Exploring the former land of William Beckford at Fonthill

Event Details

When William Beckford inherited his father's estate at age 10 in 1770, he was the wealthiest person in Europe and following a threat to 'out' him he left on a ship to the West Indies, but alighted at Lisbon where he developed a love for their abbeys. Returning to Wiltshire he built an abbey as a house to rival any. Little remains, but we can walk through the estate that was overlooked by his father's house (no longer surviving), by the lake where Johnny Depp swam in the film 'Chocolat', and then, courtesy of an Open Day, walk in the gardens of Old Fonthill Abbey, around the lake (a different one), and through the American garden to the Beacon. Only a small portion of the Abbey remains, but it allows you to imagine what an incredible sight the Abbey would have been until it collapsed. Beckford built a 12 mile long wall, 12 feet high, apparently to keep the hunt out, but actually for privacy. Beckford was a fascinating person and you may wish to check out the website of the Beckford Society prior to the walk.

Open day admittance is by charitable donation. (£10 suggested)









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