Leith Hill Tower

News by the Way

Leith Hill, 20 miles from London, and 944 feet above the sea, is the highest ground in the south-east of England. It is said that from the top you can overlook a view of 200 miles in circumference and twelve or thirteen counties, including Sussex, Hants, Berks, Oxford, Bucks, Herts, Middlesex, Essex, Kent and Wilts. Mr Dennis, a celebrated critic, said that in all his travels abroad he never saw so charming a view.

1766. Mr Richard Hull - then owner of Leith Hill Place - built, by permission of Sir John Evelyn, the Tower, and furnished very handsomely two rooms, "Not solely for his own pleasure, but for the accommodation of his neighbours and all men".

1772. Mr. Hull died, aged 83, and was buried in the Tower. Inside the building is a tablet of Portland stone, inscribed "Underneath this floor lieth the body of Richard Hull, Esq., of Bristol, who departed this life January 18th 1772, in the 83rd year of his age. He was the oldest Bencher of the Inner Temple, had served many years in the Parliament of Ireland, where, by probity and vigilance, he zealously supported the interest of his constituents, and after a long and faithful service in that state, he retired from the exercise of public to the enjoyment of private virtues, the testimony of a good conscience being his reward. He was a person eminent for the accomplishments of his mind and the purity of his heart. He lived, in the earlier part of his life, with Pope, Trenchard, Bishop, Berkely, and many other shining characters of those times, and to wear off the remainder of his days, he purchased Leith Hill Place for a retirement, where he led the life of a true Christian and a rural philosopher; and by his particular desire and instructions his remains are here deposited in a private manner under this Tower, which he had erected a few years before his death."

The Latin inscription at present on the Tower says:- "That you, traveller, may behold the beautiful country on every side, this Tower, seen from afar, was built by the liberality of Richard

Hull, Esq., of Leith Hill Place, in the reign of George the Third, 1766."

Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News October 1998. Reprinted from Wotton, Abinger and Oakwood Magazine April 1882