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Rye Ypres Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Baddings Tower; Ria; Rya; Ipres; Wipers Tower; la Rie

In the civil parish of Rye.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Hastings).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ92242026
Latitude 50.94976° Longitude 0.73556°

Rye Ypres Tower has been described as a certain Tower House, and also as a probable Fortified Town House, and also as a probable Urban Defence.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Originally called Baddings Tower. 1250 approximately A square tower with 4 3/4 round turrets at the angles. Built of stone rubble. Most of the machiolations have disappeared but a small portion remains on the west side. Loop lights with stone dressings in the turrets and south front of main tower. Enlarged windows of the C15 and C16 with segmental heads and double iron grille in the north front of the tower. C16 or C17 doorway in the north east tower. Pointed door to basement. This tower sustained some damage from bombs. The main casualty was the pyramidal tiled roof, which was not original. This was temporarily replaced with corrugated iron. The north-west turret was also damaged. Adjoining the Tower on the east is a small portion of the C14 town wall surmounted by the only 2 battlements of the wall which survive. (Listed Building Report)

Despite reference to the king's desire for a castle at Rye in 1226, and, in 1249, to provision for Peter of Savoy to undertake works on a castle at Rye (significantly, subject to completion of works at Hastings castle), there is no certainty that any works on a castle at Rye took place in the 13th century. Ypres Tower (which gains its name from being granted to John de Ypres in 1431) has been identified with the putative c.1249 works, but hardly constitutes a castle in its own right and, moreover, may be 14th-century in origin.
Given the uncertainty as to whether the intention to build a castle at Rye in 1249 was ever fulfilled, David and Barbara Martin have queried whether the modest sized Ypres Tower should be seen as part of these works, and have suggested that it may date from the 14th century, perhaps as late as the 1380s. Certainly the machicolations, if primary, imply a date from c.1300 onwards, while the general form of the admittedly rather undiagnostic windows, fireplaces, and overall design suggest that Ypres Tower was built at the very end of the 13th century or in the early 14th century. The building comprises a small square tower with cylindrical corner turrets. It has three storeys comprising a basement, a raised entrance floor and first floor. The tower projected from a detached length of the town wall (which survives on the north-east side only), and the disposition of the turret windows suggests that the wall and tower were built together. (Harris 2009)

Part of the C14 the Rye town walls. It may have been the site of an earlier fortification, although there is no certainty that there were any such. Earlier histories given detailed but probably fictitious histories. In practice seems to have been leased out by the town for use as a fortified warehouse/town house until turned into the town gaol.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:30

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