Nestled in the churchyard of St. Andrews, in Hampshire’s Nether Wallop, stands the Douce Mausoleum, a 15-foot-tall stone pyramid that towers over visitors.
Interred in the mausoleum is Dr. Francis Douce, an eccentric 18th-century physician. Born in 1675, the surgeon became fixated to the point of obsession with his own death. At 75, he hired architect John Blake of Winchester to design his tomb. Inspired by the ancient pyramids of Egypt, Douce and Blake’s pyramid became the first British example of a pyramid used for funerary purposes. The mausoleum was carefully aligned along meridian lines and bears the Douce family crest, coat of arms, a tablet inscribed with his birth and death dates, and is topped with a flame carved of stone. The original structure also had a railing around its perimeter.
When the good doctor died in 1760, a decade after building his mausoleum, his body was placed in a vault beneath the pyramid. In his will, Douce left strict instructions outlining his burial. He also set aside money to maintain the tomb.
Though the railing no longer guards the site, the pyramid remains. Today, the structure is protected as a Grade II registered historical site.