The village of Brightling has a few Follies built by John Fuller. In 1757 its most famous resident John Fuller (known as Mad Jack) was born into one of the iron founding families that owned the mansion adjoining the Church. Mad Jack was one of the great English Eccentrics, a famous politician and patrol of science and the arts, who enjoyed building follies.
Fuller's follies are a collection of fascinating tributes to a Sussex eccentric who resided in the county's countryside in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
There were, and still are, many rumours circulating about why Fuller built the follies, ranging from drunken wagers and philanthropic urges to pure madness. Whatever the reason for building the sugar loaf, tome and obelisk remain curious artefacts in a village that still attracts visitors with an interest in these odd treasures.
The Sugar Loaf, a spire like structure on the horizon, was built as a result of drunken bet with a friend. Jack Fuller put money on his claim that he could see the spire of Dallington Church from his home. On returning to his house, he found he could not see the spire, so built the Sugar Loaf to prove himself right. The structure got its name from traditional storage of sugar; it used to come in cone-shaped containers called loaves.
The Tower, set in the middle of a field is another mystery to Mad Jack enthusiasts. It looks like a tower from a palace in a fairy tale, but nobody knows why Fuller built it in the middle of a field, surrounded by trees. Speculations have been made about the tower being built so Jack could signal to Bodiam Castle, but in reality you cannot even see Bodiam from there.
The Obelisk, on the top of Brightling Down looking down upon the village, is another strange creation by the eccentric politician. Nobody really knows why this was built either, and finding any use for the structure is difficult. Sometimes known as Brighling Needle, the Obelisk is a good landmark and from it you get great views of the pretty village below. Some say the pointed building was to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, but as with most things Mad Jack Fuller did, we'll never really know why.
Before his death the colourful local character arranged for his own tomb to be built. Judging by the structures he commissioned during his life, this tomb would not be conventional - so a pyramid it was! If one believed the rumour mill Jack was buried inside the tomb sitting at a table with a bottle of wine by his side and wearing a top hat with broken glass covered the floor to stop the devil's footsteps. Sadly, all these rumours were proved to be untrue when restorers entered the tomb many years later.
The Tower is thought to have been built in the 1820s, it is approx. 35feet high and 12 feet in diameter. It was used as a two-storey dwelling until the 1930s.
The Temple in the grounds on Brightling Park has spawned many stories about Jack Fuller and his antics. Rumour has it that Fuller held wild parties and entertained ladies at the Greek-style temple. Others say he carried out one his favourite pastimes here, gambling in card games with friends
Fuller's Follies are by far the strangest of all 1066 Country's attractions. Set in the Sussex in countryside in a village called Brightling, they are bizarre testaments to the eccentricity of John 'Mad Jack' Fuller, a Victorian Squire who was prone to outlandish wagers and daring endeavours.