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Wentworth, England

Hoober Stand

This folly built to commemorate an aristocratic victory over Catholic rebellion plays tricks on the eye. 

What might look like a strangely isolated lighthouse in a grassy field is actually a pyramidal tower in the grand tradition of English follies. Situated in Wentworth in Northern England, this unusual structure is in the shape of a tall three-sided pyramid, truncated at the top to house a hexagonal glass-sided cupola that appears to move about, due to an optical illusion.

The tower’s name, Hoober Stand, comes from the small settlement of Hoober nearby. The folly was constructed by Henry Flitcroft between 1746 and 1748 for the aristocrat Thomas Watson-Wentworth, Earl of Malton, to celebrate his role in suppressing the Jacobite uprising, an attempt to restore the Catholic Charles Edward Stuart (the “Young Pretender”) to the throne. An inscription above the door commemorates the occasion.

The tower is 98 feet tall and topped by a dome-shaped observation turret. A climb up the internal steps to the top offers beautiful views of the English countryside. Though the dome is centered atop the stand, from different perspectives in fields surrounding the tower the dome may appear to change position. It’s suggested the optical illusion, making the turret appear to have shifted off-center, is caused by the unusual angles of the tower itself.

Know Before You Go

If travelling on the M1 motorway use junction 35 and drive east through Thorpe Healey to Wentworth village, skirting the village on the SE boundary towards Rotherham. On leaving Wentworth on Cortworth Lane towards Rotherham you will soon see the Stand up on the horizon to your left.

Accessible on the outside at all times via a nearby public footpath. Entry to the tower is available on Sundays and public holiday Mondays from the English Spring public holiday until the end of September at a fee of £2.50. Only a small amount of parking is available in the narrow lane.

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