Build Me a Folly


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


I got serious about reading when I was pretty young, and I often didn’t truly understand what I was reading about. This was especially true of stories that talked about things I had never seen, or words that were not common to American English. I don’t remember where I first read the word folly, and understood that it was some kind of structure.  I knew what the word meant in common usage, but not in the sense of a building of some sort.

So I looked it up, and I found out lots and lots of interesting things. I don’t know if anyone is building follies on purpose these days, but they used to.  You’d find them on English estates, for instance, where there were vast gardens, usually a lake or pond of some sort, and money enough to indulge the fancy of the owners. They would sometimes build a miniature ancient Roman or Greek structure. When decorating a la Chinese became the rage, there were little pagodas in a lot of English gardens.

These structures were obviously not anywhere near the size of the originals, and they had no particular use. They were just decorative, and of some interest  for guests.  Children probably enjoyed them as miniature playhouses.

And why were they called follies? One theory is that building them showed the folly of the owners in spending so much money on something that had no practical use, and that would simply need to be maintained.

Here’s one example that I found intriguing, curious that anyone would want to build a replica of a ruin:

Hagley Castle is in the grounds of Hagley Hall. It was built by Sanderson Miller for George, Lord Lyttleton in the middle of the 18th century to look like a small ruined medieval castle.

2 thoughts on “Build Me a Folly

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