About Racton Monument
Racton Monument is a folly built on a hill in Racton, West Sussex, south of Lordington House near Funtington. It has views over Chichester Harbour and to the Isle of Wight.
History of Racton Monument
Racton Monument was commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Halifax (George Montagu-Dunk), who contributed largely to the commerce of America – indeed Halifax, Nova Scotia is named after him.
It’s thought the folly of Racton Ruins was designed either as a summerhouse for his nearby Stansted Park Estate or to enable him to see his ships dock at Emsworth harbour on the Solent, 3 miles away. Whatever its intended purpose, the monument seems to have been a waste of time and money – a genuine folly.
The Grade II listed ruins at Racton were designed by architect Theodosius Keene, and built between 1766-1775. The design featured a triangular base, with a round turret at each angle. It was constructed with red bricks and originally faced with flints. It stood four storeys high (24 metres), a height it retains to this day, despite having been abandoned for over a century.
A skeleton of a Bronze Age warrior who died between 2,150-2,300 BC was found on nearby farmland, now displayed at Chichester’s Novium Museum.
Racton Monument today
Today the monument remains in a state of ruin, with the floors and much of the original flint facing having disappeared, and its roof caving in. The property has been privately owned since 1987 by accredited architect Mark Talbot. Despite plans to restore Racton Ruins into a dwelling, his planning permission application was refused in August 2020.
The monument divides opinion. Some love its esoteric nature, some refer to the folly disparagingly as Stansted Castle (presuming it was built as an act of grandeur), and others think the monument is ugly.
Nevertheless, many people have a soft spot for the monument. This is despite some claiming it to be one of the most haunted places in West Sussex, with reports of bricks thrown from the top, ghostly figures appearing in windows, and of a tractor that drives up behind visitors, then disappears. However, the Racton Ruins are a well-known place for raves, drinking, drugs and occult acts, which may help explain some of the ghostly shenanigans.
Getting to Racton Monument
It’s possible to visit Racton ruins via a circular walk. Racton Monument is 12 miles from Portsmouth (via the A27) and approx 15 miles from Bognor Regis (via the B2166). It is best reached by car, followed by a walk up a bridleway on a small hill, just to the south of Walderton, on the B2146.