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Fonthill Abbey

 

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  • Fonthill Abbey
  • An original sketch by the architect of Fonthill Abbey

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Other Information

  • Fonthill Abbey is the largest private house ever built in the U.K. Using what is arguably the first Gothic Revival design James Wyatt converted the existing Fonthill Abbey into a massive building.
  • First added was the tower which was just under 90 metres tall, the front doors were 10m tall and the frontage of the house was 91m in length. The ceiling of the great hall was precisely 100 feet above the floor of the cellar.
  • Running costs were 30,000 a year and it took 950 workers to build. The first tower collapsed and a second one of 68.58 metres was constructed and managed to stay up for over a decade.
  • The only guests who dined at Fonthill Abbey during the entire tenure of Beckford's occupation were Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton in 1800.
  • Beckford sold it in 1822 for a mere 330, a price reflected by the running costs of the building. Despite the sheer size, under Beckford a single servant managed the building - a Spanish hunchback.
  • The tower was originally believed to have collapsed under its own weight in 1825. Recent investigations have revealed the foundations were indeed sufficient and thus the real cause of the structural failure of the building is currently unknown. Most of the rest of Fonthill Abbey was demolished in 1858 although part of the north wing remains.

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Architect
James Wyatt
Developer
William Thomas Beckford

Reference Data

Reference No.
612
First Uploaded
19-02-2006
Last Editorial Date
14-11-2014
 

Building Location

Address
Great Western Avenue, Fonthill Gifford. SP3
Council
West Wiltshire District Council
County
Wiltshire
Region
South West
Country
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Status
Demolished
Proposal date
1794
Construction start date
1795
Completion date
1813
Demolition Date
1858
Style
Gothic Revival

Roof Height (AGL)
68.58

Total Floors (O.G)
6

Market Data

Primary Use
Residential
Secondary Use
Folly


Last Sale Value
£330,000.00
Sale Date
1822

Metres > Feet