The Story Behind Charlton’s Folly

Charlton's Folly (1 of 1)

Charlton’s Folly – Moat Farrell

A couple of weeks back – at my wife’s suggestion – I shared an image of two horses nuzzling for Valentine’s Day.

See I do listen dear 🙂

Just as well because it turned out to be a very popular photo with those of you that saw it.

Though before she picked out the horses, I had intended to share this image. One that has quite a dramatic love story behind it 😉

The ruins of a tower house built by a local land owner called Charlton. A ruin that has become known as Charlton’s Folly.

The morning that I was driving around the town land of Moat Farrell trying to find this ruin, I was lucky enough to find a local farmer who told me the story behind Charlton’s Folly.

According to this farmer, (sorry I can’t remember his name now) Charlton was very rich, very old and having never married, he had no heirs. Apart from his two younger sisters that is. Who stood to inherit all the land owned by Charlton.

Well didn’t a young girl come by and wooed the old man and before long they were married. He started building a fine tower house for his new bride to live in but before he could finish it….his sisters had other plans.

They apparently were not happy about the marriage and set about making sure that it didn’t produce a child.

Now I can’t remember exactly what they did…something in the middle of the night and something that would make a grown man’s eyes water.

Anyway there was no child borne to the old man and his young wife but he made sure that his sisters didn’t benefit. On his death bed, he changed his will and gave his sisters only a penny each. The remainder of his fortune became the Charlton Trust. A trust that young couples intending to marry were able to ask for a small amount of money from to help them start their married life.

Or so the story goes. I may have missed a few bits and pieces but this was almost the exact account told to me by the farmer who pointed me in the right direction of the ruin.

Now I have done a google search regarding Charlton and there is mention of his trust but little else.

So I would love to hear from anyone else who may know more and perhaps the real story :))

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8 thoughts on “The Story Behind Charlton’s Folly”

  1. I’m sure there used to be something about Charlton somewhere online, but all I’ve got is a few notes: In the eighteenth century Thomas Charlton had inherited the large and very wealthy estates of Curratown, Co. Meath, and Moatfarrell, Co. Longford. At the age of 75, Thomas took a wife, but his family decided that action must be taken to prevent an heir from ruining their chances of inheritance, and on the night before the marriage he was “forever prevented from being a father”. He decided that his family would never share in his fortune and by his will of August 1792, he bequeathed the rents and profits from the estates to go into a charity to fund a marriage grant for the childen of poor Protestant labourers in Counties Meath and Longford. The rules were changed over the years by his executors until the fund was eventually used up, but it’s a very useful genealogical source if you can figure out the bizarre index system used. I think I remeber reading that the folly was never completed, because of the ‘incident’, and that it was his nephews who attacked him. Any help?

  2. Great Photo…..I spent many summers making hay in the field in the shadow of this building.We used wonder if it had some sinister story attached to it, but any time we asked we were told that there were none that we would be eligible to hear. Later in life a neighbour told us the story and when it came to the awkward bit reference was made to a device used by the local vet called the Burdizzo which was used to transition bulls into bullocks. (i.e neutered bulls) Its a great story and a horrible device.

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