© Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for
If you’re looking for examples of the useless excesses of the upper classes, then you can do little better than run your eye over the rocky outcrops around Rothley, Northumberland. For, hereabouts, you will find several pointless indulgences of the very rich Sir Walter Blackett (1707-77) of nearby Wallington Hall.
Firstly, there is
, a mock medieval stronghold
designed by Daniel Garrett and built in 1755. Then there are the Rothley Lakes:
man-made creations, and again built by the above mentioned Sir Walter. Several
eminent architects and landscapers are rumoured to have been involved in their
planning and execution – among then, notably, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Rothley Castle
Finally, there is Sir Walter’s daftest effort, Codger Fort. Sitting on a rocky eminence by the roadside of the B6342, it looks very much like it has been hurriedly put together by a giant toddler – and may just as easily, perhaps, be accidentally knocked over by a clumsy playmate. Having sped past it numerous times, I was never quite sure what to make of it.
It transpires than no one else has been able to make head nor tail of it either, in fact. It certainly seems to have been erected by the aforementioned Blackett; local legend holding that it was built as a genuine defensive structure against the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. However, thanks to documentary evidence unearthed at Wallington Hall, it is now accepted that it was no more than another of Blackett’s pointless follies, and probably thrown up on his orders around 1769-70 by a certain Thomas Wright. And, as it is sits so neatly above a fold in the aforementioned
, this seems as
likely an explanation as any. Rothley
But why ‘Codger’? Well, they say it used to be known as ‘Cadger’s Fort/Castle’. But other than that, I can’t help you.