Whenever I see a guidebook for Suffolk or for buildings of interest around the
country, I go straight to the index in search of the Tower. Here's what I've
pulled together so far.
East Anglian Curiosities (1992)
Lord de Freston's tower, overlooking the River Orwell and designed by William
Latimer, is probably England's oldest folly. It originates from the time of
Henry VIII and was planned as a remote place of study for Lord de Freston's
daughter Ellen. It is contemporary with Erwarton and appears to be made of
similar red bricks.
Ellen had the use of each floor of the tower for a specific purpose, hence the
much quoted instruction:
The Lower Room to charity from 7 to 8 o'clock
The Second to working tapestry from 9 to 10
The Third to music from 10 to noon
The Fourth to painting from 12 to 1
The Fifth to literature from 1 to 2
The Sixth to astronomy at even
When she had time for lunch we'll never know!
The Buildings of England - Suffolk (2nd edition, 1991)
Called in 1561 "built within these twelve years". Only about 200 yards from the
estuary and overlooking it dramatically. A "standing" or look-out tower, built
by one of the Latymer family. Red brick with blue diapering. Six storeys high,
10x12ft in area. Polygonal angle buttresses ending in polygonal pinnacles.
A Typographical & Historical Description of the County of Suffolk (1829)
The chief thing worth notice here is the tower, which is a square strong
building of six storeys high...a winding steeple staircase...It is not easy to
say for what purpose, nor is it certainly known, at what time this tower was
built...reasonable to suppose work of Latymers...seems to have been contrived
by some whimsical man for taking rather a better view of the river Orwell than
can be had on the neighbouring hill.
The King's England - Suffolk (1947)
FRESTON. Miles away we see the remarkable pinnacled turret of the
strangest house in the county, Freston Tower, a Suffolk skyscraper built
in Tudor days. It is built of brick, rises in six stages with turrets at
the angles, and is about 12 feet by ten. Each stage has a single chamber,
a winding staircase linking them and leading to the summit, which has a
lofty parapet, and superb views over land and sea. The purpose of this
six-chambered tower is lost in mystery. Tradition has it that a freakish
Latymer built it...
Standing at the summit of a steep parkscape where cattle graze, above the south
bank of the Orwell estuary downstream from Ipswich port, Freston Tower is
probably the oldest folly of them all...
W. G. Arnott
Orwell Estuary (????)
...a look-out for signalling ships coming to moorings at the bridge...
The Hidden Places of East Anglia (1991)
Some say that Freston Tower is a pure folly, and the oldest one in England,
Seen any more? Drop me an email.