A Grade-I listed gothic revival folly in Kent has been saved from possible demolition and will open next month as a £4million luxury holiday home.
Hadlow Tower (above) joined the World Monument Fund’s list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World in 1998 and was bought by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council a decade later who passed the building onto charity The Vivat Trust for conversion into accommodation for six people.
Opening in May, accommodation starts on the first floor of the tower and includes a kitchen and octagonal dining room, a sitting room with wood-burning stove, a twin bedroom and separate bathroom, plus a double height master bedroom with a bed ringed in by columns and a bathroom suspended above on an inserted floor. A lift suitable for wheelchair users offers access to the first three floors, including direct access to a double bedroom and wet room.
The ground floor of Hadlow Tower will provide exhibition space where the history of the building and its significance will be explained. This space will be opened to the public on a regular basis and access to the viewing platform at the top of the lantern will be offered on Thursdays between May and September.
Inspired by Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey, the Tower was built in 1838, as part of Hadlow Castle, by Walter Barton May who inherited the building project from his father. Built of brick and clad in a roman cement render, the exterior of the tower was originally richly adorned with intricate gothic revival ornamentation made from pre-cast roman cement.
In 1951 the tower was saved from demolition by the portrait painter, Bernard Hailstone, while the rest of the castle was dismantled. Following years of neglect, storm damage and controlled down-takings, the tower became an unadorned stump until the 2008 purchase.
Two nights’ self-catering in the tower starts from £701.25 for six people.
Click here to book with the vivat-trust.org