Martello Towers in Kent
There were 27 Martello Towers built along the Kent coast, from No.1 to the north of Folkestone to No.27 in St Mary's Bay.
Martello Tower No. 1 stands on the cliffs 200 feet above East Wear Bay north of Folkestone town. It was the first of a line of towers along the Kent and Sussex coasts, it was built in 1805-06 in response to the threat of invasion by France during the Napoleonic wars.
Built of brick, its plan is externally slightly elliptical, with sides sloping inwards towards the top, but internally circular, with a massive central column. Martello tower walls generally vary in thickness around the circumference, with thicker walls facing the sea.
It was converted for residential use in 2015.
The exterior has been refaced with brick, with windows at first floor level, and door and windows inserted at ground floor level. Another floor is being added to the top of the tower: the circular breeze block wall, faced with brick, rises about 2m above the top of the tower.
Martello Tower No.1 in 2018
The new roof rests on a structure of steel girders supported on steel uprights set into the wall, which slope gently down from a central apex. The tower wall is regularly pierced by windows all around, which are narrower on the landward side of the tower, and wider on the seaward side because of its elliptical plan.
he tower would originally have been entered at first-floor level via a retractable ladder, where the original door opening survives, but access is now through the ground floor.
All interior walls are brick, as is the massive central column (constrained on the first floor by seven steel bands). The ground floor space has been subdivided as part of the residential conversion.
Martello Tower No.2 is located in Wear Bay Road in Folkestone. Built in 1806, it is privately owned and has been converted into a home for holiday lettings.
Martello Tower No. 2 is about 50 feet lower than No. 1, and sited on a small knoll slightly further inland, where Wear Bay Road is now situated. The tower was converted into a house with a full roof, similar to that on Martello Tower No. 8.
Extra windows have been added and the exterior coated with a coloured lime rendering. Surrounded by tall trees and situated up a private track, the tower is really only visible from a high position.
Martello Tower No.2
It has brick walls, which have been rendered and s tapering inwards as they rise. It still has its original first-floor door on SW converted to a window, with its entrance now at the ground floor on east.
Two original first-floor openings also retained on SW close to original doorway, but with C20 windows inserted.
There are four other windows also closely spaced on this side of the tower. The interior retains its centre brick pier and brick vaulting at first and ground floors. There is a magazine on the east at the ground floor.
Martello Tower No. 3 was constructed in 1806 on the cliff edge at Folkestone above Copt Point. It was used as a Visitor centre up to 2011 but since then has laid idle with its condition deteriorating.
After 1850 the tower was used by the Coastguard, with the Coastguard members and families living there.
Martello Tower No.3
During WWII the tower had a concrete observation point added on the roof, incorporating the tower with the coastal battery built adjacent to the tower.
A few years later another platform was added to the top of the tower although it was later removed.
The tower was disused after the war until 1990 when Shepway Council bought it and later opened it as a visitor centre.
This Martello Tower is located The tower is situated on Radnor Cliff in a private garden at the end of 'The Leas' in Folkestone and overlooks a residential area below and the coastline beyond.
The tower is set within a dry moat and with an outer glacis (sloping bank), and supporting the remains of a later, World War II observation post.
The tower survives well despite some later alterations and retains a substantial proportion of its original components and associated features, including the glacis bank.
Martello Tower No.4
When viewed as one of a series of six clifftop towers, Tower No. 4 illustrates the strategically planned integration of the martello tower system.
The construction of an observation post on the roof of the tower during WW II, demonstrates the continued significance of this location and provides an insight into the role of coastal defence during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
It is completely overgrown with ivy, the brickwork cannot even be seen. It was once used as a Semaphore station.
This Martello Tower stands in the grounds of a school, it is fenced off but previously reported to be empty with all windows and doors sealed. The Stucco covering appears be in good condition and the inland location of the Martello Tower has meant that coastal erosion and weathering has not affected it.
This Martello Tower stands in the grounds of a school, it is fenced off but previously reported to be empty with all windows and doors sealed. The Stucco covering appears to be in good condition and the inland location of the Martello Tower has meant that coastal erosion and weathering has not affected it.
Now privately owned this 16th Century castle was updated with a Martello Martello Tower in 1805 but does not form part of the numbered sequence of Martello Towers. It is in line with Martello Tower 5, which is located on much higher ground.
The Castle is an artillery fort originally constructed by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540. It comprised a central stone keep, with three towers and a gatehouse. It could hold four tiers of artillery, and was fitted with a total of 142 firing points for cannon and handguns.
The keep was turned into a Martello tower; when the work was completed, it was armed with ten 24-pounder (11 kg) guns and could hold a garrison of 40 men.
The castle had begun to suffer damage from the sea by the early 17th century, and by the middle of the 19th century, the receding coastline had reached the edge of the castle walls. The high costs of repair contributed to the government's decision to sell the site off in 1888. It was initially bought by a railway company and then passed into private ownership.
Martello Tower 6 - Sandgate, Kent
This Martello Tower is located close to Shorncliffe Camp. It is a deep, heavily overgrown moat and is currently empty.
Martello Tower 7 - Sandgate, Kent
This Martello Tower is located close to Martello Tower 6 and is in a similar state. There is no access to either Martello Tower due to the depth of the ditch.
Martello Tower 8 - Sandgate, Kent
This Martello Tower is a private residence and the moat has been turned into a garden.
Martello Tower 9 - Sandgate, Kent
This Martello Tower proved to be the most difficult to find, being located at the edge of a large wooded area above Seabrook. The Martello Tower's doors are sealed, but there seems to have been recent work on clearing the ditch, and the Martello Tower is largely free from ivy. The stones around the parapet have fallen into the ditch, but around half the stucco covering remains.
Martello Towers 10-12 - Hythe, Kent - No longer standing
Martello Tower 13 - Hythe, Kent
This Martello Tower has been converted into a private residence, but in a very different style to most conversions and it has been altered so much that the shape is the only recognisable feature.
Martello Tower 14 - Hythe, Kent
This Martello Tower is at the entrance to Hythe Ranges and it is currently empty. Externally, it appears to be in good condition.
Martello Tower 15 - Hythe, Kent
This Martello Tower is close to 14 on Hythe Ranges, it is empty and bricked up. The next few Martello Towers in line with this one have been eroded by the sea.
Martello Towers 16-18 No longer standing - Hythe Ranges
Martello Tower 19 - Hythe Ranges
This Martello Tower has been undermined by the sea and has collapsed. It is interesting as the thickness of the walls can be seen. This Martello Tower can only be viewed when the Ranges are not being used.
Martello Towers 20-22 - No longer standing, Hythe and Dymchurch, Kent
Martello Tower 23 - Dymchurch, Kent
This Martello Tower is located on the A259 coast road and has been converted into a private dwelling in the standard style. It appears to have had its Stucco cement covering replaced.
Martello Tower 24 - Dymchurch, Kent
This Martello Tower is owned by English Heritage and houses a museum of the Martello Martello Tower system. There is a canon mounted on the roof of this Martello Tower. Since 2017, Martello Tower No.24 has been opening to the public on a regular basis. Please see http://www.martello24.net
Martello Tower 25 - Dymchurch, Kent
This Martello Tower appears to be in good external condition, having been restored in the early 1990s. It remains empty, however and the ground level doorway has been boarded up.
Martello Towers Nos 26 and 27 were the first brick-built structures to appear on the St. Mary's Bay shoreline. Tower 26 was built on the eastern side of the Globsden Gut Sluice, which ran into the sea near the present Dunstall Lane. Tower No. 27 was built approximately a quarter of a mile to the west; both were built to protect the Globsden Gut Sluice.
Neither tower stands today. Damaged by sea erosion, No. 27 was demolished in 1841 and No. 26 lasted until 1871. The site of Tower 26 was on what is now the sea wall next to the car park opposite Dunstall Lane, roughly in front of where the toilet block now stands.