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- usually costly, often fantastic, and mostly useless structures, which can be as diverse as sham castles, grottos, bridges, pagodas, temples etc many of which were built to appear as ruins. It is easy to be dismissive of them, but in fact they are interesting for a number of reasons. Mostly they are designed to appeal to the senses in some way, either to delight, shock or impress. Many were built for interesting reasons by landowners who were all-powerful, and often they were designed by the best architects of the day. Vanburgh, Gibbs and Hawksmoor for example all tried their hand. The word has been used since at least the early 1700s and probably derives from the French, folie - fol meaning foolish.

Link to The Folly Fellowship