Sign 2 - Martello Towers

Martello Towers

Along the East coast of the UK, there were originally 29 Martello towers built, between 1808 and 1812, stretching between St Osyth in Essex and Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

Eleven Martello Towers were originally constructed along the 13 mile stretch of Essex coastline known as the Clacton Beach, some adding to existing batteries or replacing earlier signal stations. The line of towers, identified by the letters A to K, ran from Stone Point on the north bank of the Colne Estuary northwards to Walton on the Naze - with the large circular redoubt at Harwich punctuating the northern end. In addition to tower D, six towers now remain standing at Stone Point (A), Jaywick (C), Clacton Beach (D), Clacton Wash (E), central Clacton (F) and Walton Mere (K).

Martello Tower C was built in 1812 in Jaywick, Essex. The main armament of the Tower was a heavy 24-pounder cannon and two 5.5 inch howitzers. The cannon could fire a 5.8 inch cast iron ball for up to a mile at approaching ships. The howitzers fired containers full of metal balls or shrapnel that were particularly effective at close range against groups of enemy soldiers.

In front of the Tower was a gun battery. The battery consisted of a brick wall faced with earth to absorb the impact of enemy fire. Behind the wall were three 24-pounder cannons. All the guns were mounted on pivots to give a greater field of fire. The Tower was armed until 1819 when the guns were removed. In 1835 the Tower was rearmed with one cannon only.

The tower is currently used as an audio-visual art gallery and has recently undergone a major programme of renovation and the addition of a modern rooftop metal and glass extension.

Despite modern access being gained at ground level, the tower is in very good overall condition with the render and the coping stones were in perfect order.

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Last updated on: 22/07/2021 - 15:47