Brightling Church: “Mad Jack” Fuller’s Pyramid Tomb

(Image: Tristan Forward, cc-sa-3.0)

Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the pretty village of Brightling in East Sussex is the ideal English rural retreat.  But for all its antiquated cottages, ancient church and village pub, Brightling’s most striking feature is arguably “The Pyramid” tomb of former resident “Mad Jack” Fuller.

(Image: Janet Richardson, cc-sa-3.0)

Born in 1757, John “Mad Jack” Fuller was a member of parliament for Sussex and acted as a mentor to young physicist Michael Faraday.  Known for his eccentric ways, Fuller preferred to call himself “Honest John” while everyone else called him Mad Jack.  A noted philanthropist (meaning “the love of humanity”) on the one hand, he was a dedicated supporter of slavery on the other.

(Images: Julian P. Guffogg, cc-sa-3.0 (left); Kevin Gordon, cc-sa-3.0)

Mad Jack was elected to parliament in 1780 after serving with the Sussex Militia.  A well known drunk, he was publicly disgraced after an incident with the Speaker of the House saw him seized by the Serjeant-at-Arms in 1810.  After his marriage proposal was rejected outright by Susannah Arbella Thrale, Mad Jack never wed and much of his estate passed to his nephew, Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland.

(Image: Geni, cc-sa-3.0)

Like many powerful people in England at that time, Mad Jack dedicated much of his wealth to the building of follies, decorative and extravagant structures with – on the whole – no practical purpose whatsoever, said to “transcend the normal range of garden ornaments or other structures”.

(Image: Plumbago, cc-sa-3.0)

It is no surprise, then, that Mad Jack Fuller constructed a flamboyant mausoleum as a striking memorial to himself.  Reported to have occupied the site of a pub called The Green Man, which was relocated, Fuller constructed his Pyramid mausoleum in 1811, but wasn’t laid to rest there until his death 23 years later.  Today, The Pyramid remains a landmark structure outside the Church of St. Thomas à Becket, Brightling.



  •  secret of the pyramids

  •  secret of the pyramids

  • Thank you for linking to my Jack Fuller website. Although I can see some similarities to the rotunda temple at Brightling Park (formerly Rose Hill) , I’m not sure how the “The Beacon Staunton Country Park” pictured here is connected to Fuller’s Follies.

  • Tom

    Thanks for your message Annette.  To be honest I just needed an image which I could legally use (Creative Commons) to depict a folly, but should try and replace the image with a Fuller folly.

  • Green740

    jack is in my family tree as a relative to my grandfather thanks for sharing the pics and info


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