Rest, Relax and Enjoy

Sway Tower. (A Folly!)

Wednesday 15th April 2015.


Peterson’s Folly.

Sway is perhaps best known for its Sway Tower. It is a Grade II listed building. It is also known as “Peterson’s Folly”

Built by Andrew Thomas Turton Peterson on his private estate, its design was influenced by the follies Peterson had seen during his time in India. It is constructed entirely out of concrete made with Portland cement, with only the windows having iron supports. It remains the tallest non-reinforced concrete structure in the world.

The tower is visible from much of the New Forest, and most of the western Solent. A smaller 50-foot (15 m) folly, built as a ‘prototype’, stands in a group of trees to the north of the taller tower.There are many small concrete features (mainly walls) to be found in Milford, Sway and Hordle.


Sway tower is visible from all over the southern part of the New Forest. It stands 218 feet high, too tall and slender to be mistaken for a church tower. From close to it is elegant, with Gothic detailing to the windows. The tower, and many of the buildings around, were built from concrete, then a new material, in the second half of the 19th century by A.T.T.

Peterson, a retired Indian judge who had great faith in its potential. He was also interested in spiritualism, and he is supposed to have been in touch with Sir Christopher Wren, via a medium, for advice on the design of the tower (which must have been difficult for Wren as he had no knowledge of concrete)

Peterson’s other concrete buildings were constructed before the tower, and are mostly useful-many walls, a house with a tower, and so on. The tower seems to have no purpose: he apparently wanted to put a light on the top, but this was prevented because it would have been a danger to shipping. The view from the top, up 330 steps, is said to be wonderful. He intended that he and his wife should be buried at the base of the tower, under two table-like stones, but his wife insisted on an orthodox burial in the churchyard at Sway. Peterson died in London, and his ashes were buried in the tower. They were exhumed in 1957 and reburied in his wife’s grave.

Work on the tower started in 1879, and finished in 1885. Local unemployed men were used, and well paid. No scaffolding was used the concrete being cast in wooden frames 18 inches high, and a crane inside the building hauled materials up into place. 

Sway Tower was built by eccentric Yorkshireman Andrew Peterson in 1879

Story /Novel Update

On a previous post I told everyone that I had finished my novel ‘Birth of the Wizard Prince’ well, instead of editing I decide to dig out my original story ‘King of the Wood’ (subtitled Knight of the Oak)which was born in my head way back in the 1970’s and was eventually started for my 2011 Nanowrimo. I had never finished, it has been on my hard drive since then. I had now read through it editing it where necessary and adding or improving what I could and just this week I have started writing and hopefully finish it shortly. I am hoping I will stick to my story line and not keep veering off in directions.

RestawyleGerry A/C 2015.


April 15, 2015 - Posted by | Artistic., Ghostly, Interest, Love, Music, New Forest, News, Personal, Poetry, Uncategorized


  1. Was a bizarre structure, it looks almost impossible!

    Comment by Lucid Gypsy | April 15, 2015 | Reply

    • In its day Gilly it was down as impossible, he proved new ways to build I suppose. thank you and welcome always..

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  2. A remarkable structure. You can say it holds sway there.
    We have friends (lost touch) who stay in Sway (how poetic!).

    Comment by colonialist | April 15, 2015 | Reply

    • Yes it can be seen as one approaches Sway from Brockenhurst. I and a few friends snuck in it for a dare/fun. It has had a lot of history,, I believe it was part of a bed and breakfast, not sure if it still is.. thank you and welcome always…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  3. An unbelievable construction. Fascinating.
    Awesome you’re working on an early manuscript. Much success to you.

    Comment by Let's CUT the Crap! | April 15, 2015 | Reply

    • Thank you and yes this original story was in longhand in my note books which I have managed to keep hold of since the early 70’s back in 2011 it was great to start to put it down on paper so to speak.. it deserves my attention at last… always welcome and appreciated…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  4. Fine offering, Gerry – Thank you for sharing.
    Bless the eccentric men and women for their follies, they make life interesting.

    Best Wishes


    Comment by john flanagan | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • Couldn’t happen today though, what with all the rules and laws and Health and safety heehee! yes if not for them what would we tallk about today.. thank you John. appreciated….

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  5. I find the history of architectural structures very interesting. I enjoyed this one.
    I’m happy your sorting your past manuscripts and dedicating your time to completing them.
    Happy Writing …!!! 😎

    Comment by Inside the Mind of Isadora | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • Hey Izzy, they do have that interest and glad others enjoy them as well. Yes I am now managing to move my characters on to solve the problem.. they are fighting .. welcome always and appreciated…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  6. Interesting looking tower. I bet the view is amazing from the top. Good luck on your story. I hope you stay focused, driven and motivated to finish. Stay on track. I’m hoping to find time this weekend to work on mine. Hugs to you and the girls! 😉

    Comment by Carol B Sessums | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • The view is impressive,,,cannot describe not that good.. I have continued with story and have the ending of this one in mind,, with maybe a part two to follow up… Squidge, you keep at it you will get there some day…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  7. Maybe Wren didn’t know cement but he might’ve given him the idea for the look of the place. Ya just don’t know. 😉
    Hope you’re doing well, gerry. ✌🏼️

    Comment by firstandfabulous | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • Maybe Wren offered some sort of help, as you say will never know… thank you Gemma and welcome always…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 16, 2015 | Reply

  8. An unbelievable Folly for sure. 🙂 Good luck with the writing, Gerry.

    Comment by anotherday2paradise | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • A place of history and tales.. will update regular, a few lines here and there about my story. thank you and welcome always Sylvia. 😉

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 17, 2015 | Reply

  9. Fascinating story. That’s something I’d like to see. Thanks for the history. I’ll have to google it to learn more.

    Also, great news on the writing! I just had a similar experience and am working on a 10 year old manuscript. Doesn’t it feel great to be writing again!

    Comment by appletonavenue | April 17, 2015 | Reply

    • Thank you, the building can be an impressive sight with history attached… That is good, I had to read through mine to recap all the characters and the basics.. it seems to have worked and am now continuing hoping to finish… best of luck with yours update as we progress. welcome always….

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 17, 2015 | Reply

  10. Amazing that this tower has stood the test of time! 🙂

    Comment by Lorna's Voice | April 20, 2015 | Reply

    • It is concrete, heehaa! this country is full of old stuff.. welcome.

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 20, 2015 | Reply

  11. Thank you for this information, I was not aware of this story at all.

    Comment by oldpoet56 | April 22, 2015 | Reply

    • I just try to be a little different,,watch this space for more… thank you and welcome…

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 22, 2015 | Reply

  12. It really stands out. Is it possible to go up? Gerry, I wish you luck finishing your story.

    Comment by Paula | May 1, 2015 | Reply

    • It is possible but not open to public these days.. and thanks my story is now very close to finishing.. welcome always

      Comment by cobbies69 | May 1, 2015 | Reply

  13. What an amazing building, Gerry 🙂

    Comment by restlessjo | May 16, 2015 | Reply

    • it was a little ahead of its time.. thank you, welcome..

      Comment by cobbies69 | May 16, 2015 | Reply

  14. Now there’s an interesting bit of history and architecture that I’ve never heard of before.

    Comment by themofman | June 12, 2015 | Reply

    • And we have many of these in the UK,, these are local to me. thank you mof’ and welcome.

      Comment by cobbies69 | June 12, 2015 | Reply

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