I visited the Newport Tower last Friday to investigate claims that the date "1325" appears on the Tower and is its likely date of construction. I came away unconvinced.
Researcher Gary Gianotti identified two different locations on the Tower which he believes contain the 1325 date. First, on a capstone of a northern-facing pillar (see pair of light-colored rectangular rocks; capstone in question is the one to the right):
We visited at night and were able to bring a latter inside the fence to closely examine the capstone. We wet it down and examined it using low-angle light, which tends to best highlight carvings in stone. While I could see a "1" mark and part of what might be a "3" next to it, I did not see the "2" or "5". That is not to say the date did not at one point exist--I simply can not see it now.
In addition, a second smaller stone on the inside of this pillar contains some carvings that Mr. Gianotti believes reflect the 1325 date.
Again, after wetting the stone and examining it with low-angle lighting, I could see what may be a series of 3 dates one atop the other; the top one I believe reads 1826 and the bottom one 1848; I did not see the 1325 date on the middle one as Mr. Gianotti does.
Mr. Gianotti also has identified what he believes to be Anglo-Saxon runes on the right side of this smaller stone, which if validated may provide clues to the Tower's origin.
I commend Mr. Gianotti on his research, and look forward to investigating more of his findings.
I was joined on this investigation by past and/or present NEARA Board members Steve DiMarzo, Rick Lynch and Jim Egan.
[Photos courtesy Gary Gianotti and Steve DiMarzo.]