The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Rochford Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kyme Tower; Richmond Tower; Skirbeck

In the civil parish of Fishtoft.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Lincolnshire.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TF35074451
Latitude 52.98074° Longitude 0.01058°

Rochford Tower has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are major building remains.

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


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.
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. (Scheduling Report)

Tower. c.1460 with minor C17 alterations and C19 partial restoration. Red brick in English bond with ashlar dressings. Roof now vanished. The tower was attached to a contemporary hall block, demolished 1807. 3 storey with ground floor undercroft, vaulted in brick. Single bay. Roll moulding to base with added plinth. Embattled parapet with shaped brick coping, trefoil headed dummy machicolations. Corbelled out octagonal corner turrets with roll moulding to base and small battlements. On the west front a small opening light to undercroft. To main first floor a large segmental headed window opening with moulded ashlar surround and chamfered cill, now containing C17 wooden cross mullioned 3 light window. To second and third floors are single blank openings with chamfered brick reveals and 4 centred arched heads. On the south side a single opening with brick arched head to second floor. On the right hand side an octagonal stair turret with narrow vertical lights and battlemented parapet. To the top stage a corbelled out brick chimney with roll mouldings, chamfers and dentils to the corbel. On the east side a double chamfered shallow 4 centred doorway to undercroft and a small pointed headed light. To first floor a large window as the west side. On the north side a 4 centred arched doorway to undercroft and above a blocked doorway to vanished hall block. The toothing in scars of the adjoining walls of this 2 storey block can be seen. To second floor a small 4 centred brick arched opening. Interior. Brick vaulted undercroft contains 3 pointed headed niches. Stone newel stair in turret. Wall painting on first floor now vanished, on plaster; 4 centred brick arched fireplaces. Straight doorway through to now vanished connecting building. Series of blocked holes in interior at high level, perhaps indicating previous use as dovecote. On the north side a C18 lead pipe and spout with iron handle and timber support. A topographical print, dated 1811, published by W. Clarke, from a drawing by W. Brand, shows the attached hall block running north, with crow stepped gables and 3 light 4 centred arched window. The property was granted to the Abbot and Church of Westminster by Henry VII in 1504, and held by the Rochford family. Source: Thompson, History of Boston. Other similar towers exist at Tower on the Moor, Woodhall Spa, Hussey Tower, Boston. (Listed Building Report)

A late 15th to early 16th century brick structure, with stone windows, embattled parapet and corner stairway, that is now derelict. There are considerable foundations in the enclosure adjacent to the tower. The tower takes its name from the Rochford family mentioned as early as 1274. Sir Ralph Rochford was living here in 1390. The present tower was probably built about 1504, when the property was granted to the Abbot of Westminster. An adjoining house of that period was taken down in 1807. From about 1600 until 1816, the property was owned by the Kyme family and became known as Kyme Tower. It is published as such on the Ordnance Survey 1 inch map of 1824. It is scheduled as Rochford Tower. Cropmarks both rectangular and circular are visible on an aerial photograph at TF 350446 and possibly indicate associated structures. A red-brick tower resembling Hussey Tower at Boston: both are humbler progeny of Tattershall Castle, in the tower-house tradition. The date is about 1450-60. It has an embattled parapet, turrets corbelled out at the angles and the octagonal stair at the south-east angle communicates with three floors. Some windows are of stone, and two have a little tracery. There is a brick-vaulted ground-floor room or basement. In the first-floor room there are traces of wall paintings, now very weathered showing St Anne teaching the Virgin, the Annunciation, St Michael, St Anthony, and a coat of arms supported by angels. (Lincolnshire HER)

D.J.C. King rejected this as never forming part of a defensible structure although that seems both a harsh rejection on King's own terms and to be quite wrong on the bases of the more complex multi-factorial understanding of medieval fortified buildings favoured by modern writers. In fact this building is not well described and tends to be mentioned generally as an aside in descriptions of more readily accessible towers of a similar type and age notably Hussey Tower at Boston. It, and several other C15 brick towers in Lincolnshire, clearly take their inspiration from brick great tower of Tattershall Castle.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact