South East Tower

Great Yarmouth Town Wall

It is claimed that historic Yarmouth has the second best preserved medieval town wall in England, after York.  The wall, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, traces its origins to 1261, when King Henry III granted permission to enclose the town with a wall and ditch.

It took years to complete – the main work was finished in 1346, but construction continued until about 1400. The fortification, which was last manned during the English Civil War, was more than 23 feet high and 2,280 yards long, with 10 gates and 16 towers.

Ground floor entrance, SE Tower, by Derek Jackson   Stairwell, SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackson   Interior showing beams, SE Tower, by Derek Jackson








The wall is currently being maintained by Norfolk Conservation Ltd. Starting by repairing the areas that are most in need and/or hazardous, followed by any other necessary work, then it was simply a case of regular maintenance thereafter.

Plans for Town Wall Tower

The South East Tower is part of Great Yarmouth’s medieval town wall. The lower part of the tower is 14th Century, while the upper part is 16th Century. The Preservation Trust delivered a project for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, owners of the tower, to repair and undertake a very light conversion for holiday use.

The Trust drew up the scheme and managed and supervised the works. We surveyed and recorded the tower with works beginning in 2014. Revenue generated from holiday lets will be used to maintain the tower into the future.

NE view of SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackson    Entrance, SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackosn   View from balcony, SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackson








The initial proposal was to convert the tower to include a living room on the top floor, a kitchen on the fourth floor, a bedroom on the third floor, another bedroom on the ground floor and a bathroom in the sub-basement.

Staircase, SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackson   1st Floor, SE Tower, photographed by Derek Jackson








The work was undertaken by Wellington Ltd. under the supervision of the Preservation Trust in 2015 after initial surveys in 2014. With the interior needing a fair number of repairs and modifications, and the outer walls needing to be repointed, the project was finished in 2015. The interior has repaired wooden flooring, and some new walls in areas to create private rooms. However the exterior still has the original flint and bricks, as well as the arrow slots being used as windows. Original wooden beams that were in good condition are still in place.

In the end, the tower’s layout had the kitchen and dining room on the top floor and the lounge on the fourth floor.

The tower will continue to be maintained. Inside, the walls need to have a new limewash over time. Outside, the walls will need regular repointing, as well as keeping the ivy under control. The roof may occasionally need repairs, as due to the age of the tiles, some will crack over time.

Thanks to the repairs to the tower, it has been removed from the buildings at risk register.

Kitchen   Bedroom   Bathroom   Master Bedroom