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Freston Tower
Landmark Trust
Open Doors 2000
Cobbold book
Historical papers
Me & the Tower
Tower Freston Tower
Landmark Trust, Appeal Leaflet Text

This is the text from the appeal leaflet produced by the Landmark Trust.

The Tudor lookout tower that became a pinnacle of learning

Freston Tower was probably built around 1549 by Thomas Gooding. Different theories abound as to why he built such a spectacular structure - it may have been a lookout tower, an extravagant folly or part of a pleasure garden.

The best known, but least probable tale, is that it was built for the education of the beautiful Ellen de Freston. Each weekday she studied a different subject on each floor - Charity, Tapestry, Music, Painting, Literature, culminating in Astronomy on the top floor.

However, as the definitive book Follies describes, "other versions have her ending up on the roof in the arms of the builder, furthering her education in a different manner!"

An architectural mystery

The Tower is built of red brick decorated with blue brick diapering. The staircase turret rises six storeys up to the roof with an arcaded brick parapet. The polygonal buttresses to each corner end in exuberant pinnacles.

Was it ever part of something larger? The first three storeys on the south side are windowless, and from the differing brickwork it has been suggested that the Tower was originally joined to something else.

Whatever its use, it has no fewer than 33 windows which increase in elaborateness the higher one goes. They start plain, then sprout pediments, culminating in the top floor which has large transommed and mullioned windows. Even the three-sided oak staircase has a window in each face on every storey, and there are fine views in all directions, including the Orwell Bridge.

Cedars and swales

Country Life has described the scenery as "truly idyllic; a foreground of parkland, shaded by cedar trees, and falling into one of those odd little valleys known as swales, that are a feature of the country along the Orwell." To stay in this Arcadian setting will be a memorable experience.

Repairs and restoration

Freston Tower appears outwardly to be in relatively good condition, but there is still a considerable amount of repair work needed as well as alterations to the accommodation. Much of the brickwork needs repointing, and the pinnacles and top of the staircase turret need rebuilding. The pedimented porch may be reinstated as well as the window surrounds which were originally rendered to resemble stone.

Internally we plan to rearrange the accommodation as shown overleaf. We will be renewing the kitchen and bathroom as well as carrying out replastering, redecoration and renewing services.

Copyright Landmark Trust, 2000


Amended 30-May-2001 by EFB