Mow Cop Castle – Mow Cop, England - Atlas Obscura

Mow Cop Castle

Mow Cop, England

This crumbling folly looks like an enchanted left over from Middle Earth. 


Sitting atop a rocky promontory just outside a small English village is what appears to be the ruins of some medieval stronghold, but Mow Cop Castle is actually the work of a much more modern rich person. 

Hollywood set designers bend over backwards to create fantasy ruins in films, but it usually takes a wealthy eccentric to create the real thing. Such was the case when Randle Wilbraham, a member of the landed gentry living in nearby Rode Hall, built Mow Cop Castle in 1754. The folly was built as a summer home for Wilbraham, with the added benefit of providing a beautiful sight that could be seen from Rode Hall. Despite not being as old as it looks, the castle was designed to look like the ruins of a bygone medieval castle. Wilbraham could bring guests for outings at his fantastical little piece of fake history. 

While it looks like the remains of a much larger castle, the folly was built to seem like ruins, and only has the one main tower, and the free-standing arch at its side. Even if it’s not a piece of medieval history, the castle has been marked as a protected historical site (it is over 250 years old), so it won’t be crumbling any more than it already LOOKS like it has.

Mow Cop Castle, a popular local landmark, used to be open to the public, but after someone committed suicide at the site, a fence was erected to keep people out. It’s a shame that it is no longer freely accessible, but the look of the castle from afar is possibly its finest feature.     

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