Martello Towers are fortifications that were built by the British Army for coastal defence during the nineteenth century. They were built all over the British Empire, from Ireland to Canada, and many survive to this day. The towers built along the coast of Kent and Sussex were the first to be built in England.
The coast of East Anglia has many flat cliffless beaches and deep estuaries making it an ideal invasion target. Orford Ness provides an effective invasion defence but where it joins the main land at Aldeburgh is a potential weak spot. Defences were mounted here from at least the 17th century but the most significant defensive structure is the great Martello Tower which is the most northerly of the east coast towers built against a potential Napoleonic invasion.