This terracotta Tudor tower was built in the 1520s for Lord Henry Marney. It’s now owned by Gerald and Susan Charrington.
The tower was built as a Tudor Gatehouse by Henry, Lord Marney, in the 1520s. He was a friend of Henry VIII and a rich and powerful man, and this is reflected in the tower’s ornate Italian terracotta decorations, glasswork and imposing height. There was no local stone in the area and it’s thought that he chose to import stone-coloured terracotta to make his friends think he had spent lots of money on buying real stone from elsewhere. Similarly, from the outside it looks like it has eight floors, but in reality it only has four!
The Marneys had no heirs and the house was passed around from family to family. The Great Earthquake of 1884 damaged the house but brother and sister team Alfred and Kezia Peache repaired the gatehouse, and created the garden to the south of the tower. Walter de Zoete, the next owner, finished the work and put his own stamp on the interior, which became more Edwardian in style. He sold the house to Dr and Mrs Campbell and it was then bought by Gerald and Susan Charrington in 1959. They had been married in the local church and bought the gatehouse for their new family home.
The tower is open for guided tours and the gardens have good displays of roses in the summer. Though most of the garden was designed and developed in the Victorian era, there’s a knot garden which links it back to its Tudor origins. You can picnic on the lawns or go for a walk around the estate, which has a farm, deer field, and woodland for bird watching.