Ancient Monuments

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Curfew Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.9901 / 51°59'24"N

Longitude: -1.703 / 1°42'10"W

OS Eastings: 420486.8003

OS Northings: 232442.7515

OS Grid: SP204324

Mapcode National: GBR 4PB.87P

Mapcode Global: VHBYZ.F7JR

Entry Name: Curfew Tower

Scheduled Date: 11 January 1955

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018450

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31925

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Moreton-in-Marsh

Built-Up Area: Moreton-in-Marsh

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Moreton-in-Marsh St David

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a 16th century bell tower, known as the Curfew Tower,
situated on the east side of the High Street on the corner of Oxford Street in
the centre of Moreton-in-Marsh. Listed at Grade II, the Curfew Tower
comprises a stone structure with a stone slate roof and gabled turret and may
be the oldest public building in the town. It has a four-centred arched stone
doorway on the west side, above which is a smaller loft doorway, while in the
south elevation is a very small round-headed window. The tower contains a bell
and clock dated to 1633 and 1648 respectively. Next to the bell is a pulley
wheel and there is a weather vane in the form of a cockerel above the bell.
The tower abuts buildings on its north and east sides.
The interior of the tower measures about 2m square, and there is no east wall
indicating that it must have been built abutting an earlier or contemporary
structure which was replaced during the 18th century. There is evidence that
the walls have been plastered in the past, and there are wooden floorboards
over an earth floor. Against the north wall is a low bench made from a wooden
plank, presumably added when the tower served as the town's lock up. There is
a second floor about 4m above ground level, also made from wooden planks, but
there is no modern access to this level. In the south eastern corner is a
wooden casing running from the wooden platform to the ground and measuring
about 0.6m by 0.25m, the function of which is unclear. Both doorframes have
studded wooden doors which are securely padlocked. The bell in the tower is
said to have been rung daily until 1860, and an inscription on the tower,
which is no longer visible, recorded a gift of 10 shillings for a bell ringer
and 20 shillings for keeping the clock in repair, given during the 17th
century by Robert Fry. The clock mechanism was removed the 1950s.
Excluded from the scheduling are the modern attachments on the west and south
walls, including the list of tolls, modern and early modern fire hydrant signs
and a plaque which records the location of a sewer junction.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Curfew Tower at Moreton is one of the oldest structures in the town, and
would have played an integral part in the life of the settlement from the
16th century onwards. It fronts directly on to the medieval and post-medieval
market place and is known to have acted as a lock up for local drunks and
minor criminals for much of its history as there was no other provision for
their confinement within the town. The 17th century bequest of money to
maintain the clock and bell also indicates the important role the tower played
in the everyday life of the market town.
Moreton-in-Marsh was the subject of an archaeological assessment by
Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service in 1997. This provided
information about the origin, development and plan of the town from its
origins in the early medieval period to the present.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Elrington, C R, O'Neil, H, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Moreton-in-Marsh, (1976), 243

Source: Historic England

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