Vandalian Tower – West Sussex, England - Atlas Obscura
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West Sussex, England

Vandalian Tower

This ruined folly was originally built to honor a failed American state that would have become "Westsylvania." 

Just west of Harting Down is Tower Hill, upon which is the Vandalian Tower, a folly dating to the 18th century which was constructed to commemorate the British colony of Vandalia, which quickly disappeared under the spread of America. 

The tower was originally built in 1774 to celebrate the founding of the American settlement of Vandalia, a proposed British colony that never grew beyond its initial founders. Due to the American War of Independence, the small colony was hung out to dry and while they proposed becoming a state by the name of “Westsylvania,” the fresh American government scoffed at the idea and the territory was subsumed by the states now known as West Virginia and Kentucky. 

However before this colony was eaten by the fresh beast now known as the United States, back in Britain a stone tower was built to honor the fledgling settlement. Yet as one would expect, when the colony failed the tower was quickly abandoned, possibly out of embarrassment for their too quick self-congratulation.

Today, the remains of the tower are still standing amidst an overgrown field in the parish of Harting. The ruins are behind a fence that protects them from further deterioration as well as embarrassment.

Know Before You Go

The ruins are found in the grounds of Uppark House which is own by the National Trust. Heading to Harting Down which is south of the the village of South Harting, you can park in the designated car park and cross the B2141 into the field opposite. The ruins should be clearly visible on top of the hill.