Historical Follies – The Monument to the Unknown Government Officer (1865)

The Monument to the Unknown Government Officer was built in 1865 within the estate of Archibold Treesmith III.  It was designed by Archibold himself.  This fascinating monument was funded due to a clerical oversight by an unknown (and never named) government officer; Archibold had sought permission to build a Mausoleum on his estate and had petitioned the government department for approval.  The Officer approved this request, but had also included on the document that Archibold’s estate would be increased by 20%, that he would not have to pay any additional taxes on this increased land (and prescribed the amount of tax that had to be paid).  Archibold’s neighbour to exception to this authorised encroachment and between them they confronted the government department.  It was agreed that the boundaries would be returned to the previous agreements.  At the time of the next tax calculation, the unnamed government officer received the notification of the (correct) boundary lines and tax amounts, but also an additional note that the tax amounts should be reduced by 20% (because the boundaries had been reduced).  The officer applied the reduction which resulted in a considerable rebate.  As quiet “thank you” Archibold had the monument constructed.

Sadly the monument was destroyed when the bypass around the local village was agreed; due to a clerical error the bypass went through the corner of the Treesmith estate where the monument was located.  However, Archibold was able to get another 20% tax rebate (even though only 2% of the estate was affected; this was attributed to a clerical error.

(Note: I realise that the picture has a person with a camera… BUT did you know that the Wolcott camera was designed in 1840?!)



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