This 1939 aerial photograph of Touro Park shows the clearly visible, round nave of the Newport Tower, and what appears to be the rectangular shape of a chancel running east-west on the east side. More info about this photos can be found at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Phippsburg-History-Center-114338978642314/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1600659460010251
Researcher Patrick Shekleton, noticed what appears to be a rectangular imprint in the grass on the east side of the Newport Tower.
This schematic of the Temple Church, in London, England, shows the round nave and rectangular chancel facing east that is eerily similar to what appears in the 1939 aerial photograph.
In a Gothic cathedral, such as this schematic of Reims Cathedral in France, the nave of the church is rectangular in shape and faces to the west.
This schematic of Cambridge Round Church in Cambridge, England, show an identical layout the Newport Tower likely had when first constructed in the early 1400's, minus the north and south aisles. Image can be found at the following link: http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/art/architecture/salvin/1d.jpg
Cambridge Round Church was built by the Knights Templar, circa 1130, and exhibits the exact same design and architecture as the Newport Tower. Several factual pieces of evidence are consistent with the Newport Tower having a one-story ambulatory like the ones at both Cambridge and Temple Churches in England, in addition to several others such as the Charola in the round nave in the Templar church in Tomar, Portugal.
Inside the church at the Convent of Christ Castle in Tomor, Portugal, is the beautifully illuminated, two-story octagonal tower that sits on eight heavy columns called the Charola. It was built by the Knights Templar in 1161, and its design also mirrors the Newport Tower.
The areas in red were built by the Templars in the 1160's and include the two-story octagonal Charola that served as an architectural archetype for the Newport Tower in Newport, Rhode Island.
All eight stone columns in the Newport Tower have a slate slabs at the base, and at the top that serves a structural function as a capstone ledge to support the wooden trusses of the roof for the first-story ambulatory.
Clear evidence of what was a wooden, first-story ambulatory can seen with the capstone ledges atop all eight columns, at approximately eight feet above grade (yellow arrows), and the where the roof met the exterior tower wall roughly four feet above the ledges (red arrows).
This test pit was dug during the salvage archaeological dig at the Newport Tower, reportedly in the area of the rectangular shape seen in the 1939 aerial photo. Could the layer of stones, which do not appear to be a natural glacial geological feature, be remnants of the foundation for the rectangular structure?
Recently, friend and fellow researcher, Patrick Shekleton, forwarded a 1939 aerial photograph of Touro Park and wrote that he noticed what looked like a rectangular shape image running east-west on the east side. I didn't have to look too hard and sure enough, there did appear to be a rectangular shape in the grass apparently reflecting the imprint of the footings of structure that was once attached to the round tower. Pat and I discussed the image and the his posting of the discovery on the Phippsburg, website. While it is certainly possible the rectangle could be from a structure built long after the Tower was constructed, its close proximity suggests it's connected.
The image of the test pit dug during the salvage archaeological dig conducted by Chronognostic Research Foundation shows a soil horizon profile within excavation unit located to the east of the tower. The man-made glacial stone layer was identified as a portion of a potential structure foundation: "Under these dumped layers is a layer of native stones. The stones tell us that there may have been a structure east of the tower. This is important because our research has shown that there were no structures around the Tower since the town's founding in 1639. (http://www.chronognostic.org/over_touro_park.html)