Situated in the grounds of Abbey Manor is this folly, which, when we first made its acquaintance, might have been known as the ‘Leaning Tower of Leicester’.
It did not have the iconic status of Pisa’s version, but to us it soon became a dear old friend, albeit one with a jaunty angle that threatened to see it topple from the landscape. Our job was to right the wrong.
A former incumbent at Abbey Manor, Edward Rudge, had built it in the first half of the 19th Century as a monument to his ancestor, Simon de Montfort, who died in the Battle of Evesham in 1265. This magnificent tribute had been placed on a bank from where it kept a lonely, unending vigil over the River Wye, but gravity had been steadily pulling it like the Sirens of the Aegean Sea.
Working with a team of specialists we placed two enormous concrete rings under the tower, then inflated a gap between the two using hydraulics until 90 degrees had been achieved. The top of the tower moved one metre during this push, yet not one stone fell out.