The Needle's Eye by Taffmeister

The Needle's Eye

by Taffmeister in Architecture

The Needle's Eye is one of several follies in the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth, South Yorkshire, England.

The Needle's Eye is the most enigmatic of the four Follies. A stone 'gateway' in the form of a pyramid, very little is known of its history save a legend that the 2nd Marquis of Rockingham built it to win a curious wager: that he could drive a coach and horses through the "eye of a needle". This may refer to the Christian Gospel saying that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. At this time, Rockingham was one of the richest men in England.

The date of its construction is usually given as between 1730 and 1782. Unsurprisingly, this period encompasses the entire lifetime of its supposed builder.

The Needle's Eye has settled by several inches on its eastern side due to mining subsidence and this makes it difficult to obtain accurate measurements. It is about 38 feet in height to the top of the urn, and has a square base measuring perhaps just short of 20 feet on each side. The width of the passageway from wall to wall is 8 feet 9 inches. Stones at each corner would make the maximum wheelbase of any carriage that could get through a couple of feet less. The height of the interior walls to the start of the arch, at just over 11 feet, is equal to the width of the base minus the width of the passageway. The highest point of the arch is 16 feet 4inches and this is exactly half the distance from the ground to the base of the urn. The stone benches set into the inner walls are about 18 inches high.

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  • Submitted:Aug 3rd, 2011
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  • Date Created:Mar 23rd, 2009
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