Glenfinnan Monument, Glen Shiel
The kilted and bonneted statue that crowns the top of the 18m high Glenfinnan Monument at the head of Glen Shiel is often claimed to be of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Certainly, this was where Prince Charles Edward set up his standard in 1745 in his doomed attempt to gain the British throne for the Stuarts. But the statue, erected in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale, represents one of the ordinary Highlanders who followed the Prince and died in the appalling carnage of the Jacobite rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Broadway Tower, Cotswolds
The hexagonal, buttressed and turreted tower on Broadway Hill on the northern escarpment of the Cotswold Hills has been rather disparagingly described by some historians as an “architectural toy of the Gothic Revival”. It was designed in 1798 by Capability Brown for the Earl of Coventry, who wanted to show off the extent of his estates to his new wife, and later became the retreat of Arts and Crafts founder William Morris. The incredible view from the top is claimed to extend over 12 counties.
Hull’s Tower, Leith Hill, Surrey
At 294m, the popular viewpoint of Leith Hill in Surrey was already the second highest point in south east England when Richard Hull of nearby Leith Hill Place built the 20m high Gothic tower that now graces its summit. It’s claimed that you can see London, the English Channel and 13 counties from the top.
Hardy Monument, Dorset
The 22m-high industrial chimney-like monument on Blackdown Hill, near Abbotsbury, is often mistakenly associated with the Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy. But this Hardy was the “Kiss me Hardy” of Nelson’s famous last words at Trafalgar, and commemorates Vice Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy – a distant relative of the famous author. It was erected in 1844 by public subscription. If you muster up the energy to take the 120 steps to the top, you can see as far as the English Channel.
Mow Cop Castle, Cheshire
The sham Gothic castle ruin of Mow Cop overlooks the lush Cheshire Plain, westward to the first hills of Wales, and south towards the conifers of Cannock Chase and the Shropshire Hills. It was built in 1754 by local squire Randle Wilbraham as an ‘eye-catcher’ when seen from his home at Rode Hall on the plain below.
Penshaw Monument, County Durham
The great, blackened northern Parthenon of the Penshaw Monument, near Washington, lords it over the former coalfields of County Durham. It was built in 1844 in memory of John George Lambton, the 1st Earl of Durham and former Governor General of Canada, whose family seat was at Lambton Park, in the valley of the River Wear below. Lord Durham was known as ‘Radical Jack’ because he was an instigator of the 1830 Reform Bill, which abolished the system of rotten parliamentary boroughs.
Cook Monument, North York Moors
The great 18th-century explorer Captain James Cook (1728-79) was honoured by the erection of this blunt pyramid on Easby Moor, near his boyhood home of Great Ayton, in 1829. But there was a heated controversy over its building, because many local people believed that it should have been constructed on the more prominent landmark of the ‘Cleveland Matterhorn’ of Roseberry Topping, two miles to the south.
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