“The World, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh.”

Martello Tower No. 24

Martello Tower No. 24 in Dymchurch High Street was one of 74 towers built along the south coast between 1805 and 1812 to resist the threatened French invasion. It has been restored to its original design and contains replica gunpowder barrels and a 24 pounder muzzle-loading cannon on the gun platform. Of all the Martello Towers remaining, Martello24 is closest to its original condition and it can been seen as it was when occupied by the military.

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Visiting Martello Tower 24

The tower will be open in 2018 every
Saturday, Sunday and BH 2 pm to 4 pm
from Easter 2018 until 28 October 2018.

Find out more  

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Dymchurch Martello Tower No. 24 is an example of a specialised type of coastal fortifications erected during the Napoleonic Wars to repel a feared enemy invasion. In 1804 French troops were known to be mustering at Boulogne with the object of crossing the Channel. Plans were made to place towers along likely invasion areas in Suffolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

The Tower - Historical Description

The tower was made of about half a million bricks, and although they look round, they are in fact slightly eliptical. The walls were thicker on the side facing the sea, because that was where most enemy fire was expected to come from. The roundness and thickness of the walls was designed to
deflect cannon balls, which tests proved they could not penetrate. A round brick pillar rose through the centerof the tower to support the roof, on which a cannon on a rotating gun carriage could fire in all directions.

The design of the bomb-proof  towers was inspired by a fort in the Bay of Mortella in Corsica which had beaten off two British warships in 1794. By 1812 there were 74 such towers sited on the South Coast and a further 29 in Suffolk and Essex.

MartelloTower No.24 Today
Martello Tower No.24 Today (2017)

Some of them were placed in pairs to protect the gates of marsh sluices. Tower 24 at Dymchurch and its counterpart no 25 (now largely derelict) was an example of the latter type. 

The gun platform was on the top. Dymchurch tower reveals all the features of the original design. The basement was for storing ammunition, fuel and provisions and these supplies were separated from each other by wooden partitions. In addition the gunpowder barrels were placed in a specially ventilated recess.  

The design of the towers was simple with the seaward walls thicker than those to landward. A single entrance was placed at first floor level approached by a removable ladder. The only windows were small and high, facing inland.The risk of fire was avoided by protecting the necessary lantern with a glass plate. Ventilation ducts were provided to keep the stores dry. 

The first floor contained quarters for both officers and men although it is apparent that the full complement of 24 would have been very cramped. The gun platform housed a muzzle-loading 24-pounder cannon, weighing some 2½ tons, which could be turned through 360 degrees with the aid of ropes. It was worked by a team of 10 to 14 men using step-boards along each side. Such a gun could fire a solid or explosive round shot for over a mile.

The ingenuity of the design of Martello Towers was never put to the test since Nelson's defeat of the French fleet at Trafalgar in 1805 and Napoleon's decision to invade Russia removed the possibility of a French invasion.
Text Courtesy of English Heritage
For more detailed information, please see:

pdf icon Tour of Martello Tower No.24   
pdf Icon
Description of Martello Tower No. 24       
pdf Icon  Loading and Firing a Cannon 

Martello Tower No.24 is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II Listed Building.

What Happened to the Tower?

With the end of the war with Napoleon in 1815, many of the Martello Towers were abandoned by the military but a renewed threat from France in 1830 and again in 1859 led to some of the towers  being rearmed and then abandoned again.

With many of the other towers, Martello Tower No.24 was first used as a signal station. Then, from about 1830, the tower was used by the newly formed Coastguard organisation, and then with their families from about 1841. The Coastguards assisted the blockade that was started against smuggling on the Marsh.

During the Second World War, it was used to spot incoming aircraft and the V1 & V2 flying bombs. It was manned for a time by a Forward Observation party from 64 Field Regiment, RA based in the Dymchurch and New Romney area, 

The tower was acquired from the War Office by the Ministry of Works in 1959 when it was no longer required by the Coastguard. It was restored to its original state and opened to visitors as a museum in 1969. Today it is in the care of English Heritage and open to visitors at weekends during the summer months.

Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet, described Martello Towers in the the first chapter of his novel "Peveril of the Peak"
...built ... in such a fashion as if he had intended it, as an Irishman said of the Martello Towers, for the sole purpose of puzzling posterity

Visiting Martello Tower 24

Martello Tower No. 24 is located in Dymchurch, just off the High Street.
The tower will be open every
  Saturday, Sunday and BH 2 pm to 4 pm from Easter 2018 until 28 October 2018
          Free Entry                  Map Icon Location Map                High Street, Dymchurch TN29 0NU

The exterior is available to view any reasonable time during daylight hours. You can make an appointment to visit the interior by calling English Heritage on 01304 211067

Group Visits

If you wish to arrange an Educational visit eg for school children, please call English Heritage
Teleohone Icon 01483 252013 for details. 

If your History Society would like to arrange a visit, please email Email Icon Friends of Martello24


Martello24 Floor PLans
Plans of the 3 Floors of the Tower
see Tour of Martello Tower No.24

Inside the Tower

        Section of the inside of a Martello Tower
       Section through a Martello Tower

Cinque Port Volunteers Major & Private    Early 19th Century Soldier from the 16th Foot Re-enactment Group
Cinque Ports Volunteers (Artillerymen)  16th Foot (Infantryman)    Officer and soldiers of the period who would
have manned the towers

Artists impression of the inside of a Martello Tower        
Artists impression of a Martello Tower (larger picture)        

Part of the Ground Floor
Part of the Ground Floor

Stairs to the Roof
Stairs to the Roof

Cannon on the Roof
Cannon on the Roof

Friends of Martello24

Friends of Martello24 has been set up as a charitable organisation to work with English Heritage to open Martello Tower No 24 to the public on a published regular basis.
Find out more

Right Icon More about Martello Towers

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Photo Galleries Martello Tower No.24

Photo Gallery - Present
scroll right and left and click on a picture to see it enlarged in a slideshow 

Photo Gallery - Aerial
 scroll right and left and ​click on a picture to see it enlarged in a slideshow 

Photo Gallery - Past
 scroll right and left and ​click on a picture to see it enlarged in a slideshow 

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Video of Martello Tower No. 24



3D Virtual Historic Tour of a Martello Tower
Step back in time to see a Martello Tower as it would have it in the Napoleonic and Second World War eras.