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Longthorpe Tower is a 14th-century three-storey tower in the village of Longthorpe, famous for its well-preserved set of medieval murals.

Longthorpe Tower
Longthorpe, England
Longthorpe Tower1.jpg
Longthorpe Tower
Longthorpe Tower is located in Cambridgeshire
Longthorpe Tower
Longthorpe Tower
Coordinates52°34′15″N 0°17′13″W / 52.5708°N 0.2869°W / 52.5708; -0.2869Coordinates: 52°34′15″N 0°17′13″W / 52.5708°N 0.2869°W / 52.5708; -0.2869
Grid referencegrid reference TL16209838
Site information
OwnerEnglish Heritage
Open to
the public
Site history



Longthorpe tower is located in the village of Longthorpe, now a residential area of Peterborough in the United Kingdom, about two miles (3 km) to the west of the city centre. At the start of the 14th century, Robert Thorpe built the tower as an extension to an existing fortified manor house.

Thorpe had worked his way to relative wealth through the local Peterborough Abbey, and the tower may have been something of a status symbol.[1]

The tower has three stories, and the first floor was originally designed as living space for Thorpe.[2]

The tower is best known for its English medieval wall paintings, carried out around 1330.[3] The paintings show religious, secular and moral themes and the quality is comparatively good for a provincial work.[4] The paintings were whitewashed over around the time of the Reformation and remained hidden until their rediscovery in the 1940s.[5] Historian Clive Rouse considers that "no comparable scheme...of such completeness and of such early date exists in England".[6]

The property is now owned by English Heritage and is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Monument protected by law.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pettifer, p.167; Pounds, p.284
  2. ^ Pounds, p.284
  3. ^ Emery, p.475
  4. ^ Pettifer, p.167; Emery, p.475
  5. ^ Pettifer, p.167
  6. ^ Pounds, p.284
  7. ^ "Longthorpe Tower". Retrieved 4 January 2008.


Further readingEdit


  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern) p. 21
  • Taylor, Alison, 1986, Castles of Cambridgeshire (Cambridge)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 pp. 319-20
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 256
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1961, Buildings of England: Northamptonshire (Penguin) pp. 284-5
  • Downman, E.A., 1906, in Serjeantson, R.M., Ryland, W. and Adkins, D. (eds), VCH Northampton Vol. 2 pp. 456-7, 459
  • Turner, T. H., 1851, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 1 p. 153

Journal articlesEdit

  • Casagrande, Gino and Kleinhenz, Christopher, 1985, 'Literary and Philosophical Perspectives on the Wheel of the Five Senses in Longthorpe Tower' Traditio Vol. 41 p. 311-27
  • [Fletcher], 1969, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 13 p. 273
  • Rouse, E.Clive and Baker, Audley, 1955, 'The wall-paintings at Longthorpe Tower' Archaeologia Vol. 96 pp. 1–57
  • Country Life Vol. 101 p. 604
  • Yun, Bee, 2007, 'A Visual Mirror of Princes: The Wheel on the Mural of Longthorpe Tower' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol. 70 pp. 1–32


  • 2001, Longthorpe Tower Cambridgeshire (English Heritage)
  • Rouse, E.Clive, 1949 and 1987, Longthorpe Tower (HMSO)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Longthorpe Tower at Wikimedia Commons