History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: One of only two churches designed by Robert Adam
Unfortunately for Rigby, his grand scheme to turn Mistley into a spa never materialised and the church was the only substantial part of his plan to be carried out. The church that stood between the identical towers was demolished in 1870 when a new parish church in Gothic Revival style was constructed nearby. The height of the towers made them useful for navigation along the estuary, so they were preserved, and a certain synmmetry created by taking the columns that had supported the porticos and placing them on the facing sides of the towers. The towers were sold to a pair of local familes who intended to use them as mausolea, but these plans, too, fell through and the towers were left to decay. They were rescued by the Georgian Group and restored in the 1950s by architect Raymond Erith.
The towers are cared for by the Mistley Thorn Residents Association, even though they are officially under the wing of English Heritage.
The towers are quite striking, but to be fair it doesn't take very long to walk all around them and take in the finer points of Adam's design. You can get a key from the nearby workshops by calling ahead, but you can access the exterior at any time. Robert Adam only designed two churches that we know of, and it is interesting to speculate as what Mistley might have looked like if the rest of his church here had not been pulled down.
There is no on-site parking, but you ought to be able to find parking along one of the nearby roads. Note that the B1352 is quite busy; it took me ages to find a break in traffic and cross the road to the towers.
About Mistley Towers
Address: B1352, Mistley, Essex, England, CO11 1HB
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Located on the B1352 1.5 miles east of the A137 at Lawford. Key is available from Mistley Quay Workshops. The nearest postcode is CO11 1ET (use for satnavs)
Website: Mistley Towers
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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