Rye Ypres Tower

Has been described as a Certain Tower House, and also as a Certain Fortified Town House, and also as a Possible Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameRye Ypres Tower
Alternative NamesBaddings Tower; Ria; Rya; Ipres; Wipers Tower; la Rie
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishRye

Originally called Baddings Tower. 1250 approximately A square tower with 4 3/4 round turrets at the angles. Built of stone rubble. Most of the machiolations have disappeared but a small portion remains on the west side. Loop lights with stone dressings in the turrets and south front of main tower. Enlarged windows of the C15 and C16 with segmental heads and double iron grille in the north front of the tower. C16 or C17 doorway in the north east tower. Pointed door to basement. This tower sustained some damage from bombs. The main casualty was the pyramidal tiled roof, which was not original. This was temporarily replaced with corrugated iron. The north-west turret was also damaged. Adjoining the Tower on the east is a small portion of the C14 town wall surmounted by the only 2 battlements of the wall which survive. (Listed Building Report)

Despite reference to the king’s desire for a castle at Rye in 1226, and, in 1249, to provision for Peter of Savoy to undertake works on a castle at Rye (significantly, subject to completion of works at Hastings castle), there is no certainty that any works on a castle at Rye took place in the 13th century. Ypres Tower (which gains its name from being granted to John de Ypres in 1431) has been identified with the putative c.1249 works, but hardly constitutes a castle in its own right and, moreover, may be 14th-century in origin.

Given the uncertainty as to whether the intention to build a castle at Rye in 1249 was ever fulfilled, David and Barbara Martin have queried whether the modest sized Ypres Tower should be seen as part of these works, and have suggested that it may date from the 14th century, perhaps as late as the 1380s. Certainly the machicolations, if primary, imply a date from c.1300 onwards, while the general form of the admittedly rather undiagnostic windows, fireplaces, and overall design suggest that Ypres Tower was built at the very end of the 13th century or in the early 14th century

The building comprises a small square tower with cylindrical corner turrets. It has three storeys comprising a basement, a raised entrance floor and first floor. The tower projected from a detached length of the town wall (which survives on the north-east side only), and the disposition of the turret windows suggests that the wall and tower were built together. (Harris 2009)

Gatehouse Comments

Part of the C14 the Rye town walls. It may have been the site of an earlier fortification, although there is no certainty that there were any such. Earlier histories given detailed but probably fictitious histories. In practice seems to have been leased out by the town for use as a fortified warehouse/town house until turned into the town gaol.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceTQ922202
Latitude50.9497604370117
Longitude0.73555999994278
Eastings592240
Northings120260
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Jim Linwood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jim Linwood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jim Linwood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jim Linwood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Jim Linwood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Draper, Gillian et al, 2009, Rye: A History of a Sussex Cinque Port to 1660 (Phillimore) esp p. 153-178
  • Jones, R., 2003, 'Hastings to Herstmonceux: the castles of Sussex' in Rudling, D. (ed) The archaeology of Sussex to AD2000 (Great Dunham: Heritage Marketing and Publications) p. 171-8
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Sussex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 65-7
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 253-4
  • Drage, C., 1987, 'Urban castles' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 126 online copy
  • Guy, John, 1984, Castles in Sussex (Phillimore) p. 112-7
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 474, lxvii
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1937, VCH Sussex Vol. 9 p. 41-2
  • Vidler, 1934, New History of Rye (Hove) p. 8, 10 (history only)
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 90 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 321 online copy
  • Holloway, W., 1847, The History and Antiquities of the Ancient Port of Rye p. 585-7 online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 5 p. 162-4 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Renn, D.F., 1979, 'The castles of Rye and Winchelsea' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 136 p. 193-202

Guide Books

  • Bagley, Geoffrey S. and Clark, Kenneth M., 1975, The Story of the Ypres Tower and Rye Museum (Rye Museum)

Primary Sources

Other

  • Harris, R.B., September 2009, Rye Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey Download copy
  • Martin, D., and Martin, B., 1997, revised 2007, An Archaeological Interpretative Survey of Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex (unpublished Archaeology South-East report, project refs. 466 and 2296)