Tuesday, 4 October 2011

West Tower and Upper Floor of Dover's Lost Castle, The Court's Folly, Kent, UK

The Georgian Court's Folly, styled in the shape of the Keep, or Great Tower (night view), of Dover Castle, was built in the early 1800s on the Western Heights cliffs above Snargate Stree by two Wine Merchants, Stephen and Rogers Court:

Built by Stephen and Rogers Court, Wine Merchants of Snargate Street, the Court's Folly is an early 19th century two-storey Georgian architecture building hidden by undergrowth on the Western Heights cliffs.
(Click this Court's Folly West Tower text link to see the largest size)

For much of its history, however, the 19th century miniature "lost castle" has been neglected and the ruins are now hidden under the trees and other undergrowth that cover this part of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Most Dovorians do not know the Court's Folly exists.

A Dover Museum webpage states (1):

...As well as leasing the shop (140 Snargate Street) and premises from Dover Harbour Board, the Courts' leased 2 plots of land behind, from Thomas Rutley and Thomas Papillon. On this land Stephen and Rogers built terracing for vines, tea gardens, 2 summerhouses, and dug an extensive network of vaults into the cliffs behind, with plastered and painted walls and chalk carvings.

The terracing up the cliffs was laid out as gardens, growing the different varieties of grapes that the wines they sold were made from, and also other exotic fruit such as figs and dates.

A summerhouse was built at the top of the terracing and further along the cliff-face they built a folly in the shape of Dover Castle silhouetted against the sky.

These became tourist attractions and customers could taste-test products sitting on the terracing and have tours of the vaults...

The internal dimensions of the Court's Folly are approximately 10.5 feet deep by 20 feet wide. The external length of the East Wall is actually about 13 - 14 feet deep, with the last 3 feet or so containing a horizontal oval recess (this extension is probably for cosmetic or structural purposes only). The front wall is 16 inches thick and is over 20 feet high. This view shows only part of the lower storey.

Apparently, the oval windows were quite a popular design feature that had originated in an earlier period (2):

Oeil-de-boeuf, also œil de bœuf, (French, "bull's eye") is a term applied to a relatively small oval window, typically for an upper storey, and sometimes set on a roof slope as a dormer, or above a door to give light.

Windows of this type are commonly found in the grand architecture of Baroque France. The term is also so often applied to similar round windows that this must be considered part of the usage. It is sometimes anglicized as an "ox-eye window".

The term initially applied to horizontal oval windows, but is also used for vertical ones.

Baroque art is the sixth age of Western art and the term comes from a Portuguese word "barocco," which means "a misshapen pearl."

English Baroque is a term sometimes used to refer to the developments in English architecture that were parallel to the evolution of Baroque architecture in continental Europe between the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 (3).

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover - George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom - who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830 (4).

The geotag in the photo's EXIF Data is approximate to protect location and wildlife.

(1) Court's The Wine Merchants
(2) From Oeil-de-boeuf
(3) From English Baroque
(4) From Georgian Architecture

Other information (including sources used) can be found on this photo's original webpage at:

West Tower and Upper Floor of The Courts Folly, The Lost Castle of Dover

Also see:

Court's Folly and Western Heights photos first appear under the Court's Folly and Western Heights tags.

A Dover Georgian history and architecture photo.

Clickable thumbnails of all Western Heights-related photos on the main Panoramio Images of Dover website are available on this blog on the Western Heights Page (also linked to below the blog title).

The Panoramio photos are each accompanied by a Google Earth satellite map. However, the images are smaller than those on the Images of Dover Blog and the captions are less well formatted.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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