On a drive down the A356 Sandiway road, you will notice a stone structure that stands unusually close to the highway. The cylindrical structure appears like a bored bystander who has been kept waiting for too long and is just about to leave.
Except it is not leaving anytime soon. This feature is the Round Tower Lodge, a listed National Heritage site in England. It is an early 19th-century building that was part of a gate lodge built at the entrance of the Vale Royal Abbey.
For many years of its early existence, the lodge of which the tower was part sat tucked deep in the country. However, as the place developed and the need to expand infrastructure arose, most lodge buildings were flattened in the 1930s. The Tower was retained on a reservation and its ownership reverted to the Highways Agency.
The tower is the only remaining part of the gate lodge. It was built using sandstone.
Secrecy and anonymity
Despite standing right next to a public road, a lot about the Round Tower remains a mystery. While it was built at a time when keeping of records was already a common practice, no one knows neither the architect nor its exact date of construction.
The specific interior design of the tower is also not known to the public and neither is its specific use in those early days. The story abounds of a secret dungeon within the building that served as King Charles II’s hiding place in the olden days.
The tower’s biggest publicity happened in 2013 when residents came out to petition for its reconstruction after a vehicle rammed into it and damaged it extensively. The original construction materials were preserved and used for the rebuilding which was completed in 2015.
Be sure to check out this magnificent feature when you go to Sandiway.