Cow Tower, Norwich
Cow Tower, Norwich

Cow Tower is a cylindrical brick tower built in the late 14th century as part of the defences of Norwich. The Tower is one of the earliest artillery blockhouses in England. At the time the tower was built, brick was seldom used in major building work; indeed, Cow Tower may be the first major brick building in England. The tower replaced an earlier toll house attached to a 13th-century Benedictine monastery.

By 1378 the toll house was considered ruinous, and the site was converted into an artillery tower to form part of the city's defences. The tower provided 12 gun ports, though the small size of the gun ports indicates that they could only have been used for handheld guns. Larger guns would have been placed on the roof so that they could fire through gaps in the parapet.

In 1549 the tower was put under fire by Robert Kett's rebels, who were trying to enter the city over nearby Bishop Bridge. A shot from Kett's gunners struck the top of the tower, and you can still see the damage.

The tower stands 15 metres high and has an internal diameter of about 7 metres.

This is an open site, accessible at any time.