Murney Tower

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Murney Tower (1846-1885) - A Martello tower defense established in 1846 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Named for Henry James Murney the man who owned the land on which the tower was built. Abandoned by the military circa 1885.

Murney Tower Ditch & Camponiere
Upper Level 32-Pounder Cannon
Murney Tower


Camponiere Interior

Built as one of six Martello towers between 1846-1848 in Kingston Harbor during the height of the boundary dispute with the United States known as the "Oregon Crisis". The six towers are listed below:

The six Martello towers were (West to East):

Murney Tower was constructed on Murney Point at the western edge of Kingston. It was a round tower surround by a deep dry ditch and accessible by a drawbridge over the ditch. The lowest level contained a magazine and four camponiers that jutted out into the ditch with firing positions that covered the entire ditch. The main level was the barracks level but also contain two shuttered 32-pounder carrnades for close artillery action. The upper level contains a single huge 32-pounder cannon with a 360 degree rotating carriage. The upper level is covered today with a fixed roof but the tower was originally designed to have a roof that could be quickly removed for action.

The walls of the tower are thicker on the water side of the tower than on the land side. On the water side they are about 15 feet thick at the base and 12 feet thick at the top. On the land side they are about half that. The theory was that the tower was far more likely to be attacked from the water side and, if it was captured, easier to destroy as you retreated.

The "Oregon Crisis" was quickly resolved but the U.S. Civil War raised new concerns and the towers remained armed. The advent of rifled cannon during the U.S. Civil War made the masonry Martello towers obsolete and ineffective as defensive structures. Murney Tower continued in use as barracks, housing and for other support functions until about 1885-1890.

Murney Tower has been operated as a museum since 1925.

Current Status

Must see! Now operated as the Murney Tower National Historic Site Museum by the Kingston Kingston Historical Society in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. A world Heritage Site. Admission charge. A excellent museum collection that includes period cannons, artifacts, costumes and armaments.

Location: MacDonald Park, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.222216 Long: -76.490439

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

Recent Blog Posts:



Visited: 29 Jul 2012

Murney Tower Picture Gallery

Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!

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