Tower of London
Overview
 
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 on the north bank of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 in central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a London borough to the east of the City of London and north of the River Thames. It is in the eastern part of London and covers much of the traditional East End. It also includes much of the redeveloped Docklands region of London, including West India Docks...

, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 by the open space known as Tower Hill
Tower Hill
Tower Hill is an elevated spot northwest of the Tower of London, just outside the limits of the City of London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Formerly it was part of the Tower Liberty under the direct administrative control of Tower...

. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

. The White Tower
White Tower (Tower of London)
The White Tower is a central tower, the old keep, at the Tower of London.-History:The castle which later became known as the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror in 1066. It began as a timber fortification enclosed by a palisade. In the next decade work began on the White Tower, the...

, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite.
Timeline

1346    Battle of Neville's Cross: King David II of Scotland is captured by Edward III of England near Durham, and imprisoned in the Tower of London for eleven years.

1381    Richard II of England meets leaders of Peasants' Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London is stormed by rebels who enter without resistance.

1478    George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is executed in private at the Tower of London.

1499    Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck is hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London. He had invaded England in 1497, claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV of England.

1616    Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.

1645    Archbishop William Laud is beheaded at the Tower of London.

1671    Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal England's Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

1941    Corporal Josef Jakobs is executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12am, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason.

Encyclopedia
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 on the north bank of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 in central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a London borough to the east of the City of London and north of the River Thames. It is in the eastern part of London and covers much of the traditional East End. It also includes much of the redeveloped Docklands region of London, including West India Docks...

, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 by the open space known as Tower Hill
Tower Hill
Tower Hill is an elevated spot northwest of the Tower of London, just outside the limits of the City of London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Formerly it was part of the Tower Liberty under the direct administrative control of Tower...

. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

. The White Tower
White Tower (Tower of London)
The White Tower is a central tower, the old keep, at the Tower of London.-History:The castle which later became known as the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror in 1066. It began as a timber fortification enclosed by a palisade. In the next decade work began on the White Tower, the...

, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

, Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

, and Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury
Armory (military)
An armory or armoury is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

, a treasury
Treasury
A treasury is either*A government department related to finance and taxation.*A place where currency or precious items is/are kept....

, a menagerie
Menagerie
A menagerie is/was a form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity that preceded the modern zoological garden. The term was first used in seventeenth century France in reference to the management of household or domestic stock. Later, it came to be used primarily in reference to...

, the home of the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
The collective term Crown Jewels denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at other state functions...

. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower
Constable of the Tower
The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the middle ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner - the king or a nobleman - was not in residence...

 is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

. Under the Tudors
Tudor period
The Tudor period usually refers to the period between 1485 and 1603, specifically in relation to the history of England. This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII...

, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.

The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 before she became queen, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill
Tower Hill
Tower Hill is an elevated spot northwest of the Tower of London, just outside the limits of the City of London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Formerly it was part of the Tower Liberty under the direct administrative control of Tower...

 to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin
Anthony Salvin
Anthony Salvin was an English architect. He gained a reputation as an expert on medieval buildings and applied this expertise to his new buildings and his restorations...

 and John Taylor
John Taylor (architect)
Sir John Taylor, KCB, FRIBA was a British architect...

 took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison, and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 was repaired and the castle reopened to the public. Today the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity created in 1998 to manage Britain's unoccupied royal palaces. These are:* The Tower of London* Hampton Court Palace* Kensington Palace - the state rooms only.* Banqueting House* Kew Palace...

 and is protected as a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

Layout

The Tower was oriented with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 London, which archaeologist Alan Vince
Alan Vince
Dr. Alan George Vince was a British archaeologist who transformed the study of Saxon, medieval and early modern ceramics through the application of petrological, geological and archaeological techniques...

 suggests was deliberate. It would have visually dominated the surrounding area and stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle is made up of three "wards
Ward (fortification)
In fortifications, a bailey or ward refers to a courtyard enclosed by a curtain wall. In particular, an early type of European castle was known as a Motte-and-bailey. Castles can have more than one ward. Their layout depends both on the local topography and the level of fortification technology...

", or enclosures. The innermost ward contains the White Tower and is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north, east, and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 (1189–1199). Finally, there is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285. The castle encloses an area of almost 12 acres (4.9 ha) with a further 6 acres (2.4 ha) around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties
Liberties of the Tower of London
The Liberties of the Tower, or the Tower Liberty was an area adjoining the Tower of London, which was outside the jurisdiction of either the City of London or the County of Middlesex....

 – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons. The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack
Rack (torture)
The rack is a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied...

 in later periods. Tower Wharf
Wharf
A wharf or quay is a structure on the shore of a harbor where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers.Such a structure includes one or more berths , and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships.A wharf commonly comprises a fixed...

 was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

 (1377–1399).

White Tower

The White Tower is a keep
Keep
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the...

 (also known as a donjon), which was often the strongest structure in a medieval castle, and contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, "The great tower [White Tower] was also, by virtue of its strength, majesty and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence". As one of the largest keeps in the Christian world
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

, the White Tower has been described as "the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe".

The White Tower, not including its projecting corner towers, measures 36 by at the base, and rises to a height of 27 metre at the southern battlements. The structure was originally three-storeys high, comprising a basement floor, an entrance level, and an upper floor. The entrance, as is usual in Norman
Norman architecture
About|Romanesque architecture, primarily English|other buildings in Normandy|Architecture of Normandy.File:Durham Cathedral. Nave by James Valentine c.1890.jpg|thumb|200px|The nave of Durham Cathedral demonstrates the characteristic round arched style, though use of shallow pointed arches above the...

 keeps, was above ground, in this case on the south face, and accessed via a wooden staircase which could be removed in the event of an attack. It was probably during Henry II
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

's reign (1154–1189) that a forebuilding was added to the south side of the tower to provide extra defences to the entrance, but it has not survived. Each floor was divided into three chambers, the largest in the west, a smaller room in the north-east, and the chapel taking up the entrance and upper floors of the south-east. At the western corners of the building are square towers, while to the north-east a round tower houses a spiral staircase. At the south-east corner is a larger semi-circular projection which accommodates the apse
Apse
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

 of the chapel. As the building was intended to be a comfortable residence as well as a stronghold, latrines were built into the walls, and four fireplaces provided warmth.

The main building material is Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

ish rag-stone
Rag-stone
Rag-stone is a name given by some architectural writers to work done with stones which are quarried in thin pieces, such as the Horsham sandstone, Yorkshire stone, the slate stones, but this is more properly flag or slab work. By rag-stone, near London, is meant an excellent material from the...

, although some local mudstone
Mudstone
Mudstone is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the...

 was also used. Caen stone
Caen stone
Caen stone or Pierre de Caen, is a light creamy-yellow Jurassic limestone quarried in northwestern France near the city of Caen.The limestone is a fine grained oolitic limestone formed in shallow water lagoons in the Bathonian Age about 167 million years ago...

 was imported from northern France to provide details in the Tower's facing, although little of the original material survives as it was replaced with Portland stone
Portland stone
Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major...

 in the 17th and 18th centuries. As most of the Tower's windows were enlarged in the 18th century, only two original – albeit restored – examples remain, in the south wall at gallery level.

The tower was terraced into the side of a mound, so the northern side of the basement is partially below ground level. As was typical of most keeps, the bottom floor was an undercroft
Undercroft
An undercroft is traditionally a cellar or storage room, often brick-lined and vaulted, and used for storage in buildings since medieval times. In modern usage, an undercroft is generally a ground area which is relatively open to the sides, but covered by the building above.- History :While some...

 used for storage. One of the rooms contained a well. Although the layout has remained the same since the tower's construction, the interior of the basement dates mostly from the 18th century when the floor was lowered and the pre-existing timber vaults
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 were replaced with brick counterparts. The basement is lit through small slits.

The entrance floor was probably intended for the use of the Constable of the Tower
Constable of the Tower
The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the middle ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner - the king or a nobleman - was not in residence...

 and other important officials. The south entrance was blocked during the 17th century, and not reopened until 1973. Those heading to the upper floor had to pass through a smaller chamber to the east, also connected to the entrance floor. The crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

 of St John's Chapel
St John's Chapel, London
St. John's Chapel is located in the Tower of London. Dating from 1080, this complete 11th-century church is the oldest church in London.A Romanesque chapel, St. John's is on the second floor of the White Tower, which was built in 1077–97 as a keep or citadel, the oldest part of William the...

 occupied the south-east corner and was accessible only from the eastern chamber. There is a recess in the north wall of the crypt; according to Geoffrey Parnell, Keeper of the Tower History at the Royal Armouries, "the windowless form and restricted access, suggest that it was designed as a strong-room for safekeeping of royal treasures and important documents".

The upper floor contained a grand hall in the west and residential chamber in the east both originally open to the roof and surrounded by a gallery built into the wall and St John's Chapel in the south-east. The top floor was added in the 15th century, along with the present roof. St John's Chapel was not part of the White Tower's original design, as the apsidal projection was built after the basement walls. Due to changes in function and design since the tower's construction, except for the chapel little is left of the original interior. The chapel's current bare and unadorned appearance is reminiscent of how it would have been in the Norman period. In the 13th century, during Henry III's reign, the chapel was decorated with such ornamentation as a gold-painted cross, and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 windows that depicted the Virgin Mary and Holy Trinity.

Innermost ward

The innermost ward encloses an area immediately south of the White Tower, stretching to what was once the edge of the River Thames. As was the case at other castles, such as the 11th-century Hen Domen
Hen Domen
Hen Domen, Welsh, meaning "old mound", is the site of a medieval timber motte-and-bailey castle in Powys, Wales. It is the site of the original Montgomery Castle and was built by Roger de Montgomery in 1070....

, the innermost ward was probably filled with timber buildings from the Tower's foundation. Exactly when the royal lodgings began to encroach from the White Tower into the innermost ward is uncertain, although it had happened by the 1170s. The lodgings were renovated and elaborated during the 1220s and 1230s, becoming comparable with other palatial residences such as Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

. Construction of Wakefield and Lanthorn Towers – located at the corners of the innermost ward's wall along the river – began around 1220. They probably served as private residences for the queen and king respectively. The earliest evidence for how the royal chambers were decorated comes from Henry III's reign: the queen's chamber was whitewashed, and painted with flowers and imitation stonework. A great hall
Great hall
A great hall is the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or a large manor house in the Middle Ages, and in the country houses of the 16th and early 17th centuries. At that time the word great simply meant big, and had not acquired its modern connotations of excellence...

 existed in the south of the ward, between the two towers. It was similar to, although slightly smaller than, that also built by Henry III at Winchester Castle
Winchester Castle
Winchester Castle is a medieval building in Hampshire, England. It was founded in 1067. Only the Great Hall exists now; it houses a museum of the history of Winchester.-Great Hall:...

. Near Wakefield Tower was a postern gate which allowed private access to the king's apartments. The innermost ward was originally surrounded by a protective ditch, which had been filled in by the 1220s. Around this time, a kitchen was built in the ward. Between 1666 and 1676, the innermost ward was transformed and the palace buildings removed. The area around the White Tower was cleared so that anyone approaching would have to cross open ground. The Jewel House was demolished, and the Crown Jewels
Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
The collective term Crown Jewels denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at other state functions...

 moved to Martin Tower.

Inner ward

The inner ward was created during Richard the Lionheart's reign, when a moat was dug to the west of the innermost ward, effectively doubling the castle's size. Henry III created the ward's east and north walls, and the ward's dimensions remain to this day. Most of Henry's work survives, and only two of the nine towers he constructed have been completely rebuilt. Between the Wakefield and Lanthorn Towers, the innermost ward's wall also serves as a curtain wall
Curtain wall (fortification)
A curtain wall is a defensive wall between two bastions of a castle or fortress.In earlier designs of castle the curtain walls were often built to a considerable height and were fronted by a ditch or moat to make assault difficult....

 for the inner ward. The main entrance to the inner ward would have been through a gatehouse
Gatehouse
A gatehouse, in architectural terminology, is a building enclosing or accompanying a gateway for a castle, manor house, fort, town or similar buildings of importance.-History:...

, most likely in the west wall on the site of what is now Beauchamp Tower. The inner ward's western curtain wall was rebuilt by Edward I. The 13th-century Beauchamp Tower marks the first large scale use of brick as a building material in Britain, since the 5th-century departure of the Romans. The Beauchamp Tower is one of 13 towers that stud the curtain wall. Anti-clockwise from the south-west corner they are: Bell, Beauchamp, Devereux, Flint, Bowyer, Brick, Martin, Constable, Broad Arrow, Salt, Lanthorn, Wakefield, and the Bloody Tower. While these towers provided positions from which flanking fire
Enfilade and defilade
Enfilade and defilade are concepts in military tactics used to describe a military formation's exposure to enemy fire. A formation or position is "in enfilade" if weapons fire can be directed along its longest axis. A unit or position is "in defilade" if it uses natural or artificial obstacles to...

 could be deployed against a potential enemy, they also contained accommodation. As its name suggests, Bell Tower housed a belfry, its purpose to raise the alarm in the event of an attack. The royal bow-maker, responsible for making longbows
English longbow
The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow about 6 ft long used by the English and Welsh for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare...

, crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

s, catapult
Catapult
A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during...

s, and other siege and hand weapons, had a workshop in the Bowyer Tower. A turret at the top of Lanthorn Tower was used as a beacon by traffic approaching the Tower at night.

As a result of Henry's expansion, St Peter ad Vincula, a Norman chapel which had previously stood outside the Tower, was incorporated into the castle. Henry decorated the chapel by adding glazed windows, and stalls for himself and his queen. It was rebuilt by Edward I at a cost of over £300 and again by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 in 1519; the current building dates from this period, although the chapel was refurbished in the 19th century. Immediately west of Wakefield Tower, the Bloody Tower was built at the same time as the inner ward's curtain wall, and as a water-gate provided access to the castle from the River Thames. It was a simple structure, protected by a portcullis
Portcullis
A portcullis is a latticed grille made of wood, metal, fibreglass or a combination of the three. Portcullises fortified the entrances to many medieval castles, acting as a last line of defence during time of attack or siege...

 and gate. The Bloody Tower acquired its name in the 16th century, as it was believed to be the site of the murder of the Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

. Between 1339 and 1341, a gatehouse was built into the curtain wall between Bell and Salt Towers. During the Tudor period, a range of buildings for the storage of munitions was built along the inside of the north inner ward. The castle buildings were remodelled during the Stuart period
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

, mostly under the auspices of the Office of Ordnance. In 1663 just over £4,000 was spent building a new storehouse (now known as the New Armouries) in the inner ward. Construction of the Grand Storehouse north of the White Tower began in 1688, on the same site as the dilapidated Tudor range of storehouses; it was destroyed by fire in 1841. The Waterloo Barracks were built on the site, and remain to this day, housing the Crown Jewels.

Outer ward

A third ward was created during Edward I's extension to the Tower, as the narrow enclosure completely surrounded the castle. At the same time a bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

 known as Legge's Mount was built at the castle's north-west corner. Brass Mount, the bastion in the north-east corner, was a later addition. The three rectangular towers along the east wall 15 metres (49.2 ft) apart were dismantled in 1843. Although the bastions have often been ascribed to the Tudor period, there is no evidence to support this; archaeological investigations suggest that Legge's Mount is Edwardian. Blocked battlements (also known as crenellations) in the south side of Legge's Mount are the only surviving medieval battlements at the Tower of London (the rest are Victorian replacements). A new 50 metres (164 ft) moat was dug beyond the castle's new limits; it was originally 4.5 metres (14.8 ft) deeper in the middle than it is today. With the addition of a new curtain wall, the old main entrance to the Tower of London was obscured and made redundant; a new entrance was created in the south-west corner of the external wall circuit. The complex consisted of an inner and an outer gatehouse and a barbican
Barbican
A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from...

, which became known as the Lion Tower as it was associated with the animals as part of the Royal Menagerie since at least the 1330s. The Lion Tower itself no longer survives. Edward extended the south side of the Tower of London onto land that had previously been submerged by the River Thames. In this wall, he built St Thomas' Tower between 1275 and 1279; later known as Traitors' Gate
Traitors' Gate
Many prisoners of the Tudors entered the Tower of London through the Traitors' Gate. The gate was built by Edward I, to provide a water gate entrance to the Tower, part of St...

, it replaced the Bloody Tower as the castle's water-gate. The building is unique in England, and the closest parallel is the now demolished water-gate at the Louvre in Paris. The dock was covered with arrowslits in case of an attack on the castle from the River; there was also a portcullis at the entrance to control who entered. There were luxurious lodgings on the first floor. Edward also moved the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

 into the Tower; its exact location early on is unknown, although it was probably in either the outer ward or the Lion Tower. By 1560, the Mint was located in a building in the outer ward near Salt Tower. Between 1348 and 1355, a second water-gate, Cradle Tower, was added east of St Thomas' Tower for the king's private use.

Foundation and early history

Victorious at the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings occurred on 14 October 1066 during the Norman conquest of England, between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army under King Harold II...

 on 14 October 1066, the invading Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

, William the Conqueror, spent the rest of the year securing his holdings, by fortifying key positions. He founded several castles along the way, but took a circuitous route toward London; only when he reached Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

 did he turn towards England's largest city. As the fortified bridge into London was held by Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 troops, he decided instead to ravage Southwark
Southwark
Southwark is a district of south London, England, and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Southwark. Situated east of Charing Cross, it forms one of the oldest parts of London and fronts the River Thames to the north...

 before continuing his journey around southern England. A series of Norman victories along the route cut the city's supply lines and in December 1066, isolated and intimidated, its leaders yielded London without a fight. Between 1066 and 1087 William established 36 castles, although references in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 indicate that many more were founded by his subordinates. The new ruling elite undertook what has been described as "the most extensive and concentrated programme of castle-building in the whole history of feudal Europe". They were multi-purpose buildings, serving as fortifications (used as a base of operations in enemy territory), centres of administration, and residences.

William sent an advance party to prepare the city for his entrance, to celebrate his victory and found a castle; in the words of William's biographer, William of Poitiers
William of Poitiers
William of Poitiers was a Norman chronicler most famous for his eulogistic account of Duke William of Normandy , called the Gesta Guillelmi II ducis Normannorum.-Life:...

, "certain fortifications were completed in the city against the restlessness of the huge and brutal populace. For he [William] realised that it was of the first importance to overawe the Londoners". At the time, London was the largest town in England; the foundation of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 and the old Palace of Westminster under Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 had marked it as a centre of governance, and with a prosperous port it was important for the Normans to establish control over the settlement. The other two castles in London – Baynard's Castle
Baynard's Castle
Baynard's Castle refers to buildings on two neighbouring sites in London, between where Blackfriars station and St Paul's Cathedral now stand. The first was a Norman fortification constructed by Ralph Baynard and demolished by King John in 1213. The second was a medieval palace built a short...

 and Montfichet's Castle
Montfichet's Castle
Montfichet's Tower was a Norman fortress on Ludgate Hill in London, between where St Paul's Cathedral and City Thameslink railway station now stand. First documented in the 1130s, it was probably built in the late 11th century...

 – were established at the same time. The fortification that would later become known as the Tower of London was built onto the south-east corner of the Roman town walls, using them as prefabricated defences, with the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 providing additional protection from the south. This earliest phase of the castle would have been enclosed by a ditch and defended by a timber palisade
Palisade
A palisade is a steel or wooden fence or wall of variable height, usually used as a defensive structure.- Typical construction :Typical construction consisted of small or mid sized tree trunks aligned vertically, with no spacing in between. The trunks were sharpened or pointed at the top, and were...

, and probably had accommodation suitable for William.
Most of the early Norman castles were built from timber, but by the end of the 11th century a few, including the Tower of London, had been renovated or replaced with stone. Work on the White Tower – which gives the whole castle its name – is usually considered to have begun in 1078, however the exact date is uncertain. William made Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester
Bishop of Rochester
The Bishop of Rochester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers the west of the county of Kent and is centred in the city of Rochester where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin...

, responsible for its construction, although it may not have been completed until after William's death in 1087. The White Tower is the earliest stone keep
Keep
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the...

 in England, and was the strongest point of the early castle. It also contained grand accommodation for the king. At the latest, it was probably finished by 1100 when Bishop Ranulf Flambard
Ranulf Flambard
Ranulf Flambard was a medieval Norman Bishop of Durham and an influential government minister of King William Rufus of England...

 was imprisoned there. Flambard was loathed by the English for exacting harsh taxes. Although he is the first recorded prisoner held in the Tower, he was also the first person to escape from it, using a smuggled rope secreted in a butt of wine. He was held in luxury and permitted servants, but on 2 February 1101 he hosted a banquet for his captors. After plying them with drink, when no one was looking he lowered himself from a secluded chamber, and out of the Tower. The escape came as such a surprise that one contemporary chronicler accused the bishop of witchcraft.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great...

records that in 1097 King William II
William II of England
William II , the third son of William I of England, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales...

 ordered a wall to be built around the Tower of London; it was probably built from stone and likely replaced the timber palisade that arced around the north and west sides of the castle, between the Roman wall and the Thames. The Norman Conquest of London manifested itself not only with a new ruling class, but in the way the city was structured. Land was confiscated and redistributed amongst the Normans, who also brought over hundreds of Jews, for financial reasons. The Jews arrived under the direct protection of the Crown, as a result of which Jewish communities were often found close to castles. The Jews used the Tower as a retreat, when threatened by anti-Jewish violence.

The death in 1135 of Henry I
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

 left England with a disputed succession; although the king had persuaded his most powerful barons to swear support for the Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda , also known as Matilda of England or Maude, was the daughter and heir of King Henry I of England. Matilda and her younger brother, William Adelin, were the only legitimate children of King Henry to survive to adulthood...

, just a few days after Henry's death Stephen of Blois
Stephen of England
Stephen , often referred to as Stephen of Blois , was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was King of England from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne by right of his wife. Stephen's reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda...

 arrived from France to lay claim to the throne. The importance of the city and its Tower is marked by the speed at which he secured London. The castle, which had not been used as a royal residence for some time, was usually left in the charge of a Constable
Constable of the Tower
The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the middle ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner - the king or a nobleman - was not in residence...

, a post held at this time by Geoffrey de Mandeville
Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex
Geoffrey de Mandeville II, 1st Earl of Essex was one of the prominent players during the reign of King Stephen of England. His biographer, the 19th-century historian J. H...

. As the Tower was considered an impregnable fortress in a strategically important position, possession was highly valued. Mandeville exploited this, selling his allegiance to Matilda after Stephen was captured in 1141 at the Battle of Lincoln. Once her support waned, the following year he resold his loyalty to Stephen. Through his role as Constable of the Tower, Mandeville became "the richest and most powerful man in England". When he tried the same ploy again, this time holding secret talks with Matilda, Stephen had him arrested, forced him to cede control of his castles, and replaced him with one of his most loyal supporters. Until then the position had been hereditary, originally held by Geoffrey de Mandeville
Geoffrey de Mandeville (11th century)
Geoffrey de Mandeville may have been Constable of the Tower of London. His surname comes from the town of Manneville or Magna Villa near Valognes in Manche on the Cotentin Peninsula...

 (a friend of William the Conqueror's and ancestor of the Geoffrey that Stephen and Matilda dealt with), but the position's authority was such that from then on it remained in the hands of an appointee of the monarch. The position was usually given to someone of great importance, who might not always be at the castle due to other duties. Although the Constable was still responsible for maintaining the castle and its garrison, from an early stage he had a subordinate to help with this duty: the Lieutenant of the Tower. Constables also had civic duties relating to the city. Usually they were given control of the city and were responsible for levying taxes, enforcing the law and maintaining order. The creation in 1191 of the position of Lord Mayor of London
Lord Mayor of London
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London is the legal title for the Mayor of the City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor of London is to be distinguished from the Mayor of London; the former is an officer only of the City of London, while the Mayor of London is the Mayor of Greater London and...

 removed many of the Constable's civic powers, and at times led to friction between the two.

Expansion

The castle probably retained its form as established by 1100 until the reign of Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 (1189–1199). The castle was extended under William Longchamp
William Longchamp
William Longchamp , sometimes known as William de Longchamp or William de Longchamps, was a medieval Lord Chancellor, Chief Justiciar, and Bishop of Ely in England. Born to a humble family in Normandy, he owed his advancement to royal favour. Although contemporary writers accused Longchamp's father...

, Richard's Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 and the man in charge of England while he was on crusade. The Pipe Rolls
Pipe Rolls
The Pipe rolls, sometimes called the Great rolls, are a collection of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer, or Treasury. The earliest date from the 12th century, and the series extends, mostly complete, from then until 1833. They form the oldest continuous series of records kept by...

 record £2,881 1s 10d spent at the Tower of London between 3 December 1189 and 11 November 1190, from an estimated £7,000 spent by Richard on castle building in England. According to the contemporary chronicler Roger of Howden, Longchamp dug a moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

 around the castle and tried in vain to fill it from the Thames. Longchamp was also Constable of the Tower, and undertook its expansion while preparing for war with Richard's younger brother, Prince John
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

, who in Richard's absence arrived in England to try to seize power. As Longchamp's main fortress, he made the Tower as strong as possible. The new fortifications were first tested in October 1191, when the Tower was besieged for the first time in its history. Longchamp capitulated to John after just three days, deciding he had more to gain from surrender than prolonging the siege.

John succeeded Richard as king in 1199, but his rule proved unpopular with many of his baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

s, who in response moved against him. In 1214, while the king was at Windsor Castle, Robert Fitzwalter
Robert Fitzwalter
Lord Robert FitzwalterAlso spelled FitzWalter, fitzWalter, etc. was the leader of the baronial opposition against King John of England, and one of the twenty-five sureties of the Magna Carta...

 led an army into London and laid siege to the Tower. Although under-garrisoned, the Tower resisted and the siege was lifted once John signed the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

. The king reneged on his promises of reform, leading to the outbreak of the First Barons' War
First Barons' War
The First Barons' War was a civil war in the Kingdom of England, between a group of rebellious barons—led by Robert Fitzwalter and supported by a French army under the future Louis VIII of France—and King John of England...

. Even after the Magna Carta was signed, Fitzwalter maintained his control of London. During the war, the Tower's garrison joined forces with the barons. John was deposed in 1216 and the barons offered the English throne to Prince Louis
Louis VIII of France
Louis VIII the Lion reigned as King of France from 1223 to 1226. He was a member of the House of Capet. Louis VIII was born in Paris, France, the son of Philip II Augustus and Isabelle of Hainaut. He was also Count of Artois, inheriting the county from his mother, from 1190–1226...

, the eldest son of the French king. However, after John's death in October 1216, many began to support the claim of his eldest son, Prince Henry
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

. War continued between the factions supporting Louis and Henry, with Fitzwalter supporting Louis. Fitzwalter was still in control of London and the Tower, both of which held out until it was clear that Henry's supporters would prevail.

In the 13th century, Kings Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 (1216–1272) and Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 (1272–1307) extended the castle, essentially creating it as it stands today. Henry was disconnected from his barons, and a mutual lack of understanding led to unrest and resentment towards his rule. As a result, he was eager to ensure the Tower of London was a formidable fortification; at the same time Henry was an aesthete
Aestheticism
Aestheticism was a 19th century European art movement that emphasized aesthetic values more than socio-political themes for literature, fine art, the decorative arts, and interior design...

 and wished to make the castle a comfortable place to live. From 1216 to 1227 nearly £10,000 was spent on the Tower of London; in this period, only the work at Windsor Castle cost more (£15,000). Most of the work was focused on the palatial buildings of the innermost ward. The tradition of whitewashing the White Tower (from which it derives its name) began in 1240.

Beginning around 1238, the castle was expanded to the east, north, and north-west. The work lasted through the reign of Henry III and into that of Edward I, interrupted occasionally by civil unrest. New creations included a new defensive perimeter, studded with towers, while on the west, north, and east sides, where the wall was not defended by the river, a defensive ditch was dug. The eastern extension took the castle beyond the bounds of the old Roman settlement, marked by the city wall which had been incorporated into the castle's defences. The Tower had long been a symbol of oppression, despised by Londoners, and Henry's building programme was unpopular. So when the gatehouse collapsed in 1240, the locals celebrated the setback. The expansion caused disruption locally and £166 was paid to St Katherine's Hospital
St Katharine's by the Tower
St Katharine's by the Tower--full name Royal Hospital and Collegiate Church of St. Katharine by the Tower--was a medieval church and hospital next to the Tower of London. The establishment was founded in 1148 and the buildings demolished in 1825 to build St Katharine Docks, which takes its name...

 and the prior of Holy Trinity in compensation.

Henry III often held court at the Tower of London, and held parliament there on at least two occasions (1236 and 1261) when he felt that the barons were becoming dangerously unruly. In 1258, the discontented barons, led by Simon de Montfort
Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Chester , sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from other Simon de Montforts, was an Anglo-Norman nobleman. He led the barons' rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons' War of 1263-4, and...

, forced the King to agree to reforms including holding regular parliaments. Relinquishing the Tower of London was among the conditions. Henry III resented losing power and sought permission from the pope to break his oath. With the backing of mercenaries, Henry installed himself in the Tower in 1261. While negotiations continued with the barons, the King ensconced himself in the castle, although no army moved to take it. A truce was agreed with the condition that the King handed over control of the Tower once again. Henry won a significant victory at the Battle of Evesham
Battle of Evesham
The Battle of Evesham was one of the two main battles of 13th century England's Second Barons' War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by Prince Edward – later King Edward I – who led the forces of his father, King Henry III...

 in 1265, allowing him to regain control of the country and the Tower of London. Cardinal Ottobuon
Pope Adrian V
Pope Adrian V , born Ottobuono de' Fieschi, was pope in 1276.-Biography:Ottobuono belonged to a feudal family of Liguria, the Fieschi, Counts of Lavagna....

 came to England to excommunicate those who were still rebellious; the act was deeply unpopular and the situation was exacerbated when the cardinal was granted custody of the Tower. Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, marched on London in April 1267 and laid siege to the castle, declaring that custody of the Tower was "not a post to be trusted in the hands of a foreigner, much less of an ecclesiastic". Despite a large army and siege engines, Gilbert de Clare was unable to take the castle. The Earl retreated, allowing the King control of the capital, and the Tower experienced peace for the rest of Henry's reign.

Although he was rarely in London, Edward I undertook an expensive remodelling of the Tower, costing £21,000 between 1275 and 1285, over double that spent on the castle during the whole of Henry III's reign. Edward I was a seasoned castle builder, and used his experience of siege warfare during the crusades to bring innovations to castle building. His programme of castle building in Wales
Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd refers to a UNESCO-designated site of patrimony located in Gwynedd, Wales.In 1986, four castles related to the reign of King Edward I of England were proclaimed collectively as a World Heritage Site, as outstanding examples of fortifications and...

 heralded the introduction of the widespread use of arrowslits in castle walls across Europe, drawing on Eastern influences. At the Tower of London, Edward filled in the moat dug by Henry III and built a new curtain wall along its line, creating a new enclosure. A new moat was created in front of the new curtain wall. The western part of Henry III's curtain wall was rebuilt, with Beauchamp Tower replacing the castle's old gatehouse. A new entrance was created, with elaborate defences including two gatehouses and a barbican
Barbican
A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from...

. In an effort to make the castle self-sufficient, Edward I also added two watermill
Watermill
A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour, lumber or textile production, or metal shaping .- History :...

s. Six hundred Jews were imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1278, charged with coin clipping
Coin clipping
Coin debasement is the act of decreasing the amount of precious metal in a coin, while continuing to circulate it at face value. This was frequently done by governments in order to inflate the amount of currency in circulation; typically, some of the precious metal was replaced by a cheaper metal...

. Persecution of the country's Jewish population under Edward began in 1276 and culminated in 1290 when he issued the Edict of Expulsion
Edict of Expulsion
In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England. Lasting for the rest of the Middle Ages, it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned in 1656...

, forcing the Jews out of the country.

Later medieval period

During Edward II's
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

 reign (1307–1327) there was relatively little activity at the Tower of London. However, it was during this period that the Privy Wardrobe
Wardrobe (government)
The wardrobe, along with the chamber, made up the personal part of medieval English government known as the king's household. Its chief officer went under the title of Master or Keeper of the Great Wardrobe. As a result, the wardrobe often appropriated large funds from the exchequer, the main...

 was founded. The institution was based at the Tower and responsible for organising the state's arms. Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere became the first woman imprisoned in the Tower of London after she refused Queen Isabella
Isabella of France
Isabella of France , sometimes described as the She-wolf of France, was Queen consort of England as the wife of Edward II of England. She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre...

 admittance to Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle, southeast of Maidstone, Kent, England, dates back to 1119, though a Saxon fort stood on the same site from the 9th century. The castle is built on islands in a lake formed by the River Len to the east of the village of Leeds....

 and ordered her archers to fire upon Isabella, killing six of the royal escort. Generally reserved for high-ranking inmates, the Tower was the most important royal prison in the country. However it was not necessarily very secure, and throughout its history people bribed the guards to help them escape. In 1322 Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, was aided in his escape from the Tower by the Sub-Lieutenant of the Tower who let Mortimer's men inside. They hacked a hole in his cell wall and Mortimer escaped to a waiting boat. He fled to France where he encountered Edward's Queen. They began an affair and plotted to overthrow the King. One of Mortimer's first acts on entering England was to capture the Tower and release the prisoners held there. For three years he ruled while Edward III
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

 was too young to do so himself; in 1330, Edward and his supporters captured Mortimer and threw him in the Tower. Under Edward III's rule (1312–1377) England experienced renewed success in warfare after his father's reign had put the realm on the backfoot against the Scots and French. Amongst Edward's successes were the battles of Crécy
Battle of Crécy
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War...

 and Poitiers
Battle of Poitiers (1356)
The Battle of Poitiers was fought between the Kingdoms of England and France on 19 September 1356 near Poitiers, resulting in the second of the three great English victories of the Hundred Years' War: Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt....

 where King John II of France
John II of France
John II , called John the Good , was the King of France from 1350 until his death. He was the second sovereign of the House of Valois and is perhaps best remembered as the king who was vanquished at the Battle of Poitiers and taken as a captive to England.The son of Philip VI and Joan the Lame,...

 was taken prisoner, and the capture of the King David II of Scotland
David II of Scotland
David II was King of Scots from 7 June 1329 until his death.-Early life:...

 at Neville's Cross
Battle of Neville's Cross
The Battle of Neville's Cross took place to the west of Durham, England on 17 October 1346.-Background:In 1346, England was embroiled in the Hundred Years' War with France. In order to divert his enemy Philip VI of France appealed to David II of Scotland to attack the English from the north in...

. During this period, the Tower of London held many noble prisoners of war. Edward II had allowed the Tower of London to fall into a state of disrepair, and by the reign of Edward III the castle was an uncomfortable place. The nobility held captive within its walls were unable to engage in activities such as hunting which were permissible at other royal castles used as prisons, for instance Windsor. Edward III ordered that the castle should be renovated.

When Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

 was crowned in 1377, he led a procession from the Tower to Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. This tradition began in at least the early 14th century and lasted until 1660. During the Peasant's Revolt of 1381 the Tower of London was besieged with the King inside. When Richard rode out to meet with Wat Tyler
Wat Tyler
Walter "Wat" Tyler was a leader of the English Peasants' Revolt of 1381.-Early life:Knowledge of Tyler's early life is very limited, and derives mostly through the records of his enemies. Historians believe he was born in Essex, but are not sure why he crossed the Thames Estuary to Kent...

, the rebel leader, a crowd broke into the castle without meeting resistance and looted the Jewel House
Jewel House
The Jewel House in the Tower of London is both a building and an institution. Until 1782 it was the Department of the Jewel Office, under the Master of the Jewel Office, who was generally a senior politician.-History:...

. The Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, Simon Sudbury
Simon Sudbury
Simon Sudbury, also called Simon Theobald of Sudbury and Simon of Sudbury was Bishop of London from 1361 to 1375, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1375 until his death, and in the last year of his life Lord Chancellor of England....

, took refuge in St John's Chapel, hoping the mob would respect the sanctuary. However, he was taken away and beheaded on Tower Hill. Six years later there was again civil unrest, and Richard spent Christmas in the security of the Tower rather than Windsor as was more usual. When Henry Bolingbroke
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

 returned from exile in 1399, Richard was imprisoned in the White Tower. He abdicated and was replaced on the throne by Bolingbroke, who became King Henry IV. In the 15th century, there was little building work at the Tower of London, yet the castle still remained important as a place of refuge. When supporters of the late Richard II attempted a coup, Henry IV found safety in the Tower of London. During this period, the castle also held many distinguished prisoners. The heir to the Scottish throne, later King James I of Scotland
James I of Scotland
James I, King of Scots , was the son of Robert III and Annabella Drummond. He was probably born in late July 1394 in Dunfermline as youngest of three sons...

, was kidnapped while journeying to France in 1406 and held in the Tower. The reign of Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

 (1413–1422) renewed England's fortune in the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

 against France. As a result of Henry's victories, such as the Battle of Agincourt
Battle of Agincourt
The Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory against a numerically superior French army in the Hundred Years' War. The battle occurred on Friday, 25 October 1415 , near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France...

, many high-status prisoners were held in the Tower of London until they were ransomed.

Much of the latter half of the 15th century was occupied by the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

 between the claimants to the throne, the houses of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

 and York
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

. The castle was once again besieged in 1460, this time by a Yorkist
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

 force. The Tower was damaged by artillery fire but only surrendered when Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

 was captured at the Battle of Northampton
Battle of Northampton (1460)
The Battle of Northampton was a battle in the Wars of the Roses, which took place on 10 July 1460.-Background:The Yorkist cause seemed finished after the previous disaster at Ludford Bridge...

. With the help of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

 (nicknamed "the Kingmaker") Henry recaptured the throne for a short time in 1470. However, Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

 soon regained control and Henry VI was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was probably murdered. During the wars, the Tower was fortified to withstand gunfire, and provided with loopholes
Embrasure
In military architecture, an embrasure is the opening in a crenellation or battlement between the two raised solid portions or merlons, sometimes called a crenel or crenelle...

 for cannons and handguns: an enclosure was created for this purpose to the south of Tower Hill, although it no longer survives.

Shortly after the death of Edward IV in 1483, the notorious murder of the Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

 is traditionally believed to have taken place. The incident is one of the most infamous events associated with the Tower of London. Edward V
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

's uncle Richard Duke of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 was declared Lord Protector
Lord Protector
Lord Protector is a title used in British constitutional law for certain heads of state at different periods of history. It is also a particular title for the British Heads of State in respect to the established church...

 while the prince was too young to rule. The 12-year-old Edward was confined to the Tower of London along with his younger brother Richard
Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York
Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, 1st Duke of Norfolk, 1st Earl of Norfolk, Earl Marshal was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville. He was born in Shrewsbury....

. The Duke of Gloucester was proclaimed King Richard III in July. The princes were last seen in public in June 1483; the most likely reason for their disappearance is that they were murdered late in the summer of 1483. Bones thought to belong to them were discovered in 1674 when the 12th-century forebuilding at the entrance to the White Tower was demolished. Opposition to Richard escalated until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, who ascended to the throne as Henry VII.

Changing use

The beginning of the Tudor period
Tudor period
The Tudor period usually refers to the period between 1485 and 1603, specifically in relation to the history of England. This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII...

 marked the start of the decline of the Tower of London's use as a royal residence. As 16th-century chronicler Raphael Holinshed
Raphael Holinshed
Raphael Holinshed was an English chronicler, whose work, commonly known as Holinshed's Chronicles, was one of the major sources used by William Shakespeare for a number of his plays....

 said the Tower became used more as "an armouries and house of munition, and thereunto a place for the safekeeping of offenders than a palace roiall for a king or queen to sojourne in". The Yeoman Warders have been the Royal Bodyguard since at least 1509. During the reign of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, the Tower was assessed as needing considerable work on its defences. In 1532 Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, , was an English statesman who served as chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540....

 spent £3,593 on repairs and imported nearly 3000 tons of Caen stone for the work. Even so, this was not sufficient to bring the castle up to the standard of contemporary military fortifications which were designed to withstand powerful artillery. Although the defences were repaired, the palace buildings were left in a state of neglect after Henry's death. Their condition was so poor that they were virtually uninhabitable. From 1547 onwards, the Tower of London was only used as a royal residence when its political and historic symbolism was considered useful, for instance each of Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, and Elizabeth I briefly stayed at the Tower before their coronations.

In the 16th century, the Tower acquired an enduring reputation as a grim, forbidding prison. This had not always been the case. As a royal castle, it was used by the monarch to imprison people for various reasons, however these were usually high-status individuals for short periods rather than common citizenry as there were plenty of prisons elsewhere for such people. Contrary to the popular image of the Tower, prisoners were able to make their life easier by purchasing amenities such as better food or tapestries through the Lieutenant of the Tower. As holding prisoners was originally an incidental role of the Tower – as would have been the case for any castle – there was no purpose-built accommodation for prisoners until 1687 when a brick shed, a "Prison for Soldiers", was built to the north-west of the White Tower. The Tower's reputation for torture and imprisonment derives largely from 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century romanticists. Although much of the Tower's reputation is exaggerated, the 16th and 17th centuries marked the castle's zenith as a prison, with many religious and political undesirables locked away. The Privy Council had to sanction the use of torture, so it was not often used; between 1540 and 1640, the peak of imprisonment at the Tower, there were 48 recorded cases of the use of torture. The three most common forms used were the infamous rack
Rack (torture)
The rack is a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied...

, the Scavenger's daughter
Scavenger's daughter
The Scavenger's daughter was a type of torture device invented in the reign of King Henry VIII of England. Extant documents reveal, however, that the device was rarely used.-History:...

, and manacles. The rack was introduced to England in 1447 by the Duke of Exeter, the Constable of the Tower; consequentially it was also known as the Duke of Exeter's daughter
Duke of Exeter's daughter
The Duke of Exeter's daughter was a torture rack in the Tower of London. Its presence is said to have been due to John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, the constable of the Tower in 1447, whence it got its name....

.

Among those held and executed at the Tower was Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

. Although the Yeoman Warders were once the Royal Bodyguard, by the 16th and 17th centuries their main duty had become to look after the prisoners. The Tower was often a safer place than other prisons in London such as the Fleet
Fleet Prison
Fleet Prison was a notorious London prison by the side of the Fleet River in London. The prison was built in 1197 and was in use until 1844. It was demolished in 1846.- History :...

, where disease was rife. High-status prisoners could live in conditions comparable to those they might expect outside; one such example was that while Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

 was held in the Tower his rooms were altered to accommodate his family, including his son who was born there in 1605. Executions were usually carried out on Tower Hill rather than in the Tower of London itself, and 112 people were executed on the hill over 400 years. Before the 20th century, there had been seven executions within the castle on Tower Green
Tower Green
Tower Green is a space within the Tower of London where two English Queens consort and five other British nobles were executed by beheading. The Tower Green is located on a space south of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula...

; as was the case with Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, this was reserved for prisoners for whom public execution was considered dangerous. After Lady Jane Grey's execution on 12 February 1554, Queen Mary I imprisoned her sister Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I, in the Tower under suspicion of causing rebellion as Sir Thomas Wyatt
Thomas Wyatt the younger
Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger was a rebel leader during the reign of Queen Mary I of England; his rising is traditionally called "Wyatt's rebellion".-Birth and career:...

 had led a revolt against Mary in Elizabeth's name.
The Office of Ordnance and Armoury Office were founded in the 15th century, taking over the Privy Wardrobe's duties of looking after the monarch's arsenal and valuables. As there was no standing army before 1661, the importance of the royal armoury at the Tower of London was that it provided a professional basis for procuring supplies and equipment in times of war. The two bodies were resident at the Tower from at least 1454, and by 16th century they had moved to a position in the inner ward. Political tensions between Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 and Parliament in the second quarter of the 17th century led to an attempt by forces loyal to the King to secure the Tower and its valuable contents, including money and munitions. London's Trained Bands
Trainband
Trainbands were companies of militia in England or the Americas, first organized in the 16th century and dissolved in the 18th. The term was used after this time to describe the London militia. In the early American colonies the trainband was the most basic tactical unit. However, no standard...

, a militia force, were moved into the castle in 1640. Plans for defence were drawn up and gun platforms were built, readying the Tower for war. The preparations were never put to the test. In 1642, Charles I attempted to arrest five Members of Parliament. When this failed he fled the city, and Parliament retaliated by removing Sir John Byron
John Byron, 1st Baron Byron
John Byron, 1st Baron Byron was an English Royalist and supporter of Charles I during the English Civil War.-Life:...

, the Lieutenant of the Tower. The Trained Bands had switched sides, and now supported Parliament; together with the London citizenry, they blockaded the Tower. With permission from the King, Byron relinquished control of the Tower. Parliament replaced Byron with a man of their own choosing, Sir John Conyers
Conyers Baronets
The Baronetcy of Conyers of Horden was created in the Baronetage of England on 14 July 1628 for John Conyers of Horden, County Durham.Between 1099 and 1133 the then Bishop of Durham, Ralph Flambard, granted lands at Sockburn, in County Durham and Hutton, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, to a Roger...

. By the time the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 broke out in November 1642, the Tower of London was already in Parliament's control.

The last monarch to uphold the tradition of taking a procession from the Tower to Westminster to be crowned was Charles II in 1660. At the time, the castle's accommodation was in such poor condition that he did not stay there the night before his coronation. Under the Stuart kings
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

 the Tower's buildings were remodelled, mostly under the auspices of the Office of Ordnance. Just over £4,000 was spent in 1663 on building a new storehouse, now known as the New Armouries in the inner ward. In the 17th century there were plans to enhance the Tower's defences in the style of the trace italienne
Star fort
A star fort, or trace italienne, is a fortification in the style that evolved during the age of gunpowder, when cannon came to dominate the battlefield, and was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy....

, however they were never acted on. Although the facilities for the garrison were improved with the addition of the first purpose-built quarters for soldiers (the "Irish Barracks") in 1670, the general accommodations were still in poor condition.

When the Hanoverian dynasty
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 ascended the throne, their situation was uncertain and with a possible Scottish rebellion in mind, the Tower of London was repaired. Gun platforms added under the Stuarts had decayed. The number of guns at the Tower was reduced from 118 to 45, and one contemporary commentator noted that the castle "would not hold out four and twenty hours against an army prepared for a siege". For the most part, the 18th-century work on the defences was spasmodic and piecemeal, although a new gateway in the southern curtain wall permitting access from the wharf to the outer ward was added in 1774. The moat surrounding the castle had become silted over the centuries since it was created despite attempts at clearing it. It was still an integral part of the castle's defences, so in 1830 the Constable of the Tower, the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, ordered a large-scale clearance of several feet of silt. However this did not prevent an outbreak of disease in the garrison in 1841 caused by poor water supply, resulting in several deaths. To prevent the festering ditch posing further health problems, it was ordered that the moat should be drained and filled with earth. The work began in 1843 and was mostly complete two years later. The construction of the Waterloo Barracks in the inner ward began in 1845, when the Duke of Wellington laid the foundation stone. The building could accommodate 1,000 men; at the same time, separate quarters for the officers were built to the north-east of the White Tower. The building is now the headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The popularity of the Chartist movement
Chartism
Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1859. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world...

 between 1828 and 1858 led to a desire to refortify the Tower of London in the event of civil unrest. It was the last major programme of fortification at the castle. Most of the surviving installations for the use of artillery and firearms date from this period.

During the First World War, eleven men were tried in private and shot by firing squad at the Tower for espionage. During the Second World War, the Tower was once again used to hold prisoners of war. One such person was Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's deputy, albeit just for four days in 1941. He was the last state prisoner to be held at the castle. The last person to be executed at the Tower was German spy Josef Jakobs
Josef Jakobs
Corporal Josef Jakobs was a German spy, who was executed by firing squad in the Tower of London during the Second World War after conviction under the Treachery Act 1940. His trial took place in camera...

 who was shot on 14 August 1941. The executions for espionage during the wars took place in a prefabricated miniature rifle range which stood in the outer ward and was demolished in 1969.

Restoration and tourism

Over the 18th and 19th centuries, the palatial buildings were slowly adapted for other uses and demolished. Only the Wakefield and St Thomas' Towers survive. The 18th century marked an increasing interest in England's medieval past. One of the effects was the emergence of Gothic Revival architecture
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

. In the Tower's architecture, this was manifest when the New Horse Armoury was built in 1825 against the south face of the White Tower. It featured elements of Gothic Revival architecture such as battlements. Other buildings were remodelled to match the style and the Waterloo Barracks were described as "castellated Gothic of the 15th century". Between 1845 and 1885 institutions such as the Mint which had inhabited the castle for centuries moved to other sites; many of the post-medieval structures left vacant were demolished. In 1855 the War Office took over responsibility for manufacture and storage of weapons from the Ordnance Office, which was gradually phased out of the castle. At the same time, there was greater interest in the history of the Tower of London.

Public interest was partly fuelled by contemporary writers, of whom the work of William Harrison Ainsworth
William Harrison Ainsworth
William Harrison Ainsworth was an English historical novelist born in Manchester. He trained as a lawyer, but the legal profession held no attraction for him. While completing his legal studies in London he met the publisher John Ebers, at that time manager of the King's Theatre, Haymarket...

 was particularly influential. In The Tower of London: A Historical Romance
The Tower of London (novel)
The Tower of London is a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth serially published in 1840. It is a historical romance that describes the history of Lady Jane Grey from her short-lived time as Queen of England to her execution.-Background:...

he created a vivid image of underground torture chambers and devices for extracting confessions that stuck in the public imagination. Harrison also played another role in the Tower's history, as he suggested that Beauchamp Tower should be opened to the public so they could see the inscriptions of 16th- and 17th-century prisoners. Working on the suggestion, Anthony Salvin
Anthony Salvin
Anthony Salvin was an English architect. He gained a reputation as an expert on medieval buildings and applied this expertise to his new buildings and his restorations...

 refurbished the tower and led a further programme for a comprehensive restoration at the behest of Prince Albert. Salvin was succeeded in the work by John Taylor
John Taylor (architect)
Sir John Taylor, KCB, FRIBA was a British architect...

. When a feature did not meet his expectations of medieval architecture Taylor would ruthlessly remove it; as a result, several important buildings within the castle were pulled down and in some cases post-medieval internal decoration removed.
Although only one bomb fell on the Tower of London in the First World War (it landed harmlessly in the moat), the Second World War left a greater mark. On 23 September 1940, during the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

, high-explosive bombs damaged the castle, destroying several buildings and narrowly missing the White Tower. After the war, the damage was repaired and the Tower of London was reopened to the public.

The Tower of London has become established as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Is has been a tourist attraction since at least the Elizabethan period, when it was one of the sights of London that foreign visitors wrote about. Its most popular attractions were the Royal Menagerie and displays of armour. The Crown Jewels
Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
The collective term Crown Jewels denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at other state functions...

 also garner much interest, and have been on public display since 1669. The Tower steadily gained popularity with tourists through the 19th century, despite the opposition of the Duke of Wellington to visitors. Numbers became so high that by 1851 a purpose-built ticket office was erected. By the end of the century, over 500,000 were visiting the castle every year.

In the 20th century tourism is the Tower's primary role, the remaining routine military activities, under the Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

, having wound down in the latter half of the century and moved out of the castle. However, the Tower is still home to the ceremonial regimental headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Queen's Division.The regiment was formed on April 23, 1968, as part of the reforms of the army that saw the creation of the first 'large infantry regiments', by the amalgamation of the four English fusilier...

, and the museum dedicated to it and its predecessor, the Royal Fusiliers. Also, a detachment of the unit providing the Queen's Guard
Queen's Guard
The Queen's Guard and Queen's Life Guard are the names given to contingents of infantry and cavalry soldiers charged with guarding the official royal residences in London...

 at Buckingham Palace still mounts a guard at the Tower, and with the Yeomen Warders
Yeomen Warders
The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard Extraordinary, popularly known as the Beefeaters, are ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London...

, takes part in the Ceremony of the Keys
Ceremony of the Keys
Ceremonies known as the Ceremony of the Keys are held in at least two locations in the United Kingdom: London, and Edinburgh, as well as Gibraltar.-London:...

 each day. On several occasions through the year gun salutes are fired from the Tower by the Honourable Artillery Company
Honourable Artillery Company
The Honourable Artillery Company was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII. Today it is a Registered Charity whose purpose is to attend to the “better defence of the realm"...

, these consist of 62 rounds for royal occasions, and 41 on other occasions. In 1974, there was a bomb explosion in the Mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 Room in the White Tower, leaving one person dead and 35 injured. No one claimed responsibility for the blast, but the police investigated suspicions that the IRA
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 was behind it.

The Tower of London is cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity created in 1998 to manage Britain's unoccupied royal palaces. These are:* The Tower of London* Hampton Court Palace* Kensington Palace - the state rooms only.* Banqueting House* Kew Palace...

, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown. In 1988, the Tower of London was added to the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 list of World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s, in recognition of its global importance and to help conserve and protect the site. However, recent developments, such as the construction of skyscrapers nearby, have pushed the Tower towards being added to the United Nation's Heritage in Danger List. The remains of the medieval palace have been open to the public since 2006. Visitors can explore the chambers restored to their former glory, once used by past kings and queens. Although the position of Constable of the Tower remains the highest position held at the Tower, the responsibility of day-to-day administration is delegated to the Resident Governor
Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House
Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, is responsible for the day-to-day running of Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London.The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London...

. At least six ravens are kept at the Tower at all times, in accordance with the belief that if they are absent, the kingdom will fall. They are under the care of the Yeomen Warders. The earliest known reference to a Tower raven is a picture from 1883. As well as having ceremonial duties, the Yeoman Warders provide guided tours around the Tower. According to Historic Royal Palaces, over 2.4 million people visited the Tower of London in the year to March 2011.

Crown Jewels

The tradition of housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London probably dates from the reign of Henry III. The Jewel House was built specifically to house the royal regalia, including jewels, plate, and symbols of royalty such as the crown, sceptre, and sword. When money needed to be raised, the treasure could be pawned by the monarch. The treasure allowed the monarch independence from the aristocracy, and consequently was closely guarded. A new position for "keeper of the jewels, armouries and other things" was created, which was well rewarded; in the reign of Edward III (1312–1377) the holder was paid 12d a day. The position grew to include other duties including purchasing royal jewels, gold, and silver, and appointing royal goldsmiths and jewellers. In 1649, during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, the contents of the Jewel House were disposed of along with other royal properties. Metal items were sent to the Mint to be melted down and reused, and the crowns were "totallie broken and defaced". When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the only surviving items of the coronation regalia were a 12th-century spoon and three ceremonial swords. The rest of the Crown Jewels had to be recreated. In 1669, the Jewel House was demolished and the Crown Jewels moved into Martin Tower where they could be viewed by the paying public. This was exploited two years later when Colonel Thomas Blood
Thomas Blood
Colonel Thomas Blood was an Irish colonel best known for attempting to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London in 1671...

 attempted to steal them. Blood and his accomplices bound and gagged the Jewel House keeper. Although they laid their hands on the Imperial State Crown, Sceptre and Orb, they were foiled when the keeper's son turned up unexpectedly and raised the alarm. The Crown Jewels are currently stored in the Waterloo Barracks at the Tower.

Menagerie

The Royal Menagerie
Menagerie
A menagerie is/was a form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity that preceded the modern zoological garden. The term was first used in seventeenth century France in reference to the management of household or domestic stock. Later, it came to be used primarily in reference to...

 is first referenced during the reign of Henry III. In 1251, the sheriffs were ordered to pay fourpence a day towards the upkeep for the King's polar bear; the bear attracted a great deal of attention from Londoners when it went fishing in the Thames. In 1254, the sheriffs were ordered to subsidise the construction of an elephant house at the Tower. The exact location of the medieval menagerie is unknown, although the lions were kept in the barbican
Barbican
A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from medieval Latin barbecana, signifying the "outer fortification of a city or castle," with cognates in the Romance languages A barbican, from...

 known as Lion Tower. The royal collection was swelled by diplomatic gifts including three leopards from the Holy Roman Emperor. By the 18th century, the menagerie was open to the public; admission cost three half-pence or the supply of a cat or dog to be fed to the lions. The last of the animals left in 1835, relocated to Regents Park, after one of the lions was accused of biting a soldier. The Keeper of the Royal Menagerie was entitled to use the Lion Tower as a house for life. Consequentially, even though the animals had long since left the building, the Lion Tower was not demolished until the last keeper's death in 1853.

During 2011 an exhibition was hosted at the Tower with fine wire sculptures by Kendra Haste.

Ghosts

The ghost of Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, beheaded in 1536 for treason against Henry VIII, allegedly haunts the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried, and has been said to be walking around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm. Other ghosts include Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

, Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, Margaret Pole
Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury was an English peeress, one of two women in sixteenth-century England to be a peeress in her own right with no titled husband, the daughter of George of Clarence, the brother of King Edward IV and King Richard III...

, and the Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

. In January 1816, a sentry on guard outside the Jewel House claimed to have witnessed an apparition of a bear advancing towards him, and reportedly died of fright a few days later. In October 1817, a tubular, glowing apparition was claimed to have been seen in the Jewel House by the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, Edmund Lenthal Swifte. He said that the apparition hovered over the shoulder of his wife, leading her to exclaim: "Oh, Christ! It has seized me!" Other nameless and formless terrors have been reported, more recently, by night staff at the Tower.

See also

  • Castles in Great Britain and Ireland
  • List of castles in England
  • List of prisoners of the Tower of London
  • Tower of London in popular culture
    Tower of London in popular culture
    The Tower of London has been represented in popular culture in many ways. As a result of 16th and 19th century writers, the Tower has a reputation as a grim fortress, a place of torture and execution....


External links

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