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13 November 2014

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Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

This Gothic folly was built in the 18th century, on the second highest point on the Cotswolds.


Broadway Tower
Postcode for Sat Nav:
WR12 7LB
Grid reference:
SP 113362
Near the tower
Brief history:
In 1799 Lady Coventry wondered if she could see Beacon Hill on the Costwold from her home at Croome Court, 22 miles or 35 km away. To find the answer she had this magnificent Gothic folly built.
Big history:
On this website
Panoramic 360 degree picture
Other places to see in this neighbourhood Fish Hill
Leominster - town and Priory

Wigmore Castle

Broadway Tower is a gothic folly built to enjoy one of the finest views anywhere in the county.

The tower, built for Lady Coventry in 1799, stands at the second highest point in the Costwolds, 1024 feet (312m) above sea level.

The tower itself stands 55 feet (17m) high, and was designed by architect James Wyatt.

Annette Gorton, the Managing Director of Broadway Tower, told BBC H&W that it is built in a very unusual way:

"What's remarkable to me is that the tower is built without foundations, and it has stood on the top of this ridge for over 200 years.

"The higher winds move the building, and I'm told that the children who used to live here at tower farm had beds on casters, and the beds used to move when the tower moved."

Views and baths

The views are stunning, well worth the long, low-gear drive up the infamous Fish Hill, on the A44, one mile east of Broadway.

The view takes in the vale of Evesham, the Severn flood plain, the Malvern Hills and, on a good day, the Black Mountains.

A recent study by Ordnance Survey found that on a clear day it is possible to see 62 miles.

Famous inhabitants of the tower include William Morris, the famous fabric and furniture designer, who had close connections to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

According to Annette Gorton, he had an odd way of enjoying the views:

"William Morris allegedly has his zinc bath on the viewing platform of the tower – his daughter describes how the wind kept blowing his soap away.

"You can imagine the great bearded man, with the wild hair, and the angry temper, chasing his soap across the roof."

Open to the public

The tower is now open to the public throughout the year, but Annette Gorton says this was not always the case:

"The tower was opened to the public for the first time under Lord Dulverton, who had a grant from the council to make the building accessible to the public.

"In a little less official capacity, the tenant farmer of Tower farm, Mrs Hollington, opened the tower to the public. 

"She lived here and bred a huge number of cats - a lot of people who are around now have childhood memories of coming her and paying a shilling to be able to go to the roof of her house, past all those cats."

If you have any memories of Broadway Tower, we'd love to hear them.

last updated: 04/08/2009 at 08:56
created: 17/07/2008

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Places > Places Stories > Broadway Tower

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