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  • Writer's pictureThe English Translator

What manner of folly is this?

Updated: May 23, 2023

When you build a folly, you want to make sure that it has a spectacular view. And that’s exactly what the Temple of Fame at Studley Royal in Yorkshire has. This folly is located on a hill that overlooks the beautiful grounds of Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and best preserved ruined monasteries in England. The view is breathtaking.


You have to walk up a steep hill to reach the folly from the gardens, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning panorama of the landscape.


But there’s more to this folly than meets the eye. It’s actually a very clever and mysterious structure.


You might think that the columns of the round temple are made of stone, but they’re not. They’re actually hollow and made of wood and plaster. Why would they do that? Well, maybe it’s a way of hinting at the emptiness and futility of fame itself. That’s an intriguing idea, don’t you think?



The temple that you can see in the photo was built around 1770 by William Aislabie, who inherited the water garden at Studley Royal from his father in 1718. The water garden is a masterpiece of landscaping and design, with canals, ponds, statues and follies. The temple is one of the many attractions in the park, which also includes the magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey, one of the oldest and largest Cistercian monasteries in England. The park is owned by the National Trust and was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.


If you are looking for a fun and relaxing day out, you should definitely visit Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden. You can park your car easily and take a shuttle bus to explore the different parts of the park. You can also stop by one of the tea rooms and enjoy a hot drink and a tasty scone with clotted cream while admiring the beautiful views. And before you leave, don’t forget to check out the National Trust’s gift shop and maybe buy something to remember your visit.

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