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F is for Freston Tower

A Tudor gem overlooking the River Orwell

It’s unclear who commissioned the tower, yet some think Thomas Gooding likely, a wealthy Ipswich merchant who bought Freston Manor in 1553. It is clearer that it was built to impress. Constructed in expensive brick with 26 mullioned windows across six floors, topped off with decorative pinnacles and extravagant chimney pots; not forgetting its prominent location for ships passing in and out of the Port of Ipswich.

There are several suggestions of its use:

  • as a lookout tower for Gooding’s returning ships
  • an extravagant folly for Gooding’s daughters with each floor assigned a different field of study
  • built to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ipswich in 1579

Whatever its use then, it has now been painstakingly restored by the Landmark Trust and can be stayed in or admired on the banks of the Orwell.