Tonbridge’s cuckold spy tower: Yours for £2million

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

THE iconic Hadlow Tower, thought to be the tallest folly in Britain, has been put up for sale with a £2million asking price.

The Grade 1 listed building off the village’s high street has eight storeys and, at 175 feet, stands six feet taller than Nelson’s Column.

Architect George Ledwell Taylor designed the octagonal tower in 1838 for Walter Barton May, who inherited the estate from his father.

The building is also known as May’s Folly, and was allegedly used by him to spy on his wife after she ran away with a local farmer.

It was used as a lookout for the Home Guard and the Royal Observers Corps in World War II.

The castle, built by May’s father, was demolished in 1951 but the tower was saved by royal painter Bernard Hailstone.

The tower was badly damaged in the Great Storm of 1987. It then began to deteriorate rapidly and required an estimated £4.5million of repair.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport approved a Compulsory Purchase Order for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, who sold it to the Vivat Trust for £1 in 2011.

The renovation was funded by grants from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the latter providing £2million.

The restoration was completed in 2013 but the Vivat Trust, a charity which offered holiday lets in historic buildings, went into liquidation in 2015.

It was bought by Christian Tym for £425,000 and he has lived there with his wife and four sons.

He said: ‘When you drive up to Hadlow Tower it can’t help but put a smile on your face.

‘It’s a phenomenal place to live and my four boys love playing hide-and-seek inside.

‘It’s a unique place to live, and from the top there is nothing blocking your view so you can look out as far as the eye can see.

‘I fell in love with Hadlow Tower at first sight and we are selling it with a heavy heart.’

The property, situated in 3.45 acres of grounds including a boating lake, has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen, drawing room and a media room.

All floors are serviced by a lift as well as spiral staircases. The master bedroom, known as the Rapunzel Room, has its own roof terrace.

It is being offered by sale by Strutt & Parker. James Mackenzie of the estate agents’ National Country House Department, said: ‘Hadlow Tower had £4.5million invested into it so it is both historically fascinating and brand new.

‘It has the best of everything with incredible craftsmanship and every modern benefit. This tower is a masterpiece. We’ve already had dozens of enquiries about it including foreign buyers.’

PICTURE: UPWARDLY MOBILE: The eight floors are serviced by a spiral staircase and a lift

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