Freston Tower

Freston Tower

Follies, free-standing structures whose purpose is primarily the creator's self-expression, have dotted England for centuries. Freston Tower, a six-storey folly built in the sixteenth century (making it possibly the oldest folly in England), has long intrigued artists. Russell Reeve's watercolour belongs to a tradition of prints, drawings, and postcards depicting the tower that dates back to at least the eighteenth century. The tower's origins remain mysterious, and speculation thereon inspired an 1850 novel of the same name by local parson Richard Cobbold; Cobbold conjectured that it had been built by a Lord de Freston for his learned daughter Ellen, who studied a different subject on each of the tower's floors.