Yesterday, I rose early for a Sunday and ventured to the Tower of London with some of my classmates. I was positively chuffed to see it because it’s had such an important and varied role in British history. Did you know it’s been used as a garrison, a palace, an armoury, a zoo, a storehouse for the royal jewels, a mint, a prison and execution spot, and is currently a modern-day village with full-time residents (the famous Beefeaters and their families)?
Of course, most people think of the Tower as prison and site of the executions of many famous people, including Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. In fact, it was only a rare few who were executed within the relative privacy of the Tower itself, as this was a privilege reserved only for those of the highest rank. Most who were executed were taken to Tower Hill, just outside the fortress, where anyone could come view the anticipated, and often gory, moment of death.
Prisoners who were locked away in the White Tower often carved their names or thoughts and prayers into the walls. Certain nobles may have even commissioned stone masons to create more elaborate coats-of-arm and to inscribe biblical quotes.
As mentioned above, two Tudor queens were also held and executed at the Tower. Here is a short video I made, introducing you to King Henry VIII’s six royal marriages. “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived,” as they say…
- Queen Anne Boleyn’s Day (subrosahandcrafts.wordpress.com)
- Historic Royal Palaces: Acoustiguide UK is Delighted to Launch Opus Click™ at the Tower of London (prweb.com)