Burton Pynsent Monument, Curry Rivel, Somerset
The Burton Pynsent Monument rises from the treetops from miles around Curry Rivel on the edge of the Somerset Levels, so you can’t miss it if you’re pootling about in that neck of the woods.
It was designed by none other than Capability Brown and built in 1767, commissioned by William Pitt as a monument to Sir William Pynsent, a local landowner who was High Sheriff of Somerset from 1741- 1742. Legend has it that Sir William was eternally grateful to Pitt for opposing a ten shilling tax on a hogshead of cider (1763 Cider Bill); had that tax come into play Sir William’s business would have suffered badly, so when he died he left his entire estate to Pitt. And that is why the tower is also known as The Cider Monument. See, it all makes sense now!
Sir William’s Will actually gave no reason for the bequest and he’d never even met Pitt; he just rather hoped that Pitt would like the Burton estate and would make it his country seat. Make of what you will, but with Somerset’s long established custom of cider making, the tax story is rather a charming one.
There’s a 4 mile circular walk that starts in Curry Rivel and takes you along narrow lanes and up through fields and woods to The Burton Pysent Monument, where it stands, high on a hill with incredible far reaching views out over the landscape.
All information correct at the time of writing