web analytics

Happy belated birthday, Mad Jack

mad jack's tomb

John ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller (1757 — 1834) was an impossibly rich, batshit crazy English squire from Brightling on the South coast. He preferred to be called “Honest John” — but that didn’t happen, for reasons that will shortly become obvious. He is famous for building a slew of follies — a tower, a pyramid, a greek temple, an obelisk and other assorted wonders — in improbable, not to say stupid, locations. Like mostly, out in the middle of sheep fields.

His motivations were reckoned to be everything from legacy building, to creating ‘jobs for the boys’ to settling bets. I’m guessing that batshit crazy thing was a factor, too.

mad jack fuller

But he also built a lighthouse, funded the local lifeboats and saved beautiful Bodiam Castle from demolition. So, you know, it was a good crazy.

We tried to visit all his follies in a day, one beautiful September day last year. Nearly managed it, too. We missed the Greek temple for sure (which was WAY off the road, and we couldn’t see an obvious place to park) and maybe one or two others. It was a fine adventure..

His actual birthday is in February, but next Saturday, Brightling is observing his 250th birthday. I’ll just miss it.

The Sussex Bell Ringing Association will go up against Brightling’s own bell ringers in a head to head contest of…umm…bell ringing. Plus, there will be a barrel organ and a drumming band. And dancing, liquor and barbecue.

And y’all wonder what the attraction is…


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: September 14, 2007, 6:19 pm

So did he keep his razor in that pyramid to keep it sharp?

Bodiam castle is neat. You can go swimming in any direction!

Comment from Gnus
Time: September 14, 2007, 6:44 pm

Put me down for £5 on Sussex.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: September 14, 2007, 6:46 pm

Oo! I love follies! If I ever get rich enough I’m gonna build some too.

Pingback from S. Weasel
Time: October 20, 2010, 10:17 pm

[…] the Civil War (theirs, not ours, duh) to keep it from being used as a fort again. Then good old Mad Jack Fuller bought it in 1829 and started excavating and shoring it up. Which they’re still […]

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny