Built atop the site of a Bronze Age burial mound, Solomon’s Temple casts a watchful eye over the spa town of Buxton, the highest market town in England. This 20-foot-tall, two-story folly was built in 1896, replacing an earlier tower constructed by a local farmer named Solomon Mycock.
By 1894, this previous structure, having been at the mercy of the elements for many years, had been reduced to little more than a heap of stones. It was therefore decided at a public meeting in late February of that very same year to reconstruct the tower if sufficient funds could be raised. The townsfolk, aware of both the prehistoric significance of the site and the allure of such a skyline feature to both locals and tourists alike, donated generously. The bill was met and the foundation stone was laid on May 31, 1896, by Colonel Sidebottom, M.P. The tower was officially opened by Victor Cavendish in September 1896.
Almost a century later, in 1988, the tower was in need of restoration. Although funds were set aside by the County Council and The Countryside Commission there was a shortfall of £7,500. Sticking with tradition additional funds were raised by local Buxtonions yet again who saved the day and their treasured tower once more.
Marking the summit of Grin Low Hill, this Victorian tower was built on top of a Bronze Age burial mound, known as Grin Low Barrow, near what is now Buxton County Park. The barrow was excavated in 1894 just before the reconstruction of the tower took place and it was found to contain concentric rings of angled slabs. Inside were four human skeletons, cremations, and artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age. Unbeknownst to all until that point was that the tower had been standing guard over a very long history of human activity.
Solomon’s Temple (also called Grinlow Tower) stands on a ridge 1,440 feet above sea level, making the spectacular 360-degree views from this distinctive local landmark a most welcome prize after climbing up the hill.
On a clear day, you can see for 15 miles or more from the top of the tower. It is possible to see the Devonshire Dome— the largest unsupported dome in the U.K.—and the very eagle-eyed visitor may even be able to spot Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Derbyshire Peak District. The beautiful vistas are indeed this particular Solomon’s gold.
Know Before You Go
Solomon's temple is family-friendly, free, and open to the public. There is a charge for the Pooles Cavern car park. There is also some free street parking nearby.