Needle's Eye – Brampton Bierlow, England - Atlas Obscura

Needle's Eye

Brampton Bierlow, England

A folly built to satisfy a gentleman's bet that he could drive his horses through the eye of a needle. 


An idiosyncratic pyramid arch towers at the end of a tree-lined carriage road in a Wentworth field. Like all follies, it serves no real purpose, but some 300 years ago it helped an aristocrat retain his honor.

Mason John Carr built this 46-foot-tall pyramid under the instructions of the Marquis of Rockingham around 1730. According to legend, the Marquis bet a friend that he could drive his horses through the eye of a needle. He had this standalone “needle” constructed exactly wide enough for a small carriage to pass through expressly to win his wager.

The bet was allegedly only £10, massively less than the cost of building the folly.

One side of the arch is pockmarked by musket balls, which has led some to believe it was the site of an execution by firing squad. This is unsubstantiated and it is more likely it was used for target practice.

Know Before You Go

Drive up the hill on Coaley Lane and near the summit, just before the junction with Street Lane is a pull-in on the right hand side. The public footpath is to the right hand side of the building on the summit (left hand side of the road).

Do not go to the right of the building , this land is private and the trespassing laws are enforced.

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