Scotney castle, Kent
Scotney castle is a particularly famous example of folly architecture, since it’s quirk was unintended. This view onto the central courtyard reveals the unanticipated consequences of many decades of England’s heavy annual rainfall constrained by non-porous stone without drainage points.
Early after the construction was completed, flooding of the kitchens alerted staff to the problem. In an unusual move, Lord Scotney ordered all entry onto the courtyard—every doorway and window of the interior walls—sealed, resulting in the three-storey-deep reservoir pictured here.
Employed for many years as a private boating lake, the waters—now sadly clouded—originally offered a surprisingly clear view onto their depths in the summer noon sun. Hardy guests were invited to dive, collect a large, battered bronze ring lying on the bottom, and return it to the surface, with the names of successful candidates engraved on the pristine inner surface of the ring itself.
As the years passed, and as fewer society favourites summered at the castle, the average age of the so-called “Scotney Ring Club” steadily rose. However, their influence in business and politics remained strong, as did their sense of camaraderie, and some historians now claim their name to be the progenitor of the more familiar “Old Boys Club”.