AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB

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Jubilee Tower - an icon in the landscape

Built for the golden jubilee of “mad” King George III over 200 years ago, the jubilee tower changed the profile of Moel Famau. The final design by Thomas Harrison was elaborate and impressive. Deterioration was rapid and in 1862 the obelisk collapsed with a tremendous crash.


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Moel Famau and the ruined Jubilee Tower provide a dramatic backdrop to the daily lives of the communities of both Flintshire and Denbighshire. They give the area a strong sense of place and act as a beacon to visitors from Cheshire, Merseyside and further afield.

Moel Famau panoramic

The summit of Moel Famau is a place to return to over and over again. The ascent to it over rolling moorland with wide, open views leaves a lasting impression. And the Jubilee Tower, so prominent in the landscape, reminds us of days out, picnics and great expeditions.

The Jubilee Tower was built to celebrate the golden jubilee of “mad” King George III and the foundation stone was laid with great fanfare on Thursday, 25th October 1810. At that point, however, no design had been agreed.Jubille Tower

Eventually the architect Thomas Harrison came up with a building in the soon-to-be-fashionable Egyptian style – a rectangular base with four bastions and sloping doorways, which can still be seen today, topped by an obelisk.

Squabbles over lack of money and poor workmanship ensued and the building was only finished, to a less grandiose plan, in 1817. By 1846 one corner had collapsed and the pointing had deteriorated. Money was raised for repairs but further damage was apparent by 1856.

The obelisk collapsed dramatically in 1862 during the calm following a fierce gale that had lasted for two days. It could be heard as far away as Denbigh Castle green. Over succeeding decades various rebuilding schemes failed for lack of money and support.

Nothing was done until 1969 when the Denbigh and Flint branch of the Country Landowners’ Association decided that their contribution to European Conservation Year 1970 would be to tidy up the ruins and secure them from further deterioration.

In 1974 Clwyd County Council made Moel Famau a Country Park and in 1985 the Clwydian Range was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 1995 Cadw listed the Jubilee Tower to give it legal protection because of its architectural and cultural significance.

Recent survey work commissioned by Denbighshire and Flintshire has managed to establish the extent and condition of the remaining original sections of the tower – and identified areas in need of further consolidation.

The tradition of holding great cultural celebrations at the top of Moel Famau has continued with crowds gathering for Royal weddings and jubilees. In 2007 the tower was a focal point for celebrations linked to the National Eisteddfod in Mold.

The following year the strong links between this area and Liverpool were marked when a “Moelfamalambanana” decorated by local schoolchildren was unveiled to celebrate the city’s stint as European Capital of Culture.

And in 2010 thousands of people made the ascent to mark the bicentenary of the Jubilee Tower with an unforgettable evening of fireworks, lasers and music.

Moel Famau 200

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