Martello Tower | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Martello Tower

Martello Tower

The Martello Tower

The tower next to the Rye Harbour village car park, is one of ten Martello Towers built more than 200 years ago on the coast between Rye and the cliffs at Fairlight to defend against the threat of invasion during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Rye Harbour Tower is known as number 28 or the Enchantress Tower.

It sits in a walled moat and has a raised entrance door that would have had a drawbridge.

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Only two remain and this one marks where the coast was in 1808. All of the south part of the nature reserve is very new land, built by storms pushing up ridges of shingle and saltmarsh developing in the calm waters behind.

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Each tower would have had a large cannon on top, like this one at Seaford.

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This is a cross section of a tower showing the layout.

A1 Diagram of a Martello Tower

After the threat of invasion had passed, coastguards were stationed at Rye Harbour to watch for smugglers from 1834 to 1861. They lived in the Martello Tower with their families. They had previously lived on board Enchantress, an old naval vessel beached on the banks of the Rother – the tower came to be known as Enchantress Tower. During the Second World War, the tower was used as a machine gun emplacement.

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More information about the Martello Towers on the Romney Marshes can be found by clicking here. and more about the towers in England by clicking here.

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