Layer Marney Tower

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameLayer Marney Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityEssex
1974 AuthorityEssex
Civil ParishLayer Marney

The gatehouse and remaining wings of a great early C16 house which was never completed. It was begun by the first Lord Marney who died in 1523 and his son in 1524. There has been some C20 restoration and a few small additions. The gatehouse is a remarkable and very fine example of early renaissance work and ornament. The King's Italian architect, Guialamo de Travizi, is said to have designed the building. It stands 80 ft high, built in red brick with terracotta dressings and diapering in flared headers. There are 3 storeys and on the south side Flanking seni-octagonal turrets of 8 storeys with subsidiary turrets of 7 storeys on the north side, square turrets. There is much fine original detail in the windows, parapets and bands of cusped panelling. The small west ring is of 2 storeys and attics, roofs tiled, and with windows and detail similar to that of the gatehouse but more restored, Small modern north wing. Original part of wing has a moulded band between the storeys and a number of original windows. This wing forms the north side of the outer courtyard. A barn, largely rebuilt, incorporating C13 material is on the east side The long gallery forms-the south side, 2 storeys in red brick with diapering in flared headers, and a number of original doorways and windows. The south side is divided into 8 bays by buttresses. The west end has a crow stepped gable. Internally the main block retains many original doorways with moulded or chamfered jambs and four centred arches. The eastern room of the west wing has a fireplace made of original moulded oak jambs and four centred. head. Extensive C16 panelling Re-set original terracotta fireplace in modern wing, has Corinthian pilasters, acanthus consoles and enriched entablature. Numerous other original fireplaces. Original plaster ceilings with moulded ribs, one forming a geometrical pattern and the other a pattern of intersecting lines. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Whilst it may be arguable how defensive this building was it is certainly built in the tradition of the castle as an expression of martial power and authority.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL928174
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 417
  • RCHME, 1922, An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex Vol. 3 (north-east) p. 157-8 no. 2 online transcription


  • Goodall, J., 27 April 2011, 'Martial splendour' Country Life Vol. 205.17 p. 56-61 online copy