Follies of Britain: The Temple of Pomona, Cullen

Gwyn has been on a speed trip folly-hunting round Scotland. The itinerary was carefully scheduled and every minute was accounted for. Here’s the first of two Scottish folly posts: a visit to Banffshire…

This sophisticated, rigidly classical monopteros is said to have been designed by William Playfair in 1788, although it was not completed until 1822, by William Robertson of Elgin for Col. F. W. Grant. Pomona was the goddess of fruits and orchards. In the plinth of the rotunda is a panelled room with underfloor heating; other than that it is as plain and dull a garden ornament as one could possibly hope to find.

Not knowing this beforehand and because time was very tight, we sought permission in advance from the estate — Cullen House itself has been divided up into flats — to see the building. On arrival in Cullen (where the butchers archaically title themselves Fleshers) we were directed to the estate office, presented our credentials, restated our written request to a representative of the factor, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Two or three times a young man sauntered through the lobby, inspecting us curiously. After 45 minutes he returned and revealed himself to be the factor. A lengthy interrogation followed, during which we just escaped being searched for incendiary devices, aerosol spray cans, underpants bombs and other implements of hooliganism which middle-aged males invariably carry. Finally, reluctantly, he lent us the key, laced with warnings, to the park gate nearest the temple. “Ye’ll have tae wade across the river, mind,” he said, and the memory of a distant ancestor’s smile flitted behind his frozen features.

We found the temple, right by the side of the road on the way out of town. It was raining steadily. The key did not fit the lock. We returned to the estate office. It had closed for lunch. On the way to Elgin the car broke down.

Now where did we put that spray can?

Gwyn is the co-author of the epic Follies of England series of the county-by-county e-books – the definitive guide to the England’s architectural oddities, available to buy for just £2.99 each from
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One thought on “Follies of Britain: The Temple of Pomona, Cullen

    June 11, 2012 at 15:14

    Typical factors, think fetlock tugging junior management, they could have at least given you a clue. When you motored beyond the A9 you entered the soviet socialist republic of A.Salmond, minor warlord and tipster, ex statistician, at the RBS, retired. Levels of state employment in his fiefdom, circa 60% of the working population. Survival depends upon several factors, not the ones you dealt with, obviously, firstly, on no account speak English, if you do use a Geordie accent. A sense of humour, essential, have you tried the hotel trades hospitality up there, ach mein Gott.
    Patience, the tartan manana starts at Carter Bar we currently await an invoice from the local horticultural repair guys, for work carried out in January.
    So, not a folly, it is in fact east coast Wicker man stuff, awaiting the luring and frying of one Donald Trump, Big Eck’s sworn enemy.

    “There’s nay a Rowan here, Sergeant Howie”

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