Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Visit to Layer Marney Tower

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


Susan said...

Absolutely marvelous pictures! I wish I could have joined you on this visit. Thank you for sharing.

Martha said...

Thanks for the lovely visit. Such grand history!

Vee said...

How fun that you dared to peek behind that fence! :D

Beautiful home and beautiful grounds. I found the noose against the pink to be a bit unusual. Perhaps some British humor at play there...

La Petite Gallery said...



Sara said...

A wonderful place indeed....I had to look up "apotheosis" and now I see that it is the perfect word to use!

bennie and patsy said...

I did find it all very interesting.

Balisha said...

Thankyou for the tour. I enlarged the picture of the tapestry and found it so interesting....also the wheelchair.Thanks again...Balisha

Anonymous said...

Wonderful history and very nice architecture. Thanks for visiting me. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful! I love the ceiling and tapestries.
Thank your for sharing! :-)

Needled Mom said...

My visit was VERY interesting. I always enjoy my trips with you. The craftmanship in the structure is so incredible. That woodworking, brick work and tapestries are truly a wonderful insight into the period. There was amazing talent.

Joyce said...

This was just a wonderful article. I so enjoyed it and the photos are great! And you have such a tiny little camera..HA! Amazing what can come out of those things.
This is one of my most favorite reasons for visiting your blog...because you travel around England taking great pictures and reporting on things we can't come see at this moment.
I for one apprecaite it!
I just sent you a "friend request" on Facebook...FYI. It's me. HA!
Be blessed....Joyce

cyclopseven said...

A solid representation of an era goneby. It is an absolute wonder. The wholeness of it remains infrangible for centuries.

Gwendolyn said...

Oh my! Your visits never disappoint! Imagine that place teaming with life as it once was. Built to last a few centuries! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous Tudor house Barbara. Thanks for sharing. Love the decorative brickwork! It is great that you were allowed to take pics inside. It really makes me want to go there.

Linda said...

Yet another lovely English place. I love England.

Mike said...

What a beautiful place! Great photos Barbara. Hope you are well :)