TWO of the most valued historic buildings in Essex are now at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay and inappropriate development.

The Tudor Blockhouse at East Mersea, which was part of a defensive structure built for Henry VIII, and Grade II listed Thorrington Tide Mill have both been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.

A total of 26 sites in the East of England have been included in the 2021 register following concerns of their condition. This brings the total number of buildings at risk to 113.

To preserve one piece of national heritage, Thorrington Mill, its owners are now appealing for volunteers to help them look after the building.

Tom Glover and Polly Baines, siblings and co-owners of the mill, said: “The mill sits at the heart of our family farm and has done since our grandfather first fell in love with the building and its setting in 1941.”

Gazette: Thorrington's mill Picture: Historic EnglandThorrington's mill Picture: Historic England

Being the last remaining mill in Essex and one of the three remaining in the East of England, the site was purchased by Thomas Alfred Glover in the Second World War.

Mr Glover, who is the grandfather of the present owners, used the mill for the storage and drying of flower seeds.

The mill is currently closed to the public as it needs urgent repairs due to a water leak and loose masonry.

Gazette: The mill's stone floor view from east Image:Historic EnglandThe mill's stone floor view from east Image:Historic England

The owners added: “We have begun work to secure the expert advice and funding needed to make urgent repairs.

“We’ll also be looking at how we can improve access and information provided in and around the mill so that future generations can enjoy this unique building.”

The Tudor Blockhouse in East Mersea will also require volunteers to prevent it from being lost.

Built as a military defence by Henry VIII in 1543, the building is suffering from rapid coastal erosion with the south-east side substantially destroyed over the past 20 years.

A spokesman for Historic England added: “It was one of three structures built to protect the strategically important Colne estuary as part of a defensive system along the east coast.

“The Mersea Stone blockhouse is the only Essex example with upstanding earthworks.

“In the Civil War it was used briefly as a court, where local fishermen were prosecuted for dredging oysters out of season, before Cromwell ordered its demolition. It survived because the landowner prohibited its destruction.”

Gazette: Tudor Blockhouse 300m south of Mersea Stone, East Mersea Image:Jim PullenTudor Blockhouse 300m south of Mersea Stone, East Mersea Image:Jim Pullen

To recover its archaeological remains, Historic England and Essex County Council are now discussing excavation of the site.

But the register doesn’t end with the Tudor Blockhouse and the Thorrington Tide Mill.

Colchester’s Church of St Peter in North Hill and Colchester’s water tower Jumbo are some of the other landmarks raising concerns.

Thanks to the effort of communities, however, there have been 13 buildings and sites in the East of England in the past year that have been removed from the register.

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England said: “Our heritage is an anchor for us all in testing times.

“Despite the challenges we have all faced recently, this year’s Heritage at Risk register demonstrates looking after and investing in our historic places can bring communities together, contribute to the country’s economic recovery and help tackle climate change.

“Our historic places deserve attention, investment and a secure future.”

Over the past year Historic England has spent £14.5 million in grants on helping some of the most important historic sites on its register. Visit