The Henry VIII Tower, known as the "Fat Tower" or "Tower of the Englishmen", is the last remnant of a citadel built in the 16th century by the English - who governed the town from 1513 to 1519 - to protect the left bank of the Scheldt. At the time, the ramparts of the town's second defensive wall, which had been strengthened for the purpose, featured a quadrangular citadel on the north and west slopes intended to house 5,000 men. Six new artillery towers, including this one, were built along the south slope to complete defences that were dismantled by Vauban at the end of the 17th century.
This artillery tower, which is relatively well preserved, is circular in shape. It has a diameter of 28 metres and a height of 15 metres. Its walls are 7 metres thick and are made from limestone faced with sandstone on the outside and brick on the inside. It features two blockhouses placed on above the other under a terreplein that is accessed by stairs within the walls. There is also a huge guardroom within the thickness of the walls, turned towards the interior of the citadel. Three gun openings pass through the walls of the two levels, while an orifice in the centre of the vaulted roof made it possible to hoist or access artillery parts up to the terrace at the top. Still inspired by mediaeval tradition, but built at a pivotal moment in military history, the Henry VIII Tower is the last artillery tower preserved in Wallonia. It is now the subject of a restoration programme.
Exceptional heritage site of Wallonia