Башня Лондона (Tower of London)
Выполнил: студент 5-го курса Института филологии
германо –романского отделения
Мирзоев Т. А.
1- Introduction – 1
2- The Bell Tower - 2
3- The bloody Tower - 2
4- The Salt Tower – 3
5- The Beauchamp Tower – 3
6- The Wakefield Tower – 4
7- The Martin Tower – 4
8- The White Tower – 5
a) Chaple of St. John The Evangelist – 5
b) The Arms and Armors (part one) – 5
c) The Arms and Armors (part two) – 6
9 The Crown Jewels – 7
10 Ceremonies – 8
a) The Ceremony of Keys – 8
b) The Ceremony of the Lilies and Roses - 9
Ghost stories - 10
a) The Ghost of Anne Boleyn - 10
b) Traitors’ Gate - 11
The Tower of London is a visual symbol of the Norman Conquest of
England. It was built by William the Conqueror with stone that was brought
over from Caen. The English do not relish the memory and like to think that
the Tower went back to Romans and was founded by Julius Ceaser. This is not
true, but some parts of the complex rest on Roman foundations. William I,
though, brought over a Norman expert as his artificer, Gundulf, who
designed the Tower. The Tower of London is considered now by the Royal
Commission on Historical Monuments as "The most valuable monument of
Medieval military architecture surviving in England."
The Tower was not only a fortress but eventually became a royal
palace, state prison, the Mint, a record office, observatory, and zoo. As a
state prison it was used for criminals considered most dangerous to the
state, and the Mint was the treasury for the Crown Jewels. It became a zoo,
the original Zoo, in 1834 when pets that the king had accumulated over the
years were among a great diversity. The zoo consisted of lions, leopards,
bears wolves, lynxes, etc.
The general appearance of this complex was much as it is today. Inside
the complex, though, there have been many changes. In front of the White
Tower, on the south side, there was a royal palace with private lodgings
and great hall. Medieval kings often took refuge in the lodgings. Many
historic events took place here too, such as the murder of the princes,
Edward IV's sons. It was custom for kings and queens to spend the night, or
a few days, before their coronation in these royal apartments. These royal
lodgings were eventually swept away, leaving the Tower all alone.
After William the Conqueror the king that left a lasting impression on
the Tower was Henry III. By 1236 he had rebuilt the Great Hall and built
the Wakefield Tower next to the royal lodgings. He also built the archway
to the Bloody Tower and the main angle towers along the wall.
A direct waterway entrance from the Thames onto the Tower was
difficult and for a time unachievable. It wasn't until the oratory was
built to the martyr St. Thomas that the foundations were ensured for such
an entrance. The Water Gate, or entrance from the Thames into the Tower,
later became known as Traiter's Gate. Henry III's son, Edward I, finished
off the Tower.
Several episodes reveal the general history of these times. In 1244
Griffith, son of Llewelyn, the last independent Prince of Wales, attempted
an escape from the Tower by making a rope out of his bedclothes, which
resulted in his death after it broke. During the expulsion of the Jews in
1278, hundreds were kept in the Tower. In 1357-8 the Tower served as an
arsenal. Edward III made many preparations for the French war here, which
began with a naval victory of Sluys and ended up as the Hundred Years' War.
Beginning life as a simple timber and earth enclosure tucked in the south-
east angle formed by the joining of the original east and south stone walls
of the old Roman town of Londinium Augusta, the original structure was
completed by the addition of a ditch and palisade along the north and west
This enclosure then received a huge structure of stone which in time came
to be called The Great Tower and eventually as it is known today
Since the first foundations were laid more than 900 years ago the
castle has been constantly improved and extended by the addition of other
smaller towers, extra buildings, walls and walkways, gradually evolving
into the splendid example of castle, fortress, prison, palace and finally
museum that it proudly represents today.
Tower of London is a complex made up of many different sections. The
Tower is surrounded by a moat on three sides and the Thames River on the
fourth. The outside fortifications consist of Legge's and Brass Mount. The
inner fortifications, called the Ballium Wall, have 13 towers: the Bloody
Tower, the Wakefield Tower, the Bell Tower, the Lanthorn Tower, the Salt
Tower, the Broad Arrow Tower, the Constable Tower, the Martin Tower, the
Brick Tower, the Bowyer Tower, the Flint Tower, the Devereux Tower, and the
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower stands in the south-west corner of the Inner Ward. It was
built in the 13th century and is so called because of the belfry on top. In
the past, when the bell was rung in alarm, drawbridges were raised,
portcullises were dropped, and gates shut. The bell is still rung in the
evening to warn visitors on the wharf it is time to leave.
Among the most famous prisoners confined to the Bell Tower was Sir
Thomas More imprisoned there in 1534. More, at one time close friends with
Henry VIII, refused to acknowledge the validity of the king's divorce from
Queen Catherine of Aragon (thereby refusing to accept the Act of
Succession) and to acknowledge him as supreme head of the Church.
Catherine, it should be noted, was the daugther of Isabella and Ferdinand
of Spain, known for financing the expeditions of Christopher Columbus. More
was executed July 1535 and buried in St Peters Chapel.
Henry VIII's penchant for imprisoning family was not lost on his
children apparently. This involved two of his daughters (by two different
mothers), both of whom would one day rule. Princess Elizabeth, later
Elizabeth I, was also imprisoned in the Bell Tower -- sent there in 1554 by
her half-sister Mary I on suspicion of being concerned in plots against the
The Bloody Tower
Originally this was known as the Garden Tower for the constable's
garden that was by it. The square-shaped structure at one time served as a
gateway to the Inner Ward. Its lowest level was built by Henry III and the
other storeys were added later. It gained its present name in the 16th
century because of the murderous deeds, which took place in its dark rooms.
The most notorious deed was the killing of the princes, Edward V and
his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. This occurred in 1483 supposedly
on the orders of the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III, but there
are some who strongly oppose this view and name Henry Tudor, later Henry
VII as the culprit.
The generally accepted version of the murder is that Elizabeth
Woodville, widow of Edward IV, was forced to allow her sons to live in the
Tower, ostensibly to enable the 13-year-old king to prepare for his
coronation. Sir Robert Brackenbury was asked to take part in the murder but
refused to help. Thereupon Sir James Tyrrell was sent to the Tower with
orders to force the Constable to surrender his keys for one night. Sir
James agents found the two boys asleep. One was suffocated with a pillow
while the other boy was stabbed to death. The murderers carried the bodies
down the narrow stairway and buried them under a covering of rubble in the
basement. They were later reburied by Sir Robert Brackenbury close to the
White Tower, but all knowledge of the graves was lost. In 1674 skeletons of
two boys were unearthed near the White Tower, and in the belief that the
grave of the princes had been found the king ordered the bodies to be moved
to Westminster Abbey.
Many other figures in history suffered imprisonment or death in the
Bloody Tower. Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Ridley and Latimer who were
condemned to death for heresy in 1555, were imprisoned in the Tower before
being burned at the stake at Oxford. Henry Percy died there in mysterious
circumstances in 1585. The infamous Judge Jeffreys was prisoner here as
well. Sir Thomas Overbury, poet and courtier, was a victim of court
intrigue. His food is supposed to have been poisoned, and he is supposed to
have swallowed enough poison to have killed 20 men before he died in 1613.
Sir Walter Raleigh spent most of his 13 years of imprisonment in the Bloody
Tower, but he was able to perform many scientific experiments. He is
credited with having discovered a method of distilling fresh water from
salt water. Also during his imprisonment he wrote his vast History of the
World which was published in 1614, four years before he was beheaded at
The Salt Tower
This tower, yet another built by Henry III, about 1235 was used in later
days as a prison for Jesuits. It contains a number of interesting
inscriptions, the most notable being a complicated diagram cut in stone for
casting horoscopes. The inscription records that "Hew Draper of Brystow
made this sphere the 30 daye of Maye anno 1561". Draper was imprisoned for
attempted witchcraft in 1561.
In several places on the walls a pierced heart, hand, and foot have been
carved. This symbol signifies the wounds of Christ. As in other towers
where the Jesuits were imprisoned. The monogram I.H.S, with a cross above
the H, occurs in several places -- the sign made by the Society of Jesus.
The Beauchamp Tower
Henry III and his son, Edward I, are to be attributed to the creation
of the Beauchamp Tower. Henry III is responsible for many of the towers and
structures in the Tower of London, with eight wall towers built during the
latter part of his reign. It was during Edward's reconstruction of the
western section that he replaced a twin-towered gatehouse built by Henry
with the Beauchamp Tower around 1275-81.
Architecturally, the large amount of brick used, as opposed to solely that
of stone, was innovative at its time for castle construction. The tower
takes its name from Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, imprisoned 1397-99
by Richard II. The three-storey structure was used often for prisoners of
Of special interest are the inscriptions carved on the stone walls
here by prisoners. The most elaborate is a memorial to the five brothers
Dudley, one of whom was Lord Guildford Dudley, husband of Lady Jane Grey.
This unhappy pair were executed in 1554.
The Wakefield Tower
Opposite Traitors Gate is the Wakefield Tower built in the early 13th
century. Here the Crown Jewels were housed from 1870 until 1967. The tower
has 2 chambers, the ground floor acting as a guardroom to the postern which
led to the royal apartments above. These apartments were destroyed by
Cromwell. The upper floor now contains a large and magnificent octagonal
vaulted chamber in which there is an oratory.
Wakefield Tower was probably named after William de Wakefield, Kings
Clerk and holder of the custody of the Exchanges in 1334. In the 14th
century the State records were transferred to the Wakefield Tower from the
White Tower, and in surveys of the period the building is referred to as
the Records Tower.
Henry VI died in the Wakefield Tower on May 21st 1471. Henry VI, who
was also founder of Eton College, and of Kings College, Cambridge, is
supposed to have been murdered on the orders of the Duke of Gloucester,
later Richard III.
The Martin Tower
Built by Henry III this tower is famous as the scene of Colonel Thomas
Bloods fruitless attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. After the Restoration,
the newly-made regalia was kept in the Martin Tower (known at the time as
the Jewel Tower) in sole custody of the Deputy Keeper of the Jewels, a man
named Talbot Edwards who lived with his family in the tower.
Blood, disguised as a clergyman, became very friendly with Edwards,
even to the point of proposing a marriage between the old mans' daughter
and a supposed nephew of his. Early on a May morning in 1671, the colonel
appeared by appointment with his "nephew" and a friend to arrange the
marriage. While awaiting the ladies, Blood suggested that his friends might
see the Crown Jewels. As soon as the chamber was opened Edwards was
attacked and badly injured. Blood hid the State Crown beneath his cloak;
one accomplice slipped the Orb into his breeches, while the other began
filing the sceptre in half to make it more portable. They were then
unexpectedly disturbed by Edward's son returning from abroad and a running
fight followed during which all three were captured.
Blood eventually obtained an audience with Charles II to whom he
remarked that "it was a gallant attempt." Charles -- with uncharacteristic
leniency -- immediately pardoned Blood, granted him a pension and promised
that his Irish estates, seized at the Restoration, would be restored.
Edwards, on the other hand, was granted 200 pounds by the Exchequer and his
son was given 100 pounds. The old man, however, was forced to sell off his
expectation for half its value, and he died of his injuries soon
The White Tower
The great central keep was built by William the Conqueror and finished
by his sons and successors, William Rufus and Henry I. It is 90 feet high
and is of massive construction, the walls varying from 15 feet thickness at
the base to almost 11 feet in the upper parts. Above the battlements rise
four turrets; three of them are square, but that on the Northeast is
circular. This turret once contained the first royal observatory.
The original single entrance was on the south side and it was reached
by an external staircase. There were no doors at ground level. The walls on
the upper floors were penetrated by narrow slits positioned in wide splays.
On the southern side, four pairs of original double slits remain. In late
17th and early 18th centuries all others were replaced by Sir Christopher
Wren with the windows seen today.
In the White Tower the medieval kings of England lived with their
families and their court. Here was the seat of government and here the laws
of the land were made. The royal family lived in the top storey; the
council chamber was on the floor below. In this chamber in 1399 Richard II
was forced to sign away his throne, and in 1483 Richard III summarily
sentenced Lord Hastings to death.
Chapel of St. John the Evangelist
On the first floor of the White Tower is the exquisite Chapel of St
John the Evangelist where the royal family and the court worshipped and
where the knights of the Order of the Bath spent their vigil the night
before a coronation. It is one of the most perfect specimens of Norman
architecture in Great Britain. Roman influence can also be found in the
White Tower's basement where there is two-millennium-old well. The White
Tower also contains one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the
The Arms and Armour (Part One)
The White Tower and the New Armouries contain the national collection
of arms and armour. As the most important fortress in the kingdom, the
Tower must have held armour and arms from the time it was first built, but
in their present form the Armouries date from the time of Henry VIII. The
collection -- one of the greatest in the world -- illustrates the
development of arms and armour from the Middle Ages to 1914.
The White Tower is entered through the Tournament Room. The display
here is devoted entirely to armour specially designed for use in warlike
exercise. This collection includes the tilt armour for the German form of
joust known as the Scharfrennen, in which sharp lances were used, and the
splendid Brocas helm. The armour was made about 1490 in Germany for use at
the court of Emperor Maximillian I; the tilt helm was probably made in
England in the same period.
In tournaments mounted men ran different courses against each other,
each course requiring armour of a special design. Men also fought against
one another on foot and this required armour of yet another pattern. The
Armouries contain three foot-combat armours made for Henry VIII, the first
dates to about 1512 and the second about 1515, when he was slim and active.
The third one was made in 1540 when he was forty-nine and very portly. The
middle armour is remarkable in that all the plates fit together, over
flanges, thus enabling his height of six-feet one-inch to be accurately
In the adjacent room the collection of hunting and sporting arms
includes crossbows and firearms. Here can be traced the technical advances
in firearm mechanisms, from the match lock, the snaphance and the wheel
lock to the flintlock. The development of decorative techniques is also
evident. Craftsmen applied or inlaid precious metals, ivory, bone and even
mother-of-pearl to enhance the wood they carved and chiselled with such
consummate skill; the contemporary artistic styles from the 15th to the
19th centuries can thus be compared.
An especially interesting exhibit is the elegant silver-decorated
sporting gun made in Dundee in 1614. It came from the personal gun-room of
Louis XIII of France. Another unique exhibit is the Scottish gun made
entirely of engraved brass for Charles I when he was a young man. Through
the Chapel of St John is the Mediaeval Room, which is now devoted to the
earliest arms and armour in the Tower. The exhibits are mostly of the late
14th and 15th centuries and include a superb Italian visored bascinet with
its original neck protection of mail. There is also one of the few Gothic
horse armours surviving. It was probably made to order for Waldemar VI of
The Arms and Armour (Part Two)
In the adjoining Sixteenth-century Room, fine arms and armour date
from that century, but exclude English products. Most conspicuous is the
massive suit of German armour made around 1540 for a man nearly seven feet
tall. From the middle of the century is the splendid Lion Armour embossed
with lions masks and damascened in gold.
On the top floor, the Tudor Room is devoted mainly to the armours made
in the royal workshops at Greenwich which Henry VIII established about
1514. They include four armours made for the king himself -- one engraved
and silver plated -- and others made at Greenwich for Tudor courtiers.
There is an armour made for one of Elizabeth I's favourites, Robert Dudley,
Earl of Leicester, another for William Somerset, Earl of Worcester, another
for Sir John Smythe, who vainly championed the use of the long bow many
years after its inevitable super-session by firearms.
In the adjoining Stuart Room are beautiful little armours made in
France and England for the Stuart kings and princes and the London-made
harquebus armour of James II. They are the focus of a display devoted to
the 17th century -- the last period before armour ceased to be used.
Separate displays are devoted to the armour, arms and accoutrements of the
richly equipped bodyguards, the light and heavy cavalry, and the infantry.
The armour of the pikemen was the last to be worn by foot soldiers before
the increased efficiency of firearms made its use impractical.
In the basement is the Mortar Room, where the bronze mortars on view
include one of the bores used for fireworks at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle
in 1748. At the far end of the room is the entrance to the sun-crypt of the
Chapel of St John, where a carved and gilt figure of the Lion of St Mark, a
trophy from Corfu, is flanked by a number of the finest small cannon from
the armouries collection.
In the adjacent Cannon Room the walls are hung with relics of Henry
VIII's army and a great array of armour and weapons returned to the Tower
after the Civil War. Here also is the greater part of the Armouries
collection of cannon, including several from the ships of Henry VIII's
The New Armouries comprise a red brick building close to the White
Tower. On the ground floor is a representative collection of armour and
arms of Africa and the Orient. It is dominated by armour for an elephant,
probably captured at the battle of Plassey in 1757. One Japanese armour on
view was presented to James I by the governor of Edo in 1613. Many of the
later sporting firearms on the first floor are of the highest quality. The
flintlock guns include ones given by Louis XIV to the first Duke of
Richmond, another was sent by Napoleon to Charles IV of Spain, and a third
with matching powder flask, pair of pistols and stirrups, was made to the
order of Elizabeth, Empress of Russia. Here also are the Reverend Alexander
Forsyth's own models of the percussion lock he invented after years of
experiment in the Tower. Superseding the flintlock, it completely
revolutionised firearms development and, consequently, the science of war.
The Crown Jewels
During medieval times Crown Jewels were the personal property of the
sovereign. It was fairly common practice for the King or Queen to pawn them
or use them as security for loans in time of war. Most were kept at the
Tower, particularly when the sovereign was in residence there, although the
Coronation Regalia was held at Westminster Abbey. Sometime after 1660, a
new set of Regalia was made to replace what had been destroyed during the
Commonwealth. It was at that time that the Tower became the permanent home
of the Crown Jewels and put on public display.
The Crown Jewels are what most visitors to the Tower of London come to
see. This incomparable collection of crowns, orbs, swords, sceptres and
other regalia, and gold and silver plate was refashioned in 1661 after
parliament had ordered the original gold and precious metals to be melted
down for coinage in 1649.
The Imperial State Crown worn by monarchs at their coronations is set
with jewels of great antiquity and historical significance. The oldest is
Edward the Confessor's sapphire, believed to have been worn by him in a
ring. The great gem above the rim is the ancient balas-ruby, known as the
Black Prince's ruby, which is said to have been given to him by Pedro the
Cruel of Castile.
From the intersections of the arches hang four superb drop pearls, the
so-called Queen Elizabeth's Earrings, but there is no evidence that she
ever wore them in this way. Set in the rim at the back of the crown is the
Stuart sapphire. It is probably much older than its name implies, but is
known to have been in the possession of James II when he fled to France
after his deposition. It was formerly mounted in the rim, at the front, but
was displaced by the Second Star of Africa cut from the Cullinan diamond.
In addition to these jewels, the Imperial State Crown contains over 3,000
diamonds and pearls, as well as fine sapphires, emeralds, and rubies.
The Crown Jewels have in the past resided in both the White Tower and in
the Martin Tower. Today they have their home in Jewel House which is a part
of the Waterloo Barracks (left side of photo). [Greeley/Gilmore]
The Royal Sceptre with the Cross is a rod of chased gold, with the
peerless Star of Africa cut from the Cullinnan diamond held in a heart
shaped mount. Above this is a superb amethyst with a diamond-encrusted
cross set with an emerald.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's Crown was made for her coronation as
queen consort in 1937. This graceful crown is set with diamonds, dominated
by the famous Koh-i-noor. Its Indian name means "Mountain of Light" and the
jewel has a long and turbulent history. Tradition says that its male owners
will suffer misfortune, but women who possess it will rule the world.
These are some of the ceremonies that take place at the Tower of London.
Ceremony of Keys
The traditional locking up of the Tower of London each night. This
ceremony has been carried out every night for the last 700 years.
Set admit the mighty battlements of this ancient historic fortress, it
is one of the oldest and most colourful surviving ceremonies of it's kind,
having been enacted every night without fail for approximately seven
hundred years, in much the same form as we know it today.
The exact origin of the Ceremony is somewhat obscure, though it
probably dates from the time of the White Tower - the great Norman fortress
commenced by William the Conqueror and completed in about 1080 AD - become
regularly used as a Royal stronghold in the capital city.
As the fortifications around the Tower were increased from time to
time so it became used not only as Royal residence, but also as the Mint
and State Prison. The Country's gold was stored at the Tower, as were the
Royal Records and Royal Regalia, and numerous historical figures were
imprisoned within it's walls for political reasons, many of whom were never
to emerge to freedom, dying either from natural causes or by execution on
Tower Green or Tower Hill.
The surrounding populaces were not always in sympathy with activities
inside the Tower, and as enemies of the King might attempt to rescue
prisoners or to steal the Crown Jewels, the need for security was very
great. Thus it was in olden times that every night at dusk the Gentlemen
Porter - now known as the Chief Yeoman Warder - would collect an armed
escort, and would Lock and secure all the gates and doors leading into the
Tower, thereby making it proof against hostile attack or intrigue, This
done, the Keys would be handed over to the Tower Governor for safe keeping
during the night.
In 1826, the Duke of Wellington (then Constable of the Tower) ordered
that the time of the Ceremony be fixed at ten o'clock each night, so as to
ensure that his soldiers were all inside the Tower before the gates were
Accordingly, every night at exactly 7 minutes to ten, the Chief Warder
emerges from the Byward Tower, carrying the traditional lantern - still
lighted with a piece of candle - and in the other the Queen's Keys. He
proceeds at a dignified pace to the Bloody Tower, where an escort
consisting of two sentries, - a Sergeant and a representative Drummer are
marched to the outer gate. En route, all guards and sentries present arms
as the Queen's Keys pass.
As the Chief Warder shuts and locks the great oak doors of first the
Middle Tower and then the Byward Tower, the escort halt and present arms.
They now return along Water Lane towards the Wakefield Tower, where in the
deep shadows of the Bloody Tower Archway a sentry waits and watches.
As the Chief Warder and escort approach, the sentry's challenge rings out.
"Halt!" the escort is halted.
"Who comes there?"
"The Keys" replies the Chief Warder.
"Queen Elizabeth's Keys" is the answer.
"Pass Queen Elizabeth's Keys - All's well".
Whereupon the Chief Warder and escort proceed through the archway towards
the steps by the 13th century wall, where the Guard for the night is drawn
up under an officer with drawn sword, The Chief Warder and escort halt at
the foot of the steps. The Officer gives the command, Guard and Escort -
present arms. The Chief Warder takes two paces forward, raises his Tudor
bonnet high in the air and calls out God preserve Queen Elizabeth. The
Whole Guard reply Amen, and as the parade ground clock chimes ten, the
Drummer (bugler) sounds the Last Post.
The Chief Warder takes the Keys to the house of the Resident Governor, and
the Guard is dismissed.
The Ceremony of the Lilies and Roses
The Wakefield Tower, built originally for defensive purposes swiftly
became the Presence Chamber of Plantagenet kings. It is with an indication
of this ancient role that you see it today. In a recess is the Oratory with
an altar chest, bearing the likeness of King Henry VI and the Arms of Eton
College and King's College, Cambridge. In front is an appraisal of the King
by his confessor, John Blacman.
In 1471 King Henry VI, founder of those Colleges was held a prisoner
in this tower. He was murdered at these prayers in the Oratory between
eleven and twelve o'clock on the night of the 21st May. His body rests in
St George's Chapel at Windsor, in which Castle he was born on the 6th of
The King's birthday has long been celebrated by both his Colleges as
Founders Day and since 1905 two Kin's Scholars of Eton have laid a sheaf of
its white lilies on his tomb on that day.
Through the friendly interest of Sir George Younghusband, then Keeper
of the Jewel House, King George V was graciously pleased to approve the
setting of a marble tablet in the Oratory at the spot where by tradition
King Henry VI met his death. Eton lilies have since been laid there in the
evening of each anniversary. By the Sovereign's sanction and with approval
of the Constable of the Tower, the arrangements for this annual ceremony
were delegated to the incumbent Keeper of the Jewel House; and it was not
neglected even during the Second World War, when HM Tower of London was
restricted area and the Wakefield Tower itself was hit by a German bomb.
In 1947, the Provost and Scholars at King's College, Cambridge,
secured the permission of the King and the Constable to associate King
Henry's sister foundation with the ceremony. The white roses of Kings, in
their purple ribbon, have since been laid alongside the Eton lilies, in
their pale blue, on the Founder's stone.
The Ceremony of the Lilies and Roses. Though still a very simple one,
has over the years acquired a certain form and formality. The Provost of
Eton or his deputy, the Provost of King's or his deputy, and the Chaplain
of the Tower are conducted by the Resident Governor and Keeper of the Jewel
House, with an escort of Yeoman Warders, from Queen's House to the
Wakefield Tower. The Chaplain conducts the short service and the lilies and
roses are ceremoniously laid: to lie until dusk on the next day as token
that King Henry's memory is ever green in the two Colleges which are
perhaps his most enduring monument.
There are many stories of ghosts, poltergeists and other malevolent
spirits connected to the Tower of London. Who hasn't heard the one about
the headless apparition of Anne Boleyn stalking the Tower grounds at night.
Who for instance, hasn't heard stories of the chained and headless Sir
Walter Raliegh being seen on the ramparts close to where he was kept
prisoner. The Tower of London with its 900 years of history has earned
itself a multitude of spine tingling stories, mainly due to its infamous
reputation as a place of execution. The following stories are different in
the fact that as far as we know, they have never been told before, at least
not beyond the boundaries of the Tower of London.
The Ghost of Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn, the most celebrated of the wives of Henry VIII was
beheaded on Tower Green in 1536. Her ghost has frequently been seen both on
the Green and more spectacularly in the Chapel Royal situated in the White
Tower. It was in the Chapel that a Captain of the Guard saw a light burning
in the locked Chapel late at night. Finding a ladder, he was able to look
down on the strange scene being enacted within. A nineteenth century
account described it thus:
Slowly down the aisle moved a stately procession of Knights and
Ladies, attired in ancient costumes; and in front walked an elegant female
whose face was averted from him, but whose figure greatly resembled the one
he had seen in reputed portraits of Anne Boleyn. After having repeatedly
paced the chapel, the entire procession together with the light
disappeared. (excerpt from Ghostly Visitors by "Spectre Stricken", London
Another account of this same story tells of how the procession always
occurs on the anniversary of the terrible execution of Margaret Pole the
Countess of Salisbury, in 1541. This brave old lady (she was over seventy
when she was killed) suffered because of her son's (Cardinal Pole)
vilification of the King Henry VIII's religious doctrines, something the
Cardinal did from the safety of France. So when Henry realised that the
Cardinal was out of his reach his mother was brought to the block instead
as an act of vengeance. Instead of submitting weekly to the axeman however
she refused to lie down and was pursued by the axeman around the scaffold.
Swinging wildly he inflicted the most hideous wounds on her till at last
Another sighting of Anne Boleyn is alledged in 1864 by a sentry
standing guard at the Queen's house. The guard saw and challenged a white
shape that appeared suddenly veiled in mist. When the challenge went
unanswered the sentry put his bayonet into the figure but he was overcome
with shock when it went straight through the figure without meeting any
resistance. This story was corroborated by two onlookers who saw the whole
event from a window of the Bloody Tower. It is not known what made the
sentry and the onlookers believe that this was the ghost of Anne Boleyn but
we can only accept that after 100 years of tradition it must be so.
The Traitors' Gate was the watergate entrance for prisoners condemned
after trial at Westminster. It dates from 1240 when Henry III enlarged the
fortress by building extra defence works. There is a story that when the
work was nearing completion on St George's day 1240 there was a great storm
that resulted in the foundation's being undermined and this resulted in the
gate collapsing. When the circumstances were repeated identically a year
later an inquiry revealed that a priest claimed to have seen the ghost of
Sir Thomas Becket striking the walls with a crucifix. He said that the
ghost was proclaiming that the new building was not for the common good but
"for the injury and prejudice of the Londoners, my brethren". Since it was
the King's grandfather who had caused the death of the saint he felt it was
wise to include a small oratory in the tower of the new building dedicating
it to Sir Thomas Becket. Even so it's rooms have always had a reputation of
being haunted. Doors open and close without reason, the figure of a monk in
a brown robe has been seen. Ghostly footsteps including the distinctive
slap of monastic sandals are sometimes heard.