Wimpole Gothic Tower Folly, National Trust, Cambridgeshire

The Gothic Tower, designed to look like a picturesque medieval ruin, is based on a sketch by the architect Sanderson Miller in 1749 for his patron, Lord Hardwicke, the owner of Wimpole. The design was later realised in an amended form under the supervision of the great landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown from 1768-72. In the following centuries, the ruin suffered extensive and gradual damage with many important characteristics being completely eroded while public access to the Tower and landscape was near enough impossible.

Located in the magnificent parkland of Wimpole Estate, the Gothic Tower presented a complex conservation challenge for the National Trust. The work called for repair of the structure, stabilisation of the stonework and reinstatement of missing components of the building,while preserving the weathered beauty and original ‘ruined’ appearance.

Wendy Monkhouse, National Trust Curator in the East of England, said: “We’re delighted to have been recognised by the European

Commission and Europa Nostra for the work we’ve done on the Gothic Tower – it’s the most prestigious heritage award in Europe, and it means a lot to the National Trust and to the staff and volunteers at Wimpole.

“Many people know and love the magnificent mansion and the 18th century farm, but the Tower was an almost forgotten ruin – a kind of sleeping beauty, literally surrounded by briar roses and nettles. Now, with its reinstated crenellations triumphant on the main Tower, it sits once more at the focal point of the landscape designed by Capability Brown, whose tercentenary we are celebrating this year.”

We are very proud to announce that this project has received four awards so far and we are hugely grateful to all that have been involved from inception to completion.

Client: The National Trust

Architect: Donald Insall Associates

Main Contractor: Cliveden Conservation Workshop Ltd

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