registered charity and a national building preservation trust, was dedicated to rescuing neglected and dilapidated historic buildings throughout the UK and providing them with a viable new use, as holiday properties. The trust’s directors called in insolvency firm Begbies Traynor last summer however, when the charity was hit by financial difficulties.

    Bolton Percy Gatehouse, near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire is a 15th-century timber framed Grade II* listed gatehouse

    Now the properties owned by the trust have been put up for sale and Eddisons is inviting offers for the unique buildings.

    Abdul Jambo, associate director at Eddisons, which is marketing the properties, explained: “The properties are of such a unique and historic nature that we have rarely, if ever, seen anything comparable come to the open market.

    “Because of this their values are likely to differ wildly depending on the potential buyers, whether they are a charity or a private enterprise. As such we will be leaving this to the market to decide and are looking to receive offers from anyone interested in owning an incredibly special piece of British history.”


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