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Tower 34 (aka Lathorp Tower or Layerthorpe Tower)

Tower 34 (aka Lathorp or Layerthorpe Tower) was constructed in 1370 to strengthen an angle in York's City Wall. Its unique design incorporates re-used stonework

The tower is supported on a pair of buttresses or piers, which is highly unusual as it would have been a weak point from a defensive perspective. This curious design may have been chosen to overcome difficult ground conditions when the tower was first built (it is located on the edge of an area that was once marshland). On the other hand, it might be the result of speedy repairs to address damage sustained during the Civil War.

The design of the top portion appears to have changed significantly over time. In his 1682 map of the city, James Archer shows the tower as having a broadly square plan form, while early 18th century and early 19th century drawings depict it with a part-curved outer wall, similar to that seen today.

An illustration dating from 1822 depicts the tower as being topped by a brick-walled building with a gabled roof.

The adjacent archway (see Image 1) and stone steps (see Image 5) are Victorian additions. They were constructed to provide access to the northern section of the wall-walk after nearby Layerthorpe Postern was demolished in 1829 to facilitate the widening of Layerthorpe Bridge.

What's in a name

During the research for this page, four variants of the name where identified:

  • The 'Lathorp' spelling is derived from a 14th century manuscript in the Bodleian Library which refers to 'Lathorp Towre'. This reference is cited in the Victoria County History entry for Tower 34 (see the 'External Links' section below), which is why the name has been used here. However, it is not absolutely certain that the reference relates to this specific corner tower: it could possibly refer to Layerthorpe Postern Tower, which stood approximately 25 metres to the southwest until it was demolished in 1829-30.
  • The 'Layerthorpe' variant uses the current spelling for the area in which the tower is located. This spelling is widely used for a number of other structures in the area, so it has been included in the name of this page to provide consistency and to ensure that search engines will offer this page, regardless of the spelling used as a search term.
  • The authors of some secondary sources spell the name 'Lathorpe Tower' or 'Laythorpe Tower'. however, it is not clear whether these variants have an historical origin, or if they are modern-day misspellings of 'Lathorp' or 'Layerthorpe'.

Practical Information

Cost Category (Categories)

Location Information (Where is . . . ?)

Tower 34 aka 'Lathorp Tower' or 'Layerthorpe Tower'

Latitude: 53.961356000000
Longitude: -1.074764000000

View this location on an interactive map.

If you are following the wall-walk in a clockwise direction, walk along Foss Islands Road for 500 metres (550 yards) until you reach the Red Tower, where the next section of wall-top walkway begins. (There was no need for a wall between Layerthorpe Postern and the Red Tower as this area was defended by 'The King’s Fishpond'.)