Fonthill Exploration 5-5-24

20 members met at the site of 'Fonthill Splendens', Wiltshire, the mansion built by William Beckford Sr. (twice Lord Mayor of London) and walked along the lakeside visiting a couple of grottoes, inspecting the dam with its hydro-electric generation and then climbing the fields to Ridge we saw the current Fonthill house, built on the basement of the 1911 arts & crafts Fonthill house.

Completing the circuit we walked along the downs before dropping to Fonthill Bishop and through the great arch to the start point.

Relocating via Hindon to the Great West Drive leading to the site of Fonthill Abbey, the house built by William Beckford Jr. Sadly, only a small portion of the house remains to give an idea of the location of the abbey. It was inspired by the Portugese abbeys north of Lisbon, which Beckford visited while he was lying low after a gay relationship scandal involving William Courtenay of Powderham castle. We walked around the upper lake to Stopps Beacon, the highest point of the estate where a triangular tower was started but never built.

My thanks to Phil for leading this and providing much historical information.

Interestingly, Fonthill Bishop in Wiltshire is right on the edge of the Solent and Dorset group areas and pretty close to south Somerset.

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