This ‘folly’ is sitting in a gap between Abberley Hill and Woodbury Hills, and is known as ‘Jones’s Folly’. In Arthur Mee’s ‘The Kings England’ he comments -“It is a landmark where no landmark is needed and accords ill with the rural scene”.
Built by John Joseph Jones, a Lancastrian cotton magnate, in the grounds of Abberley Hall, which he had bought from the Moilliets a Birmingham banking family. On 4th May 1883 Jones and his wife Sarah laid the foundation stone for the tower. Some said at the time, as a response to the grandeur of his neighbours, the Earl of Dudley, of Witley Court. It rose to a height of 161ft. and cost £12,000, including a barrel carillon of 21 bells.”
Follies apparently were popular in early Victoria times and families erected them for various memorial reasons.
John Joseph Jones, and his family were ‘nouveau riche’. Allegedly, he built the tower so he could look down on his very aristocratic neighbour, Lord Dudley, in his huge stately home in the valley below. The clock tower is featured in the children’s story “The Clock Tower Ghost”, by Gene Kemp.
The Clock Tower was commissioned in 1882 and plans were drawn up by the architect J.P. St. Aubyn. The builders were Patman and Fotheringham and their master mason was George Long. Work began on 29th June 1883 and the topping out, at 161 feet, was on lst October 1884.