The Round Tower, a listed building in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England –
The tower is believed to date back to 1790. The first record of its existence is in a 1791 lease, which says it was erected by Earl Bathurst, being part of a large estate that included Cirencester House, the Bathurst family’s ancestral seat. Then classified as a wind grist mill, the building was leased for a yearly sum of 38 pounds, 6 shillings, and 6 pence.
Because it was located quite close to the Thames & Severn Canal, whose five round houses were built during the same time period, some have posited a link between the windmill’s construction and the canal buildings: either that it was built by the same team of contractors, or that it was a copy, or that the canal’s round houses were copies.
According to the UK’s 1871 and 1881 census, a shepherd named Nevil Witts inhabited the structure, which was still deemed a windmill even though it no longer functioned as one.
Jumping forward to 1958, the building’s inhabitants moved out (perhaps because it lacked a bathroom), leaving it empty for a half century. Becoming increasingly derelict, the tower landed on the Buildings at Risk register of the local council authority; it might easily have ended up a ruin. Yet in 2004, developer James Perkins bought it, hiring architects De Matos Ryan to update it with a discrete underground addition. The end result, neatly combining old and new, has won several architectural awards, including the Roses Design Award for Best Re-use of a Listed Building.