Layer Marney Towers
Layer Marney Tower is one of Essex's most famous landmarks.
Built during the reign of Henry VIII by Henry, Ist Lord Marney, a respected member of the Privy Council. Fine brickwork was used for the construction with splendid terracotta decoration. The terracotta work is some of the finest in the country, probably carried out by Flemish craftsmen trained by Italian masters.
The Tudor gatehouse is the tallest in Great Britain and is embellished with terracotta shells and dolphins. The gatehouse has three storeys but the hexagonal corner towers rise above the roof line and have eight rows of windows. Between the corner towers are two large rooms which were probably state apartments.
Connected to the gatehouse are the east and west wings. There is also a south wing which is not joined to the rest of the building at all. Lord Marney died before the work on his house was finished and when his son died two years later, in 1525, all building work ceased. Since then the property has had several owners but the building has been well cared for over the years.
The wings of the house are the living quarters of the present owners and only the gatehouse is open to the public.
Climb to the top of the gatehouse for the views over the Essex countryside. Within the gatehouse there are displays showing the history of the tower and the families that have owned it.
Layer Marney Tower has a Home Farm which is worked using traditional methods. A medieval barn displays some of its collection of Rare Breed farm animals. There is a farming exhibition and a farm walk.
In 1267 Layer Marney was given a licence to enclose deer in a park and today there are 200 red deer on the farm.