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Sturts Folly

Also known as Horton Tower

Horton, Dorset

Location Guide

Photo by Simon Barnes 

This 140 foot, 6 story tower was created by Humphrey Stuart in the 1700's.

It is a triangular tower of 4 floors with a further two hexagonal shaped floors on top. There is said to be a fireplace about half way up, some say on each floor. The tower is now hollow all its wooden floors having gone.

It was at one point in very bad condition. At that time you could look straight up through to the sky, but was bought by a mobile phone company, who have externally restored it and put some aerials on the top, although most people don't spot them.

It is said he created this when he got old and could no longer follow the hunt, so that he could watch them. Some accounts say it was deer hunting that he watched.

Given the slit windows on each floor, its possible that deer were driven past and the tower used as a high vantage point to shoot at them. Deer hunters today often use high chairs.

Taylor's 1765 map of Dorset describes it as an 'Observatory',

Horton Tower will be familiar to many as the location for the cock-fighting scene in the 1966 film of Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd".  There is a legend of a "Grey Lady" at nearby Horton Hollow and so I used this wonderful backdrop to weave a story about lovers who, through injustice, became separated - yet they believed that somehow the Grey Lady could re-unite them again.

Picture by Chris Downer

Picture by Chris Downer

Location: Sturts Folly, Horton, Dorset

Grid Reference: SU030067 Ceremonial County: Dorset

Map Link: OS getamap


Aerial photo: From an aircraft geograph


Getting there:  See maps above

Access: By the side of a bridle path
Other Useful Websites: Folly Towers  thedorsetpage  
 On a Dorset walk
(also wildlife and plants covered)    Horton village on wiki
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: access to bridleway at all times

Charges: None to see from bridleway

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages: List of Follies in the UK 

Notes:  Also visible from several directions


Page Ref: Sturts_Folly

Classification: Follies

Date Updated: 10/2008

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