Cow Tower, Norwich, Norfolk

This is one of the earliest purpose-built artillery blockhouses in England. It was built in 1398-9 to control a strategic point in Norwich's city defences. It was intended to house guns and a garrison of gunners to defend the approach to the city across the River Wensum. It was built with widely splayed gun ports so that it was suitable for the recently developed cannon, while the 'arrow loops' could still be used for crossbows and small guns. The tower was built as an addition to the defences already encircling medieval Norwich. The ground floor may have been a communal dining room when the tower was garrisoned, with sleeping quarters on the upper two levels. It seems likely that the origin of the tower's name is derived from the surrounding meadow, previously known as Cowholme. This site is now in the care of English Heritage (2011).


Norfolk Norwich


Medieval (Middle Ages) (1066 - 1484)


english heritage artillery gun military attack defence tower