Layer Marney Tower is a Tudor Palace, built as a statement house by Henry, 1st Lord Marney, Henry VIII’s Lord Privy Seal, in the 1520’s.
It was built to the height of fashion, much to Henry VIII’s delight. The Palace was never finished as Henry Marney died in 1523 and his son two years later.
The front facade and stable block (now the Long Gallery) were built and still stand today. The Church was completely refurbished by Henry Marney to accommodate his family’s effigy tombs and the Medieval Essex Barn was integrated into the Courtyard. With no local stone, Lord Marney used stone coloured terracotta decorations on the windows with Italianate mouldings making it one of the most sophisticated buildings of its time.
The building is principally the creation of Henry 1st Lord Marney, who died in 1523. As an incomplete palace it was of no interest to the Duke of Norfolk who was given care of Marney’s Granddaughter two years later in 1525. The house was sold and has been the home of 11 families over the 500 years. Each family have stories to contribute to the fascinating history of Layer Marney Tower.
An old building needs constant attention if it is to survive. They also need to keep up with the times. At the turn of the twentieth Century running water, central heating and electricity were installed . At the end of the twentieth century visitor lavatories were added, new areas were opened up and facilities were upgraded and we continue to make sure the place will have a long and happy future.
Tymperleys is another Tudor building in central Colchester owned by the Charrington family. It is a wonderful Town House in its own walled garden and is now a Restaurant Tearoom. Once home to William Gilberd, scientist and physician to Elizabeth I, and more recently the Clock Museum, it housed a fine collection of Colchester Clocks gifted to the town by Bernard Mason.