Mad Jack Fuller of Brightling and his Follies
Wandering around the area near the village revealed a range of further follies ranging from a fake castle tower to a false church spire.
Fullerâ€™s pyramid mausoleum was built in 1811, twenty-three years before his death, and local legend had it that Fuller was entombed in the pyramid in full dress and top hat seated at a table set with a roast chicken and a bottle of wine. This was discovered to be untrue during renovations in 1982. My theory is that Fuller might have read about the mythological preservative powers of pyramids.
Mad Jack inherited the family fortune in 1777, at the tender age of 20. Their wealth had been built on the manufacture of iron goods, such as cannons, as well as a substantial income from sugar plantations in Jamaica.
The family was heavily involved in politics, both nationally and locally, and John served several terms as Member of Parliament during his life.
He seems to have fostered an image of eccentricity, and never married, but enjoyed supporting good causes, including funding the first lifeboat at Eastbourne, and helping the building of the Belle Tout Lighthouse on the cliffs near Beachy Head.
Brightling Needle, an obelisk over 65 feet (20m) high was built on the second highest point in East Sussex and was erected around 1810
The Sugar Loaf, which is sometimes known as Fullerâ€™s Point, is in a meadow and stands 35 feet (10.7m. The name comes from the conical shaped loaf that sugar was sold in at that time. It was apparently built to win a bet that Mad Jack made whilst in London. He claimed he could see Dallington Church (a nearby village) from his house in Brightling. When he returned he discovered that he couldnâ€™t as a hill blocked his view, so the Sugar Loaf was hastily erected to win the bet.
The Tower or Watch Tower built by Fuller in the middle of a field, stands 35 feet (10.6m) high and 12 feet (3.7m) in diameter.
The Temple or Rotunda was built in the grounds of Brightling Park perhaps to add a classical element to the gardens.
The Observatory, now a private residence was completed in 1810. It was equipped with all the equipment of the time including a Camera Obscura.