Tower In Ripon, North Yorkshire
Marmion Tower is a Garde I listed, 15th-century gatehouse in West Tanfield, North Yorkshire.
Marmion Tower is a 15th-century gatehouse in West Tanfield, North Yorkshire. It is a Grade I listed building and is managed by English Heritage.
The tower was built in the early 15th century as the entrance to the fortified manor of West Tanfield, owned by the Marmion family, hence the name. The manor was strategically located on a crossing point of the River Ure, and it was granted a licence to crenellate (fortify) in 1314. The tower was probably built by Sir William FitzHugh, 4th Baron FitzHugh, who inherited the manor in 1387.
The tower also has some Royal links as following the death of the last FitzHugh the ownership of the manor passed to a William Parr, Marquis of Northampton who was the brother of Catherine Parr, Henry the VIII sixth wife, and if you know your rhyme Catherine Parr was the one who “survived”.
Marmion Tower is a three-storey building, with a vaulted gate passage set off-centre. The exterior is made of magnesian limestone, which has been carefully laid in neat ashlar courses. The east front of the tower features a decorative oriel window (a form of bay window that does not touch the ground), and there are garderobes (toilets) projecting from the top floor. The decorative nature of some of the features and the use of elegant stonework on the tower shows that the building was as much about display as it was about defence.
The interior of the tower is divided into two chambers on each floor. The ground floor chamber was originally used as a guardroom, while the first and second floor chambers were used as domestic accommodation. The chambers are decorated with a variety of features, including fireplaces, windows, and wall paintings. The windows on the second floor are a strange mix of medieval and Tudor styles which suggest the floor was a later addition and the builder decided to use traditional and more “modern” styles.
Today, Marmion Tower is open to the public for guided tours and is a beautiful spot for a walk or picnic on the banks of the River Ure, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
How To Find Marmion Tower
Contributed by Andrew Gardner
I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.More Places from Andrew
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