Jobn Talbot, 16th. Earl of Shrewsbury

I have been swotting up on the life of the 16th. Earl of Shrewsbury, who was responsible for the fantastic gothicism of Alton Towers, by reading the relevant chapter of Rosemary Hill’s biography of Pugin.   He only inherited Alton Abbey, as it then was, in 1827 on the death of his uncle, the 15th. Earl, and it was the 15th. Earl who had created a grand picturesque garden, with gothic temples, a pagoda and a reconstruction of Stonehenge, described by John Claudius Loudon in 1833 as ‘the work of a morbid imagination joined to the command of unlimited resources’.   Once, the 16th. Earl had succeeded to the title, he was at the heart of the Catholic revival, a friend of Ambrose Phillipps, patron of Pugin, and commissioned him to add to Alton Towers and to build a great Castle on the other side of the Churnet Valley:-

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