Tag Archives: William Beckford

Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire.

Mention was made in the Almanac a day or two ago of Wiilliam Beckford and, by extension, his creation Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire, a now-vanished super-folly.

The Abbey in its heyday –

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 And after it started falling down –

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I  found a site dedicated to re-creating 3-D  models of the Abbey from the old drawings, etc – the only way we’re going to get a real impression of the place, at least until time travel becomes a viable option. Find it here:   http://www.hvtesla.com/fonthill/

They’ve also produced  a video (with some weirdly inappropriate music –personal opinion only), which does help to give an idea of the kind of place it was in its heyday.

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Almanac – October 01

1760 – William Thomas Beckford born. English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed at one stage in his life to be the richest commoner in England. He is remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek and as the builder of the remarkable lost Fonthill Abbey – a superfolly in an age of folly building. Most of it collapsed under the weight of its poorly-built tower the night of 21 December 1825. The remains of the house were slowly removed, leaving only a fragment, which exists today as a private home.

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1847 – Annie Besant born. British social reformer. She was a prominent Fabian socialist in the 1880s before becoming an adherent of Theosophy in 1889. She served as international president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death, and her writings are still considered some of the best expositions of theosophical belief. After immigrating to India, she became an Indian independence leader and established the Indian Home Rule League in 1916.

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1937 – The US House of Representatives passed The Marihuana Tax Act, an important bill on the path that led to the criminalization of cannabis.
 A very cunning strategy – it stipulated that it could not be sold without a license… and licenses were never issued.

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1946 – Dave Holland born. English jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader.A member of Miles Davis‘s band for a couple of years, he played on the In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew albums.

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1962 – James Meredith registered at the University of Mississippi -accompanied by 400 U.S. deputy marshals and 1000 troops to guard the campus from further trouble – there had been 2 lives lost and 75 injuries to allow Meredith to break the schools 110 year history of segregation by being the first Negro to attend classes.

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