Medieval 'Defending' Tower

To see this tower (topped with the gazebo) you need to be outside the Town Walls in Gooses Lane on the Commons

The Gazebo Tower No. 111 Main Street

This is a squat, two-storeyed cylindrical drum tower, built to interrupt the line of the wall, and certainly one of Owen’s six towers of circa 1600, since it was depicted by Speed in 1611. A summer house or gazebo was built on top in late 18th century.

The medieval tower is very similar to the Gun Tower further west, which – along with the Southeast Tower – are all equidistant from one another, separated by 63m. With a height of approximately four metres from the roadway it stands almost complete; but its parapet and the upper half of the first floor was lost when the gazebo was erected on its summit. In plan, the tower is an irregular circle seven metres in diameter, with a marked ‘bulge’ to the east housing the spiral stair which connects the two floors and the parapet. The ground level inside the town wall lies roughly at medieval parapet level and there was, originally, no entry from the outside – access being from the wall-walk.

However, a late 18th century entry to the gazebo now breaks from a stair built on the line of the town wall, into the spiral stair, which is also truncated to its first floor sill level. Each chamber possesses three arrow-loops, until recently blocked. One faces the field, while the other two cover the adjacent sections of town wall. The eastern loop in the ground floor chamber has been enlarged to form an entry, with a two-centred arch, which was subsequently blocked with brickwork that has now been removed. The two chambers were separated by a timber floor, but the size of the wall sockets suggest that its (slight) timbers may have been carried on a central pillar. There may have been a stone vault as in the Gun Tower and Barnard’s Tower - lost when the gazebo was erected.

Possibly commenced in the 1280s and completed in the 1320s, the tower is regarded as being broadly coeval with the main work on the town wall.

The gazebo was an octagonal, red sandstone structure which was built on top of the truncated medieval tower in the late 18th century. It comprises two storeys above the medieval summit, beneath a conical, ogival lead roof. Surfaces are pebble-dashed up to the raised surrounds and quoins. Each of the four alternate faces (at the cardinal points) is pierced by two window openings, one in each storey, the upper tier being larger. Each formerly contained a sash window but some of these have been removed. To the west, the upper opening is a doorway.

The Gazebo Tower has been subject to considerable resoration and renovation over recent years. This work was the subject of an episode of a Channel 4 documentary series early in 2016.