Archive for October 19th, 2010

The Tower of London holds many secrets and hides a bloody past behind it’s walls. 

The Tower of London

 Not so hidden is the place where many executions took place.  The youngest person to die at the hands of the executioner was just 16 years old; Lady Jane Grey… queen for just 9 days and then beheaded!

Tower Green

If nothing else the citizens of this tiny island were a blood thirsty and violent bunch. A visit to the Tower of London is a fascinating trip back in history and parts of the tower date back to 1075 when William the Conqueror started work on what is known as The White Tower

The White Tower

– the Norman Tower; built on the south-east of the ancient Roman city to control Londoners and deter invaders. Between 1238 and 1240 Henry III expanded the castle beyond the Roman city boundary. I took a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour which was highly entertaining, filled with fascinating facts and amusing anecdotes. 

Yeoman Warder

 This lasted for 45 minutes and the I took myself on a tour of the grounds, towers and ramparts.  It always gives me a thrill to walk in the footsteps of well known figures like King Henry VIII who used to wait at the riverside gates for his brides and Ralegh who was imprisoned 3 times in the tower.

Ralegh's walk

 Tower Green is the spot where 3 queens, two lords and two ladies were beheaded as traitors. Walking in the footsteps of Ralegh, Edward I and Henry III is beyond amazing, and in the medieval palace they have recreated King Edward’s chamber.

King Edward's chamber

 Dotted on the ramparts are wrought-iron figures depicting soldiers and archers in battle-stance.

soldiers on the ramparts

The traitors gate,

Traitors Gate

chapels and towers make for a fascinating visit with the highlight being a visit to see the crown jewels, the most secured area in London. They are quite beyond magnificent with jewels to make your eyes water.  130 people in total live in the Tower and they host many events and on occasion re-enactments of historical events. The ravens of which there are 9 (3 for back-up) are well looked after, legend has it that if the ravens leave the palace the monarch will fall……so, as you can imagine these are the most well looked after birds in history!

the tower ravens

There are laods of guns, cannons and various items of weaponry dotted about the grounds, of which this was by far the most magnificent!

bronze 24-pounder gun and cast-iron carriage

This gun, which weights 5 3/4 tons was probably made in the Low Countries in 1607, commissioned by the Knights of Malta. It is richly decorated with a variety of images representing the Order’s Religious and Humanitarian role. It was brought to England around 1800.  An awesome place to visit.

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