Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower

Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower

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The Prisoners of Queen’s House – An outline

The Queen’s House at the Tower of London was home to highly notable prisoners, and some of noble birth. Out of seven prisoners that were executed at the Tower Green, there were three queens. Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for just nine days, Anne Boleyn, the second wife to Henry VIII and Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. Along with the queens, there were four others, who were executed on the orders of the monarch during the bloody Tudor rule. Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochester (sister-in-law to Anne), Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex and William Lord Hastings in 1483.

Other prisoners who were not executed at Tower Green but were prisoners at the Queen’s House were Lady Arbella Stuart, first cousin to King James I and Guy Fawkes. one of the conspirators who wanted to blow up Parliament. Guy Fawkes underwent many hours of interrogation at the Queen’s House.

Of all the prisoners, the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower, namely Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Arbella Stuart are worth knowing. Here is an introduction to their very short lives beyond the walls of the famous fortress.

About the Queen’s House at the Tower

The Queens House | Tower of London
The Queens House | Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The original Queen’s House was built in 1530s during the reign of Henry VIII. It is believed that King Henry VIII probably built it for his second queen, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn is said to have resided there before her coronation in 1533. Ironically, she also stayed there before her execution in 1536. Her lodgings are said to have become uninhabitable and Henry VIII ordered it to be torn down. The Queen’s House that we see today was built in the 1540s, about four years after Anne Boleyn’s execution.

The architecture of the Queen’s House is completely different to the rest of the Tower buildings that are made of bricks and stones. The Queen’s House is a remarkable Tudor style, half-timbered house. It is said to be one of the oldest of Tudor houses remaining in Britain. The Queen’s House is presently home to the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and guarded by the Royal Guard.


Georgina says: The beauty of this old architecture is admirable. I don’t find architecture of such delight anymore, with such care and skill and “heart” to details. I am glad that this “old” is preserved not as a museum but as living “breathing” and an on-going place.


Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower

Anne Boleyn, Queen of England

Anne Boleyn | Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen's House in the Tower
© National Portrait Gallery, London

There are many books written on Anne Boleyn, yet she is one of the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House. Anne was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII. They were married for three years and three months. They had a daughter, Elizabeth. Anne could not give Henry a son, an heir to his throne.

Often known as ‘Anne of the Thousand Days’, Anne was falsely accused of adultery, witchcraft and conspiracy against the King. She was imprisoned in the Queen’s House until her execution. Anne was executed at Tower Green, on May 19 1536. She is buried at the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

Anne has left no voice of her own, so no-one really knows how she felt and why she became queen.

A memorial for Anne Boleyn

At present, there is a plaque dedicated to Anne Boleyn and a permanent memorial dedicated to all those who were executed at the Tower Green. This memorial was erected in September 2006, designed by British artist, Brian Catling. Erected close to the execution spot, the memorial gives visitors to the Tower a focal point for contemplation, remembrance and reflection. Many visitors leave flowers on the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.

More on the Tower Green Memorial, below.

Anne Boleyn’s Daughter, Elizabeth

The Armada Portrait is displayed in the Queen's House.
Queen Elizabeth I | The Armada Portrait is displayed in the Queen’s House.

Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth, inherited the throne in November 1558 and became Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland from November 17 1558 until her death on March 24, 1603. She was famously known as ‘the Virgin Queen’, ‘Gloriana’ or simply as ‘Good Queen Bess’. As Elizabeth never married and left no heir, she was the last of the five monarchs in the House of Tudors. She was succeeded by James VI of Scotland, and became James I of England.

It is hard to find even the simplest statements of Anne Boleyn during her life as Queen. Anne was literally wiped out of history books at least for the remainder of Henry VIII’s reign. The portraits of Anne that exist now were created by her daughter, Elizabeth I during her reign. Unbiased descriptions of Anne were written after her death, though this is a rare find.

Stay tuned for more on Anne Boleyn and the Boleyn family


The ghost of Anne Boleyn is regarded as one of the most famous in Britain and has reportedly been seen many times at the Tower of London especially around Tower Green where she was executed. Anne is also regarded as “The most well travelled ghost in Britain” because she is regularly seen around Salle Church, Blickling Hall, Marwell Hall and Hever Castle – “often seen the way she was in life: happy, young and beautiful.” Read more on Anne Boleyn’s ghost sightings by the Haunted Rooms here


Lady Jane Grey | ‘9 day Queen’

Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen's House in the Tower | Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey | royal.uk

Lady Jane Grey was fifth in line to the throne but was proclaimed Queen on the death of King Edward VI, to retain England under a Protestant rule.

Lady Jane Grey on her Procession to the Tower

Lady Jane Grey - on her Coronation
Lady Jane Grey (1536-54) after a painting by Herbert Norris, © Lebrecht Music & Arts/Alamy Stock Photo

Jane was wearing a green velvet dress embroidered in gold, with a long train carried by her mother.

Her headdress was white, heavily decorated with jewels, and on her neck a chinclout (a type of scarf) ‘of black velvet, striped with small chains of gold, garnished with small pearls, small rubies and small diamonds … furred with sables and having thereat a chain of gold enamelled green, garnished with certain pearls.’

However, King Edward’s half-sister, Mary, who was a Catholic, daughter to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, second in line to the throne, was proclaimed Queen, at just nine days of Lady Jane Grey becoming Queen. Lady Jane Grey was found to be guilty of high treason, imprisoned at the Queen’s House in 1553. She was just seventeen years old when she was executed at the Tower Green, on February 12 1554.

Learn more about Lady Jane Grey – future article

Lady Arbella Stuart

Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen's House in the Tower | Arbella Stuart
Portrait of Lady Arbella Stuart | 1589 | The British Library

Lady Arbella Stuart is virtually unheard of in English history, but yet she may have changed the course of history and the lines of succession of the monarchy had she inherited the throne from Queen Elizabeth I instead of James I.

Arbella Stuart was English, the first cousin of James I and grand daughter of formidable Bess of Hardwick. She married William Seymour, grandson of Lady Catherine Grey. who himself had a claim to the throne, secretly and without seeking permission of James I. As a result, Seymour was sent to the Tower and Arbella on house arrest. In June 1611, the couple plotted to escape but Arbella was caught and brought back to the Tower, while Seymour made it to France.

Arbella was confined to the Queen’s House. Her health deteriorated during the course of 1612 and 1613. In her later days, Arbella refused food and drink. She died September 25, 1615 at the young age of thirty-nine. She never saw her husband again.

James I refused a royal funeral and Arbella was placed without a ceremony in the vault of her aunt, Mary, Queen of Scots, in Westminster Abbey.

Born of royal blood, Arbella had a better claim to the throne than her cousin, James VI of Scotland (James I of England) because she was born in England – it is this, that some historians say may have changed English history all together had she inherited the throne.

Learn more about Arbella Stuart and of her childhood in Hardwick Hall – stay tuned for a future article

Tower Green Memorial

The Tower Green Memorial is a permanent memorial dedicated to all those who were executed on Tower Green.

Memorial at Tower Green
A permanent memorial is dedicated to all those executed on Tower Green | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The Tower Green memorial designed by Brian Catling features two engraved circular glass. The glass circles lists the names of all those who were executed at Tower Green. There is a sculpted glass pillow in the centre as a focal point. On the polished black stone base is the following poem, curated by the artist himself:

Gentle visitor pause a while,

Where you stand death cut away the light of many days;

Here, jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life,

May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage,

Under these restless skies.”

Brian Catling

Brian Catling explained his reasons for a circular design:

I wanted to make people walk around the piece, “Before, people would come and stand in front of the small plaque that used to be here – they just stood and didn’t know what to do so I thought: ‘let’s give them something to do’, they now have to walk around it to read the poem – they have to engage with it.”

“None of the names on here are really traitors,” added Brian. “Monuments are usually to people who have died in a war or a battle, this is different. You can’t really illustrate the brutal acts of dying that took place here but this I hope is a way of suggesting it.”

B Catling

The memorial focuses on ten executions that took place on Tower Green, within the walls of the fortress. In addition to the seven names already mentioned earlier, there were three Black Watch soldiers from the 1743 Highland regiment. The three soldiers were Farquar Shaw, with brothers, Samuel and Malcolm Macpherson. They were shot by a firing squad made up of their own comrades on July 19 1943. A large slab of black marble is set into the floor in the southwest corner of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, marking the spot where the three bodies lie. Their names are inscribed beside those of queens and nobles.

In 1743 the Highland regiment were en route to Scotland for leave when the King summoned them to London. About one hundred soldiers went absent from duty. They were rounded up and taken to the Tower on charges of mutiny.

The other ninety-seven soldiers were pardoned eventually and released afterwards.

Final thoughts…

Exploring the stories of those who died behind the walls of the fortress especially the three royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower of London is significant as these are stories that characterised the nation and its identity. This is where the royal prisoners met their last moments and it is a powerful thing.

Beauchamp Tower

Ways to experience the Tower of London

Practical information to consider when visiting the Tower of London

Getting to Tower of London:

Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB

Nearest Station:

Tower Hill Underground Station

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 09:00-17:30
Sunday-Monday: 10:00-17:30

Yeoman Warders Tours: FREE | 45 Minutes

Tickets & Prices:

Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.

£25.00

Places to Stay in London when visiting the Tower of London

Choices on accommodations in London are literally unlimited! From budget hostels, two or three star hotels to high-end hotels and apartments, it seems endless….

I have personally experienced the superb hospitality and quality and would highly recommend a stay at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London. Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.

Browse Millennium Hotels & Resorts in London and book yourself a fabulous experience.

You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain for accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story, as well as if you are travelling on business.

Browse Radisson Hotels in London and book yourself a beautiful and memorable stay.

As well, you could run through booking dot com, a site I use and frequent for my searches on accommodations when I travel.

Browse a wide range of accommodations offered by Booking dot com to suit all budgets in the City of London

Activities to do in London when visiting the Tower

As with accommodations, the activities available to do in London are endless. A city that never sleeps, with transportation that works twenty-four hours a day, there is something you could do at any given time. Navigate to Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown series for ideas and inspirations. If you are planning a visit during the festive season, Christmas in London has articles that will inspire you to move London to the top of your list!

A popular destination within a stone’s throw of London is the historic town of Greenwich, renowned for when Time began. View the full article and related articles on Greenwich which includes Cutty Sark, Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and Planetarium. As well as recommended activities you could do when visiting this destination.

A visit to London is never complete without a trip to the countryside or wider UK. A day trip from London is highly recommended as it adds value to your experiences of England and not just limited to London. Popular day trips are a visit to Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, an experience that will blow you away, or go on a little adventure to the Isle of Wight. If you are not restricted in time and wish to explore more of UK, then a visit to Scotland is highly recommended. There are many highlights in this amazing land of the fairies that will leave you speechless and an experience of the Highlands will stay with you forever.

The UK boasts a good train network connecting London to the rest of the United Kingdom directly or indirectly via network exchanges. Experience UK like you have never before by train travel, by visiting the best scenic destinations by train while saving on your journeys. Read all about train travelling and unique experiences here.

What to expect in the coming weeks on easy Sunday read:

Anne Boleyn and the Boleyn family

Lady Jane Grey

Beyond the Walls of the Tower by the Historic Royal Palaces

Britain’s most well travelled ghost

Ghosts of Blickling Hall

Hever Castle

Recommended read to delve deeper

My sincere wish is that reading this article has inspired you to visit the Tower of London and to know more of historic Britain. Ensure you are subscribed for future articles so you are first to receive the latest on mytimelessfootsteps.

Georgina xx

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History takes us on a journey to the present but in between there are many forgotten stories. Here's one on the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen's House | Tower of London | History of Britain | Visit London | Visit England | Know before your visit to the Tower | Fortress, Palace and Prison | English History | Behind the Tower | Behind the Walls of the Tower via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/History takes us on a journey to the present but in between there are many forgotten stories. Here's one on the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen's House | Tower of London | History of Britain | Visit London | Visit England | Know before your visit to the Tower | Fortress, Palace and Prison | English History | Behind the Tower | Behind the Walls of the Tower via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November is a popular story in the history of England. Known also as Guido Fawkes, he was born and educated in York, England. His father died when he was eight years old and his mother married a devout Catholic.

As an adult, he was a British soldier but during the increased oppression of Catholics in England, Guy joined a group of provincial Catholics in England to protest against the Crown.

Guy Fawkes
Image by artist Sue Kerr, Courtesy of St Peter’s Foundation, reproduced by kind permission – Taken from: https://www.hrp.org.uk/

Guy was one of thirteen conspirators who wanted to blow-up Parliament in 1605. He was found hiding in the cellars of the Parliament surrounded by 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was imprisoned and tortured in the Queen’s House at the Tower of London.

Fawkes and the other plotters suffered a grisly traitor’s death: they were hanged, drawn and quartered, with their body parts then displayed throughout London as a warning to others.

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November
Bonfire Night, a popular event in England

The conspiracy to blow-up Parliament became famously known as the Gunpowder Plot. The very night the plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night.

To commemorate the failure of Guy Fawkes, Bonfire Night in the UK is celebrated with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire. As it is celebrated outdoors, there are soups, sausages, baked potatoes and the traditional Parkin cake available. Parkin Cake, is a sticky cake containing a mix of oatmeal, ginger, treacle and syrup.

Guy Fawkes (April 13 1570 – January 31 1606)

Learn more on the Tower of London and the stories behind the walls of the fortress.

If you are considering travel, here are some practical information for you to consider:

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Flights – I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares or Etihad Airways for long haul flights. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays.

Accommodations – My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget.

Unique experiences & tours – My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals.

Travel insurance – Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials – Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.

Pin me for later!

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Have a great time exploring London

Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower is easily missed as visitors seem focused on the White Tower and the Jewel Tower. Moreover, if you are limited to time, you may give Beauchamp a miss but I suggest that Beauchamp is worth a visit and deserving of a place on your list.

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links including Amazon LLC. This means that I earn a commission, from qualifying purchases at no cost to you, if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here or get in touch with me via Contact form if you have any questions about any of the companies. You could also take a look at our Trusted Partners

I discovered Beauchamp Tower on my visit as I retraced my footsteps in London. I have been to Tower of London many times before but had never visited this tower. I learnt so much of historic England from my visit here which I share with you here.

Read about the Tower of London – the Best Guide before your next visit.

Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower sits next to the dark timbered Queen’s House overlooking the Tower Chapel and the Tower Green | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Beauchamp, pronounced as “beecham” is one of the twenty-one towers at the Tower of London and forms part of the inner defensive wall of Tower of London. It was built between 1275 and 1281 towards the end of the first leg of modernisation of the Tower, under the reign of King Edward I.

The tower’s close proximity to the Lieutenant’s lodgings (now, the Queen’s House) made Beauchamp Tower a significant and a perfect place throughout history to accommodate high-ranking important prisoners.

There are other towers within the walls of the Tower of London which also became home to very important high status prisoners. Read about the prisoners of the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London here and the Jewel Tower, home to the Magnificent Crown Jewels.

Prisoners of the Beauchamp Tower London

Amongst the important prisoners at Beauchamp were John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and his four sons. One of the sons was Guildford Dudley, the husband to Lady Jane Grey. Here’s a brief look at the Dudleys and Lady Jane Grey.

About the Dudleys

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland was imprisoned at the Beauchamp Tower along with his four sons because he wanted his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey to be Queen of England.

John Dudley and his sons were condemned as traitors in 1553. He was executed for treason at Tower Hill on August 22, 1553. Guilford Dudley, husband to Lady Jane was executed in February 1554. Following his execution, the three brothers were pardoned and released.

About Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey - on her Coronation
Lady Jane Grey on the day of her procession to be Queen of England. Lady Jane Grey (1536-54) after a painting by Herbert Norris, © Lebrecht Music & Arts/Alamy Stock Photo
Archives: Historic Royal Palaces

Lady Jane inherited the throne from Edward VI and was Queen of England for just nine days. She was deposed by Catholic Mary I, on July 19, 1553 and was imprisoned in the Queen’s House.

On the morning of 12 February, 1554, from her window, Lady Jane watched her young husband, Guildford Dudley, leave Beauchamp Tower for his execution at Tower Hill, and his headless body return for burial at the Tower Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

Later, on the very same day, Lady Jane was executed at Tower Green. She was seventeen years old.

About Guildford Dudley

Guildford Dudley, born in 1535 was an English nobleman who married Lady Jane Grey in an elaborate celebration about six weeks before the death of King Edward VI. Guildford and Jane spent their brief rule together at the Tower of London until they were condemned to death for high treason, thereafter in separate quarters.

On the morning of their execution, Guildford requested to see Lady Jane one last time. Jane refused, saying:

“would only … increase their misery and pain, it was better to put it off … as they would meet shortly elsewhere, and live bound by indissoluble ties.” 

Guildford Dudley was executed at Tower Hill on the morning of February 12, 1554.

The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen's House. The Dudley's were imprisoned here
The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen’s House. The Dudley’s were imprisoned here. © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Other prisoners at Beauchamp Tower London

Other notable prisoner at Beauchamp Tower was Lady Jane Rochford, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. Lady Rochford’s confession was instrumental in the tragic death of Catherine Howard. Her interrogation drove her insane and she was executed on the same day as Queen Catherine on February 13, 1542.

As the tower was used throughout English history as a prison, there were other prisoners as well such as William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Most recently, it accommodated several German spies during the World Wars.

You may wish to know more about the German spies and you can access information here. The last person to be executed at the Tower was Josef Jakobs, also a German spy at the end of WWII.

Graffiti in the Beauchamp Tower

What makes Beauchamp Tower London famous these days is the discovery of graffiti beneath the many layers of history on its walls. These graffiti on the wall were left by prisoners.

The inscriptions were made during the 16th and 17th century when the religious and political turmoil was at a height and the prison was home to many high-ranking and important prisoners such as the Dudleys, William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Some of these inscriptions are bold reflecting painstaking carving while others are thin and somewhat spidery. They are a few that seem to cluster in specific locations of the Tower.

Inscription of William Tyrrel in 1541 in Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
William Tyrrel (1541) In Italian “Since fate has chosen that my hope should go with the wind I now want to cry for the time that is lost and I will be sad and unhappy forever”
Graffiti left by prisoners in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
Cluster of Graffiti: 29 – Thomas Myagh: Tortured because of his association with Irish rebels. 29a – Unknown 31 – Thomas Peverel (1571)
Graffiti in Beauchamp Tower
62 – Attributed to Thomas Peverel

All images © mytimelessfootsteps | by Georgina_Daniel

Graffiti on the walls of Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
Graffiti on the walls of Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

These sombre inscriptions represents thoughts of the prisoners and a powerful need to leave some form of record of their existence. A record, so they are not lost forever. It is an assertion of their beliefs and identity but above all, a strong will of defiance not to be cowed by political and religious tyranny. Some prisoners were held in gloomy cells, while others could move freely within the Tower grounds. Their treatment and fate depended on their social status and their crime.

*Lady Jane Grey was given access to the garden in December 1553.


My Timeless Footsteps says: When I visited, there were a number of people here so I could not take a closer look at the graffiti. I am intrigued by these inscriptions and am motivated to discover more on this part of history at the Tower of London.


There is a permanent exhibition at the Beauchamp Tower.
There is a permanent exhibition at the Beauchamp Tower | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
Spiral stairs leading to the permanent exhibition of the prison in Beauchamp Tower.
Lots of stairs! Spiral stairs leading to the permanent exhibition of the prison in Beauchamp Tower | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

One thing to bear in mind when visiting here is the narrow entrance and the narrow spiral stairway – there is only one of these, so visitors going up as well as those exiting the exhibition use it. If you are at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for the moment to get up – don’t! Don’t wait because you shall be waiting for a long time (like I did!) and others behind you will get ahead of you regardless of your politeness!


Entry to the permanent exhibition in the Beauchamp Tower is included in the entry ticket to the Tower of London. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 and is valid for one day – take a look here.


Learn more about Beauchamp Tower from this book: In Inscriptions and Devices, in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London

UK Readers

Published by the British Library, the book contains a short historical sketch of the building, and the prisoners formerly confined therein: collected from State papers, records, and other authentic sources: by W. R. Dick.


I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and have found it valuable towards planning your visit to Beauchamp Tower. Do share your thoughts in comments below.

The Tower of London is vast and offers a thousand years of history within its walls. If you are in a rush, you may not experience all of what Tower of London has to offer. It is highly recommended that you spend at least four to five hours (subject to the time of day and the season you choose to visit) when you visit. Have a break in between and enjoy the hospitality at the cafe.

Learn more about the Tower of London by taking these virtual tours > Inside the Tower of London by the Tower of London | Historic Royal Palaces.

You may also enjoy reading other articles on London and here are a few that you may like:


Plan a trip to London – here are some ideas for you

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Flights – I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares or Etihad Airways for long haul flights. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays.

Accommodations – My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget.

Unique experiences & tours – My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals.

Travel insurance – Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials – Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.

Pin me for later!


Beauchamp Tower London via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/Beauchamp Tower London via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

The magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are the most famous of British treasures. The Jewels are unique, embodying skilled craftsmanship, and is a collection of priceless objects collected since the 1660 Reformation, although some predates this particular period of English history. The collection of Jewels are used in royal ceremonies. Beyond the ceremonies, the Jewels represent religious, cultural and historical significance of the British Monarchy. These precious gems stay protected under the watchful eye of the Yeoman Warders within the walls of the most secure castle in the land, the Tower of London. In this article, you can take a peek at a selection of these famous and magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower and learn of its historical significance.

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links including Amazon LLC. This means that I earn a commission, from qualifying purchases at no cost to you, if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here or get in touch with me via Contact form if you have any questions about any of the companies. You could also take a look at our Trusted Partners

A little background to the Tower of London

The Tower of London is an internationally famous monument and a landmark in Britain. The thousand year old castle in the center of the City of London is famously known as a ‘fortress, royal palace and a prison’. The Tower was founded in the eleventh century following the conquest of William the Conqueror in 1066, to demonstrate the strength of the Normans. Building a fortress, the White Tower on the banks of River Thames was a strategic decision, both to protect the City of London from attacks and as a gateway to the City.

Collectively, the Tower of London has twenty-one towers, built around the White Tower which is a symbol of royalty. Constructed over the centuries, primarily between the eleventh and sixteenth century, the Tower encompasses layers and layers of defensive structures to protect the City. The Tower of London has also been the setting for key historical events such as the execution of three English queens, missing young princes and notable high-status prisoners.

While gruesome tales surrounds this iconic landmark, the Tower of London is a typical model of a medieval fortress, an eleventh century Norman military architecture still standing complete, earning itself a UNESCO listed building for its Outstanding Universal Value badge.

The grounds of the Tower are home to some outstanding buildings as well. Notable ones are the Fusilier Museum, the Jewel House in the Waterloo block, Queen’s House and the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

Learn more about this UNESCO complex from the Best Guide to the Tower of London, that has everything you need to know for your visit.

1. #The Jewel House | Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

The Jewel House is an extraordinary 14th century vault in the Waterloo block. Also known as the Jewel Tower, it was built between 1365 and 1366 which means it is around 653 years old. Initially built to house King Edward III’s jewels and treasures, the Jewel House carried the passionate tag as the “King’s Privy Wardrobe”. The Waterloo block was also formerly a barracks and underwent extensive renovations, with the most recent refurbishment being in 2012. It was officially opened in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower | The Jewel House/Tower at the Tower of London
Side view of The Jewel House/Tower at the Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Today, the Jewel House stands to protect a collection of 23,578 gemstones, representing the symbol of British Monarchy. These magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower are still used in ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament. The Crown Jewels signify the royal authority to lead and protect the nation.

The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious and cultural significance in our nation’s history. The mystique and beauty of the diamonds and precious jewels in the royal regalia have always held an unparalleled allure to visitors from across the globe.

HRP.ORG
The Jewel House, home to the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
The Jewel House, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
The entrance to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, Jewel House, Tower of London
Entrance to the Crown Jewels Exhibition | Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

If you are passionate about history, a visit to the Jewel House will not disappoint. Your visit will take you through three different rooms of exhibitions where you will see the magnificent Crown Jewels so beautifully laid out within a high-security vault. The highlights of the exhibition are the Coronation Spoon which is said to originate during the second half of the 11th century, the Sword of Spiritual Justice that is identified as being from the early 17th century, the Plymouth Fountain from c. 1640 and many, many more. My favourite, without a doubt was the Koh-i-Noor (see below).


2 | Some of the magnificent Crown Jewels exhibited when I visited the Tower of London

Photographs are not allowed for obvious reasons of security, so I have below pictures and information from the Historic Royal Palaces and The Royal Collection Trust

Koh-i-Noor in the Queen Mother's Crown.

Koh-i-Noor

Koh-i-Noor is a Persian word and means “mountain of light” – it is the most famous diamond in the world and in human history.

The Koh-i-Noor is beautifully placed in the centre of the Queen Mother’s Crown: Image © smithsonianmag

The diamond has a long history, going way back to the colonial conquest of India. It also carries with it a curse when passed down from men to men, but the most popular drama attached to this infamous stone is the controversy of its origin and the ownership of the Koh-i-Noor. India would like to have it back. For a full historical background to this controversy, you may wish to read and/or purchase Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond

Coronation spoon

Coronation spoon

“This exquisite spoon is an 11th century Coronation spoon used in the anointing of the monarch with holy oil. It was returned to Charles II by the man who bought it in the sell-off, who wished to get back into the new king’s good books. Thanks to him, this medieval spoon survives, alone among the sacred regalia.”

hrp.org.uk

Image: The ‘new’ (1661) eagle-shaped Ampulla , which contains the fragrant holy oil used to anoint the new monarch, and the ancient Coronation Spoon. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

https://hrp.org.uk

Coronation Regalia

“The Coronation Regalia is a powerful symbol. It is a group of precious and highly symbolic objects used since 1661 to crown sovereigns of England.

These objects shown in this image were made after the restoration of the monarchy, for the coronation of Charles II in 1661. Many were used for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953″

Image: Charles II Coronation Regalia, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

https://hrp.org.uk/

Sword of Spiritual Justice ©royalcollectiontrust

The Sword of Spiritual Justice

c17th century

“Sword with a gilt-iron hilt with a wooden, wire-bound grip, the escutcheons of the guard triangular and rather sharply pointed, with a steel blade, struck with a maker’s mark at the top and incised further down with a “running wolf” mark, and with a velvet-covered scabbard with gold embroidery and silver-gilt mounts. This sword, known as the Sword of Spritual Justice, is one of three swords which are carried unsheathed, pointing upwards, in the coronation procession. This sword is accompanied by the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy (with a blunted tip).

The practice of carrying three swords, representing kingly virtues, dates back to the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189. The three swords were made for the coronation of Charles I in 1626 and then placed with the regalia in Westminster Abbey.

Together with the coronation spoon, these three works were the only pieces to survive the Civil War and Interregnum untouched. It is not known whether they were used in the coronation procession of Charles II, but they have certainly been used since 1685. A new scabbard was made for the sword in 1821 for the coronation of George IV”.

Image and information unedited from © Royal Collection Trust

The Plymouth Fountain

c.1640

“A Baroque silver-gilt fountain with four spreading basins, repousse and chased with marine scenes and figures of Neptune, Amphitrite and infant tritons with sea-monsters, surmounted by a square column with figures of Neptune or nymphs in niches on each side, the finial cast as the figure of Venus with serpents about each arm, on a domed base with mermaid feet.”

“In historic inventories this piece was described as the earliest example of an English wine fountain. In fact, it is German, and has been attributed to the Hamburg goldsmith Peter Oehr I. Descriptions of it in use in the seventeenth century noted that it spouted coloured flames and perfumed waters. At that date the figure on the top was a male figure, either Atlas or Hercules, who may have held a dish which acted as a perfume burner. The fountain underwent considerable alteration in the eighteenth century when the figure of Venus was placed in the top, and the mechanism of the fountain fell out of use”.

“The fountain was presented to Charles II by the City of Plymouth in 1661 and is clearly identifiable in a contemporary account as, ‘a fountaine carved with rare art, curious figures, out of the tope perfumed fier did apeare and small pipes att the sides that sweet watters gushed forth.’ The ‘perfumed fier’ may refer to a pastille which was burnt in the pan held by the original Atlas/Hercules figure. The fountain was purchased by the City of Plymouth from Sir Thomas Vyner”.

Information unedited © Royal Collection Trust

Image © royalcollectiontrust

More on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

St Edward’s Crown

The most important and sacred Crown

“St Edward’s Crown is the most important and sacred of all the crowns. It is only used at the moment of crowning itself. This solid gold crown was made for the coronation of Charles II to replace the medieval crown melted down in 1649. This original crown was thought to date back to the 11th-century saint-king Edward the Confessor.

From 1661 to the early 20th century, this crown was only ever adorned with hired gems, which were returned after the coronation.

In 1911, St Edward’s Crown was permanently set with semi-precious stones for the coronation of George V.”

Image: St Edward’s Crown, 1661.  The magnificent solid gold frame makes it a very heavy and tiring crown to wear, even briefly, as it weighs 2.23kg (nearly 5lbs). © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2001/Prudence Cuming Associates

https://hrp.org.uk/

The Imperial State Crown

“Although this is one of the newer items in the regalia, the Imperial State Crown (1937) contains some of the most historic jewels in the collection, which have attracted many legends. 

For example, the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’, set into the cross at the front of the crown is actually a balas or spinel, a semi-precious stone said to be the same stone owned by Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile, before he gave it to Edward, Prince of Wales (known as the Black Prince) in 1367 as a reward for helping him defeat a rival in battle.

The Imperial State Crown is the crown that the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation. It is also used on formal occasions, most notably the State Opening of Parliament.

The Imperial State Crown contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies!”

Image: © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2001/Prudence Cuming Associates

Info unedited from: https://hrp.org.uk/

Lovely gems of the show

“The Crown Jewels contain some of the world’s most exceptional diamonds, shown here with the blue Stuart Sapphire.

This sapphire was reputedly smuggled out of the country by James II when he fled in 1688. It now adorns the back of the Imperial State Crown (1937).

The magnificent Cullinan I (top left, 530.2 carats) is the world’s largest top quality white cut diamond. The huge uncut stone was discovered in South Africa in 1905, and was cut to create nine major stones and 96 smaller brilliants in all.  Cullinan II (bottom right, 317.4 carats), the second largest stone, is now set into the front band of the Imperial State Crown.

The history of the Koh-i-Nûr (or ‘Mountain of Light’) diamond is steeped in myth and anecdote. Discovered in 15th-century India, it was passed from ill-fated male hand to hand, until it earned a reputation of bringing bad luck to men. It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1849. It now adorns the front of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Crown (1837)!  

Image: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Info unedited from: https://hrp.org.uk/


My Timeless Footsteps says: To view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, buy the entry ticket to the Tower of London. The entry ticket to the Tower includes entry to the Jewel House. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 (Adult) and £12.50 (Child). It is valid for one day.


Pro tip: Note that the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower is a popular attraction. You may encounter a long queue at most times. I would recommend that you plan your visit to view the Crown Jewels at the Jewel House either for first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon to minimise waiting times. Other attractions within the Tower such as the White Tower, Bloody Tower and the Fusilier Museum are easily visited without a queue.


Practical information to consider when visiting the Crown Jewels at Tower of London

The Exhibition is on ground level, no stairs whatsoever! Possibly wheelchair accessible.

Getting to Tower of London:

Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB

Nearest Station:

Tower Hill Underground Station

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 09:00-17:30
Sunday-Monday: 10:00-17:30

Yeoman Warders Tours: FREE | 45 Minutes

Tickets & Prices:

Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.

£25.00


My Timeless Footsteps says: Skip the line and buy your entry tickets here for a day. If you want flexibility with time and attractions, over several days, then buy a great value package here.


Places to Stay in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Choices on accommodations in London are literally unlimited! From budget hostels, two or three star hotels to high-end hotels and apartments, it seems endless….

I have personally experienced the superb hospitality and quality and would highly recommend a stay at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London. Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.

Browse Millennium Hotels & Resorts in London and book yourself a fabulous experience.

You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain for accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story, as well as if you are travelling on business.

Browse Radisson Hotels in London and book yourself a beautiful and memorable stay.

As well, you could also run through booking dot com, a site I use and frequent for my searches on accommodations when I travel.

Browse a wide range of accommodations offered by Booking dot com to suit all budgets in the City of London

Activities to do in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

As with accommodations, the activities available to do in London are endless. A city that never sleeps, with transportation that works twenty-four hours a day, there is something you could do at any given time. Navigate to Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown series for ideas and inspirations. If you are planning a visit during the festive season, Christmas in London has articles that will inspire you to move London to the top of your list!

A popular destination within a stone’s throw of London is the historic town of Greenwich, renowned for when Time began. View the full article and related articles on Greenwich which includes Cutty Sark, Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and Planetarium. As well as recommended activities you could do when visiting this destination.

A visit to London is never complete without a trip to the countryside or wider UK. A day trip from London is highly recommended as it adds value to your experiences of England and not just limited to London. Popular day trips are a visit to Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, an experience that will blow you away, or go on a little adventure to the Isle of Wight. If you are not restricted in time and wish to explore more of UK, then a visit to Scotland is highly recommended. There are many highlights in this amazing land of the fairies that will leave you speechless and an experience of the Highlands will stay with you forever.

The UK boasts a good train network connecting London to the rest of the United Kingdom directly or indirectly via network exchanges. Experience UK like you have never before by train travel, by visiting the best scenic destinations by train while saving on your journeys. Read all about train travelling and unique experiences here.


My final say on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

Having visited the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, I can confidently say that it was a highlight of my visit to the Tower of London. I would highly recommend that you too, walk in the footsteps of history and make a visit here as a bucket list experience. If you are a history nerd like me, you would not want to miss this historical paradise where so much history is attached to each piece of the remarkable magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower that takes you on a journey of British history. Do not let the queue put you off from visiting the Jewel House – just plan your visit and make the most of your day.

If you have enjoyed reading this article on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, you may also like to read the following articles on the Tower of London and wider London:

Tower of London – Best Guide to What you Need to Know

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Discover London

MyCityMyTown Series


Have you viewed the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower? If so, please share your views in comments below, I would love to hear from you. If you have not visited the Crown Jewel, it is my sincere wish that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Enjoy your adventure in London xx


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Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower
Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

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The most famous, and precious of British treasures, the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower is an embodiment of superb craftmanship. Take a look here and plan your next visit to the Tower of London | Tower of London | London Travel | Visit London | British History | The Royal Jewels | Historic Royal Palaces | Royal Collection Trust | Visit Britain | National Heritage | Royal Palaces | Train Travel in UK | Visit Scotland | Explore the Scottish Highlands via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/The most famous, and precious of British treasures, the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower is an embodiment of superb craftmanship. Take a look here and plan your next visit to the Tower of London | Tower of London | London Travel | Visit London | British History | The Royal Jewels | Historic Royal Palaces | Royal Collection Trust | Visit Britain | National Heritage | Royal Palaces | Train Travel in UK | Visit Scotland | Explore the Scottish Highlands via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Historical background to the Bloody Tower at Tower of London in a nutshell

The Bloody Tower, Tower of London
The Bloody Tower, Tower of London

Built in the 1220s under the reign of King Henry III, the Bloody Tower is located on the south side of the fortress, facing the Thames River, adjacent to the Wakefield Tower. which was formerly home to the royal apartments.

Spiked portcullis at the Bloody Tower, Tower of London |  © mytimelessfootsteps, georgina_daniel

When it was built, the tower was intended to control the main river entrance to the Tower of London. However, in 1280, under Edward I, the outer defensive wall was built which meant the entrance via the Bloody Tower was now land locked. Consequently, the tower’s entrance archway became the main access point between the inner and the outer ward with a narrow cobbled passage on the ground floor. The entrance archway is blocked by spiked portcullis, controlled with a lifting mechanism that still remains in operation today. The Bloody Tower, like many of the medieval era has both an upper and lower chamber.

The Tower underwent further expansions between 1360 – 1362 under the reign of Edward III but the most significant changes came in the 17th century when the prison Tower became home to Sir Walter Raleigh, his family and his servants.

Origin of the name ‘Bloody Tower’

The Bloody Tower was originally known as the Garden Tower, which was related to the Constable’s Garden. No one really knows how, why or what inspired the name ‘Bloody Tower’ but all research seems to suggest a strong association with the mysterious disappearance and supposed murder of two young princes in 1483. The Tower derived its name from the 1560s when it was believed that the princes were murdered. More on this below.

Prisoners of the Bloody Tower at Tower of London

There were a number of prisoners at the Bloody Tower. Archbishop Tudor Cranmer, Bishops Ridley and Latimer, Protestant martyrs condemned to death in 1556 by Queen Mary I who was Catholic. Thomas Overbury, poet and courtier was poisoned in Bloody Tower in 1613. Judge Jeffreys died at the Tower in 1688. Amongst all of the prisoners, the most notable high status ones were Sir Walter Raleigh and the two young princes.

Sir Walter Raleigh

One of the most famous prisoner of the Bloody Tower was Sir Walter Raleigh. He was an Englishman, an officer, an explorer and a poet who fell from grace and was imprisoned by James I.

Raleigh had an inquisitive mind, a passion for poetry and science.

Raleigh was a prisoner of high status. He spent thirteen years here. The Tower was extensively renovated to accommodate his wife, his two sons and he was allowed three servants. He was given access to a courtyard outside the Bloody Tower. This was an opportunity for Raleigh to do his daily exercise and to cultivate a small garden in which he could grow some exotic plants that caught his interests while travelling in South America.

Raleigh's Garden at the Bloody Tower
Garden at the Bloody Tower, Tower of London | Photo credit: https:hrp.org.uk

In his garden, he grew plants to create medicinal potions. Today, a visit to the garden at the Bloody Tower and you shall see plants such as mint, bistort and rosemary which Raleigh had used in his remedies.

A visit to the Tower of London today and take a look inside the Bloody Tower, Sir Walter Raleigh’s Study | Photo credit hrp.org.uk

Now, after 400 years since his execution, a visit to the Bloody Tower reveals a complex and a brilliant man, who famously introduced “potato” to English tables, and less famously, tobacco. It all appears that he was just an adventurous man whose spirit was crushed by imprisonment.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh was denied his liberty but not his comfort. He was assigned two rooms on the second floor of the Bloody Tower. His family could visit and he could grow plants. He was in captivity for thirteen years. During his imprisonment he wrote a book, “History of the World” which was published in 1614. Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded four years later in 1618 at the Old Palace Yard, Palace of Westminster.

Walter Raleigh, © akg-images / De Agostini Picture Library

hrp.org.uk

Read more on Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh’s book, History of the World is available for purchase on Amazon as reprint or as cloud versions. Options below.

An Abridgment Of Sir Walter Raleigh’s History Of The World: In Five Books (1698) Paperback. 470 pages. Published 2010

by Walter Raleigh (Author)

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Kessinger Publishing

The History of the World Kindle Edition

418 pages. March 29 2016

by Sir Walter Raleigh  (Author), C.A. Patrides (Editor) 

Download the Kindle version or buy it in Hardcover or Paperback.

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections
such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact,
or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections,
have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works
worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

Palgrave MacMillan

Princes at the Tower | Edward V and Richard Duke of York | Murder and Mystery at the Bloody Tower

Despite the many prisoners who had seen their last days in the Bloody Tower, by far the saddest and most gruesome of events that made the Bloody Tower infamous was the mysterious disappearance of the two young princes.

The two Princes, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard Duke of York – sons to King Edward IV were under the guardianship of their uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester who was their Lord Protector. They were brought to the Tower of London and was confined to the walls of the Bloody Tower. According to the Yeoman Warder tour I joined, the Princes may have watched from the top floor windows of the Bloody Tower the Coronation procession of their uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester, proclaimed as King Richard III when it should have been Edward V, the older prince. The two Princes were last seen alive in June 1483. Mystery surrounds their disappearance.

The two Princes - Edward and Richard

The two Princes, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard Duke of York – sons to King Edward IV . The two Princes were last seen alive in June 1483. Mystery surrounds their disappearance.

Photo credit hrp.org.uk

It is said that their disappearance is so because they were murdered in the late summer of 1483. There are conflicting theories as to who ordered their murders.

According to the traditionalists theory, it is believed that the Princes were killed on their uncle Richard’s orders. On the other hand, the revisionists argue that his successor, Henry VII had equal cause to remove the two Princes, as they stood as much in his path to the throne as they did in Richard’s. (Richard III was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, who ascended to the throne as King Henry VII.

About two-hundred years or so later since the disappearance of the Princes from the Bloody Tower, skeletons were discovered behind the stairs leading to the White Tower in 1674. These were later removed to the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey at the command of Charles II.

My Timeless Footsteps says: There are inundated stories of the Tower being haunted by the many poor souls who lost their lives here. One such story/legend is that the Bloody Tower is haunted by the ghosts of the two princes. It was reported back in the 15th century where the Tower Guards spotted shadows of two small figures gliding down the stairs in white night shirts. The figures were said to stand silently, hand in hand, before fading back into the stones of the Bloody Tower.

The skeletons were re-examined in 1933. It proved to be those of two boys aged about 12 and 10, the same ages as the Princes when they disappeared. The disappearance of the Princes still remains a cold case as to who was responsible for their death.

If you wish to learn more and delve deeper into the mystery of the missing princes in sinister circumstances, the following books either in print or cloud is highly recommended.

The Princes In The Tower by Alison Weir (2008-06-05) Paperback – 1 Jan. 1823

Avaialble on Kindle, Hardback and Paperback

The stories of the Bloody Tower, as are all other stories of prisoners in other accommodations within the Tower of London grounds such as the Queen’s House and the Beauchamp Tower are spellbindingly intriguing. Even though there are so many books, articles, blogs dedicated to the iconic fortress, palace and prison, it still holds many secrets, unsolved mysteries and ghosts that linger the grounds of the Tower of London. It is hard to keep away from the Bloody Tower, and the wider Tower of London, especially if you are a history buff. For visitors generally, the Tower of London reflects the journey of 1000 years of British history and it is a destination not to be missed.


If you have enjoyed reading this article, you may also be interested in other London related articles:

Discover London | London MyCityMyTown | Christmas in London | All posts on the blog


I sincerely hope that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to the Bloody Tower at Tower of London. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at ggdaniel166@gmail.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Have a splendid time exploring London

Georgina xx

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A beginner's guide to the secrets and unsolved mysteries at the Bloody Tower of Tower of London | Tower of London | Princes at the Tower | English History | British history | English monarchs | Sir Walter Raleigh | Walter Ralegh | Visit London | London | Landmarks in London | UNESCO listed in England via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/A beginner's guide to the secrets and unsolved mysteries at the Bloody Tower of Tower of London | Tower of London | Princes at the Tower | English History | British history | English monarchs | Sir Walter Raleigh | Walter Ralegh | Visit London | London | Landmarks in London | UNESCO listed in England via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Audible: audiobooks, podcasts & audio stories – Free Download Available Instantly


About the Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Built in the early 1220s as access gateway to the Thames, the Bloody Tower was originally known as the Garden Tower because it was next to the Constable’s garden. The Tower was not intended to be a prison but it became home to a number of prisoners, notably Sir Walter Raleigh and the two princes. The tower gained its reputation in the 16th century as the Bloody Tower when the notorious murders of the princes, Edward V and Richard Duke of York that supposedly took place within the walls of the tower were discovered. To learn more about the Bloody Tower, navigate to The Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, while on this page, there are carefully selected and recommended reading items – books on the prisoners of the Bloody Tower should you wish to delve deeper into learning more about the famous prisoners that resided here, Sir Walter Raleigh and the royal princes.

*Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links including Amazon LLC. This means that I earn a commission, from qualifying purchases at no cost to you, if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here or get in touch with me via Contact form if you have any questions about any of the companies. You could also take a look at our Trusted Partners

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh, © akg-images / De Agostini Picture Library

Walter Raleigh (also spelled as Ralegh) was an English gentleman, writer, poet, adventurer, politician, courtier and a soldier who introduced ‘potato’ to the English dinner tables. A charming nobleman, he was one of the most famous explorers during the reign of Elizabeth I. He pioneered the colonisation of North America and helped defend England against the Spainish Armada. Raleigh was rewarded handsomely by the Queen and received his knighthood in 1585.

When Queen Elizabeth I died, James I succeeded to the throne in 1603 who imprisoned Raleigh at the Tower of London. While confined to the walls of the Tower, he wrote ‘History of the World‘. In 1616, Raleigh was released to head an expedition to South America, during which his men attacked a Spanish settlement. He was forced to abandon his mission. Upon his return, he was imprisoned at the Bloody Tower to appease the Spaniards until his beheading in 1618.

Suggested reading: Bloody Tower at the Tower of London

Below is a selection of books, some written by Walter Raleigh himself which are available as reprints and some books written about him. Enjoy perusing each of the carefully selected books to learn more of this infamous adventurer. You can purchase them as Paperback, Hardcover or instant download on Kindle.

Books on Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend Kindle Edition – by Mark Nicholls +  P. Williams  

The Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh: Now First Collected (Classic Reprint) Paperback – 27 Jun. 2012

The Roanake Voyages 1584-1590: Vol II: English Voyages to North America Paperback – 28 Mar. 2003

The Letters Of Sir Walter Ralegh Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 July 1999


Sir Walter Raleigh 174 Success Facts – Everything You Need to Know about Sir Walter Raleigh Paperback – 5 Jun. 2014

The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (Exploring Travel) Paperback – 4 Dec. 1997

An Abridgment Of Sir Walter Raleigh’s History Of The World: In Five Books (1698) Paperback – 10 Sept. 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh A Biography Kindle Edition. Also available in Paperback and Hardcover

Click on the images to view the synopsis and Buy on Amazon


The Princes – Edward V and Richard Duke of York

The two princes, Edward and his younger brother, Richard mysteriously disappeared in 1483 from the Bloody Tower. The princes, sons of Edward IV were brought to the Tower by their uncle and Lord Protector, Duke of Gloucester for their ‘own protection’. Duke of Gloucester later became King Richard III. The princes were never seen alive again.

Below is a list of books written on the mysterious disappearance and the sinister plot that may have transpired during this fifteen century era. There are various opinions as to who was responsible for their disappearance and/or murder. This mystery remains unsolved till today.

Books on the Missing Princes at the Tower

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Paperback – 7 Aug. 2014 by Alison Weir

The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth Kindle Edition by Matthew Lewis (Also available in Paperback and Hardback)

The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower‘ Kindle Edition by John Ashdown-Hill (Available in Paperback and Hardback as well)

The Princes in the Tower : Cold Case Re-opened Kindle Edition by Mark Garber (Available as Audiobook as well)

The Killer of the Princes in the Tower: A New Suspect Revealed Hardcover – 30 Jun. 2021

Pre order Price Guarantee

The Princes in the Tower: Did Richard III Murder His Nephews, Edward V & Richard of York? Kindle Edition by Josephine Wilkinson

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower: The Possible Fates of Edward V and Richard of York Paperback – Illustrated, 30 Oct. 2016 by Gerald Prenderghast

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Click on the images to view synopsis and Buy on Amazon


What do you think of the selection above? Have you read any of these books? I sincerely hope that the selection is valuable to you in knowing more about British History and in particular about the Tower of London. Do share your thoughts in comments below. The following related articles may also be of value to you in planning your visit to the Tower of London.

Tower of London-The Best Guide to What you need to know

Tower of London-The Best Guide to What you need to know

A fortress, royal palace and an infamous prison

View of Tower Bridge from the grounds of Tower of London © mytimelessfootsteps | georgina_daniel

The Tower of London

Tower of London is one of the most visited castles and tourist attraction in Britain with 2.86 million visitors in 2018. With such popularity and often referred as a “fortress, royal palace and an infamous prison”, I had wondered of its continued significance and how much of the past history or traditions the Tower continues to exhibit. My thoughts were spurred on as I retrace my footsteps on the royal palaces as part of my 3rd instalment in London Series, MyCityMyTown, retracing my footsteps – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks which this article represents.

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What is known about the Tower of London

Entrance to the Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

I had always known that the Tower was historically important, built by the Normans after the 1066 invasion and it was once occupied by reigning monarchs. In 1988 it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given it’s historical importance and it’s popularity, the Tower offers various activities throughout the day to entertain visitors, both young and old. As a visitor on previous occasions, I had gone along with the flow, joining in the activities and observing without really giving it much thought. I don’t think I had even seen ALL of the towers and castle grounds! So, my re-visit on this occasion was an opportunity to see, explore, discover and learn more of this magnificent castle. I share my experiences in this article in the hope that you would find this to be the Best Guide to What You Need to Know about the Tower of London.

What I discovered about the Tower

In a nutshell, my visit was a whole new world of discovery! It was all too much to ignore and for me to try to condense it into one post will not do justice to English history and to this monument or to you, as reader of this article and/or as a visitor to the Tower of London. Therefore, I address the Tower’s historical significance in this article which is the Best Guide to What you need to know about the Tower of London together with links dotted throughout the article where you can navigate for a more informative post on that particular section.

This may seem like taking a step into history but I think it is a much needed one to help you fully immerse yourself in the context of the Tower’s 1,000 years of history.

I shall address “The traditions at the Tower of London” which will be published in a future article.

My visit to the Tower of London was yet another perfect opportunity for me to use the HRP annual membership and not pay an entry fee.

Best Guide to What you need to know about the Tower of London

The Tower of London has been many things during its life. Today, a visit to the Tower of London along River Thames allows a visitor to discover its many layers of history. I shall limit my contribution to the areas famously attributed to the castle as a “fortress, royal palace and an infamous prison”.

Tower of London as a “fortress, royal palace and an infamous prison”

My starting point was to look at the Tower’s significance today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and trace it’s history to understand what factors contributed to its recognition as an iconic monument.

1 | The Tower of London is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Tower of London is of Outstanding Universal Value and gained its recognition as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Through my research, I discovered that this 11th century fortress is the most complete castle still remaining in Europe. The Tower reflects the last military conquest of England, thus symbolic of royal power since 1066. It’s imposing architecture, it’s strategic sitting on River Thames and it’s many layers of history stood for protection and control of the City of London as well as the gateway to the new Norman kingdom. The Tower resembles fostering of closer ties with Europe, language and culture.

As a symbol of royal power, the Tower of London has an interesting history that goes way back to medieval England.

2 | The Tower of London is a historical landmark

The primary significance of the Tower of London as a UNESCO Site is that it is a historical landmark with an interesting history that goes way back to the Norman conquest in 1066. 1066 is a popular date/year in Britain’s history and a date/year that is hard to forget. It marks the end of Anglo-Saxon rule and the last successful invasion by force of England, hence the “beginning” of England as we know today.

This historic castle was constructed in the wake of the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror. Since then, the Tower has dominated the pages of English history and London’s skyline. Let’s take a look at how it came about.

Timeless Travel Steps says: Join one of the Beefeater Tours which is FREE. They run for 45 minutes and is filled with facts, gory details and humour. More details in Useful information below.

2.1 The Norman Conquest and the Story of the Tower of London

According to history, castles were at the heart of William of Normandy’s strategy to conquer England. As he captured towns, villages and strategic points, he built castles to secure his acquisitions and as means to provide defensive structures to guard against the Saxons. His conquest can be traced by the castles he built in Pevensey (his first capture), then Dover and Hastings. William won the Battle of Hastings by defeating King Harold, which ended the Anglo Saxon rule of England.

As a victor of the Battle of Hastings meant that William had invaded a country with a population of 2 to 3 million people with only 10,000 men. William had to move very swiftly to take control of England. To gain full control of England, William realised that he first must have control of the City of London, which was a major power centre that held the purse strings of the country.

To learn more of its history while you walk, get an audio guide.

The “Negotiation”

To gain control of the City of London, William negotiated a deal with the leaders of the City – if he was accepted as King of England, he would give the City certain rights that would allow them to function independently as a state within a state. The City leaders accepted the deal. William of Normandy was crowned King William 1st of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. Having been crowned the King, William wanted to make a statement to the people of England that he is here to stay.

3 | The Tower of London is a fortress

To make that statement, King William ordered the construction of a fortress on a huge mound at the eastern side of the City of London, both to protect London and to show Norman military strength. This fortress would become the Tower of London. William built three fortresses, Baynard’s Castle, Montfichet Castle and the White Tower. Baynard and Montfichet are long gone.

3.1 | The White Tower – The beginning of a fortress

The White Tower, Tower of London .
The White Tower | Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The White Tower is the same White Tower that you see today in the centre of the Tower grounds, with grey turrets and flag pole. Construction of the White Tower began in 1078 and was completed in 1097, eight years after Williams death in Rouen. The White Tower is so named because in those Middle Ages days, it would have been whitewashed to give it a clean, shining and gleaming appearance.

White Tower, Tower of London
The White Tower-the first tower built by the Normans sits in the middle of the Tower of London grounds | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Visiting the White Tower is an opportunity to witness the sophisticated architecture of the 11th century. It represents the Normans cutting edge military building technology of its time. If you are into details, you will note the depth of the walls, giving this incredible monument the uniqueness as a secure fortress to protect the residents of the castle and deter any invasion.

Admission to the White Tower is included in your entry ticket to the Tower of London. Purchase your ticket here.

3.2 | The Story of the fortress – Tower of London as a fortress

Over the following centuries, a vast complex of twenty separate towers were added, primarily by Henry III in the 1200’s. This phase of extension to the Tower is said to be up to the middle wall, identified by the white drain pipes. The third and final phase of extension is said to be by King Edward in the 1300’s which is the outer wall. This extension can be identified by the black drain pipes. Edward added the moat which became heavily polluted and was drained in the 19th century. These additions included a perimeter wall connecting each tower encircling the castle.

About 20 towers were built over the centuries, to surround the White Tower.
About 21 towers were built over the centuries, to surround the White Tower | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
The entrance to the Constable Tower at the Tower of London
The entrance to the Constable Tower at the Tower of London. Initially built in 1240, later rebuilt in the 19th century | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

These later additions also displays an intricate architecture. You can notice these on areas surrounding the doorways and the narrow stairs. As you visit each tower, it does give you a feel of Tudor times.

The map below shows the layout of the Tower of London, 21 towers and main structures.

As a fortress, the Tower became the most secure castle of the land.

Tower of London as it stands today.
Tower of London as it stands today | Image: georgina_daniel

4 | The Tower of London as a Royal Palace

The next significance of the Tower of London is that it has always been and still is a Royal Palace. It was and still is the most secure castle in the land. It had protected the royal family in times of war and during rebellions. The White Tower was built not only as a symbol of Norman strength, a fortress but also as a grand palace and served as a royal residence in its early history.

4.1 | Norman Fireplaces

It had four fireplaces to provide sufficient warmth to the residents – like the one in the picture below.

One of the four Norman fireplaces which you can see today in the White Tower | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The White Tower has four floors – the ground, the first, the second and the third. The first, second and the third floors were designed the same with a large room to the west, and a smaller room in the northeast.

4.2 | A place of Christian worship

As a place of royal residence, King William wanted a place of a Christian worship to be built in the White Tower. Religion was an important part of his royal image, so, a private chapel, St John’s Chapel, was built on the second floor. The Chapel was used for private worship by the royal family for about 900 years and the tower community as well.

The Chapel of St John, White Tower, Tower of London
The Chapel of St John, White Tower, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The beautiful Romanesque Chapel of St John is the finest of Norman church architecture that exist today. The Chapel is vaulted with a plain arch, four massive columns on either side and four in the apse. Arches are supported by thick, round piers. Its decorations are simple carvings of scallop and leaf designs.

Although the Chapel was built for William the Conqueror, it was not completed before his death. His son, William II was the first royal to use it. In 1240, King Henry III added stained glass windows depicting the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. The chapel was also provided with a gold-painted cross in Henry’s reign. The Chapels current unadorned appearance is reminiscent of how it may have looked in the Norman era.

4.3 | The Tower was the starting point of a Royal procession

The Tower of London was significant as a Royal Palace as early as the 14th century right through to King Charles II (1630-1685) where a royal procession on the coronation of the king was held from the Tower to Westminster Abbey. In addition to being a Royal Palace, it became a menagerie, a treasury, an armoury, and more famously, a prison.

4.4 | A menagerie

A menagerie at the Tower of London

The very first zoo is said to be housed at the Tower of London. For over 600 years, the Tower was home to wild and exotic animals given as royal gifts. The Tower menagerie included lions, polar bear, elephants and tigers.

Learn more about the menagerie here.

4.5 | Royal Mint

The Tower of London was both a treasury and home for the Royal Mint. The Mint made the coins of the realm for over 500 years. The coins were minted from the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) who installed it in a dedicated area within the Tower walls in c1279 until 1810.  The area became famously known as Mint Street.

As one can imagine, back in the day, working at the Mint was a deadly business. It involved using toxic chemicals and working with fiery furnaces to melt the metal. Coins were all made by hand. Health and safety of the workers was not a priority. Loss of fingers and eyes were common. The coins carried the face of the monarch and if anyone were to tamper, forge or shave off the silver from the edges of the coin were punished for treason.

Join one of the Beefeater Tours which is FREE. They run for 45 minutes and is filled with facts, gory details and humour. More details in Useful information below.

5 | The White Tower at the Tower of London is An Armoury

Over the years, the Royal Palace became to be used as a storage facility. The Royal Armoury began life occupying buildings within the Tower, storing arms and artillery even as early as the existence of the White Tower itself. However, the first recorded items to the Tower Armouries was in 1498. Today, you can visit, admire and explore the magnificent collection of royal arms and historical artefacts of armouries in the White Tower. A long flight of spiral staircase from the third floor to the basement takes you to the Storehouse.

The spiral staircase has a lot of steps and rather narrow at some curves. Not wheelchair accessible.

Below are just a few photos to give you an idea of what it looks like.

All images © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Learn more on the history of the Royal Armouries here

Admission to the Royal Armouries in the White Tower is included in your entry ticket to the Tower of London. You can purchase your ticket here.

6 | The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels

As the most secure castle in the land, the fortress as well as a royal palace, The Tower of London was the one place best suited to protect the Crown Jewels. The Tower of London is home to The Jewel House which now guards the Crown Jewels.

St Edward’s Crown – the most important and sacred crown | Image: St Edward’s Crown, 1661.  The magnificent solid gold frame makes it a very heavy and tiring crown to wear, even briefly, as it weighs 2.23kg (nearly 5lbs). © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2001/Prudence Cuming Associates

To learn more about the Crown Jewels and the exhibition, navigate here to Jewel House at the Tower of London.


Timeless Travel Steps: The entry ticket to the Tower of London includes entry to the Jewel House. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 for Adults and £12.50 for Child, valid for one day. Alternatively, if you have an annual HRP membership, your entry is free.

Timeless Travel Steps suggests: Plan your visit to the Jewel House, either first thing in the morning, or towards the end of the day. Anything in between, you may encounter a queue. The Exhibition is on the ground level, no stairs whatsoever! Possibly wheelchair accessible. For accessibility information, navigate to Tower of London

Timeless Travel Steps says: Plan your visit and make the most of your day. Read more on 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is Important and Pretravel Planning-25 Top Tips for a Stress-free Vacation


Visiting the Jewel House is definitely a highlight and I would highly recommend that you do too. There is more a reason to do so if you were visiting the Tower of London as once in a lifetime occasion/bucket list experience. You would not want to miss walking in the footsteps of history at the Jewel House. Do not let the queue put you off from visiting the Jewel House – just plan your visit and make the most of your day.

Timeless Travel Steps says: Skip the line and buy your entry tickets here for a day. If you want flexibility with time and attractions, over several days, then buy a great value package here.


So far, I have listed the significance of the Tower of London as a fortress and as a palace. Now, lets discover why it is more famously known for stories of those who have gone beyond the walls and never came out – a Prison and a place of torture.

7 | Tower of London as a Prison and a place of Torture – Discover the stories behind the walls of the Tower of London

Besides being a mighty fortress, and a palace, the Tower of London was an infamous prison, a place of torture and executions. The Tower of London was a symbol of fear. Many men and women, including royals and the famous, rich and poor who entered the walls were never returned to the outside world. Some stayed for only a few days, others for many years, uncertain of their faith. Ghosts of many are said to haunt the castle corridors.

Murder and mystery surrounds the Bloody Tower, one of the twenty-one towers that makes up the Tower of London Castle. The Queen’s House and the Beauchamp Tower were used for royals and high-ranking prisoners

The Bloody Tower, Tower of London
The Bloody Tower, Tower of London | Image: georgina_daniel
The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen's House. The Dudley's were imprisoned here
The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen’s House. The Dudley’s were imprisoned here | Image: georgina_daniel
The Queen's House, Tower of London - Where Lady Jane Grey, Queen Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes were help captive.
The Queen’s House, Tower of London

With over 1000 years of history, there are many stories to be told. You will find some of them written in the following articles:

Read more about the Bloody Tower and its prisoners by navigating to Bloody Tower at the Tower of London. As well, learn more about the Forgotten storie royal prisoners at Queen’s House

Timeless Travel Steps says: The torture basement next to Wakefield Tower is signposted but can be easily missed. The entrance is narrow, dark and a few steps down, you will come to face the torture devices. For some it can give the chills. Stands displayed is the RACK torture device and information on SCAVENGER’S DAUGHTER which is another form of torture. Both are extreme. **Personally, I will not recommend for children to visit this basement.


Other points of Interest at the Tower of London which should not be missed

8 | Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula at Tower of London

The Parish church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Inner Ward of the Tower of London is a quaint and unique place of worship with an extraordinary history.

Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London
Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

This Tudor chapel dates from 1520 but it is said that there had been a place of worship at this spot for over a thousand years, predating the White Tower itself. During the Victorian renovations in the 18th century the resting places of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey were discovered in the chancel, near the altar. This led to the chapel gaining its reputation as the “saddest spot on earth”. This discovery led to the permanent memorial for Anne Boleyn and others to be dedicated at Tower Green. The Chapel you see today is the result of extensive renovations carried out in 1970-71 and in 2014.

Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London
Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Georgina: There is a certain warmth here despite its sad history. It is airy and seems to have the right amount of light coming through. I noticed not many visitors to the Tower came here possibly because it is tucked away from the other main/touristy parts of the grounds. I would highly recommend that you don’t miss it when you visit.


Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula is open to the public for worships and visits. You can book it for private functions such as baptisms and weddings. Sunday Services at the Chapel: 09:15 a.m. – Holy Communion | 11:00 a.m. – Mattins & Sermon.


9 | The Fusilier Museum at the Tower of London

The building that is the Fusilier Museum at the Tower of London is also home to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers’ Regimental Headquarters and the Officer’s Mess, where formal dinners take place.

The Fusilier Museum, Tower of London
The Fusilier Museum, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
The Fusilier Museum, Tower of London
The Fusilier Museum, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was formed on 20th June 1685, when King James II issued a Royal Warrant to raise an infantry force from the existing Tower of London Garrison. The first Commanding Officer was the Constable of the Tower. The Fusiliers’ intended role was to guard the guns at the Tower of London. The force later fought in Belgium and Spain, and in the American War of Independence.

Notable exhibits here are the:

  • 12 Victoria Cross Medals won by the Regiment;
  • The uniform and bearskin of King George V (a former Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment);
  • An Eagle Standard of the 82nd Regiment of the French Line captured by the Royal Fusiliers during the Napoleonic Wars.

Today, garrison duties are undertaken by the Yeoman Warders and a rota made of three London District regiments.


Entry to the Fusilier Museum is included in the entry ticket to the Tower of London. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 and is valid for one day – take a look here. However, you may wish to purchase combined tickets that allows a visit to several attractions over a few days. Personally, I find these combined tickets to be extremely good value for money and offers flexibility that I need over several days. Take a look at one such example for London, here.


10 | St Thomas’ Tower

St Thomas' Tower, Tower of London
St Thomas’ Tower | Tower of London | Image: georgina_daniel

St Thomas’ Tower is one of the three towers that forms the Medieval Palace. The other two are Wakefield Tower and the Lanthorn Tower.  Built by Edward I between 1275-1279, it was formerly a royal residence. Richly decorated, comfortable and grand.

11 | Traitor’s Gate

The Traitor's Gate, Tower of London
Traitors’ Gate | Tower of London | Image: georgina_daniel

Traitors’ Gate was originally called Water Gate. It was built in the late 1270s and was used by Edward I and other royals to get into St. Thomas’s Tower by water. The Tower began to be used as a prison, more so for prisoners accused of treason, who were brought to the Tower by water. The name “Traitor’s Gate” was first used in 1544.

12 | Fun for Family and kids

Explore and discover the 1,000 year old history of the Tower of London on a family fun day out together with your kids – There are activity trails and digital mission which you can complete with your kids. Activity Trails are filled with fun quizzes, activities, facts and illustrations – available throughout the year.

Digital missions are interactive adventures played on a mobile device. Kids can meet characters from history, solve problems by tackling a series of challenges which helps with exploring the Tower.

Find out more about the digital mission here.


13 | Walk along the perimeter of the Tower of London for views of London’s Skyline

Finally, don’t forget to walk along the perimeter of the Tower for some amazing views of London’s skyline, even if the sign says, “No Entry”.

No Entry sign to the perimeter of the Tower of London
“No Entry” | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
London's skyline
London’s skyline | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
London's skyline and the Walkie Talkie in the distance
London’s skyline – the Walkie-talkie in the distance | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
View of Tower Bridge from Tower of London
A walk along the perimeter of the Tower of London gives some breathtaking views not seen elsewhere. Try and make time for it. | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Thoughts so far…

The Tower of London has attracted much attention due to a mixture of its legends/myths of ghosts and the fearsome reputation it holds for inflicting torture on its prisoners. The prisoners who enter the walls of the Tower never really return to the outside world. However, according to history, torture was used only for relatively a short period of time during the Tudor era in the midst of political turmoil.

Although the Tower of London is no longer used as a prison, it is still a place that attracts much attention from tourists or local visitors because of its dark history and legends. It is now a secure “storage” unit for documents, armaments and jewels. However, this is only part of the story that makes Tower of London a #1 destination to visit. The more entertaining part lies in the 700 year old traditions of the castle itself which are fascinating and incredible. As mentioned earlier in the article, I will share these traditions in a future article.

As a tourist/visitor to the Tower of London, you simply have to witness it at least once.


There is so much more to see and experience at the Tower of London where you would want to feel the money’s worth. For many visitors, the Tower of London is a must see attraction and you may not wish to spend a lot of time waiting in line to purchase tickets. To maximise your time as a visitor to the Tower of London, you could purchase your ticket/s online and avoid this wait. Prior to my Annual Membership with the Historic Royal Palaces, I often purchased these day tickets or combined tickets that allows a visit to several attractions over a few days. I do still look for combined tickets to attractions not covered by the membership. I find these combined tickets to be extremely good value for money and offers flexibility that I need over several days. Take a look at one such example for London, here.


The queue at the ticket office to the Tower of London.
The queue at the ticket office to the Tower of London. You don’t have to do this! Get your tickets online | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

My final say…

No journey to England is ever complete, in my opinion, without a visit to at least one ancient castle. I highly recommend the Tower of London. As you can see, the Tower of London has been many things in its life – a rich, complex and diverse institution popularly known as a “fortress, a palace and a prison.” It’s role as a prison, the centre for torture and execution as do the ghost stories had and continues to intrigue and attract visitors from all over the globe. Some of the Tower’s traditions such as the Ceremony of the Keys, the need to maintain six ravens and the Yeoman Warders are still very much present today – more on this in Part 2.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post on the historical significance of the Tower of London and agree that it is The Best Guide to What you Need to Know on this ancient castle. If you do, please leave a comment below, I would love to know what your views are. If it was not helpful, you can say that, too. Either way, I would love to hear from you.

Useful information for when you visit the Tower of London

Getting here:

Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB

Nearest Station:

Tower Hill Underground Station

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 09:00-17:30
Sunday-Monday: 10:00-17:30

Yeoman Warders Tours: FREE | 45 Minutes

Tickets & Prices:

Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.

£25.00


Due to lockdown measures in the City of London as a result of Covid-19, some attractions may be closed or operate on restricted hours. In most situations you may need to pre-book a time slot for your visit. Check the following website for visits to the Tower of London: https://hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/

Updated February 2021

If you choose to #travel, travel safely | #staysafe #stayinspired | Read now to #travel later. For latest on Covid-19 go to: CDC.GOV | WHO International

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If you have enjoyed reading this, you may also be interested in reading further articles on the Tower of London:

Bloody Tower at the Tower of London | Books on the famous prisoners of Bloody Tower

Have a splendid time discovering London 🙂

Georgina xx


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A detailed travel guide offering a comprehensive list of the best of what you need to know about the iconic Tower of London, London, England. via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/A detailed travel guide offering a comprehensive list of the best of what you need to know about the iconic Tower of London, London, England. via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Historical background to the Bloody Tower at Tower of London in a nutshell

The Bloody Tower, Tower of London
The Bloody Tower, Tower of London

Built in the 1220s under the reign of King Henry III, the Bloody Tower is located on the south side of the fortress, facing the Thames River, adjacent to the Wakefield Tower. which was formerly home to the royal apartments.

Spiked portcullis at the Bloody Tower, Tower of London |  © mytimelessfootsteps, georgina_daniel

When it was built, the tower was intended to control the main river entrance to the Tower of London. However, in 1280, under Edward I, the outer defensive wall was built which meant the entrance via the Bloody Tower was now land locked. Consequently, the tower’s entrance archway became the main access point between the inner and the outer ward with a narrow cobbled passage on the ground floor. The entrance archway is blocked by spiked portcullis, controlled with a lifting mechanism that still remains in operation today. The Bloody Tower, like many of the medieval era has both an upper and lower chamber.

The Tower underwent further expansions between 1360 – 1362 under the reign of Edward III but the most significant changes came in the 17th century when the prison Tower became home to Sir Walter Raleigh, his family and his servants.

Origin of the name ‘Bloody Tower’

The Bloody Tower was originally known as the Garden Tower, which was related to the Constable’s Garden. No one really knows how, why or what inspired the name ‘Bloody Tower’ but all research seems to suggest a strong association with the mysterious disappearance and supposed murder of two young princes in 1483. The Tower derived its name from the 1560s when it was believed that the princes were murdered. More on this below.

Prisoners of the Bloody Tower at Tower of London

There were a number of prisoners at the Bloody Tower. Archbishop Tudor Cranmer, Bishops Ridley and Latimer, Protestant martyrs condemned to death in 1556 by Queen Mary I who was Catholic. Thomas Overbury, poet and courtier was poisoned in Bloody Tower in 1613. Judge Jeffreys died at the Tower in 1688. Amongst all of the prisoners, the most notable high status ones were Sir Walter Raleigh and the two young princes.

Sir Walter Raleigh

One of the most famous prisoner of the Bloody Tower was Sir Walter Raleigh. He was an Englishman, an officer, an explorer and a poet who fell from grace and was imprisoned by James I.

Raleigh had an inquisitive mind, a passion for poetry and science.

Raleigh was a prisoner of high status. He spent thirteen years here. The Tower was extensively renovated to accommodate his wife, his two sons and he was allowed three servants. He was given access to a courtyard outside the Bloody Tower. This was an opportunity for Raleigh to do his daily exercise and to cultivate a small garden in which he could grow some exotic plants that caught his interests while travelling in South America.

Raleigh's Garden at the Bloody Tower
Garden at the Bloody Tower, Tower of London | Photo credit: https:hrp.org.uk

In his garden, he grew plants to create medicinal potions. Today, a visit to the garden at the Bloody Tower and you shall see plants such as mint, bistort and rosemary which Raleigh had used in his remedies.

A visit to the Tower of London today and take a look inside the Bloody Tower, Sir Walter Raleigh’s Study | Photo credit hrp.org.uk

Now, after 400 years since his execution, a visit to the Bloody Tower reveals a complex and a brilliant man, who famously introduced “potato” to English tables, and less famously, tobacco. It all appears that he was just an adventurous man whose spirit was crushed by imprisonment.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh was denied his liberty but not his comfort. He was assigned two rooms on the second floor of the Bloody Tower. His family could visit and he could grow plants. He was in captivity for thirteen years. During his imprisonment he wrote a book, “History of the World” which was published in 1614. Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded four years later in 1618 at the Old Palace Yard, Palace of Westminster.

Walter Raleigh, © akg-images / De Agostini Picture Library

hrp.org.uk

Read more on Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh’s book, History of the World is available for purchase on Amazon as reprint or as cloud versions. Options below.

An Abridgment Of Sir Walter Raleigh’s History Of The World: In Five Books (1698) Paperback. 470 pages. Published 2010

by Walter Raleigh (Author)

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Kessinger Publishing

The History of the World Kindle Edition

418 pages. March 29 2016

by Sir Walter Raleigh  (Author), C.A. Patrides (Editor) 

Download the Kindle version or buy it in Hardcover or Paperback.

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections
such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact,
or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections,
have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works
worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

Palgrave MacMillan

Princes at the Tower | Edward V and Richard Duke of York | Murder and Mystery at the Bloody Tower

Despite the many prisoners who had seen their last days in the Bloody Tower, by far the saddest and most gruesome of events that made the Bloody Tower infamous was the mysterious disappearance of the two young princes.

The two Princes, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard Duke of York – sons to King Edward IV were under the guardianship of their uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester who was their Lord Protector. They were brought to the Tower of London and was confined to the walls of the Bloody Tower. According to the Yeoman Warder tour I joined, the Princes may have watched from the top floor windows of the Bloody Tower the Coronation procession of their uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester, proclaimed as King Richard III when it should have been Edward V, the older prince. The two Princes were last seen alive in June 1483. Mystery surrounds their disappearance.

The two Princes - Edward and Richard

The two Princes, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard Duke of York – sons to King Edward IV . The two Princes were last seen alive in June 1483. Mystery surrounds their disappearance.

Photo credit hrp.org.uk

It is said that their disappearance is so because they were murdered in the late summer of 1483. There are conflicting theories as to who ordered their murders.

According to the traditionalists theory, it is believed that the Princes were killed on their uncle Richard’s orders. On the other hand, the revisionists argue that his successor, Henry VII had equal cause to remove the two Princes, as they stood as much in his path to the throne as they did in Richard’s. (Richard III was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, who ascended to the throne as King Henry VII.

About two-hundred years or so later since the disappearance of the Princes from the Bloody Tower, skeletons were discovered behind the stairs leading to the White Tower in 1674. These were later removed to the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey at the command of Charles II.

My Timeless Footsteps says: There are inundated stories of the Tower being haunted by the many poor souls who lost their lives here. One such story/legend is that the Bloody Tower is haunted by the ghosts of the two princes. It was reported back in the 15th century where the Tower Guards spotted shadows of two small figures gliding down the stairs in white night shirts. The figures were said to stand silently, hand in hand, before fading back into the stones of the Bloody Tower.

The skeletons were re-examined in 1933. It proved to be those of two boys aged about 12 and 10, the same ages as the Princes when they disappeared. The disappearance of the Princes still remains a cold case as to who was responsible for their death.

If you wish to learn more and delve deeper into the mystery of the missing princes in sinister circumstances, the following books either in print or cloud is highly recommended.

The Princes In The Tower by Alison Weir (2008-06-05) Paperback – 1 Jan. 1823

Avaialble on Kindle, Hardback and Paperback

The stories of the Bloody Tower, as are all other stories of prisoners in other accommodations within the Tower of London grounds such as the Queen’s House and the Beauchamp Tower are spellbindingly intriguing. Even though there are so many books, articles, blogs dedicated to the iconic fortress, palace and prison, it still holds many secrets, unsolved mysteries and ghosts that linger the grounds of the Tower of London. It is hard to keep away from the Bloody Tower, and the wider Tower of London, especially if you are a history buff. For visitors generally, the Tower of London reflects the journey of 1000 years of British history and it is a destination not to be missed.


If you have enjoyed reading this article, you may also be interested in other London related articles:

Discover London | London MyCityMyTown | Christmas in London | All posts on the blog


I sincerely hope that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to the Bloody Tower at Tower of London. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at ggdaniel166@gmail.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Have a splendid time exploring London

Georgina xx

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A beginner's guide to the secrets and unsolved mysteries at the Bloody Tower of Tower of London | Tower of London | Princes at the Tower | English History | British history | English monarchs | Sir Walter Raleigh | Walter Ralegh | Visit London | London | Landmarks in London | UNESCO listed in England via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/A beginner's guide to the secrets and unsolved mysteries at the Bloody Tower of Tower of London | Tower of London | Princes at the Tower | English History | British history | English monarchs | Sir Walter Raleigh | Walter Ralegh | Visit London | London | Landmarks in London | UNESCO listed in England via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

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A Must Read on British History-carefully selected books on the famous prisoners at the Bloody Tower to complement Tower of London series. Visit London | Princes in the Tower | Walter Raleigh | British History | Landmark of Britain | A Palace Fortress and a Prison | Stories on Tower of London | Visit Britain | Most popular attraction in London | Must visit sites in Britain | UNESCO | via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/A Must Read on British History-carefully selected books on the famous prisoners at the Bloody Tower to complement Tower of London series. Visit London | Princes in the Tower | Walter Raleigh | British History | Landmark of Britain | A Palace Fortress and a Prison | Stories on Tower of London | Visit Britain | Most popular attraction in London | Must visit sites in Britain | UNESCO | via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/

8 Quirky Ideas to Experience at Christmas in London

8 Quirky Ideas at Christmas in London to Experience

Follow latest UK Government regulations and guidelines on Covid-19 while exploring London. Remember always to stay safe and act responsibly.


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Read related articles on Christmas/Holidays season:

My Timeless Footsteps | 10 Best Christmas Lights in London
Granary Square, Christmas 2020 | © mytimelessfootsteps | georgina_daniel

8 Quirky Ideas at Christmas in London

With so many quirky and fun activities to do in London, the 6 listed here are by no means an exhaustive list but it is worth exploring.

1 | Backyard Cinema

Watch a movie in a cinema like never before. Journey through a magical world of enchanted forest in a Winter Night Garden or find the secret entrance, explore the enchanted Snow Kingdom and go in search of the hidden cinema to watch your favourite movie. Select from a wide range of holiday favourites such as Home Alone, Love Actually, The Holiday, Trading Places, Pretty Woman and so many more.

Website: https://www.backyardcinema.co.uk/


2 | The Great Christmas Feast

Be transported to Victorian London through a secret door in a secret location for an immersive experience of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The story unfolds all around as you Indulge in a mouthwatering yuletide gastronomy of Victorian street food and feast.

Extended to January 10, 2021

Website: https://greatchristmasfeast.com/


3 | Winterland

For a unique experience of the festive cheer, sip mulled wine, move to the sounds of the music, or relax on a sofa in an enchanting Alpine setting at an outdoor bar.

Website: