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Rochford Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Fishtoft, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9808 / 52°58'50"N

Longitude: 0.0106 / 0°0'38"E

OS Eastings: 535086.215595

OS Northings: 344495.085909

OS Grid: TF350444

Mapcode National: GBR JWJ.3J1

Mapcode Global: WHHLR.4BBQ

Entry Name: Rochford Tower

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1931

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016693

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31626

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Fishtoft

Built-Up Area: Boston

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Fishtoft St Guthlac

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of a medieval brick
fortified house at Rochford Tower. The house is believed to have been built in
the late 15th to early 16th century, taking its name from the Rochford family,
who were associated with the area from the 13th century. In 1504 the property
was granted to the Abbot of Westminster and, from about 1600 until 1816, was
owned by the Kyme family and became known as `Kyme Tower', although it was
subsequently known as Rochford Tower. The building formerly included a two
storey range adjoining the north side of the tower. This range was dismantled
in 1807 when the present house was built again to the north of the tower. The
monument includes the standing tower, which is a Listed Building Grade I, and
the buried remains of the former range.

The tower is rectangular in plan, measuring approximately 9m by 8m, and stands
four storeys high, with a crenellated parapet and turrets at the angles of the
tower. The structure is chiefly of red brick, laid in English bond, with stone
window dressings. At ground floor level there is a brick vaulted chamber, or
undercroft, which would have provided a storage or secure holding area. There
is a later brick wall dividing the chamber in two. An entrance is provided in
the east wall and an arched doorway in the north wall; there is also a small
window in the west wall. Projecting from the south east corner is an octagonal
turret with an external door at ground level leading to the stone stair which
rises around a central pillar to provide access to the upper storeys and to
the roof. The stair turret is lit by narrow vertical openings.

The second storey chamber has a window opening in the west wall with ashlar
dressings with a later, 17th century, window built into the original opening.
In the north wall is a blocked doorway which formerly gave access to the
adjoining range. The third and fourth storeys each have a blocked window with
brick mouldings in the west wall. Fireplaces were provided in the south wall
of the tower. The upper storeys of the tower would have provided private
accommodation.

The tower was formerly part of a larger building, shown by the bonding scars
of a two storey range on the exterior of the northern wall of the tower. The
range, forming part of the domestic accommodation, was provided with a
communicating doorway to the tower at second storey level. The former range,
running north from the tower, will survive as buried foundation remains with
associated features.

Rochford Tower is one of a number of fortified houses surviving within a small
area of the Lincolnshire fenland. It has close architectural parallels with
Hussey Tower, 3km to the west, and with Tower on the Moor at Woodhall Spa and
Tattershall Castle, all constructed during the same period. The tower is an
example of the early use of brick which was probably locally produced at
Boston.

All modern boundary walls are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The medieval fortified house at Rochford Tower survives well as a series of
standing remains and buried deposits. Rochford Tower is rare as one of an
unusual group of medieval fortified houses on the edge of the Lincolnshire
fenland. It will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of
high status sites inter-related as distinctive components of the medieval
landscape. It is also a rare example of the early use of locally produced
brick.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Thompson, P, The History and Antiquities of Boston, (1856), 319-322
Smith, T P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Hussey Tower, Boston: A Late Medieval Tower-House Of Brick, , Vol. 14, (1979), 31-37

Source: Historic England

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