Tower Of London

City (EC3) Said to be the oldest fortress prison in Europe, much of what we now see having existed for more than eight hundred years. Underneath part of this are the remains of a strong place a thousand years older still. Here Julius Caesar is said to have built a castrum, the White Tower having certainly been erected on Roman foundations.

The principal towers are the White Tower (built by William the Conqueror) , the Middle Tower (originally built by Edward I) ; the Byward Tower (in part the work of Edward I, in part that of Richard II) ; the Bell Tower (probably planned in the reign of Richard I) ; the Bloody Tower (Edward III and Richard II) ; the Wakefield Tower (Henry III) ; the Beauchamp Tower, Devereux Tower, Lanthorn Tower, and St. Thomas's Tower. There are also the Salt Tower, Cradle, Well, and Irongate Towers, a description and history of all of which would fill volumes. The White Tower, or Keep, is the oldest part of the fortress, the site being, it is said, the first London camp of the Conqueror. The date given for the commencement of the actual building is 1078. In 1097, in the reign of William Rufus, the work was still proceeding. Here have been held prisoners many foreign notables: David, King of Scots; John, King of France; Charles of Blois; the Duke of Orleans. Until the reign of Charles II the Tower was occupied as a palace by all our kings and queens. Before and since that period it was the prison of many important traitors and supposed traitors and a p]ace of execution. Considerations of space forbid the mention of more than a few of the more prominent, the first recorded prisoner being Ralph Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who had assisted William Rufus in the construction of the fortress. Here were beheaded: Lord Dudley; the Duke of Northumberland; Lord Guildford Dudley, and his wife, Lady Jane Grey; the Earl of Essex; Strafford, Laud, Balmerino, Lovat, Monmouth, Norfolk, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Katherine Howard. Here Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned by her sister Mary; here Sir Walter Raleigh passed many weary years. Here the young Princes were murdered. Here, in the Wakefield Tower, the Crown Jewels are kept.