Your guide to Martello Towers in the UK and throughout the world.

Towers

Please find what you want by clicking on the appropriate location link below

Hambantota

The Martello Tower in Hambantota, Sri Lanka was built between 1804 and 1806 to protect the harbour and settlement at Hambantota, following an unsuccessful attack by Kandyan insurgents in 1803. Construction of the tower is credited to a Captain Goper of the Engineers Corps. The commanding engineer in Ceylon at the time of the tower's construction was Captain Bridges, who was involved in the design of a similar Martello tower in Simon's Town near Cape Town, South Africa in 1796, which the tower in Hambantota closely resembles. In September 1803 HMS Wilhelmina stopped briefly at Hambantota, where she dropped off an eight-man detachment from the Royal Artillery, who reinforced the British garrison there and later helped it repel a Kandian attack. The Martello tower is 7.6 m (25 ft), with a base diameter of 12 m (39 ft) and 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) thick walls. It has an unusual projecting rim around the parapet. Similar to English towers the entrance to the fort was through a doorway on the first floor but unlike others the Hambantota tower has a number of loopholes. The ground floor contained a storeroom and magazine. The tower's armaments included two 6-pounder-, three 3-pounder, and a number of 2 and 1-pounder guns. In 1813 a 5-1/2 inch howitzer replaced most of the small guns, and in 1814 two 18-pounder guns were added. The tower was restored in 1999. In the past, the tower housed the Land Registry of the Hambantota Kachcheri. Today it houses a fisheries museum.

Martello Tower No.24

Martello Tower No. 24 in Dymchurch High Street was one of 74 towers built along the south coast between 1805 and 1812 to resist the threatened French invasion.
It has been restored to its original design and contains replica gunpowder barrels and a 24 pounder muzzle-loading cannon on the gun platform.
Of all the Martello Towers remaining, Martello24 is closest to its original condition and it can be seen as it was when occupied by the military in 1806. There are only two other towers of the original 74 built in Kent and East Sussex that are open to the public towers No.73 in Eastbourne and No. 74 in Seaford.

Visiting Martello Tower 24
The tower will be open in 2019 every Saturday, Sunday and BH
2 pm to 4 pm from 6 April 2019 until 27 October 2019.

During the closed period, 29 October 2018 to 5 April 2019, bespoke visits by appointment are available for recognised groups
NB The tower may be closed from May to August 2019 for conservation work
Please check before visiting.

Martello Tower No.25

This Martello Tower was constructed in 1806 and is a brick design covered in a concrete render. It is approximately 30 feet high and has walls about 6ft thick. A door has been added at ground floor level and external stairs have been removed which would have created access to the first floor living quarters. Inside the tower is bare and is not open to the public. It is, however, accessible as it stands in a car park behind the sea wall. The tower has been Grade II Listed since 23rd April 1985.

Mauritius

The Martello Tower in Mauritius stands guard at La Preneuse on the South West coast and is regarded as being of the best example in the world. The Tower has been restored and transformed into a Heritage Museum.
The British decided to build 5 of these fortresses alongside the West coast to protect the island when they were worried about a French insurrection. The coastal batteries were erected at strategic locations near river mouths.
The Towers were mostly with basalt rock. Royal engineers were commissioned together with skilled stone cutters from India and carpenters. As usual, slaves were used for heavy labour. Their task was to erect sand dunes called batteries in front of the towers. Two cannons were installed on the flat rooftop. These could be rotated through 360 degrees. The construction of the 5 towers took three years.

The towers never saw any action. They were abandoned and over the years some stone walls have crumbled. Gone were the teak beams and lead piping. Fortunately, some cannons and cannon parts were recovered and displayed near the Tower.
In 1992, ‘Friends of the Environment’ started restoring the tower in La Preneuse with funds from the Government and other institutions. It was beautifully restored into a museum which was opened in 2000 and is now an important part of Mauritius National Heritage Site.
These towers don’t have doors on the ground floor. One had to climb a ladder to an opening on the first floor. Once there a ladder was used to reach the ground floor. A door and a staircase were constructed on the ground floor for convenient access.
(Ack.2)