-FEB. 2011-

‡ Tower of London



Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England.
It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.
It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England.

The White Tower, 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.

[Most of the information on this page is from Wikipedia; much more information is to be found there]



The White Tower
You can see how the White Tower got his name

As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

First a tour on the ramparts

Broad Arrow Tower

Tower of London




Open and closed doors

Prison statements


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, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch.

In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower 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.
Under the Tudors, 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.



History goes back long ways

Beefeater at Tower of London

Tower of London




Big Gun and Large Black Crows

Detail of the canon

Roman Wall at Tower of London


The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I 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 to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century.




Armoury at Tower of London

Armoury on display at Tower of London

Armoury on display at Tower of London



William of Orange

William III (4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702) (Dutch: Willem III) was a sovereign Prince of Orange by birth, William Henry of Orange was born in The Hague in the Dutch Republic on 04Nov1650.

From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange (Dutch: Willem III van Oranje) over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic.
From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland, and as William II over Scotland.
He is informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as 'King Billy'.
A member of the House of Orange-Nassau, William won the English, Scottish, and Irish crowns following the Glorious Revolution, in which his uncle and father-in-law, James II, was deposed.
In the British Isles, William ruled jointly with his wife, Mary II, until her death on 28 December 1694.
The period of their joint reign is often referred to as 'William and Mary'.

[Wikipedia, more...]



Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Armoury in Tower of London




Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains, despite later activity on the site.

Tower of London
Who doesn't know the stories of Richard I, the Lionheart King?!





Crown Jewels in Tower of London

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.


Crown Jewels in Tower of London



The Tower of London has become established as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. It 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 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.


Other pages on this London trip:








Created: 11Mar11 - Updated: 22 Maart, 2011