The Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula

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Within the precincts of the fortress is the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, the church of the Liberty of the Tower, so full of melancholy associations as the last resting-place of many great political prisoners who suffered death within sight of its walls. Originally built about 1272, it has unfortunately been so constantly altered and disfigured by so-called restorations that no idea of its first appearance can be formed; but we may add that it consists of a nave, a chancel, and one side aisle, beneath which are interred, amongst others, the mutilated bodies of Queen Anne Boleyn (1536), Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley (1554), Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1600), and the Duke of Monmouth (1685).

St. Peter ad Vincula is also the burial place of Sir Richard Cholmondeley, to whose memory there is a fine altar tomb in the chancel; of Sir Richard Blount and his son Sir Michael Blount, and Sir Allen Apsley, who were successively Lieutenants of the Tower; of Sir John Eliot, who died a prisoner in 1632, and Sir Thomas Overbury, who was poisoned in 1613.

The spot on which private executions took place is pointed out nearly opposite the door of St. Peter's, and is marked by a semicircle of flints. Its melancholy interest, however, is equalled if not surpassed by that of Tower Hill, the open space opposite the principal entrance, where once stood the scaffold and block on which Bishop Fisher Sir Thomas More (1535), the Protector Somerset (1552), Lord Guildford Dudley (1554), the Earl of Stafford (1641), Archbishop Laud (1643), Algernon Sidney (1683), and many another illustrious hero of English history suffered the last penalties of the law.