History of Paxton`s Tower
Paxton`s Tower was built sometime between 1805 and 1808 probably to a design by Samuel Pepys Cockerell. It is a triangular building, two storeys high, with a hexagonal castellated roof. On the ground there are three arches to accommodate carriages. On the next storey there is a banqueting room and on the upper storey a prospect room, with an upper apartment with stained glass windows showing Lord Nelson and scenes from his life.
What is said about the reason for building the Tower, originally called `Nelson`s Tower` -
1 That the tower was built with the money and materials promised to the voters of the 1802 election for a bridge across the river Tywi. According to this version the tower is a folly known as the `Tower of Spite`.
2 That the tower was built to prove to the voters that Paxton had not been ruined by the expenditure during the 1802 election campaign.
3 That the tower was built as a viewing platform from which Paxton would watch his favourite horses racing from Tenby to Middleton.
4 The most likely explanation is that it was a decorative feature – the height of fashion at the time. It was probably built as a place for Paxton`s guests to visit and dine and take in the panoramic views.
The tower was dedicated to Admiral Nelson, a friend of Paxton, after his death at Trafalgar in October 1805. It read: ‘To the invincible commander, Viscount Nelson, in commemoration of deeds most brilliantly achieved at the Mouth of the Nile, before the walls of Copenhagen and on the shores of Spain; of the empire everywhere maintained by him over the sea; and of the death which in the fullness of his own glory, though untimely for his country and Europe, conquering he died; this tower was erected by William Paxton.’
In 1965 it was struck by lightning almost destroying one of its corner towers.
The tower is now in the care of the National Trust.
A panel of glass commemorating Nelson was taken from the tower to Carmarthen Museum.