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Boyle Tower and garden entrance, Home of Compassion

A Grade II Listed Building in Thames Ditton, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3926 / 51°23'33"N

Longitude: -0.3316 / 0°19'53"W

OS Eastings: 516179

OS Northings: 167273

OS Grid: TQ161672

Mapcode National: GBR 6H.52C

Mapcode Global: VHGRG.68L8

Entry Name: Boyle Tower and garden entrance, Home of Compassion

Listing Date: 4 July 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420712

Location: Elmbridge, Surrey, KT7

County: Surrey

District: Elmbridge

Electoral Ward/Division: Thames Ditton

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Esher

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Thames Ditton

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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Thames Ditton


Garden entrance, of the late C18, and tower, probably of early C19 date.


Garden entrance, of the late C18, and tower, probably of early C19 date.

MATERIALS: the tower is constructed of stock brick in Flemish bond with C20 pantiles to the gables. The garden entrance and section of wall is mainly constructed in red brick.

PLAN: three storey tower, square on plan, containing one room at each level, accessed by ladder, and an adjoining garden entrance to the north.

EXTERIOR: tower of two storeys with gable ends with kneelers to the north and south sides and an oculus in the north side facing the river. This side also has a low external chimneystack. The east or entrance elevation has a brick stringcourse and a flat-arched entrance. The garden entrance consists of a west-facing wooden architrave beneath an elliptical arch, and with a plank door. It is set in a section of brick wall adjoining the tower to the north. This entrance leads into a round-headed brick tunnel with a gabled roof, terminating in a round-headed arch supported on brick corbels at the eastern end.

INTERIOR: the tower has the remains of a brick fireplace and wooden shelving on the ground floor and ladder access only above.


Boyle Tower appears to date from the early C19 but is set in a section of C18 brick walling which includes a garden entrance leading between the house and River Thames. The circular openings facing the river at two levels suggest that it may have been used as a ferryman's watch tower but it may also have been used as a gardener's hut.

A ferryman's watch house is an extremely rare building type providing historical witness to a former means of transport across a river. Here a ferry was known to have been in this position since at least the reign of Henry VIII but access to Boyle Island is now provided by an iron bridge.

Reasons for Listing

Boyle Tower, an early C19 stock brick tower thought to have been a ferryman's watch house, and the attached C18 brick garden entrance are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date and intactness: both structures pre-date 1840 and are substantially intact;
* Rarity and architectural interest: the tower has circular openings overlooking the River Thames at a point where historically there was a ferry. It is possible that this functioned as a ferryman's watch house, an extremely rare building type. Also garden entrances do not usually have tunnels as here;
* Group value: part of a group with the listed Home of Compassion and the former stable block with which they were functionally related.

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