Built in the first half of Henry VIII’s reign, Layer Marney Tower is in many ways the apotheosis of the Tudor Gatehouse. The building is principally the creation of Henry 1st Lord Marney, who died in 1523, and his son John, who continued the building work but died just two years later, leaving no male heirs to continue the family line or the construction. What was completed was the main range measuring some three hundred feet long, the principal gatehouse that is about eighty feet tall, a fine array of outbuildings, and a new church.
In building on this scale the Marneys were following the example of their monarch, Henry VIII, who believed that a building should reflect the magnificence of its owner. After the death of John, 2nd Lord Marney, the house passed to Sir Brian Tuke, Treasurer to the Royal Household and Governor of the Kings Posts. His widowed daughter-in-law entertained Queen Elizabeth 1st for two days in 1579, the Queen most probably staying in what is now the billiard room on the first floor of the gatehouse. The house has passed through many different families over the last five centuries, some only staying for a few years and others for several generations.
The buildings suffered considerable damage from the Great Earthquake of 1884. Fortunately the building was repaired. Eventually the house came to the Charringtons because Gerald and Susan were married in Layer Marney church, and two years later, in 1959, Mrs Campbell’s executors put the house up for sale. It has been occupied by the Charrington family ever since.
We arrive at the front of the tower
and take a look inside at the areas used for public functions
and then take a walk around the back and gardens
the part of the house occupied by the family
and then we go up into one of the four towers - 100 steps up
we are looking across through the arches to the private family dwelling
a typical dress for the landed gentry of the time
There were great witch hunts in this part of Essex in medeival times
often women were taken for witches when they were not so
These two photos depict wall tapestries telling the story
and a replica of the noose than hanged them
We are now up on the roof of the tower and on a fine day like today one can see across to the sea
Slightly different to the disability wheelchairs of today
I remember seeing similar as a child but not so elaborate
we called them bathchairs
out into the garden again
an unusual old pathway to the church on site
we are not stopping for tea in the courtyard nor the stable tearoom as we are off to visit Colchester Castle next
but before we leave I must have a peep around this door!
just the family swimming pool!
Hope your visit was interesting