Fonthill recovered: new book reveals rich story of William Beckford’s estate

Fonthill, in Wiltshire, is traditionally associated with the writer and collector William Beckford who built his Gothic fantasy house called Fonthill Abbey at the end of the eighteenth century. BACAS members will recall an excursion last summer to that little now remains: a tower, a stable block, a kitchen range, some dressed stone, an indentation in a field.

Now a new book, Fonthill Recovered, edited by Caroline Dakers, reveals the rich history and archaeology of this famous estate, from the Bronze Age to the present day.

BACAS played a small part in the book’s creation. David Roberts of Historic England borrowed some of the society’s equipment and John Oswin assisted in the geophysics survey.

The book is available as a free PDF download from