The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Tower of London

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Title: The Tower of London

Author: Arthur Poyser

Illustrator: John Fulleylove

Release date: September 7, 2017 [eBook #55504]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

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Thomas Cooper Poyser


Full in the midst a mighty pile arose,
Where iron-grated gates their strength oppose
To each invading step, and, strong and steep,
The battled walls arose, the fosse sunk deep.
Slow round the fortress rolled the sluggish stream,
And high in middle air the warder’s turrets gleam.


The history of the Tower of London is so closely bound up with the history of England, from the Norman Conquest onwards, that it is very difficult to write a record of the one without appearing to have attempted to write a record of the other. A full history of the Tower may read like an attenuated history of England. When the problem has to be solved within the compass of a single chapter the difficulties are very considerably increased. Then again, if a detailed account of Tower annals has been given in a preliminary chapter, there is nothing of any interest left to say when describing a visit to the several buildings within the Tower walls. If the dramatic scene in the Council Chamber of the White Tower, which ended in Lord Hastings being sent, with scant ceremony, to the block on the Green below by Richard III., be described in its proper place in the Historical Sketch (Chapter II.) it cannot again be spoken of in detail when the visit is paid (Chapter III.) to the room in which the event took place. Yet it is beyond doubt that a visitor to the Tower would rather be reminded of that tragic Council meeting when in the Council Chamber itself, than come upon it in the course of the sketch of Tower history, which he would probably have read at home beforehand and forgotten in detail. Still, those who read this book and have no opportunity of visiting the Tower expect that the characters in the moving drama of its history shall have some semblance of life as they walk across the stage. Such a reader demands more than mere names and dates, or he will skip an historical chapter as being intolerably dull. It is no consolation to him to be told that if he will take patience and walk through and round the Tower, in imagination, by keeping his temper and kindly reading Chapters III. and IV., he will discover that much of the human interest omitted in the “history” will be found by the wayside in the “walks.”

In former and larger books on the Tower it will be seen that either the purely historical record under the headings of successive Kings and Queens dwarfs to insignificance the account of the buildings themselves, or the description of the several towers and buildings which constitute the fortress-prison occupies the bulk of the volume, to the exclusion of any adequate historical record giving names and dates in chronological order. But like most difficulties, I think this one can be solved by a judicious compromise; the chapters must be tuned to “equal temperament.” I have endeavoured to keep the balance of the several sections as even as possible; and an historic candidate for the honour of the headsman’s axe, who has been given immortality in the pages of English history by reason of the manner in which he was put to death, passed over in one chapter will have some justice done to his memory in another.

I have attempted no pictorial description of the Tower as a whole or in its several parts. I dared not carry the theory I have just propounded into the realms of word-painting. Mr. Fulleylove has relieved me of that duty. He has brought the Tower buildings, as they stand to-day, before the eyes of all who turn these pages. This he has done with the brush infinitely better than I could do it with the pen.

Though the pages at my disposal are so few in number, I have had the temerity to attempt a description of much that is of interest outside Tower walls. I trust that this boldness may not prove, after all, to be a misplaced virtue. My wish has been to persuade those who come to visit the Tower that there is a great deal to be seen in its immediate vicinity that the majority of visitors have hitherto neglected, either for want of time or want of guidance. A noble and historic building like the Tower resembles a venerable tree whose roots have spread into the soil in all directions, during the uncounted years of its existence, far beyond the position of its stem.

I tender grateful thanks to Lieutenant-General Sir George Bryan Milman, K.C.B., Major of the Tower, for much kindness, both to Mr. Fulleylove and myself; and I can hardly express my indebtedness to the Rev. W. K. Fleming, who has so ungrudgingly given of his time to the task of correcting the proof-sheets.


Trinity Square,
Tower Hill, E.C.


Historical Sketch21
A Walk through the Tower87
A Walk round the Tower134
Tower Hill158
Allhallows Barking by the Tower169
INDEX: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y.215
When our gallant Norman foes
Made our merry land their own,
And the Saxons from the Conqueror were flying,
At his bidding it arose,
In its panoply of stone,
A sentinel unliving and undying.
Insensible, I trow,
As a sentinel should be,
Though a queen to save her head should come a-suing;
There’s a legend on its brow
That is eloquent to me,
And it tells of duty done and duty doing.
“The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
On London town and all its hoard
It keeps its solemn watch and ward!”
Within its wall of rock
The flower of the brave
Have perished with a constancy unshaken.                    
From the dungeon to the block,
From the scaffold to the grave,
Is a journey many gallant hearts have taken.
And the wicked flames may hiss
Round the heroes who have fought
For conscience and for home in all its beauty,
But the grim old fortalice
Takes little heed of aught
That comes not in the measure of its duty.
“The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
On London town and all its hoard
It keeps its solemn watch and ward!”
Sir William Gilbert.


1.The White Tower (Keep), with the Lanthorn Tower in the Foreground, from the Tower BridgeFrontispiece
2.The Byward and Bell Towers, with the King’s House on the right, looking from the Traitor’s Gate8
3.Top of the Portcullis in Bloody Tower24
4.Portion of the Armoury, White Tower40
5.Panorama of the Tower and Greenwich in 1543, by Anthony van den Wyngaerde48 and 49
6.The Council Chamber in the King’s House56
7.Gateway of Bloody Tower with entrance to Jewel House (Wakefield Tower)80
8.Middle Tower (West Front)90
9.The Traitor’s Gate, from within98
10.The Bloody Tower and Jewel House (Wakefield Tower), looking East104
11.Interior of St. John’s Chapel in the White Tower, looking East112
12.The King’s House from Tower Green120
13.Principal Room, for State Prisoners, in the Beauchamp Tower128
14.Chaplain’s House, and Entrance to Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, Tower Green132
15.Part of a Bastion of Old London Wall, with Clock Tower of the White Tower136
16.East End of St. John’s Chapel in the White Tower, from Broad Arrow Tower146
17.The Tower from the Tower Bridge, looking West150
18.The Tower from Tower Hill156
19.The Block, Axe, and Executioner’s Mask166
20.A True and Exact Draught of the Tower Liberties, surveyed in the year 1597 by Gulielmus Haiward and J. Gascoyne172 and 173
21.The Tower from Great Tower Street (South Porch of Allhallows Barking)184
22.Church of Allhallows Barking by the Tower (East side of South Aisle)202
Sketch Plan of the Tower at end of Volume.





If I were ance at London Tower
Where I was wont to be,
I never mair suld gang frae hame
Till borne on a bier tree.
Old Scots Ballad.

The Tower as palace and prison has been singularly neglected in literature. When we consider the part it has played in our history, how closely it is knit up in the woof and web of our national life, from far-off days when England had not risen to the measure of her greatness, down to the last Hanoverian, this fact surprises us. Shakespeare might well have laid all the scenes of another Hamlet within its walls; Scott might have given its name to another Waverley Novel. The possibilities are endless. If Scott had touched it we should have been spared the gloomy sentimentalities{2} of Ainsworth; Shakespeare, in five acts, could have given us a truer picture of Tower comedy and tragedy than the tomes of Bayley and De Ros. Scott would have cast the same romance over the Tower as he did over the rugged strip of land that lies between Callander and Inversnaid. We do not go to the Trossachs because we have read of it in a gazetteer, nor would we seek the Forest of Arden because we desired to walk in a wood. Burnham Beeches would serve the purpose equally well. But we go to the Tower because we have some vague idea that in our school-days we remember it having been mentioned, during the history lesson, as a place where men were put into dungeons, sometimes tortured, frequently beheaded. We have some indistinct notion, too, that our earlier kings lived there, but whether they lived there at the same time as the men of State they had imprisoned, executed, or burnt, we should not like to say off-hand. And if the Court was held here in the Tower, we have never tried to imagine in what part of the building it could have been properly accommodated. We can accept Whitehall and Windsor without a murmur, for the very names suggest kingliness and ample space. But—the Tower! It seems too grim and grimy,{3} too insignificant in position, too circumscribed to conjure up visions of olden pageantries of State. It is just here that the master-hand would have changed our view. A tragedy for the stage of the Blackfriars Theatre or the Globe in Southwark, the work of a month of summer mornings at Abbotsford, or of winter afternoons in Castle Street, would have fixed for all time the essentials in the picture, and we should have gone to the Tower with the definite aim of seeing the walls wherein a Malvolio strutted, where a Macbeth made murder, or where a Romeo pined. As we walked over Tower Green we might have expected to meet a Dandie Dinmont with the Peppers and Mustards at his heels, a Rashleigh lurking by, a Dugald Dalgetty of Drumthwacket discussing the merits of Rhenish wine and Kirschenwasser with the yeomen warders. Had we lived in the Tower through the greater part of a book, as we are shut up in Loch Leven Castle with Queen Mary in The Abbot, we should have visited again and again the rooms and cells in which, with Roland Graeme and the Douglases, we had spent so unforgettable a time in our lives.

It is true that Shakespeare lays scenes of his historical plays in the Tower, and that Scott brings{4} Julian Peveril and Nigel within its Traitor’s Gate, for a space; but the dramatist is merely copying locality from the history books, and the novelist is so impatient with the fate that has carried two of his young men under the archway of the Bloody Tower that he cuts off his chapter with the words, “But the thoughts and occurrences of a prison are too uniform for a narrative, and we must now convey our readers into a more bustling scene.” Really, Sir Walter, this is too scant an excuse to drive us out of one of the most wonderful buildings in the world to “the spacious mansion of the Duke of Buckingham with the demesne belonging to it,” the foundations of which are now covered by the Hotel Cecil, and the “demesne” blotted out by the buildings of the Strand and the Adelphi.

“The tide carried them up under a dark and lowering arch, closed at the upper end by the well-known Traitor’s Gate, formed like a wicket of huge intersecting bars of wood, through which might be seen a dim and imperfect view of soldiers and warders upon duty, and of the steep ascending causeway which leads up from the river into the interior of the fortress. By this gate—and it is the well-known circumstance which assigned its{5} name—those accused of State crimes were usually committed to the Tower. The Thames afforded a secret and silent mode of conveyance for transporting thither such whose fallen fortunes might move the commiseration, or whose popular qualities might excite the sympathy, of the public; and even where no cause for especial secrecy existed, the peace of the city was undisturbed by the tumult attending the passage of the prisoner and his guards through the most frequented streets.” Here we have the beginning of quite an admirable Tower romance. Our hero lands at the fatal steps, and as he walks up under the Bloody Tower a handkerchief is dropped down from the window of the cell in which Archbishop Laud was imprisoned. From within that darkened room “a female voice, in a tone wherein grief and joy were indescribably mixed, exclaimed, ‘My son!—my dear son!’ We feel our plot moves quickly when the warder picks up the mysterious bit of cambric and “looks at it with the jealous minuteness of one who is accustomed to detect secret correspondence in the most trifling acts of intercourse.

There may be writing on it with invisible ink,’ said one of his comrades.

It is wetted, but I think it is only with tears,’{6} answered the senior. ‘I cannot keep it from the poor gentleman.’

Ah, Master Coleby,’ said his comrade, in a gentle tone of reproach, ‘you would have been wearing a better coat than a yeoman’s to-day had it not been for a tender heart.’

It signifies little,’ said old Coleby, ‘while my heart is true to my King, what I feel in discharging my duty, or what coat keeps my old bosom from the cold weather.’

Spoken like a true son of the old Tower, we say, and feel ourselves already with Peveril listening to the warders’ talk as they take him to his cell. We begin to breathe the Tower atmosphere, we hear a groan from one cell, the clank of chains from another; we see a young yeoman whispering words of love into the ear of a maid who was born and has grown up within the battlements that bound us on all sides, and we see some boys at play round the spot where to-morrow a human being may suffer death. And over all this little world within the walls, where comedy and tragedy shake hands each day, rises the Conqueror’s Norman keep unchanged and unchangeable. Here is a quarry indeed in which to dig for material for a whole series of novels and plays, and{7} yet Sir Walter beheads our little romance on Tower Green, and spirits us away “into a more bustling scene.”

Shakespeare brings us to the Tower four times in the course of the three parts of King Henry VI. and four times during King Richard III. In the former play we witness the death of the imprisoned Edmund Mortimer; in the fourth act of Part II. there is a short Tower scene of a dozen lines; the sixth scene of Part III. Act IV., headed “A room in the Tower,” brings us to King Henry asking the Lieutenant of the Tower what fees incurred during his (the King’s), captivity are due to him; and in the sixth scene of the last act of the same part, we are again in “A room in the Tower,” where “King Henry is discovered sitting with a book in his hand, the Lieutenant attending.” Here, in the course of the scene, Henry is stabbed by Gloucester, and with the words, “O, God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!” dies. In Richard III. when, in the first act, we are taken into the “room in the Tower” in which Clarence is murdered, and see the evil deed performed as, later in the play, we are again in the Tower at the smothering of the sleeping Princes, we feel that Shakespeare has in these moving scenes brought{8} before our eyes the grim reality of two evil deeds done in secret within the prison-house set up by William the Norman and Henry III. But here, again, our dramatist is only telling over again the story told in England’s records, and it is all a tale of unrelieved gloom. That is why we have come to associate the Tower with murder, torture, and evil passions. We forget that the sun shone on the Royal Palace, on the Green, and even sent a beam of its rays into many a dreary cell; that flowers grew in the constable’s garden and made fragrance there as sweetly as in the cottage gardens deep down in the quietude of the shires; that jailors and warders had not invariably hearts of stone; that prisoners by taking thought and snatching an instant opportunity had found a way through the walls, then to a boat on the river, and so to liberty. In describing the shifts and hopes and disappointments that at last reached their close in so happy a “curtain,” we would wish our dramatist had been moved to write another All’s Well That Ends Well, with a Tower background.

When we discover Prince Henry, Poins, and old Sir John at their “deep drinking” at the Boar’s Head Tavern, we feel we have the Eastcheap of the early fifteenth century re-created for us, and{9}


that is because Shakespeare is allowing his fancy free play and is not bound down to the repetition of mere historical facts. So would we have gained had he dealt thus with the Tower and laid a stage-romance there, as well as the portions of the strictly historical plays we have already referred to. The history of the Tower, as the history of other places, will give us names of famous men and the numbering of years in plenty, but of the inner everyday life of some early century there—nothing. It is only the skilful in stagecraft and romance that dare touch the Tower to turn its records to such uses; men of less skill fail, and give us novels and plays that make weary reading and weary sitting-out. Many a tale has been penned of the times of the Papist prosecution, for instance, into which the people of the Tower have been brought, but so feeble has the grasp of the subject been that we turn to actual history for the “real romance” and exclaim, with greater conviction than ever, that fact is more wonderful than fiction.

It has been said that “the distinctive charm of the historical novel is that it seems to combine fact and fiction in a way that tickles the intellectual palate. In conversation we are interested in a story if some one we know is an actor in it.{10} Historical fiction has a like piquancy because it mingles men and women known to tradition and history with fictitious heroes and heroines and minor characters. Then life is large and important; we learn what it is to be of some service to the State; we feel the fascination of great causes and great leaders, the reviving influence of the liberty of wide spaces in time and distance. There we breathe an ampler ether, a diviner air,” and in spite of Sir Leslie Stephen, who characterises the historical romance as “pure cram or else pure fiction,” we prefer to have our history made living for us by the touch of a Shakespeare or a Scott.

To come to our own day, I can imagine no more delightful excursion into the brighter side of Tower romance than the wholly fictitious but happily conceived Savoy opera, The Yeomen of the Guard. Who can look upon the White Tower here, after seeing its model on the Savoy stage, and yet not remember the delicious melodies of the opera? The very spirit of Tower times of long ago, of Tower griefs and joys, of Tower quips and cranks and lilting songs, seems brought before us in the theatre when, on the rising of the curtain, we look across Tower Green, see the gable-end of St. Peter’s Church, and have the{11} huge bulk of the central keep reaching up toward the blue heaven. And the little comedy brings the old Tower nearer to our hearts, and, perhaps, to our understanding. We see it is quite possible for men to love and laugh and dance even if to-morrow they see a comrade meet death on the very spot where they had held merriment with the strolling players. It is all very human, very full of life’s sunshine, though it is felt and known that behind it all there is suffering bravely borne and deeper sorrow yet to come. But we applaud the daring of librettist and musician; complete success has justified all. Here, again, we are safe in master hands. We have been led down a by-way in Tower history by plot and counter-plot, with fragrant music for our cheer. When we come again to the actual Tower of to-day, lying, it may be, under a summer sky, we should like to find Phœbe sitting on the Green at her spinning-wheel, singing “When maiden loves,” or see Jack Point teaching the surly jailor and “assistant tormentor,” Wilfred Shadbolt, to be a jester.

It is by such paths that boys and maidens should be led to the right understanding of Tower history. Appeal to their imagination first; give them a typical day in the old life of the place,{12} and so clothe the mere skeleton of dates and isolated facts. I often wonder what impression of the Tower a child brings away after a hurried Christmas holiday visit on a “free day” when the place is little more than a glorified show. To the child, the Jewel-room can only appeal as something very like the shop-window of a Bond Street jeweller, and much less easy, in the jostling crowd, to get a glimpse of. A benevolent warder will hurry the family party through the dungeons, and keep up a running commentary of dates and names of statesmen, traitors, and kings, covering vast spaces of English history in a single breath. The White Tower will, that night, re-appear in the child’s dreams as a branch of the Army and Navy Stores, where they have nicely polished armour on view; where there is a wonderful collection of swords and bayonets displayed on the walls in imitation of sunflowers; where policemen will allow you to move in one direction only, and forbid you to turn back to see anything you may have omitted or passed too hurriedly; where Queen Elizabeth appears to be preserved in a glass case and wears remarkably well; and where large whitewashed vaults, in which are kept cannons sent by the King, suggest the lower{13} regions of South Kensington Museum and not the torture-chamber of Guy Fawkes. If that child in the air and sunshine of the following morning does not take a dislike to the Tower as a rather gloomy Madame Tassaud’s, and too festive a prison, it will be surprising indeed.

The Tower buildings at the present day have been treated in a manner that destroys all illusion. It is the fault of economy and compromise. The attempt has been made to convert the old buildings into dwelling-places with modern comforts, and to accommodate there not only the families of the warders but also a military garrison. The warders live in the smaller towers, and these, though full of historic interest, are closed to the public. For the convenience of the garrison a paternal War Office has caused to be erected, on the ground where the old Coldharbour Tower stood, the most unsightly building it is possible to conceive within Tower walls. But the putting-up of such a monstrosity convinces one that the greatest want of the present age is imagination. The men who could plan, and then construct in brick and sandstone these “quarters,” must have been those who were hurried through the old fortress in their youth, and who, like the child we have mentioned,{14} took a not unnatural dislike to His Majesty’s Tower. In no other way can the blunder be accounted for.

In spite of the cheapening and vulgarising of the Tower by Governments and State officials, it retains a surprising hold on the people. Even the mill-hands of Lancashire, surging up to London to witness a football “cup-tie,” think their visit to London incomplete until they have walked through the Tower. But whatever impressions may be on their minds when they have “done” the building, these impressions are rudely brushed away in the subsequent excitement at Sydenham. It would be interesting to hear their reply to the question, “And what did you think of the Tower of London?” when they returned to their friends and relations in the North-country. It would certainly give an excellent idea of the result of years of School Board education, of free-library reading, and a visit to the actual scene of historic events. The cell where Raleigh wrote is looked upon with lack-lustre eye by the youth whose one idea of literature is the football edition of the evening papers.

The Tower itself is the most precious jewel in the nation’s Crown. It is the epitome of English{15} history. From the Norman Conquest to the day that has just dawned we have something here to remind us of our storied past. It might be the most interesting spot in England to young and to old alike. In these days of rush and turmoil and ceaseless activities, it might be the one corner of modern London where the present is quelled in its noise, and stayed in its hurry, to contemplate the past. These buildings might well be revered by those who are hardly yet conscious of their value; they, at least, might be spared the impertinent aggressions of to-day. A commercial age has committed one unforgivable crime in pulling down Crosby Hall to erect a bank, and we may well ask ourselves if the Tower itself is safe from such vandalism. Again, it is want of imagination. Our city magnates can appreciate a bank, with its hideous granite pillars and its vapid ornamentations, but an ancient hall which Shakespeare has touched with his magic pen is of no “practical” use, mark you! It is a result of the detestable gospel of get-on-or-get-out, and as our old buildings are incapable of going-on they must go-out.

Our fear may well be lest the modernising of the Tower, and the erection within the walls of{16} wholly characterless piles that would be considered unworthy of place even in a rising suburb, will in time destroy our sense of the value of any of the buildings bequeathed to us from earliest times. Little by little the boys of to-day, who will be the citizens of the day after to-morrow, will come to look at the Tower as a very ill-painted showroom, or as none too spacious a place to accommodate a garrison. It must, we may hear them say when they become men of importance, either be brought up to date as an exhibition of antiquities, or be rebuilt to meet increasing military requirements. All this is conceivable; few things are held sacred nowadays, as we know to our sorrow.

The spirit of the twentieth century is alien from the spirit still brooding over the Tower, and which has not been quite dispelled by latter-day encroachments. Yet, when we find the great dungeon under the White Tower wired for electric light, we begin to wonder what the end will be. May we not hope that wiser counsels will prevail and that we shall have the Tower restored—in the better sense of the term—to something of its appearance in Elizabethan and Jacobean times? How refreshing it would be to leave the traffic of Great Tower Street behind and pass into the{17} tranquillity of Shakespeare’s day, as we entered the Tower gateway. The modern policeman should no longer repeat the irritating cry, “Get your tickets! Get your tickets!” at the foot of Tower Hill; the wretched refreshment shed, which all visitors are compelled to pass through, should no longer assail us on our entry with its close atmosphere savouring of stale buns. Even on “free days” this “ticket” procedure has to be gone through solemnly, and the turnstiles to be pushed round to satisfy some mystic regulation. It is all very suggestive of a circus, and reminds us that, as a nation, we are singularly lacking in the sense of humour. The stage-lighting effects in connection with the Crown Jewels in the Wakefield Tower certainly charm the glitter-loving multitude, but this dazzling cageful of royal gold plate stands, we are apt to forget, in a room where Henry VI. had an oratory, and where, tradition tells, he was “murdered in cold blood as he knelt before the altar that stood in the recess of the south-east corner” of the chamber. Here was committed “one of the most barbarous murders that even the Tower has recorded in its blood-stained annals,” as one authority has it; but who to-day has leisure to think of this when told to{18} “move on,” as one of the crowd surging round the regalia cage, by yet another policeman who might have just come in from the duties of regulating motor omnibuses in the Strand?

I dwell on these points in order to show how hopeless it is to catch any of the real spirit and message of the Tower when to-day, to-day, to-day, is ever intruding itself. We ask for leisure to contemplate a far-off yesterday, and to teach the boys and girls we take to the Tower something of the value of the Tower buildings as concrete embodiments of England’s noble history; but we are only permitted to walk hurriedly in one specified direction, and illusion is destroyed at every point. I should like, however, to say, lest I may be misunderstood, that from the Tower officials one receives nothing but courtesy. They are not to blame. They are performing the duties imposed on them from without. The pity is that the restless spirit of the age should have found its way within walls hallowed to memories of England’s kings, and the sufferings of her greatest and worthiest men. Were that spirit denied all access to this one spot, lying in the heart of modern London, a visit to the Tower would mean to young and old alike very much more than it{19} means to-day. The feeling of reverence, which is so sadly lacking in people of all ranks of life, might once again be shown by all who entered these solemn portals.

It is in the hope that a record of Tower history and romance presented anew, in the form which this volume takes, may deepen the interest in and the love for the Tower of London, that this book was written. It does not attempt within its narrow limits to give a detailed and exhaustive account of occurrences; that has been admirably done by others before now. But it does attempt, by the aid of carefully prepared pictures, to recreate not only what has been bequeathed to us from a fascinating past, but also the life and colour of the Tower as it stands to-day, in its less-spoiled aspects.

A dry repetition of facts and dates may make an accurate history for the scholar’s shelves, but it would remain unread by all else. Such books have their place, and a worthy place, but they would not convey to the mind of one who has never seen the Tower, a really adequate conception of its past and present. This book may fail to bring the Tower in all its strange charm to the heart and mind of a lonely reader on the{20} prairies of Manitoba or in the Australian bush, but the attempt has been made, and it is not for writer or artist to say whether it has been achieved or not.

As I look from my window day by day across Tower Hill at the noble old buildings lying beyond, and watch them when silhouetted against a morning sky or lit up by the glow of evening sunshine, I often wonder if justice can ever be done to them now that we have no Shakespeare and no Walter Scott. While walking in the garden, wherein is set the stone that records the last execution in 1747 on that blood-stained spot, one cannot but contemplate the possibility of even this solemn place being some day violated by the hands of those who scheme out city “improvements.” Still, one may hope that England in her heart will ponder these things, and will save the Tower and Tower Hill from vandalism; that she will realise more and more as years roll on what a precious heritage she has here—a heritage that was born at her birth, has grown with her growth, and may not be destroyed while she breeds strong sons to guard her treasures.{21}



’Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
Omar Khayyam.

The protoplasm from which the present Tower grew was a rude Celtic fort on the river slope of Tower Hill. Then came the Romans and built their London Wall, at the angle of which, commanding the Thames seawards, they also constructed a fortress. A portion of this Arx Palatina can still be seen to the east of the White Tower. But no part of this Roman work remains in the present Tower, though Shakespeare speaks of Julius Cæsar’s Tower in Richard II.

Tower history, as we know it in any detail, begins with the Conquest. The Conqueror set Gundulf, a well-travelled monk of the monastery{22} of Bec, who had seen many beautiful buildings in the course of his wanderings, to work on the low ground between the hill and the river, and there, on the camping-ground of the Britons and the Romans, arose the White Tower, completed about 1078. Gundulf was not only a builder but an administrator, and the chronicles tell us that, as Bishop of Rochester, where he rebuilt the Cathedral, he was most earnest in the discharge of his episcopal duties.

When we reach the reign of Henry I. we have tidings of our first prisoner, Ralph Flambard, Bishop of Durham. He was immured for illegally raising funds for the upkeep of this very fortress, but had no desire to remain long an inmate within the walls he had been so anxious, aforetime, to preserve. A rope was conveyed to him in a wine-cask. With the wine he “fuddled his keepers”; with the rope he proceeded to lower himself down the outer wall of the White Tower, and, not at all alarmed at finding the rope too short and his arrival on the ground somewhat sudden, he was able to mount on horseback, ride to a seaport, and embark for Normandy. Subsequently he returned to Durham, where he completed the Cathedral and built Norham{23} Castle, in which Scott lays the opening scene of Marmion.

The Tower now became a royal palace and remained the dwelling-place of the Kings of England, or, at times, the stronghold to which they would retire when danger threatened, until the days of Charles II. At this early period of its history, too, it was found that a collection of wild beasts would lend some zest to life within its walls. This royal menagerie was located on the ground where the ticket-office and refreshment-rooms now stand, and was removed in 1834. It is said that the term “going to see the lions” of a place arose from the fashionable habit of visiting the Tower lions, and the lane off Great Tower Street, just beyond Allhallows Barking, was at one time not Beer but Bear Lane, and evidently led down to the pits in which the bears were expected to provide amusement for Court circles. Stephen kept Whitsuntide in the Tower in 1140, and in that year the Tower was in the charge of Geoffrey de Mandeville, who had accompanied the Conqueror to England, but in 1153 it was held for the Crown by Richard de Lucy, Chief Justiciary of England, in trust for Henry of Anjou, and to him it reverted on Stephen’s death. It was{24} a popular superstition at this time that the red appearance of the mortar used in binding the Tower walls was caused by the blood of beasts having been mixed with it in the making; but the ruddy tint was really the result of an admixture of pulverised Roman bricks with the lime. When Richard I. went off to the Crusades the Tower was left in the keeping of his Chancellor, Longchamp; and King John, on usurping the throne, laid siege to the fortress, which Longchamp surrendered to him. In 1215 the Tower was again besieged, this time by the barons and the citizens of London, but though the stronghold had but a poor garrison it held out successfully. In 1216 the rebellious nobles handed over the custody of the Tower to the Dauphin, Louis, but he appears to have considered the task too irksome, and “speedily returned to his own land.”

One of the greatest names in Tower history is that of Henry III., who appointed Adam of Lambourne master-mason of the buildings, and began to build and rebuild, to adorn and to beautify, never satisfied until he had made the Tower of London a royal dwelling-place indeed. To the Norman Chapel in the White Tower he gave stained glass and decorated the{25}


walls with frescoes; to St. Peter’s, on Tower Green, he gave a set of bells. He constructed the Wharf, and the massive St. Thomas’s Tower and Traitor’s Gate were set up by him. But he had his difficulties to contend with. These additions to the fortification were unpopular with the citizens without the walls, and when a high tide washed away the Wharf, and, undermining the foundations of the new tower over Traitor’s Gate, brought it twice to the ground, the people rejoiced, hoping the King would own that Fate was against him. But after each disaster his only comment seems to have been “Build it stronger!” and there is Henry’s Wharf and St. Thomas’s Tower (recently restored) to this day. Henry also built the outer wall of the Tower facing the Moat, and in many other ways made the place a stronghold sure. The wisdom of what had been done was soon made manifest, for Henry had many a time to take refuge within Tower walls while rebellious subjects howled on the slopes of Tower Hill. For their unkind treatment of his wife, Queen Eleanor, Henry never forgave the people of London, and so defied them from within what had really become his castle walls. Eleanor was avaricious, proud, arrogant, and became so unpopular{26} that, when on one occasion she had left the Wharf by water, for Westminster, she was received, as her barge came into view of London Bridge, with such execrations and shouts of “Drown the witch!” or sounds to that effect, that she returned in terror to the Tower. In 1244 Griffin, son of Llewellyn, was brought as prisoner to the White Tower and detained as a hostage. He attempted to emulate the redoubtable Flambard by making a rope of his bedclothes and dropping from his window, by such means, to the ground. But he had forgotten to take the weight of his body into his calculations; he was a stout man, his hastily constructed rope was insecure, it broke as he hung upon the wall of the Tower, and he was killed by the fall.

Edward I., when he returned from the Holy Land, made the last additions of any consequence that were ever made to the Tower buildings. The Moat was formed in his day and put then into much of its present shape; it has, of course, been cleaned out and deepened from time to time, though there was always more mud than water in its basin, and, at one period, it was considered an offence that lead to instant death for any man to be discovered bathing therein, probably because he{27} was almost certain to die from the effects of a dip in such fluid as was to be found there! Multitudes of Jews were imprisoned in the dungeons under the White Tower in this reign on the charge of “clipping” the coin of the realm, and the Welsh and Scottish wars were the cause of many notable warriors, such as the Earls of Athol, Menteith, and Ross, King Baliol and his son Edward, and, in 1305, the patriot William Wallace, being given habitation in Tower dungeons. The noble Wallace, bravest of Scots, was put to death at Smithfield after some semblance of trial in Westminster Hall. But his name will never be forgotten, for it is enshrined by Burns in one of the noblest of Scottish songs.

Edward II. had no great partiality towards the Tower as a palace, but often retired there when in danger. In 1322 his eldest daughter was born here, and, from the place of her birth, was called Joan of the Tower. She lived to become, by marrying David Bruce, Queen of Scotland in 1327. We hear of the first woman to be imprisoned in Tower walls about this time—Lady Badlesmere—for refusing hospitality to Queen Isabella, and giving orders that the royal party was to be attacked as it approached her castle of Leeds, in{28} Kent. Lord Mortimer, a Welsh prisoner, contrived to escape from his dungeon by the old expedient of making his jailors drunk. He escaped to France, but soon returned, and with Edward’s Queen, Isabella, was party to Edward’s death at Berkeley Castle, whither the King had fled from London. The Tower had been left in the care of Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, but the unfortunate man was seized by a mob of turbulent citizens, dragged into Cheapside, and there put to death. Poor Stapledon was a man of exemplary character and a generous patron of learning. He founded Exeter College, Oxford, and beautified Exeter Cathedral.

The rebel Mortimer and Queen Isabella thought it prudent to keep the young Edward III. within Tower walls in a state of semi-captivity, but the lad’s spirit was such that he soon succeeded in casting off the restraint and threw himself on the goodwill of his people. Mortimer was captured at Nottingham, brought to the Tower, then hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn Elms—where the Marble Arch now stands. The young King’s wars in France and Scotland were begun, and after the capture of Caen, over three hundred of its wealthiest men were brought to the Tower,{29} together with the Constable of France, the Count d’Eu, and the Count of Tankerville. It was while making preparations for this French war that Edward resided in the Tower and came to know its weakness and its strength. He placed a powerful garrison within its battlements when he set off for Normandy, but he was not satisfied in his heart with the state of his royal fortress. Returning secretly from France, and landing one November night at the Wharf, he found, as he had expected, the place but ill guarded. The Governor, the Chancellor, and several other officers were imprisoned for neglect of their duties, and the King set his house in order. The Scottish King, David Bruce, was captured at Neville’s Cross in 1346, and Froissart describes how a huge escort of armed men guarded the captive King—who was mounted on a black charger—and brought him to the Tower, through narrow City streets crowded with sightseers, past bodies of City Companies drawn up and clad in richest robes, in January 1347. At the Tower gate Bruce was given, with much ceremony, into the custody of Sir John d’Arcy, then Governor. The imprisoned King remained in the Tower eleven years. King John of France, and Philip, his son, were brought captives here in 1358 after{30} Poitiers. Though the Scots King had been liberated and they were so deprived of his society, yet it appears they had no unpleasant time of it in their quarters. There were many French nobles within the gates to make the semblance of a court. Both John and Philip were set free in 1360 by the Treaty of Bretigny.

Richard II. began his reign amid great rejoicings and feastings, and the Tower rang with revelries. On the day of his Coronation the King left his palace-fortress in great state, clad in white robes, and looking, as one account has it, “as beautiful as an archangel.” London seemed to have lost its sense of humour—if the sense had been at all developed at that time—for in Cheapside we are told a castle had been erected “from two sides of which wine ran forth abundantly, and at the top stood a golden angel, holding a crown, so contrived that when the King came near she bowed and presented it to him. In each of the towers was a beautiful virgin ... and each blew in the King’s face leaves of gold and flowers of gold counterfeit,” while the populace yelled blessings on their new monarch, and the conduits ran wine. But scarcely was the wine-stain out of the streets when the Wat Tyler rebellion broke{31} out, and it seemed likely that the cobbles would be soon stained red again, but not with wine. Richard and his mother sought refuge in the Tower while the yells beyond the walls were no longer those of acclamation but of detestation. Froissart likens the mob’s cries to the “hooting of devils.” Richard set out on the Thames to a conference with the leaders of the insurgents at Rotherhithe, but taking alarm before he had gone far down the river returned hurriedly to the Tower steps. With him in his place of security were Treasurer Hales and Archbishop Simon of Sudbury, for whose heads the mob shouted. Mayor Walworth suggested a sally upon the infuriated crowds, but this remedy was considered too desperate, and abandoned. The mob on Tower Hill demanded Sudbury; Sudbury was to be delivered to them; give them Sudbury. The awful glare of fire shone into the Tower casements, and the King looked out and saw the houses of many of his nobles being burnt to the ground. The Savoy was on fire, Westminster added flames to colour the waters of the Thames, and fire was seen to rise from the northern heights. Richard was but a boy, and so hard a trial found him almost unequal to the strain it imposed. What was to be{32} done? The King being persuaded to meet his rebellious subjects at Mile End, conceded their demands and granted pardons. There was a garrison of 1200 well-armed men in the Tower, but they were panic-stricken when, on the departure of the King, the rebel mob, which had stood beyond the moat, rushed over the drawbridges and into the very heart of the buildings. Archbishop Sudbury was celebrating Mass when the mob caught him, dragged him forth from the altar, and despatched him on Tower Hill. Treasurer Hales was also killed, and both heads were exposed on the gateway of old London Bridge. Yet, two days later, Tyler’s head was placed where Sudbury’s had been, and the Archbishop was buried with much pomp in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1387 Richard again sought refuge in the Tower. The Duke of Gloucester and other nobles had become exasperated at the weak King’s ways, and a commission appointed by Gloucester proceeded to govern the Kingdom; Richard’s army offering opposition was defeated. Subsequently, a conference was held in the Council Chamber of the White Tower, and Richard, on some kind of agreement being reached, left the Tower for Westminster. The King’s greatest friend, Sir{33} Simon Burley, was led to death on Tower Hill and his execution Richard swore to avenge. His opportunity came. Three years later another State procession left the Tower, with the King, as before, the chief personage in the midst of the brave show. Richard had married Isabel, daughter of Charles VI. of France. She had been dwelling in the Tower until the day of her coronation. In the midst of the festivities that celebrated the joyous event Gloucester was seized by the King’s orders, shipped off to Calais, and murdered; the Earl of Arundel was beheaded on Tower Hill. Warwick the King dared not kill, as he had done so much for his country in the wars with France, but after confinement in the Beauchamp Tower, he was sent to the Isle of Man, and there kept in prison for life. But Richard, in planning the fall of these men, brought destruction upon himself. He lost all self-control, and Mr. Gardiner believes that “it is most probable, without being actually insane, his mind had to some extent given way.” Parliament was dissolved—the King would rule without one; he would assume the powers of an autocrat. Events moved swiftly. John of Gaunt’s son, Henry of Lancaster, landed in England in 1399; Richard{34} was taken prisoner, and, on September 2 of that year, was brought to the Tower, a prisoner. In the White Tower—Shakespeare, however, lays the scene in Westminster Hall—he resigned his crown, and, shadowy king that he always was, vanished into the dark shadow that shrouds his end.

Henry IV. began his reign with a revival of Tower festivities. On the eve of his coronation, after much feasting and rejoicing, a solemn ceremonial took place in the Norman chapel of St. John, where forty-six new knights of the Order of the Bath watched their arms all night. With Henry’s reign begins, also, the list of State prisoners in the Tower, which was becoming less of a palace and more of a prison. The first captives were Welshmen—Llewellyn, a relation of Owen Glendower, being brought here in 1402. In the following year the Abbot of Winchelsea and other ecclesiastics were committed for inciting to rebellion, but Henry’s most notable prisoner was Prince James of Scotland. This lad of eleven was heir of Robert III., after the death of Rothesay, whose sad end is described in The Fair Maid of Perth. King Robert died, it is said, of a broken heart when he heard of his son’s captivity, and James became de facto King of Scotland while{35} unjustly immured in Henry’s prison-house. He remained a prisoner for eighteen years, two of which were spent in the Tower; from there he was removed to Nottingham Castle, and his uncle, the Duke of Albany, acted as Regent of the northern kingdom. It is interesting to learn, from some English and Scottish records, that his expenses in the Tower were 6s. 8d. a day for himself and 3s. 4d. for his attendants.

Henry V., on becoming King in 1413, was, according to the Chronicles of London, “brought to the Tower upon the Fryday, and on the morowe he rood through Chepe with a grete rought of lordes and knyghtes, the whiche he hadde newe made in the Tower on the night before.” About this time the Tower was full of persecuted followers of Wycliffe, the most famous being Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. He had been a trusted servant of Henry IV.; to him was allotted the task of quelling insurrection in Wales at the time of the battle of Shrewsbury, and he then stood in high favour with the King and his son, now Henry V. A severe law had been passed with regard to those who held the principles of Wycliffe, and at the time of Henry V.’s accession, Oldcastle was found to favour the condemned Lollard doctrines. Not{36} long afterwards, by virtue (to quote J. R. Green), of “the first legal enactment of religious bloodshed which defiled our Statute Book,” Sir John was a captive in the Tower, and the King, forgetting old friendship, allowed matters to take their course. But Oldcastle, who evidently had friends and unknown adherents within the Tower walls, mysteriously escaped, and the Lollards, encouraged, brought their rising to a head. It was said that they had plotted to kill the King and make Oldcastle Regent of the kingdom; but their insurrection was quelled, the more prominent Lollards were either burnt or hanged, and Sir John, after wanderings in Wales, was caught, brought back to the Tower, and in December 1417, some say on Christmas Day, was hung in chains and burnt “over a slow fire” in Smithfield. He is the original of Shakespeare’s Falstaff, but had very little in common with that creation of the dramatist’s fancy. Shakespeare admits this in an epilogue where he says, “For Oldcastle died a martyr and this is not the man.” In Tennyson’s poem, Sir John Oldcastle, this brave old man exclaims, “God willing, I will burn for Him,” and, truly, he suffered a terrible death for his convictions. After Agincourt we have another notable prisoner in the Tower in the person of{37} Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was sent to the White Tower “with a ransom of 300,000 crowns on his head.” This captive, as did James of Scotland before him, passed many of the weary hours of captivity writing poetry. In the British Museum there is preserved a manuscript volume of his poems which is invaluable as containing the oldest picture of the Tower which is known to exist. This picture, beautifully coloured, shows the great keep of William the Conqueror whitewashed—hence its present name—and, in the background, the steep grassy slope of Tower Hill, old London Bridge, and the spires and towers of ancient London. It is a remarkable work of art, and is accessible to all in its many reproductions. Charles was liberated in 1440, in the reign of Henry VI.

The early days of the sixth Henry were not marked in Tower annals by events of great interest, and during the later Wars of the Roses the number of captives sent here was small, for most of them were murdered in cold blood, on the battlefields. Little quarter was given after those fights-to-the-death, and during the weary years of warfare the peerage, as one writer has it, “was almost annihilated.” The Cade rebellion broke out in 1450, in which year William de la Pole,{38} Duke of Suffolk, who had been charged with supporting it, was murdered. He was one of the most distinguished noblemen in England, yet the tragedy that ended his life was a sordid one. Upon a wholly unsubstantiated charge of treason he was shut up in the Tower; as he could not be proven guilty, he was released and banished the country. He took ship at Dover to cross to Calais, but was captured in the Channel by the captain of a vessel named Nicholas of the Tower. This was a name of ill-omen to Suffolk, to whom it had been told, in prophecy, that could he avoid the “danger of the Tower” he should be safe. As captive he was brought back to Dover, and his last moments are described in King Henry VI., Part II., Act iv., Scene 1, with realism.

In the summer of 1450 Lord Say was sent to the Tower by the King “to propitiate the rebels,” and they had him forth and beheaded him in Cheapside. Cade and his followers were attacking the fortress from Southwark, but at nightfall a sortie was made from the Tower, London Bridge was barricaded, and, a truce being called, the rebellion gradually subsided. Cade’s capture in a garden in Kent is told by Shakespeare in the tenth scene of the fourth act of the play just mentioned.{39}

Towton Heath was fought and lost by the Lancastrians; the Battle of Hexham crushed the remnant of the King’s army; the valiant Queen Margaret fled, taking her young son with her; and, very soon afterwards, poor Henry himself was led captive, and placed in the Wakefield Tower where, in the room in which the regalia is shown at the present day, he was murdered, we are told, by Richard of Gloucester or, more probably, by his orders, on May 21, 1471. But before his death, Warwick—that king-maker slain at Barnet in 1471—had given orders for Henry to be led on horseback through the city streets “while a turncoat populace shouted ‘God save King Harry!’ This was a poor and short-lived triumph. The weary-hearted King, “clad in a blue gown,” soon returned to the walls he was fated never again to leave alive. The city was flourishing under Yorkist rule and was not minded to seek Lancastrian restoration. It was the pull of prosperity against sentiment; the former won, as it usually contrives to do, and along with sentiment down went King Henry. Queen Margaret had meanwhile been brought to the Tower. Though she and her husband were both within Tower gates they did not meet again. The Queen was imprisoned{40} for five years—for part of that time at Windsor—and then was allowed to return to her own country. We meet her once again in Scott’s Anne of Geierstein.

Cannon, that had, as has been said, come into use for the first time at Crecy, were during Henry’s reign used by the Yorkists to “batter down” the walls of the Tower, but unsuccessfully. In 1843, when the moat was dried and cleared out, a large number of stone cannon-balls were discovered, and in all probability were those used at this bombardment.

Edward IV. had given the customary feast at the Tower on the coronation-eve and “made” thirty-two knights within its walls. These Knights of the Bath, “arrayed in blue gowns, with hoods and tokens of white silk upon their shoulders” rode before the new King on his progress from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on his coronation day. The King began his reign by sending Lancastrians to the Tower and beheading two, Sir Thomas Tudenham and Sir William Tyrrell, on Tower Hill. The Tower had come upon its darkest days. Though Edward favoured the fortress a good deal as a place of residence, rebuilt its fortifications and deepened its moat, he also used it{41}


as a convenient place for ridding himself of all he wished to put out of his way. Victim after victim suffered cruel death within its walls. His brother Clarence mysteriously disappeared—tradition has maintained he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, but that has never been proved in any way. However, the secrecy as to the manner of his death makes it none the less tragic to the imagination; how his last moments were passed the stones of the Bowyer Tower alone could tell us.

Young Edward V. was brought to the Tower by the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham, professing great loyalty and arranging that his coronation should take place on the 22nd of June following. But Richard of Gloucester was determined that if craft and strategy could accomplish his ends the next coronation would be his own. Lord Hastings, over loyal to the boy King was brought to the axe on Tower Green, and an attempt was made by the scheming Richard, who was now Protector, to prove that Edward was no true heir to the Crown. It was with a fine show of unwillingness that he accepted the call to kingship, but in July, 1483, he was crowned at Westminster. Edward, and his ten-year-old brother, Richard, disappeared. We shall{42} return to a consideration of their fate when examining the Bloody Tower.

Richard III., following the custom, gave sumptuous entertainments in the Tower to celebrate his first days as King, and the usual elaborate procession issued forth on the coronation day from the Tower gate, climbed the hill, and wended its way through the tortuous London streets to the city of Westminster, beyond. Richard seems to have spent much of his time, when in his capital, within his fortress-palace, and to have taken interest in at least one building near by. The Church of Allhallows Barking, on Tower Hill, as we shall see in Chapter VI., owes much to Richard, who appears to have considered Tower Walls thick enough to hide his evil deeds and keep out his good ones.

During this reign, as we find in the Wyatt Papers, a State prisoner, Sir Henry Wyatt, was thrown into a Tower dungeon for favouring Tudor claims and supporting Henry of Richmond. Richard, it is said, had him tortured, but the brave soldier refused to forsake his “poor and unhappy master” (afterwards Henry VII.) and so “the King, in a rage, had him confined in a low and narrow cell where he had not clothes sufficient to{43} warm him and was an-hungered.” The legend proceeds: “He had starved then, had not God, who sent a crow to feed His prophet, sent this and his country’s martyr a cat both to feed and warm him. It was his own relation from whom I had the story. A cat came one day down into the dungeon, and, as it were, offered herself unto him. He was glad of her, laid her on his bosom to warm him, and, by making much of her, won her love. After this she would come every day unto him divers times, and, when she could get one, brought him a pigeon. He complained to his keeper of his cold and short fare. The answer was ‘He durst not better it.’ ‘But,’ said Sir Henry, ‘if I can provide any, will you promise to dress it for me?’ ‘I may well enough,’ said the keeper, ‘you are safe for that matter,’ and being urged again, promised him and kept his promise.” The jailor dressed each time the pigeon the cat provided, and the prisoner was no longer an-hungered. Sir Henry Wyatt in his days of prosperity, when Henry VII. had come to the throne and made his faithful follower a Privy Councillor, “did ever make much of cats” and, the old writer goes on, “perhaps you will not find his picture anywhere but with a cat beside him.” Wyatt afterwards{44} became rich enough, under kingly favour, to purchase Allington Castle, one of the finest places of its kind in Kent. There are other Tower stories of men, saddened in their captivity, being helped in various ways by dumb animals. Many of them, we may hope, are true.

Our necessarily rapid journey through history has brought us to the illustrious Tudor Kings and Queens. The Tower was never more prominent in England’s records than during Tudor reign, from seventh Henry to the last days of great Elizabeth. The early years of the new King were to be remembered by an imprisonment in Tower walls that had little sense of justice as excuse. When the Duke of Clarence was put to death in Edward IV.’s reign, he left behind him his eldest son, then only three years old, whom Richard, after his own son’s death, had a mind to nominate as his heir. This was Edward, Earl of Warwick, who came to be shut up simply because he was a representative of the fallen house of York and had a better right to claim the Crown than Henry Tudor. That was his only offence, but it was sufficient; he lingered in confinement while Lambert Simnel was impersonating him in Ireland in 1487; he was led forth from his cell to parade city streets, for a{45} day of what must have tasted almost like happy freedom, in order that he might be seen of the people; and once again was he brought back to his place of confinement. Henry’s position was again in danger, when, in 1492, Perkin Warbeck, a young Fleming, landed in Ireland and proclaimed himself to be Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, son of Edward IV. His tale was that when his “brother” Edward was murdered in the Tower, he had escaped. He was even greeted, some time afterwards, by the Duchess of Burgundy, Edward IV.’s sister, as her nephew, and called the “White Rose of England.” With assistance from France and Scotland, Warbeck landed in England, and after many vicissitudes was captured, and put in the Tower, from whence he planned to escape and involved Edward of Warwick in the plot. This gave Henry his opportunity. Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn, and poor Warwick ended his long captivity at the block on Tower Hill. So was played another act of Tower tragedy. Sir William Stanley, concerned in the Warbeck rising, was also brought to the Tower, tried in the Council Chamber, condemned, and beheaded on Tower Hill on February 16, 1495. Still the plottings against the unpopular Henry went on, and the{46} headsman had ample work to do. To Tower Hill came Sir James Tyrrell, who had taken part in the murder of the Princes, and Sir John Wyndham—both brought there for the aid they had given to the plottings of Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk.

But now comes a break in the tales of bloodshed, and the Tower awoke once more to the sounds of feasting and rejoicing. In celebration of the marriage of Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon in St. Paul’s Cathedral, great tournaments and banquetings took place within the Tower and in its immediate vicinity. Tower Hill was gay with the coming and going of festive crowds; the Tower walls echoed what they seldom heard—the sounds of piping and dancing. Records tell us, too, of elaborate pageants which strove to show the descent of the bridegroom from Arthur of the Round Table. This method of impressing the moving scenes of history on the spectator is not unknown to us in the present day. Hardly had five months passed away, however, when the Prince, who was but a lad of fifteen, lay dead, and his mother, Elizabeth of York, who had given birth to a daughter in the Tower in 1503, died nine days after Prince Arthur. When six more years had passed, the King, whose reign had been so{47} troubled, was laid by the side of his wife, in “the glorious shrine in Westminster Abbey which bears his name.”

Henry VIII. was now on the throne, at the age of eighteen, and once again the Tower looms largely in the view, and approaches the height of its notoriety as State prison and antechamber to the place of death. But, as in former times, the record is not one of unrelieved gloom. The two sides of the picture are admirably exemplified at the beginning of Henry’s reign, for, shortly after he had imprisoned his father’s “extortioners,” Empson and Dudley, and subsequently caused them to be beheaded on Tower Hill, he made great show and ceremony during the Court held at the Tower before the first of his many weddings. Twenty-four Knights of the Bath were created, and, with all the ancient pomp and splendour—for Henry had a keen eye for the picturesque—the usual procession from Tower to Westminster duly impressed, by its glitter, a populace ever ready to acclaim a coronation, in the too-human hope that the new will prove better than the old.

The young King appointed Commissioners to make additions and improvements within the Tower. The roomy Lieutenant’s House was built,{48} and had access to the adjoining towers; additional warders’ houses were erected and alterations were made within the Bell and St. Thomas’s Towers. About this time the White Tower received attention, and from the State Papers of the period we learn that it was “embattled, coped, indented, and cressed with Caen stone to the extent of five hundred feet.” It is almost as though Henry were anxious that his royal prison should be prepared to receive the many new occupants of its rooms and dungeons that he was about to send there, for no sooner were these renovations completed than the chronicle of bloodshed begins afresh.

The Earl of Suffolk, already spoken of in connection with a plot in the preceding reign, came to the axe in 1513; a few years passed and the Tower was filled with men apprehended in City riots, in an attempt to subdue which the Tower guns were actually “fired upon the city”; Edward, Duke of Buckingham, at one time a favourite of Henry’s, was traduced by Wolsey, who represented, out of revenge, that the Duke laid some claim to the Crown, and he was beheaded on Tower Green on May 17, 1521. In Brewer’s Introduction to the State Papers of Henry VIII., we read, with reference to this trial and death of{49}

Image unavailable: Panorama of the Tower and Greenwich in 1543. By Anthony van den Wyngaerde.  102. Houndsditch. 103. Crutched Friars. 104. Priory of Holy Trinity. 105. Aldgate. 106. St. Botolph, Aldgate. 107. The Minories. 108. The Postern Gate. 109. Great Tower Hill. 110. Place of Execution. 111. Allhallow’s Church, Barking. 112. The Custom House. 113. Tower of London. 114. The White Tower. 115. Traitor’s Gate. 116. Little Tower Hill. 117. East Smithfield. 118. Stepney. 119. St. Catherine’s Church. 120. St. Catherine’s Dock. 121. St. Catherine’s Hospital. 122. Isle of Dogs. 123. Monastery of Bermondsey. 124. Says Court, Deptford. 125. Palace of Placentia.
Panorama of the Tower and Greenwich in 1543. By Anthony van den Wyngaerde.
102. Houndsditch.
103. Crutched Friars.
104. Priory of Holy Trinity.
105. Aldgate.
106. St. Botolph, Aldgate.
107. The Minories.
108. The Postern Gate.
109. Great Tower Hill.
110. Place of Execution.
111. Allhallow’s Church, Barking.
112. The Custom House.
113. Tower of London.
114. The White Tower.
115. Traitor’s Gate.
116. Little Tower Hill.
117. East Smithfield.
118. Stepney. 119. St. Catherine’s Church.
120. St. Catherine’s Dock.
121. St. Catherine’s Hospital.
122. Isle of Dogs.
123. Monastery of Bermondsey.
124. Says Court, Deptford.
125. Palace of Placentia.

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Buckingham, that the Duke of Norfolk, not without tears, delivered sentence thus: “You are to be led back to prison, laid on a hurdle, and so drawn to the place of execution; you are there to be hanged, cut down alive, your members cut off and cast into the fire, your bowels burnt before your eyes, your head smitten off, your body quartered and divided at the King’s will.” Buckingham heard this terrible form of punishment with calmness, and said that so should traitors be spoken unto, but that he was never one. After the trial, which had lasted nearly a week, the Duke was conveyed on the river from Westminster to the Temple steps and brought through Eastcheap to the Tower. Buckingham’s last words as he mounted the scaffold on the Green were that he died a true man to the King, “whom, through my own negligence and lack of grace I have offended.” In a few moments his head was off, the block was covered with his blood, and some good friars took up his body, covered it with a cloak, and carried it to the Church of Austin Friars, where it was buried with all solemnity. So fell the once mighty Buckingham, and in his last moments, and after his death, he was not forgotten by “poor religious{50} men, to whom, in his lifetime, he had been kind.”

Again the curtain falls on tragedy and rises on comedy. Twelve years later Tower Green was given over to revelry; and laughter, singing, and mumming were revived under the walls of the White Tower. A writer of the time speaks of the “marvellous cunning pageants,” and the “fountains running with wine” as Henry brought hither his new Queen, Anne Boleyn, for whom, on her entry “there was such a pele of gonnes as hath not byn herde lyke a great while before.” Once more, also, there was made procession, in state, but with scant applause of the people this time, from Tower Hill to Westminster. Soon the shadows return, and the “gonnes” and the music cease. Three short years pass and Anne Boleyn comes back to the Tower in sadness and in silence. On the spot where Buckingham suffered, her head, on May 19, 1536, was severed from her body. Three days afterwards Henry had married Jane Seymour.

During the short life of Anne Boleyn as Queen, Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More had come to the scaffold. Their imprisonment and death are dealt with in the next chapter. The{51} “Pilgrimage of Grace,” a religious rising in the North, mostly within the borders of Yorkshire, to protest against the spoliation of the monasteries and the threatened attack on the parish churches, caused many a leader to be confined within the Tower. Its dungeons were filled with prisoners.

The magnificent Abbeys of Rievaulx, Fountains, and Jervaulx, in the Yorkshire dales, were pulled down, and to this day their noble ruins cry shame upon the despoilers. To the Tower came the Abbots of Jervaulx and Fountains, with the Prior of Bridlington, and they were hanged, eventually, at Tyburn Tree. Other prisoners were Lords Hussey and Darcey; the first was beheaded in Lincoln, the other on Tower Hill. With them were brought Sir Robert Constable, Sir John and Lady Bulmer, Sir Thomas Percy, Sir Francis Bigod, Sir Stephen Hamilton, Robert Aske, William, son of Lord Lumley, and many a one of Yorkshire birth whose names have not come down to us. All were put to death, without mercy, in 1537.

Two years after the suppression of this rising in the North a smouldering Yorkist insurrection in the West was stamped out by the usual method of securing the leaders, in this case Henry Courtenay,{52} Marquis of Exeter, Sir Edward Nevill and Sir Nicholas Carew, and taking off their heads on Tower Hill. Others were seized about this time, accused of being implicated in certain traitorous correspondence, and were also brought to the Tower. Amongst them were Lord Montague and Sir Geoffrey Pole, with their mother the Countess of Salisbury, Sir Adrian Fortescue, Sir Thomas Dingley, and the Marchioness of Exeter. As regards the aged Countess of Salisbury, in a contemporary document it is said that “she maketh great moan, for that she wanteth necessary apparel, both for change and also to keep her warm.” In a history dealing with the period, by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, we have a description of the Countess’s last moments, which were tragic enough even for Tower records. On May 28, 1541, “the old lady was brought to the scaffold, set up in the Tower [on Tower Green], and was commanded to lay her head on the block; but she, as a person of great quality assured me, refused, saying, ‘I am no traitor’; neither would it serve that the executioner told her it was the fashion, so turning her grey head every way, she bid him, if he would have her head, to get it off as he could; so that he was constrained to fetch it{53} off slovenly.” However, Froude discredits this story, and it certainly seems to be almost too fantastic to be true. Still, the fact remains that the Countess was subjected to unnecessarily harsh treatment while in the Tower, for the reason, it is said, that the King hoped she might die under the privations and so save him bringing her to the block. To Thomas Cromwell, the instigator of the terrible punishments that were meted out to those concerned in the risings, fate had already brought retribution. In 1540 he had been created Earl of Essex; a few months afterwards his fall came; on a day of July in that year he, too, came to the Tower and suffered the death, on Tower Green, that he had prescribed for others. The Tower was becoming like some mighty monster whose craving for human blood was hard to satisfy. Accuser and accused, yeoman and earl, youth and age, innocence and guilt, seemed to come alike into its greedy maw. Cromwell was taken from the House of Lords to the Tower, and the angry King would listen to no word in his favour. Whatever his crimes as tyrant-councillor to Henry, two things may be reckoned to his credit, for no man is altogether bad. The Bible was printed in English, in 1538, at his wish, and he{54} initiated a system of keeping parish registers. At the time of Cromwell’s death the Tower was inconveniently full of “Protestant heretics,” three of whom were got rid of by the simple expedient of burning them in Smithfield, while an equal number of Catholics, who were prepared to deny the King’s supremacy in matters ecclesiastical, went with them.

The King had not been too busy with ridding himself of enemies, or supposed enemies, to neglect other things. He had married and divorced Anne of Cleves, and had taken Katherine Howard to be his Queen. But her fate was not long delayed, and another royal head was brought to the axe on Tower Green. Before her death she had asked that the block might be brought to her cell in order that she might learn how to lay her head upon it, and this strange request was granted. Lady Rochford, the Queen’s companion, was executed on the Green after her mistress had suffered. An eye-witness of the executions has left it on record that both victims made “the moost godly and chrystian end that ever was heard tell of, I thynke sins the world’s creation.” Katherine Howard was only twenty-two years old when the Tower claimed her life. Many of her relatives were imprisoned at the same time, among them being her grandmother,{55} the Duchess of Norfolk, the Countess of Bridgewater, Lord and Lady William Howard, and Thomas, Duke of Norfolk. It is rather startling to find that a prisoner in the Tower could “die for joy” upon hearing that the charge brought against him was not proven. This singular death released the troubled soul of Viscount Lisle from the walls of his dungeon and from the trials of this mortal life, in the year that Queen Katherine was brought to the Green.

From execution we turn to torture. Anne Askew, “an ardent believer in the Reformed faith,” was cast into the Tower for denying the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In an account of her sufferings by Lord de Ros we are told that “the unhappy lady was carried to a dungeon and laid on the rack in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Tower and Chancellor Wriothesley. But when she endured the torture without opening her lips in reply to the Chancellor’s questions, he became furious, and seizing the wheel himself, strained it with all his force till Knyvett [the Lieutenant], revolting at such cruelty, insisted on her release from the dreadful machine. It was but just in time to save her life, for she had twice swooned, and her limbs had been so stretched and her joints so{56} injured, that she was never again able to walk.... She was shortly afterwards carried to Smithfield and there burnt to ashes, together with three other persons, for the same cause, in the presence of the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Bedford, Sir Thomas Wriothesley, the Lord Mayor, and a vast concourse of people.” Religious bigotry, alas, is still with us, but men have saner notions to-day as to the value of mere religious opinions, and poor Anne had the misfortune to live in a ruder age than ours. But her sufferings are not forgotten; religious tyranny has lost the power to send to the rack and the stake, and to her, and all who suffered, be due honour given.

Once more the curtain falls on tragedy, and on its rise we see the Tower decked out for revelry. In 1546 a “great banquet” was given in honour of the peace between France and England, and the French High Admiral, the Bishop of Evreux, and others came on embassy to England, and were welcomed, amid much rejoicing, to the feast. For a space the Tower remembered there was laughter in life as well as tears. However, it rejoiced with difficulty, and very soon had returned to gloomy dignity and sadness. On paltry evidence the Duke of Norfolk, who had led to victory at{57}


Flodden Field, and was now seventy-four years of age, was, with the Earl of Surrey, imprisoned in the Tower. Surrey, tried by jury in January 1547, on the 19th of the month was led out of the Tower gate to execution on Tower Hill. Thus was sent to death England’s first writer of blank verse and one of her most excellent poets. “Surrey’s instinct for prosody was phenomenal,” says Mr. Edmund Gosse, and “he at once transplanted blank verse from a soil in which it could never flourish [it had recently been invented in Italy], to one in which it would take root and spread in full luxuriance.” Yet the sweet singer who lit the torch that was handed on to Shakespeare was brought to the block with the tyrant and the malefactor. Norfolk would have shared a like fate, had not the King himself died a few hours before the time appointed for the Duke’s removal to Tower Hill. He was set free when Mary came to reign, and died in his own home in 1554 at the good old age of eighty-one.

Young Edward VI. was brought up to the Tower with great ceremony, and began his reign when but a boy of ten. In the Tower he was made a knight, and rejoicings in anticipation of his coronation made the old walls ring again to gladness. The State procession from the Tower to{58} the Abbey was conceived and carried through in a spirit of regal magnificence, and from Eastcheap to Westminster the streets were bedecked in a manner expressive of the joy of the people that Henry’s reign of terror had ended. The boy King had not long been on the throne, when, under the guidance of Protector Somerset, in whose hands was all the power of an actual ruler, bloodshed began afresh. Thomas, Lord Seymour, brother of Somerset and uncle of the King, was immured in the Tower, and, accused of ambitious practices, beheaded on Tower Hill on March 20, 1549. This act brought down the rage of the populace upon Somerset, who was already unpopular by reason of his seizure of Church property. By his ill-gotten gains he had built the magnificent Somerset House, and in order to clear the ground for it he had demolished a church and scattered the human remains found there—an act of desecration that the citizens regarded as a crime. The Earl of Warwick headed the opposition, seized the Tower, and the Protector was lodged in the Beauchamp Tower. Later, however, he was pardoned, and the young King records in his diary that “My Lorde Somerset was delivered of his bondes and came to Court.” But the feud soon came to a head again,{59} and in 1551 Somerset was shut up in the Tower once more, and his wife with him, on a charge of high treason. He was taken, by water, to his trial at Westminster Hall, where he was “acquitted of high treason,” but condemned “of treason feloniouse and adjudged to be hanged.” The King, who appears to have written a full account of events in his diary, notes that “he departed without the axe of the Tower. The people knowing not the matter shrieked half-a-dozen times so loude that from the halle dore it was heard at Charing Crosse plainely, and rumours went that he was quitte of all.” But, far from being “quitte of all” he was conveyed back to the Tower, and while some maintained that he was to be set at liberty, others with equal heat asserted that he was to die speedily. The dispute was set at rest by his execution on Tower Hill, “at eight of ye clok in the morning.” The boy Edward seems to have had some of the callousness of his father in his nature, for he signed the death warrants of both his uncles with calmness, and in his commentary on their executions he betrays no emotion whatever, taking it all as very commonplace happening. “The Duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Touer Hill” is the entry in the royal manuscript book. At the time of the{60} Protector’s committal to the Tower there came with him, as prisoners, his supporters the Earl of Arundel, Lords Grey and Paget; also Sir Thomas Arundel, Sir Ralph Vane, Sir Miles Partridge and Sir Michael Stanhope—these latter being executed. Edward’s short reign of six years had seen as many noble lives sacrificed as any six years of his father’s reign had seen, and with the Queen who succeeded him the tale of bloodshed was not less full of sudden tragedy.

Mary Tudor was preceded by the nine-days’ “Queen,” Lady Jane Grey, who had been named his successor by the dying Edward, at the instigation of the Duke of Northumberland. Lady Jane had been wedded to Northumberland’s fourth son, Lord Guildford Dudley; she was only sixteen years old; she began and ended her “reign” in the Tower, to which she was conveyed by her father-in-law, who was keeping Edward’s death secret until his plans were complete. But Mary had been proclaimed without the Tower if Lady Jane had been proclaimed within. The weaker was pitted against the stronger, and Northumberland, whom we hear of at Cambridge trying to go over to the side of the stronger by shouting “God save Queen Mary!” in the public highway, was arrested in spite of his{61} proper sentiments and was brought prisoner to London and lodged within the Tower, where only a few weeks before he had been in command. He suffered on August 22. In the September sunshine Lady Jane was allowed to walk in the garden attached to the Lieutenant’s house, “and on the hill,” and to look out upon the river and the roofs of the city from the walk behind the battlements which connects the Beauchamp and Bell Towers. In the Beauchamp her husband was held in bondage, and there he carved the word “Jane” on the wall, where it is to be seen to this day. In October Mary was crowned, and in November a sad procession wended its way up Tower Hill, through Tower Street and Eastcheap, to the Guildhall. At the head walked the Chief Warder, carrying the axe; following, came Archbishop Cranmer, Lord Guildford Dudley, and Lady Jane Grey. At their trial they pleaded guilty to high treason, were sentenced, and returned to the Tower, the Warder’s axe showing, by the direction in which the blade pointed, what their doom was to be. To her father Lady Jane wrote, from her prison-house: “My deare father, if I may, without offence, rejoyce in my own mishaps, herein I may account myselfe blessed that washing my hands{62} with the innocence of my fact, my guiltless bloud may cry before the Lord, Mercy to the innocent!... I have opened unto you the state wherein I presently stand, my death at hand, although to you perhaps it may seem wofull yet to me there is nothing that can bee more welcome than from this vale of misery to aspire, and that having thrown off all joy and pleasure, with Christ my Saviour, in whose steadfast faith (if it may be lawfull for the daughter so to write to her father) the Lord that hath hitherto strengthened you, soe continue to keepe you, that at the last we may meete in heaven with the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost.—I am, your most obedient daughter till death, Jane Dudley.” It is possible that Queen Mary might have spared the life of this sweet and gentle maid, happier in her books and her devotions than in the intrigues of State, but a rising of the men of Kent, under Wyatt, who demanded the “custody of the Tower and the Queen within it,” brought matters to a crisis. Wyatt appeared on the Southwark bank of the Thames and was fired upon from Tower walls. This is the last time in its annals that the fortress was attacked, and that it was called upon to repel an enemy. Wyatt, captured at Temple Bar after a night march from{63} Kingston, where he had crossed the river, was soon in the Tower, and with him was led many a noble prisoner. All hope that Lady Jane would be spared had now gone. Her father was seized and brought to the Tower on February 10; her husband was seen by her on his way to death on Tower Hill on the morning of the 12th, and she looked out again upon his headless body, as it was brought back on a litter, very soon afterwards, and taken to the chapel. A contemporary chronicle describes the preparations made for her own death on that day: “There was a Scaffolde made upon the grene over against the White Tower for the saide Lady Jane to die upon.” She was led forth from her prison to the Green by Sir John Bridges, then Lieutenant, and mounted the scaffold with firm step. The hangman offered to help her to take off her gown. “She desyred him to let her alone, turning towards her two gentlewomen who helped her off therewith ... giving to her a fayre handkerchief to knytte about her eyes.... Then she sayd, ‘I pray you despatch me quickly.’ She tied the kercher about her eyes, then feeling for the block, saide, ‘What shal I do, where is it?’ One of the standers by guyding her thereunto, she layde her head downe upon the block, and stretched{64} forth her body, and said, ‘Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,’ and so she ended.” Fuller has said of this noble girl, “She had the birth of a Princess, the life of a saint, yet the death of a malefactor, for her parent’s offences, and she was longer a captive than a Queen in the Tower.” Her father and Wyatt, before many days had passed, were both beheaded on Tower Hill; many luckless ones who had taken part in the Kentish rising were put to death with every form of cruelty; and, shortly after these terrible days of bloodshed in London, Mary was married to Philip of Spain at Winchester.

Princess Elizabeth had, meanwhile, been brought to the Tower in custody, and was landed, on Palm Sunday, at Traitor’s Gate. She was closely guarded but was allowed to walk on the open passage-way, where Lady Jane Grey had paced up and down before her, which is now known as “Queen Elizabeth’s Walk.” Towards the middle of May, being set free of the Tower, she is said to have taken a meal in the London Tavern—at the corner of Mark Lane and Fenchurch Street—on her way to Woodstock. The pewter meat-dish and cover which she used are still preserved. The city churches rang joyous peals when it was known{65} she was out of Tower walls, and to those churches that gave her welcome she presented silken bell-ropes when Queen of England.

Queen Mary’s days were darkened again by busy work for the headsman, and by religious persecution. Thomas, second son of Lord Stafford, defeated in an attempt to capture Scarborough Castle, was brought to the block on Tower Hill, and a large band of prisoners was put in Tower dungeons. To make room for these, many of the captives already there were released. Mary died on November 17, 1558, and then began to dawn those “spacious times of great Elizabeth” when England moved to greater glory than she had ever known before.

Queen Elizabeth, on her accession, came again to the Tower, spending the time until the coronation within its walls, but she had too many memories of captivity there to retain much love for the prison which had now become her palace. Seated in a golden chariot, the new Queen, ablaze with jewels, passed on her way to Westminster through a city decked out in all manner of magnificence, and through a crowd shouting themselves hoarse with delight at her coming. The Tower appears in the records of Elizabeth’s{66} reign almost wholly as a State prison. An attempt was made to smooth out religious difficulties by committing a number of Church dignitaries to its keeping, among them the Archbishop of York, and Feckenham, Abbot of Westminster. Then came Lady Catherine Grey, Lady Jane’s sister, who had offended the Queen by marrying Lord Hertford in secret. Her husband, also, was soon afterwards a prisoner. He lay for over nine years in his cell, but was released at the end of that time, while Lady Hertford died in the Tower. The Countess of Lennox was imprisoned three times within the walls, “not for any treason, but for love matters.” Thomas Howard, son of the first Duke of Norfolk, was shut up here “for falling in love with the Countess,” and died in captivity. It is interesting to find that Cupid could forge Tower shackles as well as make a wedding ring, and that to enter his service without the Queen’s permission was almost a capital offence.

In 1562 a suspected conspiracy to set the Queen of Scots—ill-fated Mary—on the English throne was the cause of Arthur and Edmund de la Pole, great-grandchildren of the murdered Duke of Clarence, being put into the Beauchamp Tower, where, when we reach that portion of the buildings{67} on our rounds, we shall see their inscriptions on the walls. The brothers were fated never to leave their place of confinement alive. After fourteen years of respite, Tower Hill again claimed a victim, the Duke of Norfolk suffering there in June 1579. In the following year Roman Catholic prisoners were brought, one might say in droves, to Tower cells. Many of them were subjected to torture either by the rack, the “Scavenger’s Daughter,” the thumbscrew, or the boot. In 1581 Father Campion, a Jesuit, was hurried to death, and in 1583 we hear of one captive committing suicide in order to escape the awful fate of dismemberment that many of his fellow-prisoners had suffered. It seems as if the sanity of life, the sweet wholesomeness we associate with the Merrie England of Shakespeare’s time, had not pierced the solid crust of Tower tradition. To lay down a comedy of the great dramatist and take up contemporary records of the Tower is as if one had stepped out of the warm sunshine and fragrant air of mid-June into a dark, damp vault whose atmosphere stings with the chill of a November night.

Tower dungeons were becoming too crowded. Many a poor obscure captive was sent over to{68} France, perhaps to a harder lot, and the vacant places were filled by political offenders. Northumberland killed himself in the Tower; Arundel, made prisoner with him, died—from self-imposed privations, it is said—some months after. Sir John Perrot, Lord Deputy of Ireland, was charged with using some hasty words against the Queen, and that was considered sufficiently dire an offence for Lord Chancellor Hatton to have him brought to the Tower. But Elizabeth refused to sign the warrant for his execution. He died, in his captivity, after six months, of a broken heart. Of the imprisonment of Raleigh, and of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, something will be said when we come to examine those portions of the Tower with which their names are associated. With the death of Elizabeth the curtain falls on the last of the Tudors—a race of sovereigns who had used their faithful Tower well, as palace, fortress, prison, and secret place in which their enemies were put out of existence. Of many of the greater names of Elizabeth’s reign, Tower annals bear no record, but soldier, statesman, or ecclesiastic, having crossed the Queen’s humour, found it but a step from Court favour to Traitor’s Gate.

“In the grey hours of morning, March 24, 1603,{69} watch and ward was kept in London streets; and in all the neighbour counties men who had much at stake in time of crisis wove uncertain plans to meet the thousand chances that day might bring.... When day broke two horsemen were far on the northern road, each spurring to forestall the other at Holyrood with homage impatiently expected by the first ruler of the British Isles. At a more leisurely pace the Elizabethan statesmen were riding in from Richmond, where their mistress lay dead, to Whitehall Gate, where at ten in the morning they proclaimed King James I.... The Lords of the Council showed themselves agreed that there should be no revolution. The decision was silently endorsed by a grateful nation. In city and manor-house men laid aside their arms and breathed again.” In Mr. G. M. Trevelyan’s admirable England under the Stuarts, from which these words are taken, a delightful description is given of the state of England at the coming of the King of Scotland to the English throne, and the chapters might well be read in connection with any study of Tower history. For, to understand the happenings within the Tower, it is profitable to have some detailed knowledge of the state of society outside its walls.{70}

King James, after his progress “during a month of spring weather” from Edinburgh, came to the Tower and held his first Court there. The usual procession to the Abbey was abandoned owing to plague that lurked in city streets, and rejoicings within Tower walls were less lusty than usual, but the King rode in state from Tower Hill to Westminster two years later to open his first Parliament. It is interesting to read in Mr. Sidney Lee’s Life of Shakespeare that Shakespeare himself, with eight players of the King’s company of actors, walked “from the Tower of London to Westminster in the procession which accompanied the King in his formal entry into London.” There is no other positive record of the great dramatist and poet having visited the Tower. We can but conjecture that a building so indissolubly bound up with the nation’s history would offer no mute appeal to such a mind as his, and that he must have come, at times, to look upon the place where, down to his own day, so many tragic deeds had been done.

Early in James’s reign many eminent prisoners were brought to the Tower in connection with a plot, as the timid King thought, to place the Crown on the head of Lady Arabella Stuart, his first{71} cousin on the mother’s side. In May 1611 Lady Arabella had married young William Seymour. This event brought both bride and bridegroom into royal disfavour. The husband was shut up in the Tower, and the wife kept in captivity at Lambeth Palace. But this did not daunt them. Lady Arabella, on being taken north on the way to Durham, pleaded illness when scarcely out of sight of London. In disguise she escaped to Blackwall and took ship at Leigh-on-Sea, there to await her husband, who had succeeded in getting out of the Tower by dressing as a labourer and following out a cart laden with wood. From the wharf, Seymour sailed to Leigh, but found that the French vessel in which his wife had sought shelter had gone down the river some hours before. He managed to cross to Ostend, but Lady Arabella was caught in mid-channel and conveyed back to Tower walls, which she never left again. In her latter years she became insane, and, dying in 1615, was buried at midnight beside Mary Queen of Scots in the Abbey. Seymour allowed unmerited punishment to fall on his young wife, remained abroad until the storm was over, married again, and lived long enough to see the Restoration. The conspiracy of 1603 had been the cause of the{72} execution of George Brook, brother of Lord Cobham, and two priests went to death with him. Lord Cobham himself, and Lord Grey de Wilton, were brought to the steps of the scaffold not many days after, for participation in the same plot. Before the headsman had done his work a reprieve arrived, and they were sent back to their place of captivity.

In 1604 the Guy Fawkes conspiracy necessitated a fresh batch of captives being lodged in the Tower, and during our visit to the dungeons beneath the White Tower we shall learn something of their fate, and of the fate, also, of another prisoner of this period, Sir Thomas Overbury, poisoned in the Bloody Tower. Felton, the rogue responsible for the assassination of Buckingham, had bought the knife with which he did the deed on Tower Hill at a booth there. He was brought to the Tower on his arrest and confined until the day of his hanging at Tyburn. They were not always, however, political offences that filled the Tower cells at this period; a private quarrel was the cause of Lords Arundel and Spencer being given quarters in the prison, and Lord Audley was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1631 for committing crimes which were so revolting as to encourage the belief that he was insane.{73}

With Charles I.—who did not visit the Tower, as far as is known, during his life—the number of noble prisoners by no means grows less. In November 1640 the Earl of Strafford was put in the Tower and condemned to death after trial in Westminster Hall. The King was anxious to save him; the Tower was to be seized and Strafford set at liberty; the royal plans failed; Charles forsook his favourite even after having sworn that not a hair of his head should be injured. The prisoner could anticipate but one end. “Sweet Harte,” he wrote to his wife, “it is long since I writt to you, for I am here in such trouble as gives me little or noe respett.” Archbishop Laud had also been put in the prison-fortress, and as Strafford passed down the sloping pathway that leads from Tower Green to Traitor’s Gate, on his way to execution, Laud, from the window above the arch of Bloody Tower, gave his friend his blessing. The Earl was led out to Tower Hill and suffered death there on May 12, 1641. It is said that 200,000 people witnessed the event, and that it was celebrated by the lighting of bonfires at night. The Archbishop had been arrested at Lambeth Palace and brought to the Tower by the river. He remained for four years in his room in the Bloody Tower, and in his{74} diary describes the visit paid to him by Prynne, “who seeing me safe in bed, falls first to my pockets to rifle them” in the search for papers, which he found in plenty. “He bound up my papers, left two sentinels at my door, and went his way.” On March 10, 1643, Laud was brought to a trial in Westminster Hall which lasted twenty days. Because he had—so the charge was worded—“attempted to subvert religion and the fundamental laws of the realm,” he was condemned, and on Tower Hill, on January 10, 1645, when seventy-two years of age, beheaded. He was buried, as we shall see in a later chapter, in the church of Allhallows Barking, near by. Readers of John Inglesant will remember the vivid description given in that book of these days in the reign of the first Charles, and in the moving picture of the life of the time Laud played no inconsiderable part. “Laud,” says Bishop Collins in his exhaustive Laud Commemoration volume, “deserves to be commemorated as among other things, a true forerunner of social leaders of our own day. To him, at any rate, a man is a man, and no man can be more; the great, the rich, the educated, had no hope of favour from him; rather he reserved his mercy for the poor, the ignorant, and the lowly....{75} We thank God for his noble care for the poor, and his large and generous aims for the English race; for his splendid example of diligent service in Church and State; for his work as the great promoter of learning of his age.” From such an authority these words are valuable and do much to set the balance right after the splenetic outbursts of Carlyle and many a lesser writer.

August, 1642, had seen the outbreak of the Civil War; Charles was at Nottingham; the Tower was in the keeping of Parliament, and its captives were those who adhered to the King. We find a Lord Mayor of London amongst them for publishing the King’s proclamation with regard to the militia, and gallant Cavaliers in plenty filled the cells. Sir John Hotham and his son, charged with attempting to give Hull over to the Royalists while it was being held for Parliament, were brought to the Tower in 1643, and to Tower Hill in the following year. Sir Alexander Carew, Governor of Plymouth, was beheaded shortly afterwards on a similar indictment. When the King had himself suffered death at the block, in Whitehall, the Tower contained many of his supporters, and amongst those who shared their royal master’s fate were the Earl of Holland, the{76} Duke of Hamilton, and Arthur, Lord Capel. A fine old knight of Wales, Sir John Owen, taken at the same time, and condemned to death, was, by Ireton’s intercession, pardoned, and he returned in peace to Wales. Worcester fight sent a batch of prisoners to the fortress, and in the same year (1651), a preacher at St. Lawrence Jewry, named Christopher Love, found to be in correspondence with the second Charles, was beheaded on Tower Hill. A picture of the scene on the Hill at the time of his death, engraved by a Dutchman, is one of the first drawings, after those of Strafford and Laud, of an execution on that famous spot. Lucy Barlow, mother of the Duke of Monmouth, who had been imprisoned in the Tower with her young son, was released by Cromwell after a long detention. Cromwell was, during the last years of the Protectorate, in constant fear of assassination. Miles Syndercombe, at one time in his confidence, made an attempt on his life in 1657. Having been sentenced to death, Syndercombe took fate in his own hands, terminated his life in the solitude of his cell, and the body was dragged at a horse’s tail from Tower Hill to Tyburn. Dr. John Hewitt, concerned in a rising in Kent in favour of the Restoration, was beheaded on Tower Hill{77} with another plotter, Sir Henry Slingsley. The frequent escapes from Tower walls during the Commonwealth period would lead to the belief that the place was not guarded with the customary rigour when Cromwell was in power, but when he died the Tower became an important centre of attention. Colonel Fitz, then Lieutenant, had, so it is said, arranged to admit three hundred men of the Parliamentary army. This little negotiation was not carried to its desired conclusion, and a fresh garrison was placed in the fortress on discovery of the plot. But unrest was evident within the walls; the lack of agreement of those in charge was followed by the seizure of the Tower by General Monk in the name of Charles II. He released numbers of Cromwellian prisoners and placed a strong garrison there under Major Nicholson. During the months that passed before the return of Charles, the Tower held many important prisoners. In 1660 Colonel John Lambert was made captive for opposing Monk’s scheme for the Restoration. Pepys, who comes upon the scene to illumine the time with his detailed accounts of happenings grave and gay, gives, “as related by Rugge,” an account of Lambert’s escape. At eight of the clock at night, it appears, he slid{78} down, by a rope tied fast to his window, and was awaited by men ready to take him off by the river. “She who made the bed being privy to his escape, that night, to blind the warder when he came to lock the chamber door, went to bed, and possessed Colonel Lambert’s place and put on his night-cap.” This interesting female was duly discovered in the morning, after having deluded the jailer by replying in a manly voice to his “good-night” the evening before, and was herself made captive for her temerity. Lambert, who had succeeded in getting to Warwickshire, was recaptured and subsequently banished.

When Charles II. came to the throne the early years of his rule were occupied in punishing, with merciless severity, all who had in any way been aiders or abettors of those responsible for his father’s tragic death. In the Restoration year the Marquis of Argyll, afterwards executed in Edinburgh, was a Tower prisoner. Poor Sir Harry Vane, not in any way convicted of complicity with the regicides, was brought to Tower Hill in 1662, and there suffered execution without a shadow of justice to cover the crime. Pepys rose “at four o’clock in the morning” of the day when Vane was to suffer. “About eleven o’clock we all went out to Tower{79} Hill, and there, over against the scaffold, made on purpose this day, saw Sir Harry Vane brought. A very great press of people.” The people of London at that time went out to see men brought to the block, just as their successors patronise a Lord Mayor’s show. Pepys had taken a window in Trinity Square, but was unable to see the actual fall of the axe because “the scaffold was so crowded that we could not see it done.” Charles II. was the last of the kings to sleep in the Tower the night before coronation, and he, in keeping with tradition, made a number of Knights of the Bath who would, after the ceremonies in St. John’s Chapel, ride with him in the procession to Westminster on the following day. Of course Pepys had secured a window “in Corne-hill, and there we had a good room to ourselves, with wine and good cake, and saw the show very well.... Glorious was the show with gold and silver, that we were not able to look at it, our eyes at last being so much overcome,” but the volatile diarist has sufficiently recovered the power of vision to observe that “both the King and Duke of York took notice of us as they saw us at the window.” This proved to be one of the “most glorious cavalcades” that ever left the Tower.{80}

The Great Fire of 1666 put the Tower in great danger. Had it reached the walls and set alight the stores of gunpowder lying within, we should have had very little of the work of the Conqueror and Henry III. left to us. The King himself had ordered the demolition of surrounding buildings, and by such means was the progress of the fire checked; Pepys, of course, was running about, and we hear of him “on one of the high places of the Tower” where he was able to look towards London Bridge and did see “an infinite great fire.” George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, began his series of five imprisonments in the Tower in 1658, during the Protectorate, and continued them well into Charles’s reign. But though constantly in trouble his offences were as constantly forgiven by the King, and he was never a captive very long. Of Colonel Blood’s escapade in 1671 something will be said in the third chapter, but the irrepressible Pepys was hunting for treasure—not Crown jewels—in 1662 when he was led to believe a sum of £7000 was “hid in the Tower.” He and assistants set to work to dig for this hidden gold, but “it raining and the work being done in the open garden” the search was abandoned. The treasure is yet undiscovered. The amazing



Pepys was himself a captive in the Tower from May 1679 to February 1680, and seems to have lived fairly well there if the account of his expenses be any criterion. William Penn was also a captive about this time, and wrote No Cross, no Crown during his imprisonment. That singular invention of Titus Oates, called the Popish Plot, sent about forty men to the block, among them William, Lord Stafford, who was executed on Tower Hill on December 29, 1680. Three years later, the Rye House Plot brought Lord William Russell and Algernon Sidney to the Tower and execution, while Essex, who had also been lodged in the dungeons, and had, like Russell and Sidney, not actually been concerned in the assassination scheme planned at Rye House, was found in his prison with his throat cut.

James II. omitted the procession from Tower to Westminster, and it has never since been observed as a necessary prelude to a king’s coronation. There is no likelihood of the custom ever being revived now that the Tower has fallen from its high estate as a royal residence. The young son of Lucy Walters, who had lived in the Tower, as we have seen, as a boy, now returned as the defeated Duke of Monmouth,{82} beloved of the people for his handsome face, but unstable in character. He was beheaded in 1685, on Tower Hill, having been led there with difficulty through the dense crowd of citizens gathered to see him die, and to cheer him on the sad way up to the top of the hill and the scaffold. A contemporary engraving shows the excited populace packed closely together in solid ranks. Jack Ketch, the headsman, was almost torn limb from limb by the infuriated mob when he had made four ineffectual strokes on the neck of the victim and had severed the head with the fifth. The Seven Bishops came to the Martin Tower in 1688, and Judge Jeffreys, of infamous record, died in the Bloody Tower—what was the fate that lodged him in a place so appropriately named?—in 1689. King James had fled the country, and without bloodshed the great Revolution of 1688 was brought about.

Sir William Fenwick, who had been found guilty of high treason, was the only victim brought to Tower Hill during the time of William and Mary, but there were many prisoners of State in the Tower, partisans, for the most part, of the Stuarts. Charles, Lord Mohun, was made a prisoner within the walls in this reign, not for{83} “adhering to their Majesties’ enemies” but for having killed a celebrated comedian, in a quarrel about a famous actress. In 1695 Sir Christopher Wren examined the Beauchamp and Bloody Towers, “to report what it would cost to repaire and putt them in a condition” to hold more prisoners. The Tower capacities, it is evident, were being tested to the utmost limit.

Queen Anne had some French prisoners of war immured in the Tower soon after her accession, and, in 1712, Sir Robert Walpole was nominally a captive there. I say nominally, because his apartment during his confinement from February to July was crowded by fashionable visitors whose carriages blocked the gateway at the foot of Tower Hill. We are indeed in modern times when captivity in the old fortress-prison was treated as a society function; Walpole’s rooms were, after his release, occupied—I used this milder term, as he could not, in the strict sense, be called a captive—by the Earl of Lansdowne, author of that unpresentable comedy, The Old Gallant.

With the House of Hanover the Tower records take a graver turn. Under George I. the rebellion of 1715 brought young Derwentwater, taken prisoner at Preston, to the Tower. Lord Kenmure{84} was captured at the same time, with other Jacobite Lords, and was brought, with Derwentwater, to Tower Hill, and there, together, they were executed. Kenmure was put to death first, and all marks of his tragic end having been removed from the scaffold, Derwentwater was brought out of the house on Tower Hill (where Catherine House now stands), to suffer on the same block. The crowd in Trinity Square had been disappointed of a third victim, for Lord Nithsdale, as we shall see later, managed to escape from the Tower on the evening before. In 1722 the Jacobites plotted to seize the Tower; their plan failed; they were made prisoners there instead, and lay in the dungeons for several months. We have passed through the period of The Black Dwarf and come to the days of Waverley and the romantic “Forty-five.” In 1744 three men of a Highland regiment, which had mutinied on being ordered to Flanders after being promised that foreign service should not be required, were shot on Tower Green; others were sent to the plantations. This roused great resentment in Scotland, and prepared the way for the coming of Prince Charles Edward, who landed on the Island of Eriskay in July 1745. This young hero of incomparable song and story was, to quote{85} Andrew Lang, “the last of a princely lineage whose annals are a world’s wonder for pity, and crime, and sorrow,” and Prince Charlie “has excelled them all in his share of the confessed yet mysterious charm of his House.” After Culloden a sad harvest was reaped on Tower Hill, and we shall hear more of the last of the Jacobites, who perished at the block for their loyalty, when we visit the scene of their sufferings.

A few political prisoners in George III.’s reign; the committal of Arthur O’Connor, one of the “United Irishmen,” in 1798; the imprisonment of Sir Francis Burdett in 1810; and the placing there of the Cato Street conspirators in 1820, brings our list of captives to a close.

In Queen Victoria’s time, on October 30, 1841, a fire occurred within the Inner Ward of the Tower, which threatened at one time during its fury to make sad havoc of surrounding buildings. The storehouse of arms which stood where the barracks are now placed, to the east of St. Peter’s Church, was gutted, and the smoke and flames were blown over towards the White Tower. Fortunately, the store alone was destroyed, and it was reported to have been ugly enough to deserve its fate. The Tower’s last trial came upon it, unawares,{86} in January 24, 1885, when the “Fenians” laid an infernal machine in the Banqueting Room of the White Tower. The explosion that followed did considerable damage to the exhibits in the building, and many visitors were injured, but the White Tower itself, secure in its rock-like strength, was in no way the worse for what might, in more modern buildings, have rent the walls asunder.{87}



The raised portcullis’ arch they pass,
The wicket with its bars of brass,
The entrance long and low,
Flanked at each turn by loopholes strait
Where bowmen might in ambush wait
(If force or fraud should burst the gate),
To gall an entering foe.

The Gascoyne plan of 1597, reproduced at the end of this book, will show a straggling line of buildings running partly up the slope of Tower Hill and terminating in what was known as the Bulwark Gate. It was there that prisoners, with the exception, of course, of those who came by water to Traitor’s Gate, were, in Tudor times, delivered to the custodians of the Tower; and it was there, also, that all who were to be executed on Tower Hill were given by the Tower authorities into the charge of the City officials. Grass grew on the{88} hill and its river slope in those days, and, leaving the Tower Gateway behind, one would, as it were, step into an open meadow, the declivity towards the Moat on one side and the cottages of Petty Wales on the other. The aspect of this main entrance to the Tower has been so altered that it is a little difficult nowadays to reconstruct it in imagination. The Moat made a semicircular bend where the present wooden stockade stands, and it had to be crossed at least twice—some accounts say three times—before the Byward Tower could be reached. The first drawbridge was protected by the Lion Gate; the Lion Tower stood near by to command that gate, and was surrounded by the waters of the Moat. All trace of these outer barbicans and waterways has disappeared; the Towers have been pulled down, the ditch filled up, to make the modern approach to the Wharf.

On the right, within the present wooden gateway, the unattractive erection known as the “ticket-office” occupies the site of the royal menagerie, which existed here from the days of our Norman kings to the year 1834, when it was removed to Regent’s Park, and from which the present Zoo has developed. In the time of Henry III. (1252) the Sheriffs of London were{89} “ordered to pay fourpence a day for the maintenance of a white bear, and to provide a muzzle and chain to hold him while fishing in the Thames.” In Henry’s reign the first elephant seen in England since the time of the Romans came to the Tower menagerie, and lions and leopards followed. James I. and his friends came here frequently “to see lions and bears baited by dogs,” and in 1708 Strype, the historian, mentions “eagles, owls, and two cats of the mountain,” as occupants of the cages. In 1829, and during the last five years of its existence here, the collection consisted of lions, tigers, leopards, a jaguar, puma, ocelot, caracal, chetah, striped hyæna, hyæna dog, wolves, civet cats, grey ichneumon, paradoxurus, brown coati, racoon, and a pit of bears. The “Master of the King’s bears and apes” was an official of some importance, and received the princely salary of three halfpence a day; but this was in Plantagenet times.

Middle Tower.—The first “Tower” that the visitor of to-day passes under is called, by reason of its position at one time in the centre of the old ditch, the Middle Tower. Its great circular bastions commanded the outer drawbridge, and its gateway was defended by a double portcullis. The{90} sharp turn in the approach—formerly a bridge, now a paved roadway—to this Tower would make it impossible to “rush” this gateway with any success. When Elizabeth returned as Queen to the Tower, which she had left, five years before, as prisoner, it was in front of this Middle Tower that she alighted from her horse and fell on her knees “to return thanks to God,” as Bishop Burnet writes, “who had delivered her from a danger so imminent, and from an escape as miraculous as that of David.”

The Moat and Byward Tower.—The bridge and causeway connecting the Middle and Byward Towers has altered little in appearance, and looks, to-day, very much as it does in Gascoyne’s plan. But the broad Moat has been drained; the water was pumped out in 1843, and the bed filled up with gravel and soil to form a drill ground. It was across that portion of the Moat lying to the north, under Tower Hill, that two attempts at escape were made in the last years of Charles I.’s reign. Monk, the future Duke of Albermarle, had been taken captive at the siege of Nantwich by Fairfax, and was a prisoner in the Tower for three years. With him were brought two fellow-prisoners, Lord Macguire and Colonel MacMahon.{91}


They managed to escape from their cell by sawing through the door, at night, and lowered themselves from the Tower walls to the ditch by means of a rope which they had found, according to directions conveyed to them from without, inside a loaf of bread. They succeeded in swimming the Moat, but were unlucky enough to surprise a sentry, stationed near the Middle Tower, who had heard the splash they made when leaving the rope and jumping into the water. On their coming to the opposite bank they were re-taken, cast back into the prison, and shortly afterwards hanged at Tyburn. The Lieutenant of the Tower was heavily fined for “allowing the escape,” poor man! A few years afterwards, Lord Capel, made captive at the surrender of Colchester Castle, broke prison by having had tools and a rope secretly conveyed to him with instructions as to which part of the Moat he should find most shallow. With deliberation he performed all that was necessary to get himself outside the walls, but he found the depth of the ditch exceed his expectations. Attempting to wade across, he was nearly dragged under water by the weight of mud that clogged his feet, and was, at one point in his perilous progress through the water, about to call loudly for help{92} lest he should be unable to continue the exertion necessary and so be drowned. However, cheered by friends waiting under cover of bushes on the Tower Hill bank, he came at last to firm ground. He was carried to rooms in the Temple, and from thence conveyed, some days later, to Lambeth. But the boatman who had carried the fugitive and his friends from the Temple Stairs, guessing who his passenger was, raised an alarm. Capel was discovered, put again in the Tower, and beheaded in March, 1649, beside Westminster Hall. The grim-looking Byward Tower is said to have been so named from the fact that the by-word, or password, had to be given at its gateway before admittance could be gained even to the outer ward of the fortress. On that side of it nearest the river, a postern gateway leads to a small drawbridge across the ditch. This gave access to the royal landing-place on the wharf, immediately opposite, and in this way privileged persons were able to enter the Tower without attention to those formalities necessary to gain entry to the buildings in the ordinary way. In the Byward Tower, to the right, under the archway, is the Warders’ Parlour, a finely-vaulted room, and outside its doorway we meet one or two{93} of those Yeomen Warders, whose picturesque uniform, so closely associated with the Tower, was designed by Holbein the painter, and dates from Tudor days. These Yeomen Warders are sworn in as special constables, whose duties lie within the jurisdiction of the Tower, and they take rank with sergeant-majors in the army. When State trials were held in Westminster Hall the Yeoman Gaoler escorted the prisoner to and from the Tower, carrying the processional axe, still preserved in the King’s House here. The edge of the axe was turned towards the captive after his trial, during the sad return to the prison-house, if he had—as was nearly always the case—been condemned to die. This Yeoman still carries the historic axe in State processions, but it is now merely an emblem of a vanished power to destroy. Allied to the Warders are a body of men known as the Yeomen of the Guard, or Beefeaters, who attend on the King’s person at all his State functions, whether it be in procession or at levée. The Yeomen were first seen beyond Tower walls in the coronation procession of Henry VII. The eastern front of the Byward Tower has a quaint, old-world appearance, and has altered little since Elizabethan days.{94}

Bell Tower.—This old Tower, at the angle of the Ballium Wall, contained at one time, within the turret still to be seen above its roof, the Tower bell, which in former days was used as an alarm signal. In the regulations of 1607 we find that “when the Tower bell doth ring at nights for the shutting in of the gates, all the prisoners, with their servants, are to withdraw themselves into their chambers, and not to goe forth that night.” The walls, built by Henry III., are of immense strength, the masonry being solid for fully ten feet above the ground. The Tower contains an upper and a lower dungeon, the former lit by comparatively modern windows, the latter still possessing narrow openings or arrow-slits. In the upper cell, the walls of which are eight feet thick, four notable prisoners were confined—Bishop Fisher and Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII.’s time, Princess Elizabeth in Mary’s reign, and Lady Arabella Stuart in the days of James I. Fisher was eighty years old when brought to linger here “in cold, in rags, and in misery.” The aged Bishop had refused to comply with the Act of Succession and acknowledge Henry supreme head of the Church of England. From this prison he wrote to Cromwell, “My dyett, also, God knoweth how slender it is{95} at any tymes, and now in myn age my stomak may nott awaye but with a few kynd of meats, which if I want, I decay forthwith, and fall into crafs and diseases of my bodye, and kan not keep myself in health.” But no alleviation of his sufferings did he obtain, and early in the morning, when winter and spring had passed away, and slender rays of June sunshine had found entrance to his dismal dwelling-place, the Lieutenant of the Tower came to him to announce that a message from the King had arrived, and that Fisher was to suffer death that day. The Bishop took this as happy tidings, granting release from intolerable conditions of life. At nine o’clock he was carried to Little Tower Hill (towards the present Royal Mint buildings), praying as he went. On the scaffold he exclaimed, “Accedite ad eum et illuminamini, et facies vestræ non confundentur,” with hands uplifted, and, having spoken some few words to the crowd around, was repeating the words of the Thirty-first Psalm, “In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust,” when the axe fell. Into the lower dungeon Sir Thomas More was taken in the same month as Fisher (April 1534). More had been friend and companion to King Henry, and had held the office of Lord Chancellor after Wolsey. But past friendship and high services were forgotten{96} when, with Fisher, he refused to accept the Oath in the Act of Succession, and he was committed to the Tower. For fifteen months he lay confined in this “close, filthy prison, shut up among mice and rats,” and was so weakened as to be “scarce able to stand,” when taken to the scaffold, on Tower Hill, on July 6, 1535. In Mr. Prothero’s Psalms in Human Life his last moments are thus described:—“The scaffold was unsteady, and, as he put his foot on the ladder, he said to the Lieutenant, ‘I pray thee see me safe up, and for my coming down let me shift for myself.’ After kneeling down on the scaffold and repeating the Psalm ‘Have mercy upon me, O God’ (Ps. li), which had always been his favourite prayer, he placed his head on the low log that served as a block, and received the fatal stroke.” His head was placed on London Bridge, but soon afterwards it was claimed by his devoted daughter and was buried with her at Canterbury when she died, in 1544. The bodies of Fisher and More are buried side by side, in St. Peter’s, on Tower Green, but Fisher’s remains had rested for some years in Allhallows Barking, on Tower Hill, before removal to the Tower chapel. At the entrance to the upper chamber of the Bell Tower from the passage on{97} the wall, known as Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, there is the following inscription on the stone:—


Beyond the Bell Tower a broad window, with balcony, will be noticed in the adjacent King’s House. This gives light to a room known as the Council Chamber, in which Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were tried and condemned to the rack. Above the fireplace in this room an elaborate carving preserves the features of the first Stuart who sat on the English throne, and, near by, the many virtues—lest their existence should be doubted by unbelievers—of that amiable monarch are set forth for all to read who may. In this room Pepys “did go to dine” (February 1663-4) with Sir J. Robinson, then Lieutenant of the Tower, “his ordinary table being very good.” James, Duke of Monmouth, taken as a fugitive after Sedgemoor, was imprisoned in this house (1685) till his execution, and here he parted from his wife and children during the last sad hours.

Traitor’s Gate and St. Thomas’s Tower.{98}If any were asked what impressed them most during their visit to the Tower, or what they desired to see when planning that visit, I think that they would name the Traitor’s Gate. It is certainly the best preserved of the Tudor portions, has been least spoiled by intrusion of irrelevant things, and is left in its quietness to the doves that incessantly flit in and out of the crevices of its stones and rest upon the bars of its massive gateway. Above it rises the great arch, sixty-two feet span, supporting St. Thomas’s Tower, built, as has already been stated, by Henry III., and named after St. Thomas of Canterbury. This “Watergate,” as it was at one time called, was the only direct way of entering the Tower from the river, and, before the draining of the moat, the gate here was always partly covered by water, and boats were brought right up to the steps in front of the Bloody Tower. They were moored to the heavy iron ring that is still to be seen at the left of the archway of the tower just mentioned. The older steps will be noticed beneath the more modern stone-facings laid upon them, and those steps have been trodden by some of the most famous men and women in our history. It will be remembered that between these steps and the{99}


gloomy archway leading up to Tower Green, the condemned Sir Thomas More met, on his way to the Bell Tower, his daughter, who, in a frenzy of grief, thrust her way through the guards and flung herself on her father’s neck, crying, in despair, “O my father, my father!” Those who record the scene say that even the stern warders were moved to tears when the father gave his child his last blessing and she was led away from him. To these steps came Anne Boleyn; Cromwell, Earl of Essex; Queen Katherine Howard; Seymour, Duke of Somerset; Lady Jane Grey, Princess Elizabeth, Devereux, Earl of Essex; the Duke of Monmouth, and the Seven Bishops. In the room above the Gate, Lord Grey de Wilton died (1614), after eleven years of imprisonment on the mere accusation of wishing to marry Arabella Stuart, “without permission of King James I.” St. Thomas’s Tower at one time, as is evident from the old piscina discovered there, contained a chapel; the tower has been carefully restored, without and within, and is now the residence of the Keeper of the Crown Jewels.

The Bloody Tower.—In Henry VIII.’s reign this was known as the Garden Tower, and took its name from the Constable’s garden, now the Parade{100} in front of the King’s House; but since Elizabeth’s time it has been called the Bloody Tower, owing, it is surmised, to the suicide therein of Henry Percy, eighth Earl of Northumberland, in 1585. But that is the least of its mysteries. It was within this tower that the young Princes disappeared in July, 1483. They had been removed from the royal palace near this tower when Richard assumed kingship, and placed within these grim chambers. They were closely watched; all help from without would be offered in vain; their spirits drooped, and the feeling crept upon them that they would never leave their prison-house alive. Sir Robert Brackenbury had become Lieutenant of the Tower: to him Richard, who was riding towards Gloucester, sent a messenger with letters asking him if he would be willing to rid the King of the Princes. This messenger had delivered his papers to the Lieutenant as he knelt at prayer in the Chapel of St. John in the White Tower. Brackenbury refused the King’s request, and said he would be no party to such an act even if his refusal cost him his life. The messenger returned in haste, spurring his horse westward, and overtook Richard at Warwick. The King finding Brackenbury obdurate, sent off{101} Sir James Tyrrell with a warrant to obtain possession of the keys of the Tower for one night. The keys were given to him, and he assumed command of the place for the time. Two ruffians, John Dighton and Miles Forrest—some say a third was there, reminding one of the mysterious third murderer in Macbeth—crept into the bedroom of the sleeping boys and smothered them with the bedclothes. Shakespeare has painted the scene so vividly that, though the actual manner of death is unknown, this one is accepted as probably nearest the truth. Tyrrell saw the dead bodies, gave orders that they should be buried secretly “at the foot of the stairs,” then, resigning the keys, rode off to give the news to Richard. Tyrrell came himself to death on Tower Hill in later years, and his accomplices died in misery. In Charles II.’s days two skeletons were found “under the steps,” not of this tower but of the White Tower, and were laid in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Walter Raleigh was a captive in the Bloody Tower from 1604-1616, and in its chambers he wrote the portion of his History of the World that he was able to finish before his later troubles and death put an end to his labours. It is pleasant to{102} hear of Raleigh spending his days, with his great work to cheer him, at one time sitting in the Constable’s garden, at another conversing from the walls with those who passed to and fro below. But his writings were not sufficient to satisfy the energies of this son of an energetic age. He set up a laboratory, with retorts and furnaces, and made chemical experiments; and so it happened that at this time, to quote the elder Disraeli, “Raleigh was surrounded, in the Tower, by the highest literary and scientific circle in the nation.” These men of mark in the earlier years of the first Stuart King came as guests to the Tower, or had the misfortune to be detained there “during the King’s pleasure.” Raleigh’s wife and son lived with him, and they had their own servants to wait on them. But the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir George Harvey, with whom Raleigh had spent long evenings and with whom he had made warm friendship, was succeeded by Sir William Waad, who seems to have taken a personal dislike to Sir Walter, and contrived to make his life as miserable as possible. In 1610 Raleigh was kept a close prisoner for three months, and his wife and child, no longer allowed to share his captivity, were “banished the Tower”—a decree that would prove{103} only too welcome to many—and lived for some time in a house on Tower Hill. In 1615 the King consented to release Raleigh, and allow him to command an expedition to El Dorado, which set off in 1617. What the result of that unfortunate voyage was all know: mutiny and despair may best describe its end. The King was furious; his greed for Spanish gold was unsatisfied; Spain demanded the head of “one who had been her mortal enemy.” A decision had to be made whether Raleigh should be delivered to the Spaniard or put back in the Tower. His wife planned escape for the husband she had sacrificed every comfort to aid. On a Sunday night, when Sir Walter was detained in the City—in his wife’s house in Broad Street—he put on disguise, crept through the narrow lanes to Tower Hill, went down by Allhallows Church to Tower Dock, where a boat was waiting to receive him and take him to a ship at Tilbury. But when the watermen put out into the river they saw a second boat following them closely; Sir Walter was betrayed by a man he had trusted, and found himself a prisoner in the Tower once again. He was shut up in the Brick Tower, where he awaited his trial, then removed to the Gate House, by Westminster Hall. When his sentence was passed{104} and he had but a few days to live, his wife remained with him, and they parted at the midnight before execution. In the morning the Dean of Westminster gave him his last Communion, and at eight o’clock he went out to Old Palace Yard, cheerfully prepared for what was to follow.

In the Bloody Tower Sir Thomas Overbury was poisoned in 1613. This is one of the blackest crimes that stain Tower history. Overbury had been a friend of Raleigh’s, and had often visited him in his confinement; now Sir Thomas himself, because he had condemned the marriage between the Earl of Somerset and Lady Frances Howard, was brought to the same tower. Lady Frances determined to have Overbury put out of the way, and a notorious quack and procuress of the period, Mrs. Turner, had been hired to administer the drug. But this slow-poisoning proving too lengthy a process, two hired assassins ended Overbury’s sufferings by smothering him, at night, with the pillows of his bed. Some time afterwards, by the confession of a boy who had been at the time in the employment of the apothecary from whom the drugs were bought, the crime was disclosed. Horror and indignation caused a public outcry for vengeance: the Lieutenant of{105}


the Tower, Elwes, with Mrs. Turner and the two murderers, were all put to death. Somerset and his Countess were imprisoned in the room in the Bloody Tower, where Overbury had died; they were eventually pardoned and “lived in seclusion and disgrace.”

Another victim, who died in this tower during Charles I.’s reign, was Sir John Eliot, a man of great abilities and at one time Vice-Admiral of Devon. He had already been imprisoned, and released, before his entry to the Tower in 1629, and he passed away, in his cell, in 1632. Mr. Trevelyan has said of him, “His letters, speeches, and actions in the Tower reveal a spirit of cheerfulness and even of humour, admirable in one who knows that he has chosen to die in prison in the hands of victorious enemies.” During his last months he contracted consumption in his unhealthy quarters and suffered harsh treatment. Even when Sir John had died the hard-hearted King refused to allow his body to be given to his relatives for burial, and commanded him “to be buried in the parish in which he died.” He was laid to rest in the Chapel on Tower Green, which may be called the parish church of the Tower.

Felton, the murderer of Buckingham, was{106} thrown into this tower in 1628 and Archbishop Laud was prisoner here from December 16, 1640, to January 10, 1644. Here, also, in July, 1683, Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex “cutt his own throat,” as the Register of St. Peter ad Vincula shows. The infamous Judge Jeffreys came here as prisoner in 1688, having been “taken” in a low ale-house in Wapping, and is reported to have spent his days in Bloody Tower “imbibing strong drink,” from the effects of which employment he died in 1689. This old tower has tragedy and misery enough in its records to deserve its name, and it is a mistake on the part of Tower authorities to allow so interesting a building to be closed altogether to the public. The narrow chamber above the archway on the south side still contains all the machinery for raising and lowering the portcullis which, when down, would at one time have prevented all access to the Inner Ward. This is believed to be the only ancient portcullis in England that is still in working order.

The Wakefield Tower.—The lower portion of this tower is, with the White Tower, one of the oldest portions of all the buildings, and was laid down in Norman times. Henry III. rebuilt the upper part, and it served as the entrance to{107} his palace, which lay to the east. During the Commonwealth the great hall in which Anne Boleyn was tried, and which was attached to this tower, was demolished. The name “Wakefield” was given to the tower after the battle of Wakefield in 1460, when the captive Yorkists were lodged here. In former times the tower had been called the Record Tower and the Hall Tower. In the octagonal chamber where the Crown Jewels are now kept, the recess to the south-east was at one time an oratory. In Tower records of the thirteenth century it is so spoken of. Here tradition asserts that Henry VI. was murdered by Duke Richard of Gloucester, who, entering the chamber from the palace, found Henry at prayer and treacherously stabbed him to death. To the dungeon beneath this tower the men who were “out in the Forty-Five,” and who were taken captive after that rebellion which was crushed at Culloden, were brought and huddled together with so little regard for the necessity of fresh air that many of them died on the damp earthen floor of the cell. The walls of this dungeon are thirteen feet thick; from floor to vaulted roof, within, there is only ten feet space. Those men who survived even the terrors of this place, and whose{108} hearts remained true to the royal house of Stuart, were shipped off to the West Indies, and so ended “an auld sang.” The wonder, the bravery, the sacrifice and sadness of it all is set down for after ages to marvel at in Waverley. Happy those who fell at Culloden, for they, at least, rest under the heather; they escaped the miserable English dungeons and the wickednesses of the plantations.

As we leave the Wakefield Tower we pass down under the archway of the Bloody Tower, and, in going eastwards and turning to the left a few yards farther on, come to the foot of the grassy slope at the top of which stands the great White Tower, tinkered at by Wren, but otherwise, to-day, much as the Conqueror left it. In this now open ground, where has been placed the gun-carriage on which the body of Queen Victoria was carried from Windsor railway station to St. George’s Chapel on that memorable 2nd of February, 1901, rose, in Plantagenet and Tudor days, the Royal Palace in the Tower, and the Hall in which the Courts of Justice sat. The Court of Common Pleas was held in this great hall by the river, a Gothic building, dating, probably, from the reign of Henry III.; the Court of King’s Bench being held in the Lesser Hall “under the east turret of{109} the Keep”—or White Tower. At certain times “the right of public entry” of all citizens to the Tower was insisted on. But a certain ceremonial had to be observed beforehand. The “aldermen and commoners met in Allhallows Barking Church, on Tower Hill, and chose six sage persons to go as a deputation to the Tower, and ask leave to see the King, and demand free access for all people to the courts of law held within the Tower.” It was also “to be granted that no guard should keep watch over them, or close the gates”—a most necessary precaution. Their request being granted by the King “the six messengers returned to Barking Church ... and the Commons then elected three men of standing to act as spokesmen. Great care was taken that no person should go into the royal presence who was in rags or shoeless. Every one was to have his hair cut close and his face newly shaved. Mayor, aldermen, sheriff, cryer, beadles, were all to be clean and neat, and every one was to lay aside his cape and cloak, and put on his coat and surcoat.”

The White Tower or Keep.—This is the very heart and centre of the Tower buildings, and all the lesser towers and connecting walls, making the Inner and Outer Wards, and the broad moat{110} encircling all, are but the means of protection and inviolable security of this ancient keep. Within its rock-like walls a threatened king could live in security. Here were provided the elementary necessaries of life—a storehouse for food, a well to supply fresh water, a great fireplace (in the thickness of the wall), and a place of devotion, all within the walls of this one tower. The doorway by which we enter, after passing the ridiculous ticket-box and unnecessary policeman, was cut through the solid wall in Henry VIII.’s time. At the foot of the stairs giving access, the bones of the murdered Princes were found in a small chest, some ten feet below the ground, during Charles II.’s reign.

The winding stairway within the wall leads us to the western end of the Chapel of St. John, which is, with the possible exception of the Lady Chapel at Durham, the finest Norman chapel in England. It has a beautiful arcading, with heavy circular pillars, square capitals and bases, and a wide triforium over the aisles. Here is a perfect Norman church in miniature. The south aisle at one time communicated with the royal palace, and the gallery with the State apartments of the keep. It is only within recent years that the{111} sanctity of the place has been again observed, and now visitors behave here as in any other consecrated building; but it was for many years used as a sort of store chamber, and the authorities at one time proposed turning it into a military tailors’ workshop! That was in the mid-nineteenth century, when England in general had fallen into a state of artistic zopf and the daughters of music were brought low. So low, too, had the guardians of the nation fallen in their ideas that this beautiful building meant nothing more to them than a place, a commodious place, of four stone walls, that was lying idle and might be “put to some practical use”! The Prince Consort made timely intervention and the desecration was not persisted in. It was in this chapel that the rabble in Richard II.’s time found Archbishop Sudbury at prayer; at prayer, too, in this chapel, knelt Brackenbury when the messenger from King Richard III. brought demands for the Princes’ murder; here Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII., lay in state after death; here Queen Mary, after the death of her brother, Edward VI., attended Mass and gave thanks for the suppression of revolt; and here the vacillating Northumberland, father-in-law of Lady Jane Grey, declared{112} himself a Roman Catholic lest he should lose his life, but without the effect he desired. In this solemn place, too, those who aspired to knighthood watched their arms at the altar, passing the night in vigil before the day when the king would elect them to the order. This was the place of worship of our Norman and Plantagenet kings. Could any other building in the country claim like associations? Yet these things slip the mind of a generation, and then is the hallowed ground made desolate.

The large rooms entered from the chapel are the former State apartments, now given over to the housing of a collection of weapons and armour which is described on the show-cases, and therefore need not be detailed here. In these rooms Baliol in the reign of Edward I., and King David of Scotland in that of Edward III., were kept prisoners, but not in the strictest sense. Other notable captives here were King John of France (after the battle of Poitiers), Prince (afterwards King) James of Scotland, and Charles, Duke of Orleans—all of whom have been spoken of in the previous chapter. Several models of the Tower buildings, made at various periods, will be found in these rooms. The larger—western—apartment,{113}


in which are preserved the block and axe used at the last execution on Tower Hill, in 1747, is the Banqueting Hall of the Keep, and was the scene, so some maintain, of the trial of Anne Boleyn, in May, 1536. Raleigh, in 1601, watched the execution of Essex from one of its western windows. A mounted figure of Queen Elizabeth, dressed as on the occasion of her progress to St. Paul’s Cathedral to render thanks for the destruction of the Armada, has been removed from this room to a dark corner of the crypt of St. John’s Chapel; its place is taken by an illuminated show-case in which the Coronation robes of the reigning sovereign are displayed. Models of the instruments of torture—the rack, thumb-screws, scavenger’s daughter, iron neck-collar, and so forth—are shown in this room, reminding us that though torture was never legal punishment in England, it was practised in Tower dungeons, especially in Tudor times, when, in the wisdom of those in power, occasion demanded it. But the whole business is too despicable to dwell upon.

A continuation of the winding stairway in the south-west angle of the wall gives access to the upper floor and ancient Council Chamber, which is the room entered first. Here Richard II. abdicated{114} in favour of Henry IV. Froissart, describing the ceremony, says, “King Richard was released from his prison and entered the hall which had been prepared for the occasion, royally dressed, the sceptre in his hand and the crown on his head, but without supporters on either side.” He said, after raising the crown from his head and placing it before him, “Henry, fair cousin, and Duke of Lancaster, I present and give to you this crown with which I was crowned King of England, and all the rights dependent on it.” When all was over and Henry “had called in a public notary that an authentic act should be drawn up of the proceedings,” Richard was led back “to where he had come from, and the Duke and other lords mounted their horses to return home.” It was in this Council Chamber of the White Tower, also, that Richard III. enacted that dramatic scene on which the curtain fell with the death of Hastings, the Lord Chamberlain. The lords were seated at council when Richard entered the broad, low room in anger, and exclaimed, to their astonishment, “What are they worthy to have that compass and imagine my destruction?” The lords, sore amazed at this, sat dumb, and none dared speak lest he be accused. Then the irate Richard bared his withered arm and called on all to{115} look what sorcery had done. His protestation had, however, been somewhat overacted, and his lords in the Chamber of Council saw that he was but in a fit of spleen and hasty to pick a quarrel with any. Still, Lord Hastings took courage to stand and reply, “If any have so heinously done, they are worthy of heinous punishment.” “What!” said Richard, starting up; “thou servest me ill, I ween, with ‘ifs.’ I tell thee they have so done, and that I will make good on thy body, traitor.” In great anger he strode to a table and hit it heavily with his clenched fist. At this signal a great number of armed men, who had been cunningly hid in the stone passage that lay within the thickness of the wall, entered the room and blocked the doorways. Richard, coming into the centre of the chamber and pointing to Hastings, exclaimed, “I arrest thee, traitor!” “What, me, my lord?” replied the Chamberlain. “Yea, thee, traitor.” And Hastings being seized and made prisoner, “I will not to dinner,” continued his accuser, “till I see thy head off.” Without time to say a word on his own behalf, Lord Hastings, in order that the repast of Richard should not be unduly delayed, was hurried down the narrow, winding stairway in the north-east turret of the White Tower and led{116} out upon what is now the parade ground, below. It is told that the way to the block on Tower Green near by was greatly obstructed by stones and much timber then being used in rebuilding houses within the Tower walls. Richard was watching with impatience, from a window in the Council Chamber, the progress of his victim to death, and, in order to avoid delay, Hastings was compelled by his captors to lay his head on a rough log of wood that blocked the path. So was he brought to the axe ere Richard, satisfied, and himself again, went to dine.

The crypt of St. John’s Chapel (which, with the dungeons, is shown only to those who have obtained an order and are accompanied by a special warder), a very dark place before the comparatively modern windows were put in, was used as a prison cell, and here were confined those captured in the Wyatt rebellion. Prisoners’ inscriptions may still be seen on the wall on either side of the smaller dungeon, erroneously termed “Raleigh’s Cell.” This grim chamber, hollowed out of the wall of the crypt, would, when the door was shut and all light of day excluded, have been the most unwelcome hole for any human being to linger in. To assert that Raleigh sat and wrote here, by rushlight, is drawing too heavily on our credulity. Even “that{117} beast Waad” would not have put his famous prisoner into such a place of darkness. The crypt has a remarkable barrel-shaped roof, the stones of which are most cunningly set together. The walls are of amazing thickness, as may be seen by the depth of the window recesses. Some few years ago a quantity of stained glass was found in this crypt; some of it of sixteenth-century date, the remainder modern and of little value. Fragments of this glass have been put together with care and skill and placed in the small windows of the Chapel of St. John, above.

The larger dungeons of the Keep are entered beneath the stairway that leads to the parade-ground from the level of the crypt we have just visited. These lower places of confinement have been sadly modernised, white-washed, and have all the appearance of respectable wine-cellars, lit by electric light. In these once gloomy chambers, deep down below the level of the ground, stood the rack; the cries of victims would not be heard beyond the massive walls. This instrument of torture was an open frame of solid oak about three feet high. The prisoner was laid within it, on the bare ground, his wrists and ankles being tied to rollers at each extremity. By means of levers these{118} rollers were moved in opposite directions and the body of the prisoner was thereby raised to the level of the frame. While his body was thus suspended he was questioned, and if his replies came tardily a turn or two of the rollers, which threatened to pull his joints from their sockets, was considered necessary to extract from the sufferer any information desired. In this place, and in this way, Guy Fawkes was racked after Gunpowder Plot, and, between the periods of torture, was confined in a small cell called Little Ease, which was constructed so skilfully that the captive could neither lie down nor stand up with any satisfaction, but was compelled to exist there in a cramped and stooping posture. This miserable cell lay between the dungeon containing the rack and the great dungeon under the crypt of St. John’s Chapel. Though the formidable iron-studded door of Little Ease, with its ingenious system of locks and bolts, is still to be seen, the cell itself has been broken through to give entrance to the black vault beyond. Yet even to-day, in spite of foolish “improvements,” some idea of the power of Little Ease to administer suffering can be gained. In this, at one time, circumscribed space, Guy Fawkes spent his last weeks, with no fresh air to breathe and no glimmer of light to{119} cheer. The gloomy dungeon, to which Little Ease now gives access, under St. John’s crypt, was the foulest and blackest of all the Tower cells. Even now it is a place of horror, though an attempt has been made to enlarge the single window, high up on the eastern side, and admit a little more light. Hundreds of Jews were shut up here in King John’s time, charged, as has already been stated in the previous chapter, with tampering with the coinage of the realm. No light of any kind entered the place in those days, the earthen floor was carefully kept damp for greater inconvenience, the air was poisonous, and the place was at all times infested with rats. This cell rivals in horror the Black Hole of Calcutta, and in it men were, to use a Meredithian expression, chilled in subterranean sunlessness. In the basement chambers, to the west of this dungeon and of the torture chamber, a well has, within recent years, been discovered, together with a secret passage leading towards the moat and the river. In connection with the discovery of this passage it is stated that a grated cell had been found in which the waters of the Thames flowed and receded with the tide. It is possible that some poor sufferer may have been put, for a time, in this place of horror, but we may be thankful{120} that, as no details have survived time’s ravages, it is not necessary for us to demand definite information on the subject. There are certain corners of Tower history that are better left unexplored. The dungeons of the White Tower might conceivably have been left in something of their original state. The “modernisation” they have undergone has robbed them of all appearance of age. They have the look (with the exception of the Jews’ dungeon) of store cellars constructed last week. Utility has done its best to kill romance.

Tower Green.—Beneath the western wall of the White Tower there is massed together, and now railed in, a curious collection of old guns and mortars, mostly trophies won from France, Spain and Portugal. Some are early examples of English cannon found in the Mary Rose, wrecked off Spithead in 1545. Two solemn ravens hover about these old guns day by day, and perch at times, with significant gravity, on the site of the block near by. Tower Green was the place of private, as Tower Hill was the place of public, execution, and was reserved for culprits of Royal rank. This open space in the centre of the buildings saw prisoners led from cell to cell, saw many a headless body carried on rude stretcher to burial{121}


in St. Peter’s, and was the place of revels on far-off coronation eves when the King of the morrow was feasting in the Keep above or in the Palace. It saw, also, the last sad moments of three Queens of England. In the far corner, towards the Bloody Tower, lay the Constable’s Garden in which Raleigh walked, and in which the proud Princess Elizabeth had paced along the paths that her favourite of later days had been sent by the prouder Queen to tread. Farther westward, and marked by a sentry-box at the door, is the King’s House, in which lives the present Major of the Tower. It was from this house that Lord Nithsdale escaped, on the eve of his execution, in 1716. His wife, who had ridden in bitter, wintry weather from Scotland in order to make appeal to King George on her husband’s behalf, found only disappointment as a result of the appeal to royal clemency. But she was not to be daunted by her rebuff at Court. Though the attempt seemed quite a hopeless one, she was determined to make all effort possible to save her lord from the scaffold. From her lodgings in Drury Lane she walked to the Tower, accompanied by her landlady, Mrs. Mills, and a friend, Mrs. Morgan. Mrs. Morgan consented to wear a dress belonging to Mrs. Mills{122} above her own dress, and Lady Nithsdale proposed to get her husband away from the Tower disguised in this extra dress. When she reached the King’s House she was allowed to take in with her only one friend at a time, and so brought in Mrs. Morgan, who had, she explained, come to bid Lord Nithsdale farewell. When the custodian of the prison room had retired, Lord Nithsdale was hastily dressed in the spare set of female garments and Mrs. Morgan was sent out to bring in “her maid, Evans.” Mrs. Mills came upstairs in answer to the call, and held a handkerchief to her face “as was natural,” wrote Lady Nithsdale when describing the events afterwards, “for a person going to take a last leave of a friend before execution. I desired her to do this that my lord might go out in the same manner. Her eyebrows were inclined to be sandy, and as my lord’s were dark and thick, I had prepared some paint to disguise him. I had also got an artificial head-dress of the same coloured hair as hers, and rouged his face and cheeks, to conceal his beard which he had not had time to shave. All this provision I had before left in the Tower. I made Mrs. Mills take off her own hood and put on that which I had brought for her. I then took her by the hand and led her out of my{123} lord’s chamber. In passing through the next room, in which were several people, with all the concern imaginable, I said, ‘My dear Mrs. Catherine, go in all haste and send me my waiting-maid; she certainly cannot reflect how late it is. I am to present my petition to-night; to-morrow it is too late. Hasten her as much as possible, for I shall be on thorns till she comes.’... When I had seen her safe out I returned to my lord and finished dressing him. I had taken care that Mrs. Mills did not go out crying, as she came in, that my lord might better pass for the lady who came in crying and afflicted; and the more so that as he had the same dress that she wore. When I had almost finished dressing my lord, I perceived it was growing dark, and was afraid that the light of the candle might betray us, so I resolved to set off. I went out leading him by the hand, whilst he held his handkerchief to his eyes. I spoke to him in the most piteous and afflicted tone, bewailing the negligence of my maid Evans, who had ruined me by her delay. Then I said, ‘My dear Mrs. Betty ... run quickly and bring her with you. I am almost distracted with this disappointment.’ The guards opened the door, and I went downstairs with him, still conjuring him to make all possible{124} despatch. As soon as he had cleared the door, I made him walk before me, for fear the sentinel should take notice of his walk. At the bottom of the stairs I met my dear Evans, into whose hands I confided him.” Lord Nithsdale, now safely out of the walls and on Tower Hill, was hurried to a convenient lodging in the City. Lady Nithsdale, having sent “her maid Betty” off, returned to her lord’s room, and, alone there, pretended to converse with her husband, imitating his voice so well that no suspicions were aroused. She continues her narrative thus: “I then thought proper to make off also. I opened the door and stood half at it, that those in the outward chamber might hear what I said, but held it so close that they could not look in. I bade my lord formal farewell for the night, and added that something more than usual must have happened to make Evans negligent, on this important occasion, who had always been so punctual in the smallest trifles; that I saw no other remedy but to go in person; that if the Tower was then open, when I had finished my business, I would return that night; but that he might be assured I would be with him as early in the morning as I could gain admittance to the Tower, and I flattered myself I should bring more{125} favourable news. Then, before I shut the door, I pulled through the string of the latch, so that it could only be opened on the inside.” On her way out Lady Nithsdale told one of the servants that candles need not be taken in to his master “until he sent for them,” and so left the King’s House, crossed Tower Green in the dusk of the evening, and was soon safely in London streets. Lord Nithsdale eventually escaped, disguised as a footman, in the suite of the Venetian Ambassador, from Dover. Lady Nithsdale bravely returned to Dumfriesshire, and, at great risk, for “the King was great insensed at the trick she had played,” recovered valuable papers buried in a garden there, then joined her husband in Rome. By her splendid intrepidity she had saved her lord from the scaffold on the very eve of execution, had baffled the King’s emissaries, and altogether gave King George cause to complain that she had given him more trouble than “any other woman in the whole of Europe.”

Beauchamp Tower.—This tower lies in the centre of the western Ballium Wall, and is entered at the foot of a flight of steps leading down from the level of the Green. A narrow winding stairway, which is typical of the means of ingress and egress in all the lesser towers on the walls,{126} brings us to the large prison-chamber of this tower, the only portion shown to the public. In Tudor days the Beauchamp Tower was set aside specially as the place of detention of captives of high estate in the realm. It is the least gloomy of the towers. It must at all times have had a good supply of light, if we may judge by the delicacy of the inscriptions and carvings that those imprisoned there have left upon its walls. On entering the prison-room an inscription bearing the word “Peveril” will be seen on the wall to the left. This caught the eye of Sir Walter Scott when visiting the Tower, and suggested the title for the then unwritten novel, the scenes of which are laid in the time of Charles II. In that book a description is given, in chapter xl, of the King’s visit to the fortress. “In the meantime the royal barge paused at the Tower; and, accompanied by a laughing train of ladies and of courtiers, the gay monarch made the echoes of the old prison-towers ring with the unwonted sounds of mirth and revelry.... Charles, who often formed manly and sensible resolutions, though he was too easily diverted from them by indolence or pleasure, had some desire to make himself personally acquainted with the state of the military stores, arms, etc., of{127} which the Tower was then, as now, the magazine.... The King, accompanied by the Dukes of Buckingham, Ormond, and one or two others, walked through the well-known hall [in the White Tower] in which is preserved the most splendid magazine of arms in the world, and which, though far from exhibiting its present extraordinary state of perfection, was even then an arsenal worthy of the great nation to which it belonged.” In the same chapter the Tower legend of the King’s discovery of Coleby (who had helped the King at Worcester fight) as a warder in the Tower is told. Sir Walter adds a footnote to the tale: “The affecting circumstances are, I believe, recorded in one of the little manuals which are put into the hands of visitors.” In this room of the Beauchamp Tower, Nigel, Lord Glenvarloch, is imprisoned as narrated in The Fortunes of Nigel, which pictures earlier days—the times of James I. Nigel “followed the lieutenant to the ancient buildings on the western side of the parade, and adjoining to the chapel, used in those days as a State prison, but in ours [this was written in 1822] as the mess-room of the officers of the guard upon duty at the fortress. The double doors were unlocked, the prisoner ascended a few steps, followed by the lieutenant and a warder of the higher class.{128} They entered a large, but irregular, low-roofed and dark apartment, exhibiting a very scanty proportion of furniture.... The lieutenant, having made his reverence with the customary compliment that ‘He trusted his lordship would not long remain under his guardianship,’ took his leave.... Nigel proceeded to amuse himself with the melancholy task of deciphering the names, mottoes, verses and hieroglyphics with which his predecessors in captivity had covered the walls of their prison-house. There he saw the names of many forgotten sufferers mingled with others which will continue in remembrance until English history shall perish. There were the pious effusions of the devout Catholic, poured forth on the eve of his sealing his profession at Tyburn, mingled with those of the firm Protestant about to feed the fires of Smithfield.... It was like the roll of the prophet, a record of lamentation and mourning, and yet not unmixed with brief interjections of resignation, and sentences expressive of the firmest resolution.” There are ninety-one names on the walls of this room in the Beauchamp Tower, and the earliest date, 1462, is cut beside the name of Talbot. Other notable inscriptions are those of the Pole family (No. 33), of which two members died in{129}


captivity here; the Dudley carving (No. 14), consisting of a frame made up of a garland of roses, geraniums, honeysuckle, and oak leaves. Within are a bear and lion supporting a ragged staff, which is the Dudley crest. Beneath is the name of the carver, John Dudley—the eldest of five Dudley brothers imprisoned in this chamber. This John, Earl of Warwick, died here, a prisoner. The Bailly inscription (No. 17) dates from Elizabeth’s reign, and was carved by Charles Bailly, involved in plots to liberate Mary Queen of Scots after her coming to England. He has carved these words on the stone: “Wise men ought circumspectly to see what they do, to examine before they speake, to prove before they take in hand, to beware whose company they use, and, above all things, to whom they truste.” The Earl of Arundel, one of the devout Catholics mentioned by Scott, died, in this room, after ten years’ imprisonment in the Tower. His inscription is in Latin, and dated June 22, 1587. The words may be translated, “The more suffering for Christ in this world, the more will be the glory with Christ in the next. Thou hast crowned him with honour and glory, O Lord! In memory everlasting he will be just.” Another carving (No. 26), of April 22, 1559, concludes thus: “There is an end{130} of all things, and the ende of a thing is better than the beginin. Be wyse and pacyente in troble, for wysdom defends the as well as mony. Use well the tyme of prosperite, ande remember the tyme of misfortewn.” This inscription bears some resemblance to another of Bailly’s (No. 51), where he has recorded on his prison wall that, “The most unhapy man in the world is he that is not pacient in adversities; for men are not killed with the adversities they have, but with the impacience which they suffer.... Hope to the end and have pacience.” If any were in need of patience and of hope they were these poor prisoners in the Beauchamp Tower. Another captive, T. Salmon, in 1622 recorded that he had been kept “close prisoner here, 8 months, 32 weeks, 224 days, 5,376 hours.” The husband of Lady Jane Grey carved on these walls (No. 85) the one word “Jane,” and this in its simplicity is the saddest of all the writings on the wall. This tower, which was restored by Salvin in 1854, still retains an original Edward III. window and much other ancient work; its name is derived from the Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, imprisoned towards the end of the fourteenth century. During the time of the Wyatt rebellion it appears to have been known as the Cobham Tower,{131} but that name did not adhere to it long. It consists of three floors, the main prison-room being on the second storey, and possesses a battlemented roof. In this tower a secret passage has been discovered, in the wall, where spies could hover and overhear the talk of prisoners. To the north of it, and opposite the Chapel, stands the Chaplain’s House, and that portion of Tower Green immediately adjoining was at one period a burial-ground for “Tower parishioners.”

Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.—The crypt of the present chapel was built in the reign of Henry III.; all that stands above it is of the Tudor period. In 1867 it received its last careful restoration, but apart from its tragic associations it is not a very inspiring bit of ecclesiastical architecture. There is a peculiar stiffness about the building and an oppressive gloom in the place that makes one regard it rather as a large tomb than as a church for living men and women to worship in. Strangely enough, one has none of this feeling when visiting the Chapel of St. John in the White Tower, which is a place that never fails to lead the thoughts to another world than this. In St. Peter’s one is haunted by generations of spectres who have passed from life to death by violent means, and one has also the fear that Macaulay is lingering in some{132} corner and moralising on the pathos of it all. Under the pavement of this church, as was discovered at the 1876 restoration, the victims from the scaffold, of royal blood or otherwise, were very hastily and carelessly interred, at no great depth. The bones of Queen Anne Boleyn were identified and now lie in front of the altar with those of Queen Katherine Howard, and the Dukes of Northumberland and Somerset. Mr. Doyne Bell, describing the discovery of the remains of Anne Boleyn, says, “The forehead and lower jaw were small and especially well formed. The vertebræ were particularly small, especially one joint, which was that next to the skull, and they bore witness to the Queen’s ‘lyttel neck.’ The skeletons of the aged Countess of Salisbury and of the Duke of Monmouth were also found. A list of the notable people buried in this church will be seen on the west wall near the door, and here, too, are preserved portions of the leaden coffin lids of the Scots lords who were the last victims of the block on Tower Hill. Several very interesting memorials of those famous in Tower annals will be noticed on the east and south walls near the chancel. The elaborate tomb to the left, within the altar rails, is erected in memory of Sir Richard Blount and of Sir{133}


Michael, his son, both Lieutenants of the Tower in their time. These Blounts died in the middle of the sixteenth century. In the body of the church Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher, Protector Somerset and Thomas Cromwell, Strafford and Sir John Eliot, lie buried. One of the earliest monuments in the building is that lying between the organ and chancel, commemorating Sir Richard Cholmondeley and his wife Elizabeth. The recumbent figures are carved in alabaster. Neither the knight nor his lady was buried in the church. Sir Richard held the position of Lieutenant of the Tower in Henry VII.’s reign. Lord de Ros, the last Deputy-Lieutenant of the Tower, and author of a valuable record of its history, who died in 1874, has a memorial here. It was owing to his care that the tombstone covering the grave of Talbot Edwards, so nearly killed when defending the Crown Jewels at the time of the Colonel Blood onslaught, was replaced. This slab had been doing duty as a paving-stone on Tower Green. The Communion Plate of St. Peter’s dates from the time of the first Charles, and the vessels bear the royal monogram, C.R., with crown above. They have been used by many a condemned captive just before the hour appointed for death.{134}



These manacles upon my arm
I, as my mistress’ favours, wear;
And for to keep my ancles warm,
I have some iron shackles there;
These walls are but my garrison; this cell,
Which men call jail, doth prove my citadel.
Old Ballad.

On leaving the Tower gateway we turn into the gardens on the right and walk along the pathway that lies beneath Tower Hill and above the moat. An excellent view is to be obtained from these gardens of the outer defences of the Tower. The western front exhibits a striking mass of buildings of various age and colour. At first glance we might imagine we were looking upon a bit of sixteenth-century Nuremberg. We would not be at all surprised to see Hans Sachs, Veit Pogner, or Sixtus Beckmesser look out from the windows above the Ballium Wall. Below lie{135} the Casemates or outer defences, running, on this western side, from the Byward Tower to Legge’s Mount, named, it is conjectured, after George Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, who had charge of the battery in the seventeenth century. The Outward Wall was put up by Henry III.

The Devereux Tower.—This tower stands at the north-west angle of the Ballium Wall, above Legge’s Mount battery. Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and friend of Shakespeare, was a prisoner here in Elizabeth’s reign, hence the name; but in earlier days it was known as Robyn the Devyll’s, or Develin Tower. It is so termed in the 1597 plan reproduced at the end of this book. The lower and older portion of the tower dates back to the time of Richard I.; the upper portions are modern restorations of what had existed previously, but the arrow-slits, which formerly pierced the walls and admitted so little light to the interior of one of the gloomiest towers in the fortress, are now widened to windows. The walls are eleven feet thick, and a small staircase leads from the tower to cells lying within the thickness of the Ballium Wall. The lower floor contains an old kitchen with finely vaulted ceiling; beneath this there is a forbidding dungeon, and underground{136} passages at one time led thence to the vaults of St. Peter’s Church. But the secret subways are now sealed up and their existence probably forgotten.

Flint, Bowyer, and Brick Towers.—These towers lie along the northern section of the Inner Wall and are protected by the Outer Wall, and also by the comparatively modern North Bastion which projects into the ditch and is pierced for successive tiers, containing five guns each. The Flint Tower is next in order after the Devereux, and lies some ninety feet away. An older tower on this site, known as Little Hell because of its evil reputation as a prison, had fallen partly to ruin in 1796 and was demolished; the present tower was set up in its place, and, though used as a prison for a few years after the rebuilding, has practically no history as it now stands. The Bowyer Tower, next in order eastwards, was the place of confinement of the luckless Duke of Clarence, who suffered a mysterious death in 1478. The lower portions of the structure date back to Edward III.; all above is of more recent date. This tower had always an evil reputation. “One of the most terrible cells of the fortress,” one authority states, “is to be found in the Bowyer Tower, where there is a{137}


ghastly hole with a trap-door, opening upon a flight of steps.” From these steps a secret passage led through a small cell to a farther cell in the body of the Ballium Wall. It is possible that Scott had this tower in mind when describing the dungeon and secret passages and doors in the thirteenth chapter of the Legend of Montrose. The account of the one resembles very closely what we know of the other. The bowmaker lived and followed his trade within this tower, and it is named after that master craftsman, whose workshop was a busy place in the days before the bullet had ousted the arrow. The Brick Tower is chiefly of interest as having been the place to which Raleigh was moved during his first and third imprisonments. When it was found necessary to keep him in closer captivity than had been imposed on him in the Garden House and Bloody Tower, he was brought to the Brick Tower, and not to the cell in St. John’s crypt, as tradition has led many to believe. Lord Grey de Wilton died here, during his captivity, in 1617; here, also, Sir William Coventry was confined for a time in Charles II.’s time. Pepys, on his visit to Sir William, found “abundance of company with him,” and sixty coaches stood{138} outside Tower gates “that had brought them thither.”

The Martin Tower.—This is the most famous of the lesser towers, and is also known as the old Jewel House. It, too, in part is ancient, but the building set up by Henry III. was tampered with by Wren, and has, in consequence, a somewhat patchy appearance to-day. The tower stands at the north-east corner of the Inner Wall, and beneath it lies Brass Mount battery. It is best seen from the point where we leave the public gardens and go on to the level of the Tower Bridge Approach. From this recently constructed roadway a good general view of the Tower buildings on the eastern side is obtained. But we will pause here on our walk to consider two memorable events in the history of the Martin Tower.

In May, 1671, that audacious rascal, Colonel Blood, “whose spirit toiled in framing the most daring enterprises,” after having failed to “seize his ancient enemy, the Duke of Ormond, in the streets of London,” bethought him of a plan to seize and carry away the Crown Jewels of England, then kept in the Martin Tower. It was soon after the appointment of Sir Gilbert Talbot as Master, or Keeper, of the Jewels that the{139} regalia had been opened to public inspection, and an old servant of Sir Gilbert’s, Talbot Edwards, was in immediate charge of the room in which the gems lay. Blood had been making one or two visits, in various disguises, to the Jewel-room during the last weeks of April of the year mentioned (the date is sometimes given as 1673, but Evelyn mentions the affair, in his Diary, under May 10, 1671), in order to make sure of his ground and to devise plans of safe retreat. Blood, in guise of a clergyman, and addressed as Parson Blood, had been invited to dine with Edwards and his wife and daughter. “You have,” said the cassocked Colonel, “a pretty young gentlewoman for your daughter, and I have a young nephew, who has two or three hundred a year in land, and is at my disposal. If your daughter be free, and you approve it, I’ll bring him here to see her, and we will endeavour to make it a match.” The day that he had chosen to introduce his nephew was the day on which he was to make his own attempt to steal more than a maiden’s heart. At the time appointed, Parson Blood returned “with three more, all armed with rapier-canes and every one a dagger and a brace of pocket-pistols.” Blood and two of his associates{140} “went in to see the crown,” and the pretended “nephew” remained at the door as sentinel. Miss Edwards, with maidenly modesty, forbore to come down and meet her wooer, yet curiosity impelled her to send a waiting-maid to inspect the company and report as to the appearance of her lover. The maid, having seen whom she took to be the intended bridegroom standing at the door of the Jewel-room, returned to her mistress and analysed the impression of the young man which she had formed, with womanly intuition, by a single glance. Meanwhile, it was not love but war below. Old Talbot Edwards had been gagged and nearly strangled by Blood and his men, but not before he had made as much noise as possible in order to raise an alarm. The young women upstairs were much too interested in Cupid’s affairs to hear the cries from the Jewel chamber. Edwards received several blows on the head with a mallet in order that his shouts might be silenced. He fell to the ground and was left there as dead, while the ruffians were busily despoiling the jewel case of its more precious contents. Blood, as chief conspirator, secured the crown and hid it under his cloak; his trusty Parrot secreted the orb; and the third villain proceeded to file the{141} sceptre in order to get it into a small bag. At that moment a dramatic event upset their calculations. One can almost hear the chord in the orchestra and imagine that a transpontine melodrama was being witnessed, when told that there stepped upon the scene, at this juncture, a son of Talbot Edwards who had just returned from Flanders. Young Edwards, on entering his own house, was surprised by the sentinel at the door asking him what his business might be. He ran upstairs, in some amazement, to see his father, mother, and sister, and ask the meaning of this demand. Blood and his precious suite of booty-snatchers received the alarm from the doorkeeper, and the interesting party made off as quickly as they could with cloaks, bags, pockets, and hands full of Crown jewellery, the property of His Majesty King Charles and the English nation. Old Edwards had now recovered his powers of speech, and, working the gag out of his mouth, rose up to shout “Treason! Murder!” and so forth. This was heard by those above who had been welcoming young Edwards’ unexpected return. All were now active, and young Edwards, assisted by some warders, gave chase to the rapidly retreating regalia. The Blood contingent had{142} already reached the Byward Tower and were making for the outer gateway when some of the King’s jewels were dropped in order to lighten the burdens of those who ran. But the Colonel still hugged the crown. They were soon out on Tower Wharf and making for St. Catherine’s Gate (where the northern end of Tower Bridge now stands). Here horses awaited them, and here they were aware that shouts of “Stop the rogues!” were proceeding from an excited body of men rushing towards them from the western end of the Wharf. The gallant Colonel did not resign the crown without a struggle, during which several of the jewels, including the Great Pearl and a large diamond, with which it was set, rolled out upon the ground and were for a time lost, but subsequently recovered. Parrot was found with portions of royal sceptre in various linings and pockets, and a valuable ruby had been successfully conjured away. When Blood and his three tragic comedians had been made prisoners, young Edwards hastened back into the Tower and acquainted Sir Gilbert Talbot with the alarming news. Sir Gilbert stamped and swore a round oath or two and hurried to the King to give him an account of the escapade. Charles commanded{143} the prisoners to be brought before him at Whitehall, and the Merry Monarch endowed Blood with a pension of £500 a year. The second Charles evidently admired a man of daring.

The Seven Bishops were confined—huddled together would be the more literal term—in the Martin Tower, during the troublous days of James II., for refusing to subscribe to the Declaration of Indulgence. “A warrant was issued for their committal to the Tower,” we are told by Dr. Luckock in his Bishops in the Tower, and “the spectacle of the 8th of June [1688] has had no parallel in the annals of history. It has often been painted, and in vivid colours, but no adequate description can ever be given of a scene that was unique.” As the barge containing the Bishops was pushed off from Whitehall Steps, “men and women rushed into the water and the people ran along the banks cheering with the wildest enthusiasm, and crying, ‘God bless the Bishops!’ When they reached the Traitor’s Gate and passed into the Tower, the soldiers on guard, officers as well as men, fell on their knees and begged for a blessing. It was evening when they arrived, and they asked for permission to attend the service in the chapel [of St. Peter]; and the{144} Lesson for the day, by a happy coincidence, was one well calculated to inspire them with courage: ‘In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in strifes, in imprisonments.’ ... The enthusiasm was continued long after the ponderous gates of the Tower had closed upon them. The soldiers of the garrison drank to the health of the Bishops at their mess, and nothing could stop them from such a manifestation of their sympathy.” The Bishops were in the Martin Tower until June 15, when they returned by water from the Wharf and were taken to the Court of King’s Bench. They were tried on June 29. When Sir Robert Langley, foreman of the jury, declared that the prisoners were found “not guilty” the scene again became one of the wildest joy and excitement. “The released Bishops, hearing the bells of a neighbouring church, escaped from the crowd to join in the service, and, by a second coincidence, more striking even than the first, the Lesson that they heard was the story of St. Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison.”

The Constable, Broad Arrow, and Salt Towers.—These {145}small towers stand on the line of the eastern wall of the Inner Ward and face the Tower Bridge roadway. In the first named the Constable of the Tower lived in Henry VIII.’s reign; in the time of Charles I. it was used as a prison. Its rooms and dungeons resemble those of the Beauchamp Tower, but are on a smaller scale. The Broad Arrow Tower never lacked prisoners during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, and the room on the first floor has some inscriptions left by captives; these writings on the stone have been so repeatedly covered with whitewash that they are now somewhat difficult to decipher. In 1830 a list of the inscriptions was made, and we find in it the following names and dates: “John Daniell, 1556,” a prisoner concerned in a plot to rob the Exchequer in Mary’s reign, and hanged on Tower Hill; “Thomas Forde, 1582,” a priest executed “for refusing to assent to the supremacy of Queen Elizabeth in the Church”; “John Stoughton, 1586,” and “J. Gage, 1591,” both priests. At the top of this tower, near the doorway giving access to the Inner Wall, is a narrow cell, with only a small aperture to admit light, which rivals Little Ease in sparsity of accommodation. Behind the Constable and Broad Arrow Towers are the Officers’ Quarters of the garrison, occupying ground{146} on which stood, until the reign of James II., an old building known as the King’s Private Wardrobe, connected with the now vanished Royal Palace. South-west of the Broad Arrow Tower lay the Queen’s Garden.

The Salt, Cradle, and Lanthorn Towers.—The Salt Tower, standing at the south-east corner of the Ballium wall, is one of the oldest portions of all the buildings, and dates back to the time of William Rufus. It possesses a spacious dungeon, with vaulted ceiling, a finely carved chimney-piece in one of the upper rooms, and in a prison chamber the inscription of “Hew: Draper, 1561”—the memento of a sixteenth-century magician—is cut on the wall. The Salt and Cradle Towers were the scene of an escape of two prisoners in Elizabeth’s reign—Father Gerard and John Arden.

Gerard had been put in the Salt Tower for the part he is said to have taken in an attempt on the Queen’s life. When examined before a Council which sat in the room in the King’s House where Guy Fawkes was afterwards convicted, he refused to give any information that might involve brother priests. For this he was ordered to be tortured in the dungeon under the White Tower. In the account which he himself wrote of the proceedings{147}


we are told that he and his guards “went in solemn procession, the attendants preceding us with lighted candles because the place was underground and very dark, especially about the entrance. It was a place of immense extent, and in it were ranged divers sorts of racks, and other instruments of torture. Some of these they displayed before me and told me I should have to taste them.” Gerard was led to “a great upright beam, or pillar of wood” in the centre of the torture chamber, and there hung up by his hands, which were placed in iron shackles attached to an iron rod fixed in the pillar. The stool on which he had stood while this was being done was taken away from under his feet and the whole weight of his body was supported by his wrists, clasped in the gauntlets. As he was a tall, stout man his sufferings must have been terrible indeed. While he hung thus he was again questioned as to his associates in the “plot,” but he refused to betray any one. He has left on record his sensations as he hung against the pillar of torture. “I felt,” he says, “that all the blood in my body had run into my arms and begun to burst out at my finger-ends. This was a mistake, but the arms swelled until the gauntlets were buried in the flesh. After being thus{148} suspended for an hour I fainted; when I came to myself I found the executioners supporting me in their arms.” They had replaced the stool under his feet, and poured vinegar down his throat; but as soon as he recovered consciousness the stool was withdrawn and Gerard allowed to remain hanging in agony for five hours longer, during which he fainted eight or nine times. For three days he was put to this torture on the pillar, and Sir William Waad, then Lieutenant of the Tower, exasperated at the victim’s fortitude, exclaimed at last, “Hang there till you rot!” and he was left hanging till his arms were paralysed. Each evening the victim, “half dead with pain, and scarce able to crawl,” was taken back to his cell in the Salt Tower. A few days later Gerard was again brought before the Council, and again refused to compromise others. Waad thereupon delivered him to the charge of the chief of the torturers—a dread official indeed—with the injunction, “You are to rack him twice a day until such time as he chooses to confess.” Once more he was led down into the dungeon beneath the White Tower and strapped up to the pillar as before, his swollen arms and wrists being forced into the iron bands which could now scarce go round them. Still he{149} refused to give the name of a single friend, and Waad saw the futility of torturing him to death. Gerard was locked up in the Salt Tower again and lay on the floor of his chamber with maimed arms, wrists, and hands, terrible to look upon. Yet he remained firm, and the pains of the body could not, it seemed, affect his spirit. It happened that in the Cradle Tower, standing to the south-west of the Salt Tower, on the outer wall and close by the Wharf, another Roman Catholic prisoner, John Arden, was kept in confinement. Gerard, when sufficiently recovered to be able to walk about again, obtained leave of his jailor to visit Arden. Together they planned escape. They wrote to friends in the City with orange juice, which writing was invisible unless subjected to a certain treatment whereby it became legible. Gerard, by the help of these friends, secured a long piece of thick string with a leaden weight attached, and with this came a written promise that upon a certain night a boat would lie beside the Wharf just under the Cradle Tower. On the evening of the day appointed Gerard stayed longer than usual with Arden, but dreading lest at any moment he should be sent for and taken back to the Salt Tower. But night came and he was still in the Cradle Tower, looking out{150} anxiously across the moat towards the riverside. At last the boat approached, and was moored opposite the tower, from which Arden threw his line, and both prisoners saw, with joy, that the leaden weight had cleared the moat and fallen on the Wharf. It was picked up by the boatmen, and a strong rope was fastened to the cord. This rope Arden hauled up into his cell and made it fast. Gerard then swarmed down the tightened rope to the Wharf, suffering acute pain owing to the condition of his arms and wrists. It was five months after his torture before the sense of touch was restored to his hands. Arden followed, and both got away safely to the steps beside London Bridge, where they were met by the friends who had cheered them in their captivity, and were taken to a place of safety.

The Cradle Tower is seen best from the Wharf. This broad riverside embankment constructed by Henry III. makes a delightful promenade. It is reached from the level of the Tower Bridge approach by descending a flight of steps on the eastern side of the roadway and passing under the bridge by the archway at the guard-room. When this arch is passed under, on the immediate right, beyond the trees, is seen the Galleyman or Develin{151}


Tower, and the Well Tower to the left of it The Galleyman, or Galligman Tower—to give it the name under which it appears in a plan of 1597—was in former times a powder store and gave access to the “Iron Gate,” now demolished. It will be noticed that five towers stand closely together at this corner of the defences. The south-eastern portion of the fortress had always been considered that most exposed to attack; the protecting ditch, too, is narrower at this point than elsewhere, hence the need for additional fortification. Beside the Cradle Tower a modern drawbridge has been constructed giving access for stores. Within the outer and inner walls here, lay the Privy Garden, one of the most peaceful and secluded nooks in the fortress—a place of old-world flowers and southern sunshine. The Cradle Tower is so named from the existence there in former times of a “cradle,” or movable bed by means of which boats could be hoisted from the moat, and, within the grated doorway in the tower wall, raised on to a dry platform there. The principal entrance to the Outer Ward lay, in early days, through this gateway in the Cradle Tower, and prisoners were landed here as well as through Traitor’s Gate. In 1641 it was described as “Cradle Tower—a prison{152} lodging.” The round Lanthorn Tower rising above and dwarfing the Cradle Tower was in Tudor days known as the New Tower, and commanded the King’s Bedchamber, and the Queen’s Gallery. Towards the end of the eighteenth century this tower was burnt down, and the walls, from the lower portions and vaults, were rebuilt. In Henry III.’s reign this tower was a place of great importance; its chambers were hung with ornate tapestry, and the inner walls decorated with frescoes. This tower, being attached to the royal apartments, was never used as a prison, and so may be said to be happy in having no history of suffering attached to it. It has been so admirably restored, by Salvin, and again by Taylor in 1882, that it has lost little of its original appearance.

From the Wharf the massive St. Thomas’s Tower can be examined more closely and the outer side of the Traitor’s Gate is open to view. The guns on the Wharf, near the Byward Tower, are those that are used for the firing of salutes on days of royal anniversary.{153}



The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death’s purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds:
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
J. Shirley.

The actual spot on which the scaffold was erected on the hill is marked, in the garden by which it is now surrounded, by a square of stone paving set in the turf just within the gate on the south-western side of the enclosure. Happy children skip and play on this blood-stained bit of ground; the flowers leap up in April and the birds make melody in May; Nature has healed the sore and done lavishly to make us forget, by her gifts, that here was the scene of angry mobs crying for the slaughter of some of the nation’s noblest men. The{154} block was set up on a high wooden platform so that the ceremony of decapitation was performed well above the heads of the dense crowd that gathered on the hill when the more notable Tower prisoners were brought here to die. It is stated that during the making of the tunnel that goes through Tower Hill to-day the wooden foundations of the scaffold were discovered, and also, near by, the remains of two victims whose bodies had been interred there. Neither the imbedded timber nor the human bones were disturbed, and both still lie beneath the turf to fix accurately the spot of execution. Tower Hill seems to have possessed a gallows also, for we find frequent record of criminals being “hanged in chains” there, either for State or other offences. Under an oak tree that grew on the slope towards the Tower gateway, the public stocks stood, and in the vestry minutes of Allhallows Barking, under the date December 16, 1657, we find it recorded that an order was given “for the erection of stocks and whipping-post required by the statute at the churchyard corner in Tower Street against Mr. Lowe’s, the draper’s, with a convenient shed over them.” How Mr. Lowe, the draper, took the proposition we are not informed, but if he expressed his feelings in forcible language he{155} might, perchance, have met the fate of his neighbour, Mr. Holland, who, three years previously, on April 26, 1654, “was fined 3s. 4d. by Alderman Tichbourne for vain oaths sworn” within the parish of Allhallows. Tower Hill would seem, in those days, to have had a peculiar attraction for “beggars and common vagrants.” It was a popular resort for those who lived to beg and those who begged to live—two very different classes of people, but both equally inconvenient. In the middle seventeenth century the condition of affairs became serious and gave alarm both to officials and to the annoyed inhabitants of the district. In May, 1647, the Vestry of Allhallows “takes into consideration the destitute condition of the poor, and it is ordered that a collection for the poor shall be made every second Sabbath in the month; the churchwardens shall stand at the door ... to receive the freewill offerings of the parishioners,” and in 1654 the residents appeal to the Lord Mayor, for “grate, grate, very grate are your petitioners’ wants, and may it please your Honour to afford them some relief ... without which they are unable to maintain so great a charge.” Hither came “a poore starving Frenchman,” who was solaced with 2s.; a like sum was granted to{156} a “poore Spaniard turned Protestant” and a “poore Dutch minister.” The dwellers on the side of Tower Hill were themselves at times reprimanded by the authorities, for we find that in May, 1653, “Goodman Dawson and his wife” are summoned to appear, “because they would not let their daughter, aged seventeen, go out to service: their pension to be stopped as long as they encourage such indolence,” which seems a just enough proceeding.

This district suffered severely during the three years after the Great Fire. Tower Hill lay on the eastern edge of the city of desolation. The poor proprietor of the Blue Bell tavern, which stood in picturesque angularities overlooking the hill before the catastrophe which reduced it, to quote its owner’s words, “to nothing but a ruinous heap of rubbish,” sought exemption, in 1669, from arrears of lawful dues. These old inns bordering Tower Hill were the scene of frequent “Parish dinners,” at which the consumption of food was so considerable as to lead one to believe that Tower Hill was noted in those days, as it is to-day, for its fresh air, which sharpens the edge of appetite. These feeds were partaken of by just as many “men of import in the parish” as could get into a small{157}


room, “mine host’s best parlour.” On April 26, 1629, they consumed “5 stone of beefe, 2 legges of mutton, 2 quarters of lamb, 3 capons,” and so on. A few weeks afterwards they are at it again and “dine upon 5 ribbs of beef, a side of lamb, 2 legges of mutton, 2 capons; and did drink wine and beer to the value of £l:7s.” This reminds one of Falstaff’s feeds in Eastcheap and his capacity for imbibing Canary sack. At one meal, in Henry IV., Shakespeare makes the fat knight, if we go by the bill presented afterwards, drink sixteen pints of wine! In 1632 sack was sold in the City at 9d. per quart, claret at 5d., and Malmsey and muscadine at 8d.

In Queen Anne’s reign Tower Hill is described as “an open and spacious place, set with trees, extending round the west and north parts of the Tower, where there are many good new buildings, mostly inhabited by gentry and merchants.” In the contemporary drawings it is shown as an open space, but singularly devoid of trees. The artists may have been so intent upon crowding their pictures with tightly packed citizens gazing upon the decapitation of some unfortunate nobleman that they forgot to put in the trees. Certainly several of the fine trees that now adorn Trinity{158} Square are of some age, and represent the survivors of that fragment of the ancient forest which crept up to the eastern side of the hill, and which we see so plainly marked in many of the old maps.

In a house on the western side of Tower Hill Lady Raleigh dwelt with her son when her husband was denied her society. From her window she could look out day by day upon the Brick Tower to which Raleigh had been removed, and tradition asserts that she was able to communicate with him and send him gifts in spite of Waad’s stringent orders. The house in which William Penn was born, on October 14, 1644, stood on the east side of the hill; its site is covered by the new roadway leading to the Minories. Penn was sent to school at Chigwell, in Essex, and it was during those days of boyhood that he had been impressed by the preaching of a Quaker preacher which led him to forsake the Church of his baptism (he was baptized, as we shall see in the following chapter, in Allhallows Barking), and join the Society of Friends. Thomas Otway, the poet, abused by Rochester in his Session of the Poets, and praised by Dryden, died, it is believed of starvation, in the Bull Inn on Tower Hill, when only thirty-four{159} years old. That great Elizabethan, Edmund Spenser, was born near Tower Hill in 1552, and passed his boyhood there, before going, when sixteen, to Pembroke College, Cambridge. In Little Tower Street, in a timber-fronted, many-gabled house, now, alas, swept away, James Thomson wrote his poem Summer, published in 1727. So much for literary associations.

Peter the Great, who raised Russia “out of the slough of ignorance and obscurity,” in order to superintend the building of a navy took upon himself the task of learning shipbuilding, first as a common labourer, afterwards as a master craftsman. He came to London for four months and worked in the dockyards by day and drank heavily in a public-house in Allhallows Barking parish at night. He was accustomed “to resort to an inn in Great Tower Street and smoke and drink ale and brandy, almost enough to float the vessel he had been helping to construct.” Barrow, his biographer, states that “the landlord had the Czar of Muscovy’s head painted and put up for his sign, which continued until the year 1808, when a person of the name of Waxel took a fancy to the old sign and offered the then occupier of the house to paint him a new one for it. A copy was accordingly made from the{160} original, which maintains its station to the present day as the sign of the Czar’s Head.” The house has since been rebuilt and the sign removed, but the name remains. While the Earl of Rochester was in disgrace at Court in Charles II.’s time he is said to have “robed and bearded himself as an Italian quack or mountebank physician, and, under the name of Bendo, set up at a goldsmith’s house, next door to the Black Swan in Tower Street,” where he advertised that he “was to be seen from three of the clock in the afternoon till eight at night.” The second Duke of Buckingham came, once or twice in disguise, in his days of political intrigue, to a house facing Tower Hill, to consult an old astrologer who professed to draw horoscopes. In Seething Lane, then known as Sidon Lane, which runs from Allhallows Barking to the Church of St. Olave’s, Hart Street, Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s principal secretary, dwelt “in a fair and large house.” This foe of the Jesuits died here on April 5, 1590, “and was buried next night, at ten of the clock, in Paul’s Church.”

St. Olave’s Church is a building with many interesting associations, and a well-written little pamphlet has recently been issued which visitors will do well to read. There is only space here to mention the{161} Pepys monument, in the South Aisle, where the diarist was buried in June, 1703, the service being taken by his friend Dr. Hickes, Vicar of Allhallows Barking. The registers of the parish show that from July 4 to December 5, 1665, there were buried 326 people who had died of the plague. A quaint skull and crossbones carving can still be seen over the gateway within which the burial pit lay. Pepys, going to church reluctantly early in the following year, is relieved to find snow covering the plague spot. St. Olave’s has renewed its old-time activity under the care of its present rector, the Rev. A. B. Boyd Carpenter.

There is much of interest, also, in the neighbouring church of St. Dunstan-in-the-East, lying between Tower Street and Lower Thames Street. Its graceful spire is a familiar landmark, and, with its flying buttresses set in bold relief when seen from Tower Hill against a sunset sky, makes a noble crown to the church hidden from sight. St. Dunstan’s list of rectors dates back to the early fourteenth century. In 1810 the church became ruinous, and the walls of the nave, owing to insecurity of foundation, showed signs of collapsing altogether. The present building was opened in 1821 after restoration and reconstruction. The{162} registers of St. Dunstan’s escaped the Fire, and date back to 1558. A valuable model of the church as rebuilt by Wren, and almost contemporaneous with the rebuilding, may be seen in the vestry.

The chief Mint of England was, from the Conquest down to 1811, situated within Tower walls. It was removed in the year just mentioned to the present buildings on the eastern side of Little Tower Hill, over which visitors are shown if application be made beforehand to the Deputy-Master. The art of “making money” is here shown from the solid bar of gold to the new sovereign, washed and tested, sent out on its adventurous career in a world which will welcome its face in whatever company it appears. The Mint also possesses an excellently arranged museum of coins and medals, in which are many invaluable treasures.

Trinity House, headquarters of the Trinity Brethren, stands on Tower Hill, facing the Tower. A graceful and well-proportioned building, it supplants the older quarters in Water Lane, Great Tower Street. The corporation of Trinity House was established in 1529 as “The Masters, Wardens, and Assistants of the Guild, or Fraternity,{163} or Brotherhood of the Most Glorious and Undividable Trinity,” and the first headquarters was situated near the river, at Deptford. The guild was founded by Sir Thomas Spert, Comptroller of the Navy to Henry VIII., and commander of the great ship, “a huge gilt four-master, the Harry Grace de Dieu,” in which the King sailed to Calais on his way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1854 “the exclusive right of lighting and buoying the coast” was given to the Board of Trinity House. Within Trinity House to-day may be seen models of practically all the important lighthouses and lightships on the English coast. The regulations of Trinity House in former times are described by Strype, and among them we find rules to the effect that “Bumboats with fruit, wine, and strong waters were not permitted by them to board vessels. Every mariner who swore, cursed, or blasphemed on board ship was to pay one shilling to the ship’s poor-box. Every mariner found drunk was fined one shilling, and no mariner could absent himself from prayers unless sick, without forfeiting sixpence.” The present House on Tower Hill was built in 1793-95 by Samuel Wyatt. On the front, Ionic in character, are sculptured the arms of the corporation, medallions{164} of George III. and Queen Charlotte, genii with nautical instruments, and representations of four of the principal lighthouses on the coast. The interior is beautified by several valuable pictures, one of them a large Gainsborough, and a suite of most handsome furniture. Here, too, is preserved a flag taken from the Spanish Armada by Drake, and many curious old maps and charts. The present Master of Trinity House is H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, who visits Tower Hill every Trinity Monday, and, with the Elder Brethren, walks through Trinity Square and Catherine Court to service at the parish church.

An old print hanging in one of the rooms of Trinity House depicts, with some realism, the last execution on Tower Hill, in 1747, when Lord Lovat suffered. In August of the previous year the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino had been brought to the block after the Culloden tragedy. A journal of the time gives us a most detailed account of the proceedings, from which some extracts may be taken in order to form some idea of procedures that were soon to end for ever. “About 8 o’clock the Sheriffs of London ... and the executioner met at the Mitre Tavern in Fenchurch Street, where they{165} breakfasted, and went from thence to the house, on Tower Hill near Catherine’s Court [now Catherine House], hired by them for the reception of the lords before they should be conducted to the scaffold, which was erected about thirty yards from the said house. At ten o’clock the block was fixed on the stage and covered with black cloth, with several sacks of sawdust up to strew on it; soon after the coffins were brought, also covered with black cloth.” The leaden plates from the lids of these coffins are those now preserved on the west wall of St. Peter’s on Tower Green. “At a quarter after ten,” the account proceeds, “the Sheriffs went in procession to the outward gate of the Tower, and after knocking at it some time, a warder within asked, ‘Who’s there?’ The officer without replied, ‘The Sheriffs of London and Middlesex.’ The warder then asked, ‘What do they want?’ The officer answered, ‘The bodies of William, Earl of Kilmarnock, and Arthur, Lord Balmerino,’ upon which the warder within said, ‘I will go and inform the Lieutenant of the Tower,’ and in about ten minutes the Lieutenant with the Earl of Kilmarnock, and Major White with Lord Balmerino, guarded by several of the warders, came to the gate; the{166} prisoners were then delivered to the Sheriffs, who gave proper receipt for their bodies to the Lieutenant, who as usual said, ‘God bless King George!’ to which the Earl of Kilmarnock assented by a bow, and the Lord Balmerino said, ‘God bless King James!’ Lord Kilmarnock had met Lord Balmerino at the foot of the stairs in the Tower and said to him, ‘My lord, I am heartily sorry to have your company in this expedition.’ The prisoners were led to the house near the block in Trinity Square, and they spent what time was left to them in devotions. Kilmarnock was brought out to the scaffold first. “The executioner, who before had something administered to keep him from fainting, was so affected by his lordship’s distress, and the awfulness of the scene that, on asking his [Lord Kilmarnock’s] forgiveness, he burst into tears. My Lord bade him take courage, giving him at the same time a purse with five guineas, and telling him he would drop his handkerchief as a signal for the stroke.... In the meantime, when all things were ready for the execution, and the black bays which hung over the rails of the scaffold having, by the direction of the Colonel of the Guard, or the Sheriffs, been turned up that{167}


the people might see all the circumstances of the execution, in about two minutes after he kneeled down his lordship dropped his handkerchief. The executioner at once severed the head from the body, except only a small portion of the skin which was immediately divided by a gentle stroke. The head was received in a piece of red baize and, with the body, immediately put into the coffin.” Lord Balmerino followed shortly afterwards, wearing the uniform in which he had fought at Culloden. His end was not so swift as Lord Kilmarnock’s had been; twice the executioner bungled his stroke, and not until the third blow was the head severed.

Lord Lovat, whom Hogarth had seen, and painted, in the White Hart Inn at St. Albans as the prisoner was being brought to London, was led to the block on Tower Hill on Thursday, April 9, 1747, and his was the last blood that was shed there. Just before his execution, a scaffolding, which had been erected at the eastern end of Barking Alley, fell and brought to the ground a thousand spectators who had secured places upon it to view the execution. Twelve were killed outright and scores of others injured. “Lovat,” as the account puts it, “in spite of his{168} awful situation, seemed to enjoy the downfall of so many Whigs.” Lord Lovat’s head was, at one blow, severed from his body, and Tower Hill’s record of bloodshed was at an end.{169}



Calm Soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar,
That there abides a peace of thine
Man did not make, and cannot mar.
Matthew Arnold.

On the south-west side of Tower Hill there stands the oldest parish church in London. But beyond the earliest date that we find any portion of the present building mentioned, it is more than probable that a still more ancient church occupied this piece of ground. Consider the importance of the site. The approach to London from the sea was then, as now, a somewhat dreary progress between the mud-flats that fringed the river. On the northern bank the rising ground, now known as Tower Hill, would be the first relief to the eye after the wearying Essex marshes. Beyond and behind that hill lay the little city, and beside{170} that hill was set a church. But, with the building of the White Tower, the church was eclipsed as a landmark for boats on the river, and now it is quite obscured from the water-side by hideous brick warehouses that only men of the nineteenth century could conceive and erect. In early days this church stood on the edge of London; now it is in its very centre. Yet few buildings equally well preserved have altered as little as this old building has—this “fair church on Tower Hill”—and we have here handed down to us much that is unique as a record not only of English history but of the progress of architecture. The furnishings of the church, the carvings and wrought-iron work, also carry us through generations of activity in such arts, and the pavement brasses and sculptured tombs serve as memorials of many a famous Englishman. The church has an additional interest in being the nearest ancient building outside the Tower walls and in having received, for burial, victims from the block on Tower Hill. Yet the close connection of this ancient church with the Tower and its history has not, hitherto, been sufficiently emphasised. It is well, therefore, that we should give Allhallows some of our time when we have explored and examined the Tower itself.{171}

Four hundred years before the Conqueror laid the foundation stones of the White Tower, a cluster of cottages on the edge of Tower Hill, and lying not far from the Ald-gate of the old walls of London, constituted the germ of the present parish, and stood within sight of the earlier church. What the history of the church was then we have no means of knowing, but as it would be the first building of importance that Danish invaders came upon during their onslaughts on London, it must have passed through exciting times in those old days of raid and turmoil.

Erkenwald, a seventh-century Bishop of London, founded the convent at Barking, in Essex. Of this convent his sister, St. Ethelburga, became first abbess, and the abbesses of Barking were not only mitred, but were in after days peeresses of the realm. Erkenwald made over certain rights of the land, upon which the parish is now spread, to this convent of Barking, and, in return, a priest was supplied from the community to serve the religious needs of the parishioners. It was thus the surname Barking was acquired. It is, however, a surname that is somewhat misleading, as printers, even to this present day, have an awkward habit of placing a comma between “Allhallows” and “Barking”{172} and so send many who would visit the church on an empty quest into Essex. But the poor printer is not altogether to blame. The people here have a way of calling themselves “Barking people” and of referring to the parish as “Barking parish.” This leads to unnecessary confusion. The only alternative would be to retain the term on Tower Hill and ask the good folk of the Essex town to adopt some other name! As it is improbable that either of these suggestions will be taken seriously, a return to the ancient title, “Berkyngechurch by the Tower,” might solve the difficulty.

The parish system in England took its rise under Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, A.D. 668, and the number and boundaries of the parishes as we know them to-day agree very nearly with the parochial divisions in Doomsday Book. The ground now included in Allhallows parish was undoubtedly included in Roman London, which extended from Tower Hill to Dowgate Hill, the present Fenchurch and Lombard Streets forming the line of its northern boundary. Eastward of the parish lay marsh and forest—the great forest of Essex, of which so wide and unspoilt a portion remains to us in Epping Forest.{173}

A True and Exact Draught of the TOWER LIBERTIES, furvey in the Year 1597 by GULIELMUS HAIWARD and J. GASCOYNE.
Image unavailable: A True and Exact Draught of the TOWER LIBERTIES, furvey in the Year 1597 by GULIELMUS HAIWARD and J. GASCOYNE.  E. Gardner’s Collection.
E. Gardner’s Collection.

Larger image[150 kb] Largest image [1mb]

In 1087, when a great fire devastated the city, a church in the Norman style took the place of the Saxon building, and the nave pillars of Allhallows date from that time. Of these pillars the one that shows its great age more than the others—which, after successive cleanings, look almost new—is that westernmost pillar on the north side which stands within the choir practice-room.

To this Norman building Richard I. added, either where the chancel portion of the north aisle now stands, or near at hand, a Chantry Chapel known as Capella Beatae Mariae de Berkinge juxta Turrim. This was, for some time, the most famous shrine in connection with the building, and became the care of the kings of England. In this Chantry was placed, by Edward I., a statue of the Virgin, in accordance with a command received by him in a vision, before his father’s death, in which he was assured that he should subdue Wales and Scotland, and would be victorious while this Berkinge Chapel was kept in repair. Tradition asserts that the heart of the Lion-hearted Richard was placed under the altar of the chapel here, but others maintain that after its removal from Fontevrault, where the king was buried, it was sent to{174} Rouen. Yet in the time of the first Edward, an Indulgence of forty days was obtained for all penitents worshipping at the shrine of the Virgin at Berkinge Chapel, and in that instrument prayer is especially asked for the soul of the founder, Richard I., “whose heart is buried beneath the high altar.”

A little later in the history of the church and its chapels we come upon the names of John Tiptoft and Sir John Croke, both of whom, famous in their generations, took especial interest in Allhallows. The former was brought into touch with the place upon his appointment as Constable of the Tower. He was created Earl of Worcester by Henry VI., was the friend and supporter of Caxton, and has been called “the nursing father of English printing.” A man of great learning, he had studied under Guarino at Ferrara, had occupied a professor’s chair at Padua, was termed by Walpole “one of the noble authors of England,” is remembered as a good, but ruthless, soldier, lawyer, and politician, and was, in the end, by the influence of Warwick, the king-maker, disgraced and beheaded on Tower Hill. Tiptoft founded a confraternity or guild at Berkinge Chapel, and of this guild elected Sir John Croke to be one of the first Wardens. Of{175} Tiptoft, who was buried at Blackfriars monastery, no memorial remains here, but Croke’s tomb we shall come upon, later, as we go through the church.

In the time of Richard III. the chantry chapel comes once again into the light of fame, and is known far and wide as “Berkingshaw.” Richard, who, as we have seen, was no saint when dwelling in the Tower, seems to have been influenced by the age and sanctity of Allhallows to do good deeds, and is known here only as pious benefactor. He achieved this by “newbuilding this chapel,” and adding to the original foundation a college of priests, consisting of a Dean (Chaderton, a friend of Richard’s), and six Canons. In the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, Henry VIII., 10th July, 1514, there is to be found a record of a “confirmation of the Chapel of St. Mary in the Cæmetary of Barkingchurch London to the Guild of St. Mary.” Provision is also made “for the election of a Master and four Wardens annually for the safe custody of the said chapel.”

If Berkinge Chapel during its long history had been the peculiar care of royalty, the church, after the upheavals in the time of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., became the care, and also the resort, of the prosperous burgesses of the City. It was{176} conveniently near the Tower where the King and his Court were lodged, and where the King’s Justiciars held their sittings, and so became a meeting-place of representative citizens, where matters could be discussed when the City and Tower happened to be at variance—not by any means an infrequent occurrence. From early times, indeed, we may trace the feelings of affection which dwellers in the City, and more especially in the parish, have felt for their historic church. In 1265 we hear of Sir Roger de Leiburn, who was “lodging in the Tower,” meeting the representatives of the City at Berkyngechurche on their proposing to make their submission to the king, after the battle of Evesham. To that meeting came the Mayor “and a countless multitude of citizens.” Again, in 1280, the burgesses “apparelled in their best attire” gathered at Berkyngechurche and proceeded to the Tower to meet the King’s Justiciars “for the purpose of holding an Inquest, or inquiring into the peace of the City.” “Gregory, the Mayor,” as we read in the Liber Albus of the Corporation of London, “disputing the right of the Crown to hold an Inquest for the City of London, for the honour of the Mayoralty refused to enter the Tower as Mayor, but, laying aside his insignia and seal at the high Altar of{177} Berkyngechurche, as the last church in the City next the Tower, entered the Tower merely as one of the Aldermen, alleging that by the ancient liberties he was not bound to attend the Inquests, nor to make appearance therein for judgments, unless forewarned for forty days.” The King, Edward I., as punishment for this disobedience, “abolished the office of Mayor, appointing a Warden in his place; which custom obtained till 26 Ed. I., when the ancient liberties of the City were restored.” Those of the citizens “who had accompanied Rokesly to Berkyngechurche” were confined in the Tower for some days and would, no doubt, on their return to their admiring families, be looked upon with a certain awe ever afterwards.

In the archives of the Guildhall we find that in 1302 Allhallows Barking appears as one of the advowsons of the City of London belonging to the Abbess and Convent of Barking. But after the suppression of the convent by Henry VIII. the patronage passed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in whose hands it remains to this day. Another interesting fact we gather from the ancient records of the City is that Allhallows was one of the three churches where the curfew was rung each night as a warning that it was time for all good citizens to{178} be indoors, and as a precaution against fire. This ancient curfew bell, it is believed, is that hung in the small bell-turret on the tower of the church and upon which the hammer of the clock strikes the hours.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century great changes took place with regard to the structure of the church. The chantry chapels had fallen into a state of disrepair, and it became necessary to rebuild the chancel to which they were attached and to strengthen the fabric of the nave. It is to this rebuilding that we owe the contrast afforded by the massive pillars of the body of the church with the graceful, deeply moulded Perpendicular pillars of the chancel. The manner in which the one style has been grafted on the other, where, as Allen says, “the pillars between the chancel and the nave are singularly composed of half a circular and half a clustered column worked together” attracts the attention of even the most casual observer. Mr. Fleming, in his admirable little pamphlet on the church, sums up the various alterations that have taken place in the structure when he says “the view of the stately interior tells at once, and more fully than the outside features, the story of the changes that have befallen the church through the{179} centuries since its foundation. For the columns of the nave are Norman, the east window with its intricate tracery was the work of the sumptuous Decorated period, whilst the clerestory and aisles, with the slender clustered shafts of the chancel arcading, belong to the Perpendicular style.... Allhallows is a good instance of the manner in which, entirely convinced of the supreme merits of their school of building, the architects of the Perpendicular period superimposed their style on what had gone before. The contrast between the light clustered columns of the chancel, with their beautiful splayed arches, and the heavy pillars of the nave, is extremely striking, and almost remorseless in its hint of the supercilious ease with which the men of the Tudor period parted from the past and its traditions.”

The interior of the church was at this time embellished by mural decorations; and lingering traces of the paint, on one or two of the nave columns, were left undisturbed during the last restoration, in 1904. A rood-screen stood in front of the new chancel, and above it rose the famous Duddyngton organ. Alas, no traces of either remain to us, even in a museum. While Charles I. was on the throne the interior was again renovated, and during the{180} long toll of subsequent years the history of Allhallows resolves itself into a record of successive restorations. Few churches have been more carefully and lovingly tended than this has been, and its present state of preservation is due to this interest which it has always inspired in those who appreciate its worth and beauty. Allhallows, unlike so many other churches, has not lost but gained by its restorations. An old building, such as this, is in constant need of attention. The problem has ever been the vexed one of renewing without destroying. But any one who enters Allhallows to-day will feel that the problem has been solved here with complete success. The later restorations, including the reroofing, restoration of the ancient battlements, and preservation of the lower parts of the outer walls, has cost, in round figures, twelve thousand pounds, and every penny has been wisely spent in handing down to future generations so wonderful a memorial of the past.

The period of the Commonwealth has left its mark in most sacred buildings as a time of pulling-down; but this church has the singular advantage of remembering it as a time of setting-up. The old stone tower which stood at the south-west corner of the building—the foundations of which{181} were uncovered a few years ago during the erection of that amazing indiscretion, the warehouse which now stands upon the site—was severely disturbed in 1649, when, on January 4 of that year, “a blow of twenty-seven barrels of gunpowder, that took fire in a ship-chandler’s house on the south side of the church,” created havoc in the immediate neighbourhood. The explosion is described in Strype’s edition of Stow’s Survey. “It seems that the chandler was busy in his shop barrelling the powder, about seven o’clock in the evening, when it became ignited and blew up, not merely that house, but fifty or sixty others. The number of persons destroyed was never ascertained, for the next house but one was a tavern, known as ‘The Rose,’ which was full of company, in consequence of a parish dinner: it must have been very great, however, judging from the number of limbs and bodies which were dug up from the ruins. The hostess of the tavern, sitting in the bar, and the waiter standing by with a tankard in his hand, were found beneath some fallen beams, but were dead from suffocation. It is recorded that, the morning after this disaster, a female infant was discovered lying in a cradle on the roof of the church neither bruised nor singed.” The parents of the babe were never traced. The{182} child was given the surname “Barking,” adopted by the parish, and “lived to an adult age.” But, while the baby was saved, the heavy tower was doomed. As a result of the shock it became so insecure that complete demolition was necessary. During the Protectorate the present tower was set up, and, though it is about as uninspired a piece of ecclesiastical brickwork as one can imagine, yet it has a certain interest not only for having arisen during the days of Cromwell, but for having just barely escaped destruction when the Great Fire came to its base. It was up this tower that the ever-curious Pepys, who lived near by, in Seething Lane, climbed hurriedly to see the devastation of Old London. The event will be found recorded in the Diary under the date September 5, 1666.

The building of this tower brings to mind an amusing episode in the records of the church. It appears that over the clock (the “dyall of Barking Church,” mentioned by Pepys) the wardens then in office put up a huge effigy of St. Michael, weighing nearly twenty tons. “Its right hand held a trumpet and in its left was a leaden scroll, inscribed, ‘Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.’ St. Michael, having been scorched and blistered by the Fire of London, was taken down in 1675—there{183} was no “hustling” in those days—repainted, and placed “over the Commandments at the east end of the church.” Two smaller figures which had supported the central effigy on the wall of the tower were put up over the organ in the new organ-loft at the west end, where, reclining gracefully, they remain to this day. St. Michael had a rougher time of it, and was the cause of one of those absurd squabbles that too often mar the harmony of a quiet parish. One or two of the congregation indicted the churchwardens “at Old Bailey, under the statute of Edward VI., against images,” but the prosecution was abandoned on the ground of expense. A Mr. Shearman supported the parishioners, “and upon his own responsibility destroyed the image.” This occasioned “a furious war of words between him and the lecturer, Jonathan Saunders,” acting as curate of the parish. Shearman wrote virulent pamphlets which were “published by a friend of the Author’s, to prevent false reports,” and addressed them to the Vicar, Dr. Hickes, and his wardens. The latter part of this entertaining publication asserts—as a dig at Saunders as compared with the Vicar—that “men of the least learning are always the most formal.” It goes on to insinuate “that Barking parish was{184} then as famous for its love of drinking ceremonies as for its dislike of religious formality.” The drinking ceremonies have certainly passed away. The pamphlet concludes thus: “I hope our parish shall not lose an inch of its reputation, nor be censured as irregular, but remain a primitive pattern for all London, yea, and all England.” Mr. Saunders replied with double-shotted guns, and the Shearman battery opened fire again with unfailing vigour. The parishioners soon tired of the troublesome and cantankerous Shearman and all his ways. His statements were considered “rude, scurrilous, and scandalous,” and it was recorded in the minutes of the vestry, held on April 24, 1681, that his attack “tends to the dishonour of the Church of England as now established, and is a libel upon the Vicar and the whole parish.” So ends this seventeenth-century turmoil.

Before we enter the church by the north porch, our attention will be attracted by the three carved figures above the doorway. That in the centre represents the Virgin (the church being dedicated to St. Mary and All Saints), with St Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, on one side and Bishop Andrewes (who was baptised in Allhallows) on the other. This group, as has been well said, “combines in one{185}


presentment three periods in the history of the Church, the primitive, the mediæval, and the modern.” Inside the porch the quaint chambers on the left are restorations of what in earlier times were, it is conjectured, recesses for meditation and study. In front of us is the second doorway, delicately carved, and much weather-worn owing to exposure of the soft stone before the building of the porch. The first glance we have of the interior of the church, from just within this doorway, must impress us with a sense of the dignity of the building.

North Aisle.—As we turn to go down the north aisle we will see, set in the pavement, a plain, square brass above the grave of George Snayth, auditor to Archbishop Laud, who was buried here, to be near his master, in 1651. The church is singularly rich in pavement brasses, and, before the removals and mutilations of Puritan times, possessed an even more remarkable collection of these memorials. At the eastern end of the aisle we come upon the curious stone commemorating Thomas Virby, seventh vicar. This is the only tomb of a pre-Reformation vicar that remains in the building. Though the slab is worn almost smooth by the feet of so many generations, yet the outlines of an elaborate design can still be traced upon it.{186} A rubbing taken recently showed a full-length figure, with a dog lying at the feet to the left. The fragment of brass towards the top of the stone bore, apparently, an engraving of the head and of the hands, raised to the chin, in an attitude of prayer. Virby was a remarkable man. In a fifteenth-century English Chronicle, edited for the Camden Society in 1856, it appears that “in the XIX yr. of King Harry, the Friday before midsummer, a Priest called Sir Ric. Wyche, a Vicar in Essex, was burnt on Tower Hill for heresy, for whose death was a great murmuring and many simple people came to the place making their prayers as to a saint and bare away the ashes of his body for reliques. Some were taken to prison [in the Tower]: amongst others the Vicary of Barking Church beside the Tower, in whose parish all this was done.” Virby was charged with scattering “powder and spices over the place where the heretic was burnt that it might be believed that the sweet flavour came of the ashes of the dead.” But evidently this was considered no very great offence, for Virby was subsequently set free, restored to his position at Allhallows, and died Vicar in 1453. Nearer the altar steps will be found the beautifully engraved brass, in the French style, of John Bacon, who{187} died in 1437. A heart, inscribed with the word “Mercy,” and encircled by a scroll, lies in the upper part of the stone, and the figures of Bacon and his wife, cut out of “latten” or sheet-brass, and two feet one inch in length, occupy the sides. The treatment of the drapery of both figures is quite perfect, giving, too, an excellent idea of the costume of the time. The scroll bears the words, “Mater Dei memento mei: Jesu fili Dei miserere mei.” Bacon belonged to the ancient company of Woolmen, which seems to have been the leading guild of the Middle Ages; its members were usually adventurous and wealthy men. Brasses dedicated to men of his craft are very numerous; and this need excite no surprise when we remember how much of their trade was continental and particularly carried on in those countries where latten was milled. Bacon, we may surmise from his will preserved at the Guildhall, was a man of substance and of many acres. Near by will be seen an incised slab over the tomb of the wife of Wm. Denham, Alderman, Sheriff, and Master of the Ironworkers’ Company, who departed this life “on Wednesday at 5 of ye clok at afternown Ester Weke ye last day of Marche A° D° 1540.” The brass has disappeared.{188}

The finely wrought canopied altar-tomb against the north wall, close by the Bacon brass, dates back to the fifteenth century. It is carved in Purbeck marble and at the back has two small brasses, one representing a man with five sons and the other a woman with seven daughters, all kneeling. Name and date are both gone, but a shield in the left-hand corner enables us to connect the monument with the family of Croke. Sir John Croke, it will be remembered, was one of the early wardens of Berkinge Chapel, a trustee to whom Edward IV. “conveyed lands for the support of the Chapel of St. Mary” and founder of a chantry here in 1477. This John Croke, “citizen, leather-seller, and alderman of London,” was a generous benefactor to Allhallows, leaving to it at his death many gifts and sundry legacies “to the altar of Allhallows Bkg., the works of the church, to purchase vestments and books, for the repair of the rood-loft,” and so on. It is quite probable that this memorial was used as a chantry altar, of which there were many in the church until 1547 and the beginning of “the years of spoliation.” A well-carved crest will be seen on the pavement stone covering the Marishall tomb, and, nearer the altar-steps, a grey marble slab of the year of the{189} Great Fire lies over the grave of Sir Roger Hatton, Alderman, whose coat-of-arms may be traced near the head of the stone. On the north wall we find a memorial to Charles Wathen, “the indulgent parent of nine children,” one of which, Master William, “received his death-wound in battling with a pirate in the East Indies” and should therefore be somewhat of a hero to all boys in the adventure stage of their careers. A broken pillar on this wall was put up in 1696 in memory of Giles Lytcott, “the first Controller-General of the Customs of England and the English Colonies in America,” whose mother was the daughter of Sir Thomas Overbury, poisoned in the Tower. Pepys, in his account of the Fire of 1666, refers to an “Alderman Starling, a very rich man, without children. The fire at the next door to him in our lane (Seething Lane). After our men had saved his house he did give 2s. 6d. amongst thirty of them, and did quarrel with some that would remove the rubbish out of the way of the fire, saying that they had come to steal.” This “very rich man” was Lord Mayor in 1670, and his arms are depicted in stained glass on one of the windows of this aisle “as a remembrance of the escape of the church from the Great Fire.” Attached to the{190} pillar behind the pulpit there remains an interesting relic in the form of an elegantly designed hat peg, the only survivor of many such pegs on the pillars of this church, dating back, it is believed, to the early seventeenth century. Above the Croke altar-tomb, to the left, there is to be seen the kneeling figure of Jerome Bonalia, an Italian, probably the Venetian Ambassador, who died in 1583 and, in his will, thus indicates his burial-place, “Volendo che il mio corpo sia sepoltra n’ella pariochia d’i Barchin.”

East End.—The eighteenth-century monument that partially hides the window at the east end of the north aisle covers the tomb of Thomas Gordon of Tower Liberty, who, according to the inscription, had the “singular felicity” to command “esteem, confidence, and affection in the tender and more delicate connections of private life.” But his is certainly the misfortune to be remembered by as ugly and depressing a memorial as could be imagined. Even in the year of its erection a vestry minute records “that the monument now erecting for the late Mr. Gordon is a nuisance”! In Machin’s Diary, 1556, it is stated that on “the vi day of September was bered at Barking Church Mr. Phelype Dennys, Squyre, with cote of armes.”{191} This Dennis coat-of-arms may still be seen, now somewhat time-worn, on the wall between the Gordon monument and the altar.

The beautiful and softly-toned stained glass of the East window is modern. The work of Mr. J. Clayton, it commemorates the incumbency of Dr. Mason, the first Head of the present College of Clergy attached to this church. The altar-piece beneath, heavy in design and gloomy in effect, is an example of the art of 1686. Some elaborate carving is hidden beneath the coverings and frontal of the Communion Table: it is an excellent example of the skilful workmanship in wood that has been to some extent neglected since the days of Gibbons. For many years the brass altar-rails, erected in 1750, were so blackened by neglect that they were often mistaken for rails of old wood. By their individual gracefulness when examined at close quarters, and yet solid appearance when viewed from the nave, these beautiful rails form one of the most striking adornments of the building.

Clergy Vestry.—Permission to enter this room should be obtained from the sacristan, who will show the many interesting documents treasured here. On the wall, to the right as one enters the{192} room, hangs an excellent painting of Dr. Gaskarth, twenty-seventh vicar, who was appointed in 1686. “A highly popular Vicar, generous, and of firm, but conciliatory manners. Under his auspices the church was twice thoroughly repaired. He was vicar for forty-six years and died in 1732, aged 86.” Those who have an interest in such matters are recommended to read the beautiful Latin lines inscribed in the registers where, under the date Dec. 1, 1703, Dr. Gaskarth records the burial of his wife. On the wall, to the left of the entrance, there are two interesting old maps, the lower one, which is more of a picture than a map, giving an excellent idea of the appearance of London before the Fire, and the small one, higher on the wall, a representation of Allhallows, standing almost alone on Tower Hill, before the parish consisted of more than a few rows of cottages. This is the valuable “Gascoyne survey, made in 1597.” On the wall to the left of the fireplace will be found a key-plan to all the tombs, brasses, and memorials of the church, placed here through the instrumentality of the then Churchwarden, Mr. Henry Urquhart. Would that earlier churchwardens had taken like interest in the place, and left us such plans of the building in{193} their day! From the windows of the vestry there is to be had a glimpse of the graveyard, somewhat depressing, with its many ancient and fast-decaying tomb-monuments and headstones.

The registers of the church, stored in an iron room opening off this vestry, contain much that is of very great interest, and time spent in their examination will not be lost. There are thirteen books, the first beginning in 1558, with the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and extending to 1650.

Taking the baptisms first, we are reminded that before the beginning of the records now remaining there was, about the year 1555, the christening ceremony of the famous Bishop Andrewes, “a native of this parish,” in the church. As the Bishop constantly prayed for Allhallows Barking, “where I was baptised,” this fact is beyond dispute though the actual entry is lost. In 1609 we come upon the name of Francis, son of Sir James Bourchier, Knt., under February 5. Bourchier was father-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, and a City merchant of considerable importance. He possessed an estate at Felsted in Essex, and a town house beside Tower Hill, “then a favourite residence of the lesser aristocracy.” In 1616 we{194} find that a son of Sir William Apsley, Lieutenant of the Tower, was baptised here, showing the close connection that has always existed between this church and the Tower. But the most interesting of all the entries is that against October 23, 1644, when William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was brought to the font in Allhallows. His father, an officer of high rank in the navy, at that time “dwelt upon the east side of Tower Hill, within a court adjoining to London Wall,” and William, his eldest son, was born within that house, now demolished, within Tower Liberties. It is worth while to note that it was not until quite late in the eighteenth century that double Christian names were given to children brought to baptism.

With regard to marriages, the register begins in 1564, and in 1650 there is a curious entry, under March 28, which states that “a cupple being married went away and gave not their names”! In 1763 Samuel Parr, father of the celebrated Dr. Parr, married “Margaret Cox of this parish, spinster.” This Margaret was “the daughter of Dr. Cox, formerly Head-master of Harrow School.” Another interesting entry is that referring to John Quincy Adams, afterwards sixth President{195} of the United States, who was thirty years old when, on July 26, 1797, he married Louisa Catherine Johnson of this parish. Judge Jeffreys also married his first wife here, but the entry has disappeared.

The Burial Register is most remarkable of all. In 1563, a plague year, there were no less than 284 burials, mostly women and children, and nearly 22,000 people died in that year in London alone. Other periods of plague and consequent excessive mortality were the years 1582, 1593, 1625, and 1665. In 1625 “394 persons died in this parish, being six times the average mortality.” The Calendar of State Papers for this year contains a record of “a petition from the minister and churchwardens of Allhallows Barking, praying that some part of the cloth for mourning for the late King, distributed among the poor of divers parishes of London, may be given to this parish, one of the poorest within the city walls and sorely visited by the plague.” The plague of 1665, most disastrous of a long series, is too well known, from sundry descriptions, to need more than mere mention here. Before the earliest date in this book of burials there was placed “in the graveyard of Barking church the headless{196} body, very indecently interred,” of Bishop Fisher, executed on the East Smithfield side of Tower Hill in 1535. Reference has already been made to Fisher in connection with his imprisonment in the Bell Tower, and the removal of his body, after it had lain for some time in this churchyard, to St. Peter’s, on Tower Green. Another victim of Henry VIII.’s wrath, Henry Howard, the poet Earl of Surrey, was, in 1547, buried beside the church after a mock trial and subsequent execution on Tower Hill. His remains, also, were removed and taken, in 1614, to Framlingham in Suffolk. Lord Thomas Grey, brother of the Duke of Suffolk and uncle of Lady Jane Grey, was “heddyd on Tower Hill, April 28, 1554, and berried at Allhallows Barking.” In Queen Mary’s luckless reign, “a plot to rob the Queen’s Exchequer was discovered and the leaders sent to the Tower.” Machin’s Diary thus records the event: “On the eighth day of July, Henry Peckham and John Daneel were hanged on Tower Hill. Their bodies were cut down and headed, the heads carried to London Bridge and the bodies buried in Barkin church.” Continuing our inspection of the Burial Register, we come upon the most interesting entry of all. Under the date{197} January 11, 1644, we read: “William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, beheaded T——.” The last word has been almost erased. We can but conjecture that the word was “Traitor,” and that some later hand scratched out all but the initial letter. But why was that letter left if every trace of so hateful a word was to be obliterated? Laud was buried in the Vicar’s vault under the altar, but his body was taken to St. John’s College, Oxford, in 1663. Laud’s body, “being accompanied to the grave with great multitudes of people, who in love, or curiosity, or remorse of conscience had gathered together, was decently interred in Allhallows Barking ... and had the honour of being buried in that church in the form provided by the Common Prayer Book after it had been long disused and almost reprobated in most of the churches in London.”

Some earlier entries in this register are of sufficient interest to attract attention. During 1560 there is a curious reference to the burial of “a poor starved Callis man” which may mean a callisman (a beggar), or a destitute refugee from Calais, which had been lost to England two years earlier. In 1591, 1596, and 1599 there were buried in the church two sons and a daughter of the famous{198} Robert, Earl of Essex, favourite of Elizabeth, which Earl “possessed a house in Seething Lane, in this parish.” Entries regarding persons of less fame, but surely of considerable interest to us as suggesting the state of the poor at that time, occur in the seventeenth century. One is “a poore soldier, dying in the streetes in ye night whose name was unknowne” (February 18, 1606); another is “a poore boy that dyed in the streetes” (1620); and yet another is “one unknowne, starved on Tower Hill” (January 15, 1627). With the entries for January 1 and 2, 1644, we are introduced to the period of the Civil War, during which time Tower Hill was the scene of frequent executions and Allhallows Barking received the headless bodies of many of the victims. Against the dates just mentioned there are the names of John Hotham, Esq., “beheaded for betraying his trust to the State,” and Sir John Hotham, Knt., “beheaded for betraying his trust to the Parliament.” Sir John Hotham and his son were beheaded in consequence of a design to deliver up Hull to the King, which place they held for the Parliamentary forces. With these melancholy entries we may place another of the seventeenth day of the following June, which records the burial of “Dorathie,{199} daughter of Sir John Hotham, Knt., and the Ladie Elizabeth his wife,” and tells of the passing away of the grief-stricken child, “who desired to be buried here with her father.” On April 23, 1650, the entry, “Colonel Andrewes beheaded; buried in ye chancel,” refers to Colonel Eusebius Andrewes, “an old Loyalist, condemned to suffer as a traitor. He was beheaded on Tower Hill, dying with much firmness and courage.”

On leaving the vestry we may notice, behind the door leading into the church, a recently discovered and much-damaged piscina, or place of ablution for the priests serving at the altar. This was accidentally found when the walls were stripped of their plaster, in 1904. From its position it would lead one to suppose that the altar rails were at one time carried along on the top of the present altar steps. But of this we have no conclusive proof.

The best view of the interior of the church is to be obtained from this standpoint. The high pitch of the excellently restored roof, the grace and lightness of the chancel pillars as contrasted with the massiveness of those in the nave, the imposing appearance of the handsome organ case—all these striking features will leave one of the most lingering{200} impressions of the building as a whole, apart from its interest in detail, with those who pause here as before a remarkable picture.

On the easternmost pillar of the chancel there will be noticed the memorial to John Kettlewell, the celebrated Non-juror, who died in 1695, and, by his own desire, was buried “in the same grave where Archbishop Laud was before interred.” His funeral rites were solemnised by Bishop Ken, who read the Burial Office, and the whole Evening Service, at Allhallows Barking on the occasion. Ken, deprived of his see, thus, for the last time, exercised his ministry within the Church of England.

South Aisle.—Beneath the window at the east end of this aisle the Colleton monument, “from the chisel of Scheemakers,” almost rivals its neighbour in the North Aisle by its heavy dulness, but the altar-tomb against the south wall is an early monument worthy of careful examination. Like the Croke altar-tomb already described, it dates back to the fifteenth century and is the more ancient of the two. A gilt brass plate at the back of the tomb is graven with a representation of the Resurrection. It is not now possible to ascertain to whose memory the tomb was erected: possibly{201} it commemorates the founder of a chantry chapel attached to this chancel aisle.

The beautifully carved font-cover, executed in whitened wood—not plaster, as many suppose—is the work, and some think the masterpiece, of Grinling Gibbons, whose incomparable works of art, the carving of fruit and flowers and decorative scroll-work, in wood, are to be seen in other parts of this church, in other City churches, and in many a manor-house and ancient hall throughout England. This font-cover will repay the most careful study. Gibbons’ signature, so to speak, may be found in the “split pea-pod” near the feet of one of the figures.

The brasses in this aisle are of singular interest. The elaborate brass near the altar-tomb, with its ornamental border, is a 1546 memorial to William Thynne, one of the Masters of the Household under Henry VIII. He was the first to edit a complete edition of Chaucer’s works, “to show that England had her classics as well as other nations.” When this brass was taken up and restored in 1861 it was found to be engraved on both sides. The supposition is that, at the dissolution of the monasteries, “when many treasures found their way into the markets”—as one writer puts it, with{202} just a touch of cynicism—a larger brass, which had covered the tomb of some dignitary of the Church, was cut down to the size of the figures we see on this Thynne slab, and the back of the former engraving became the front of the present one. Thynne “married Ann, daughter of William Bonde, Esq., of the city of London, who now lies by his side. He left three daughters and one infant son, Francis, who became a distinguished antiquarian, and held the office of Lancaster Herald. The extreme youth of this child prevented his inheriting his father’s prestige at Court, which in consequence descended to his nephews, one of whom was Sir John Thynne of Longleat, founder of the noble house of Bath.” The small circular brass (1389) near by, bearing an inscription in Norman-French, is the oldest in the City, and records the resting-place of William Tonge, a generous benefactor to Allhallows in the fourteenth century. The larger Rusche brass, laid down in 1498, has had its precatory invocation erased by the over-zealous Puritans, but is otherwise in good preservation. The engraving is rough and bold. The details of the costume are true to contemporary drawings of the period, and the position of the dog will recall what was said with regard to the tracings{203}


on the Virby stone in the North Aisle. Farther west lies the Rawson brass, dated 1518, also mutilated by the iconoclasts of the mid seventeenth century. The central figure is that of Christopher Rawson, “freeman of the ancient Guild of the Mercers,” and the other figures represent “Margaret and Agnes his wyves.” In his will he mentions “a chantry in the chapel of St. Anne in the church of Allhallows Barking” where prayers for “his own soul and the souls of his wyves and children” were to be said. Canon Mason, in an article which appeared in the Nineteenth Century for May 1898, says: “From a theological point of view [this is] perhaps the most interesting monument in the church. From the mouths of the three figures issue scrolls, which unite over their heads in an invocation to the Blessed Trinity. But these scrolls are in one respect unique.” Reference is made to the wording of the scrolls, “Salva nos, Libera nos, and Iustifica nos, O beata Trinitas.” “Save us’ and ‘Deliver us’ are of course expressions common enough; ‘Vivifica nos,’ ‘Quicken us,’ occurs in a similar context in mediæval services; but search may be made without finding anywhere else, I believe, in liturgical formulas or in sepulchral inscriptions, another {204}example of ‘Justify us.’... In the year 1518 the controversies about justification raised on the Continent by Luther had not begun to convulse England; and indeed Rawson’s invocation takes no side in the controversy. He does not say whether he hopes to be justified by faith or justified by works, but he has laid hold upon the long-forgotten word, and craves that the blessing contained in it, whatever that might consist of, may be given to him and to his wives.” The Basano slab, of 1624, lies above “one of the King’s servants,” and the adjoining tomb of Dame Anne Masters, who died in 1719, records the wife of Sir H. Masters, City Alderman, and mother of nineteen children, which goodly company of descendants occupy much burial-space round the Rawson tomb.

On one of the pillars of this aisle a sadly dilapidated brass plate commemorates “William Armer, Governor of the Pages of Honor to Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, who died in 1560.” His wife’s burial is entered in the registers against May 1, 1563. She is the lady to whom, according to the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII., payments were made “for cambric and makyng ye King’s shirts.”

The daily services of the church were continued{205} in this aisle without intermission during the progress of the work of restoration.

Choir.—As we walk back towards the east end and turn into the choir portion of the chancel we may notice two quaint semicircular seats at the foot of the pillars on the altar steps. These forms were made out of the wood of the old roof removed in 1814. The choir stalls, of solid oak, are comparatively recent additions to the building and bear some fine carving representing “the fellowship of the angelic with the animal world.” These stalls are constructed to accommodate the clergy of the Mission College of Allhallows Barking as well as the members of the choir. The seat of the Warden of the College and Vicar of the parish is that which faces east. In mentioning the vicar and clergy, we may here fitly recall many of the men who have served at the altar of Allhallows and whose names have not been lost to fame. There is preserved a tabular list of the vicars since the presentation to the living of Wm. Colles on March 2, 1387. Chaderton, thirteenth vicar, was, as we have already seen, appointed dean of the “free chaple of Berkynge” by Richard III. Carter, appointed in 1525, was a friend of Wolsey’s, and resigned in the year of the{206} Cardinal’s fall, 1530. Dawes, 1542-1565, was the first Protestant incumbent and possessed many of the attributes of the Vicar of Bray as sketched in the verses of the old song; Wood, 1584-1591, was the first vicar appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury; Ravis, vicar from 1591 to 1598, was one of the translators of the present Authorised Version of the Bible; as was also his successor at Allhallows, Dr. Tighe. The twenty-fifth vicar, Edward Layfield, appointed in 1635, was a nephew of Archbishop Laud. “Layfield was deprived in 1642 [by an ordinance of the House of Commons] under circumstances of considerable barbarity. He was interrupted during the performance of divine service, dragged out of church [while the walls of the old church resounded to the shrieks of an infuriated mob within and without the building], set on a horse with his surplice not removed, the Common Prayer Book tied round his neck; and in this manner forced to ride through the city. Then was he thrown into prison ... and no provision made for his maintenance whatever.” Layfield was restored to his living on the return of Charles II. His contemporaries describe him as “a man of generous and noble spirit, great courage and resolution, and much respected in his{207} parish, though a High Churchman.” Vicar during the Plague and the Fire, he died in 1680, and was buried here in the chancel. Dr. Hickes, appointed in 1681, was “one of the most remarkable and highly educated men of his generation,” and, on the accession of William and Mary, “refused to take the oaths, was deprived of all his preferments,” and became a Non-juror. He was a friend of Pepys, and that volatile product of the Restoration period often lamented Dr. Hickes’ long and dull sermons. Hickes attended Pepys as he lay on his deathbed, and many references to this Vicar of Allhallows will be found in the Diary.

The present body of mission clergy attached to the church have their College in Trinity Square, on Tower Hill. They do excellent work for the Church at large, travel to all parts of England constantly, and to far parts of the world occasionally to preach and conduct missions. In this way the revenue of Allhallows—a seemingly large sum to the “man in the street” (who usually remains there, to scoff at “useless city churches”)—is taken up to the last penny for this most valuable and useful work. The College was established in 1883, and many men known far and wide for their work in the Church—I may instance Dr. Collins, now{208} Bishop of Gibraltar—have been members of it. Its first Head was Dr. A. J. Mason, now Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, to whom Allhallows is indebted for the restoration of the north porch and the gift of the upper schoolroom. His successor, the present Warden, Dr. Arthur W. Robinson, has since carried on the arduous duties of the College and has brought all departments of the work in connection with Allhallows as a parish church up to a point of remarkable efficiency. Never was the old building more zealously served than it is now, and never has it been better used by parishioners and by others whose daily work lies in the City. A numerous congregation, consisting of those who come up from the eastern suburbs by the early trains and have an hour to spare before beginning work, assembles here every week-day morning at eight o’clock. The service consists of prayers, a hymn, a short address, and an organ recital. The Sunday congregations are large for a City church, especially in the evenings, and on two or three occasions during the year the church is crowded beyond the actual seating capacity—an inspiring sight when viewed from the organ loft.

Chancel and Nave.—In the chancel, between the choir stalls, may be seen the James brass, of{209} 1591, with figure about three feet in length; also the brass, of 1612, to “Mary, wife of John Burnell, Mercht.” Burnell presented a communion table to the church in 1613. The last brass, but the most famous and artistic of all, is that large square sheet of latten which is set in the pavement to the west of the Litany desk. It dates back to 1530 and is a memorial of “Andrewe Evyngar, Cityzen and Salter, and Ellyn his wife.” The Puritan defacements are only too plain, yet, in spite of this, it is possible to decipher the beaten-out lettering, which ran: “Of youre charite praye for the soules of ... on whoos soulys Jesu have m’cy, Amen.” This brass is one of the finest specimens of Flemish workmanship in England. Its only rivals are brasses at Ipswich and at St. Albans. It is unnecessary to describe it in detail; it can best be studied from the framed “rubbing” which stands behind the choir screen in the South Aisle.

The very fine Jacobean pulpit was erected before England had a single colony. There it has stood during the rise of the British Empire, and it has survived many a storm in Church and State. Though the pulpit dates back to 1613 the sounding-board above was erected in 1638, and is termed, in the Vestry minutes of that year, “the new{210} pulpitt hedd.” This sounding-board is inscribed on each of its sides with the motto: “Xtm pdicam crucifixum,” which reminds us that whether the preacher in that pulpit looks south, or east, or west, his one subject is to be Christ crucified. The fine sword-rests, rising above the choir screen behind the Vicar’s stall, were erected by successive Lord Mayors and bear their respective crests, with the City coat-of-arms. The one on the south side, the smallest of the three, was erected in 1727 by Lord Mayor Eyles. That in the centre commemorates the mayoralty of Slingsby Bethel, Esq., in 1755, while the remaining one was put up in 1760 when Sir Thomas Chitty, a parishioner of Allhallows, was appointed chief citizen. After examining the graceful ironwork of these sword-rests, the delicate wrought-iron design beneath the pulpit-rail should by no means be passed over. The choir screen itself, as well as the screen behind the churchwardens’ pews at the back of the church, is worthy of study by all who are interested in old wood-carving.

West End.—From north to south porch, until the 1904 restoration, there extended an ugly, heavy gallery, which made the entrance to the church, from either side, very gloomy. Now the{211} former organ-loft is rebuilt and the interior of the church, by this alteration, regains the open appearance of earlier times. In the entrance-chamber of the tower there is preserved a very fine leaden water-cistern on which appear the date 1705 and the letters A·H·B, the monogram of the church, while in the tower itself there hangs a peal of finely toned bells, eight in number, which in 1813 replaced the bells hung, in 1659, when the present tower was new.

The first organ in this church was that one, already spoken of, built by Anthony Duddyngton in 1519. Though all trace of this very early instrument is lost, the original indenture still remains. Dr. Hopkins says, “This is the earliest known record of the building of an organ in England.” In 1675-77 the present organ-case was erected by Thomas and Renatus Harris, and the organ then consisted of great and choir manuals only; but a third manual, the swell, was added in the eighteenth century. Hatton describes the organ-case as he saw it in 1708 as “enriched with Fames, and the figures of Time and Death, carved in basso relievo and painted, above.” The organ was improved by Gerard Smith in 1720, and again in 1813. It was again overhauled and enlarged by{212} Bunting in 1872 and 1878, was partially burnt in 1880, and “restored” (very badly indeed) in 1881. On Sunday, 3rd November 1907, during Evensong, this ancient instrument broke down and was not used again. The choral services were sung by the choir either entirely unaccompanied or supported by a pianoforte played in the chancel. The instrument is now being rebuilt by Messrs. Harrison and Harrison, of Durham, and this well-known firm have the problem before them of preserving what is of historic interest in the old organ and incorporating that in the newer and more efficient mechanism of the organs of to-day. A complete list of organists of this church, from 1676 to the present day, has been preserved.

The large and fully equipped music-room at the north-west angle of the building is where the daily practices of the choristers are held. In addition to the fittings incidental to the work of the choir, it contains some interesting photos of the church and two old parish plans. The royal arms above the door, on the side of the organ-loft, used, in Georgian days, to hang above the altar. A spacious music-, or school-room lies over the north porch, and this portion of the building, though modern, is quite in keeping with the ancient church{213} to which it is attached. Of that old church we now take leave. Though great the history it has already made, there is perhaps as great a history for it yet to make.




A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y.

Adam of Lambourne, 24
Adams, John Quincy, 195
Albemarle, Duke of, 90
Allhallows Barking by the Tower, 42, 74, 96, 109, 155, 169-213
Andrewes, Bishop, 193
Anne, Queen, 83
Anne of Geierstein, 40
Apsley, Sir William, 194
Arden, John, 149
Argyle, Marquis of, 78
Arundel, Earl of, 33
Arx Palatina, 21
Askew, Anne, 55
Audley, Lord, 72
Axe, processional, 93

Badlesmere, Lady, 27
Bailly, Charles, 129, 130
Baliol, 112
Ballium Wall, 94, 125, 135, 137
Balmerino, Earl of, 164-167
Banqueting Hall, 113
Barlow, Lucy, 76
Bastion, North, 136
Beauchamp Tower, 33, 58, 61, 66, 83, 125, 131
Beefeaters, 93
Beer Lane, 23
Beggars, 155
Bell Tower, 48, 94-97
Bishops, Seven, 82, 99, 143, 144
Black Dwarf, The, 84
Block, the (see Tower Hill, and Tower Green)
Blood, Colonel, 138-143
Bloody Tower, 5, 73, 82, 83, 99-106
Blount tomb, 133
Boleyn, Anne, 50, 99, 107, 113, 132
Bowyer Tower, 41, 136, 137
Brackenbury, Sir Robert, 100
Brasses (Allhallows Barking), 187, 201, 203, 209
Brass Mount Battery, 138
Brick Tower, 103, 137
Broad Arrow Tower, 145
Buckingham, Edward, Duke of, 48, 49
Buckingham, Duke of (see Villiers)
Bulwark Gate, 87
Burdett, Sir Francis, 85
Burley, Sir Simon, 33
Byward Tower, 88, 90-93

Cade rebellion, 37, 38
Campion, Father, 67
Capel, Lord Arthur, 76, 106
Capel, Lord, 91
Carew, Sir Alexander, 75
Casemates, 135
Cato Street conspiracy, 85
Cells, secret, 119, 145
Chaderton, Dean, 175
Chantry chapels,{216} 173, 178
Chaplain’s house, 131
Charles I., 73-78, 105
Charles II., 78-81, 126, 127, 143
Charles Edward, Prince, 84
Charles, Duke of Orleans, 37, 112
Cholmondeley tomb, 133
Civil War, 75, 198
Clarence, Duke of, 41, 136
Cobham, Lord (see Oldcastle)
Cobham, Lord, 72
Coldharbour Tower (site of), 13
Coleby, 6, 127
Collins, Bishop (quoted), 74
Communion plate (St Peter’s), 133
Conqueror, William the, 21
Constable Tower, 145
Constable’s Garden, 99, 102, 121
Constable of France, 29
Coronation festivities, 30, 34, 40, 42, 47, 58, 65, 79
Council Chamber (White Tower), 32, 45, 113
Count d’Eu, 29
Count of Tankerville, 29
Court of Common Pleas, 108-109
Court of King’s Bench, 108-109
Coventry, Sir William, 137
Cradle Tower, 149
Croke, Sir John, 174, 188
Cromwell, Oliver, 76, 182
Cromwell, Thomas, 53, 54, 133
Crown Jewels (see Jewels)
Crusades, 24
Crypt (St. John’s Chapel), 116, 117
Culloden (battle), 85
Curfew bell, 177, 178
Czar’s Head Inn, 159

D’Arcy, Sir John, 29
David Bruce (King of Scotland), 29, 112
Deaths in Tower cells, 67, 68, 76, 100, 106
Derwentwater, Earl of, 83
Develin Tower, 135
Devereux Tower, 135
Devereux (Earl of Essex), 99, 135
Dighton, John, 101
Dudley, Lord Guildford, 60, 61, 130
Dudley, John, 129
Dungeon, great (White Tower), 119

Edward I., 26, 27, 173, 177
Edward II., 27-28
Edward III., 28-30
Edward IV., 40
Edward V., 41
Edward VI., 57-60
Edward, Earl of Warwick, 44
Edwards, Talbot, 133, 139, 140, 141
Eleanor, Queen, 25
Eliot, Sir John, 105, 133
Elizabeth, Queen, 64, 65-69, 90, 99, 113
Elizabeth of York, 46
Entrance to Tower, 88
Erkenwald, Bishop, 171
Escapes from Tower, 22, 26, 71, 77, 78, 90-92, 121-125, 149-150
Evyngar brass, 209
Executions (Tower Green), 48, 49, 52, 54, 64, 116
(Tower Hill), 20, 33, 40, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52, 53, 57, 58, 59, 64, 65, 67, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 81, 82, 83, 164-168, 199

Fair Maid of Perth, 34
Fawkes, Guy, 72, 97, 118
Felton, John, 72, 106
Fenwick, Sir William, 82
Fire, Great, 80, 156, 189
Fisher, Bishop, 94-96, 133, 196
Flambard, Ralph, Bishop of Durham, 22
Flint Tower, 136
Forrest, Miles,{217} 101
Fortunes of Nigel, 127, 128
Froissart (quoted), 29, 31, 114

Galleyman Tower, 151
Gaoler, Yeoman, 93
Gardiner, S. R. (quoted), 33
Gaskarth, Dr., 192
Gateway, postern, 92
George I., 83
George III., 85
Gerard, Father, 146
Gibbons, Grinling, 201
Gloucester, Duke of (see Richard III.)
Gosse, Edmund (quoted), 57
Green, J. R. (quoted), 36
Grey, Lady Jane, 60-64, 99
Grey, Lord Thomas, 196
Griffen, son of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, 26
Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, 21, 22
Guns, old (Tower Green), 120

Hales, Treasurer, 31, 32
Hamilton, Duke of, 76
Harvey, Lieut. Sir George, 102
Hastings, Lord, 115
Henry I., 22
Henry III., 24-26, 94, 106, 131, 135, 138, 152
Henry IV., 33, 34, 35, 114
Henry V., 35-37
Henry VI., 37-40, 107
Henry VII., 17, 44-46, 93
Henry VIII., 47-57
Hertford, Lord and Lady, 66
Hewitt, Dr. John, 76
Hexham, battle of, 39
Hickes, Dr., 161, 183, 207
Highlanders shot, 84
Holland, Earl of, 75
Hotham, Sir John, 75, 198, 199
Howard, Lady Frances, 104
Howard, Queen Katherine, 54, 99, 132
Howard, Thomas, 66

Inglesant, John, 74
Inscriptions on walls, 128-130, 145, 146
Isabella, Queen of Edward II., 28
Isabella of Valois, Queen of Richard II., 33

James I., 70-72, 97, 103
James II., 81-82, 143
James I. of Scotland, 34
Jeffreys, Judge, 82, 106, 195
Jewels, Crown, 17, 107, 138
Jews imprisoned, 27
Joan of the Tower, 27
John, King, 24
John II., King of France, 29, 112

Keep, the (see White Tower)
Ken, Bishop, 200
Kenmure, Lord, 83
Ketch, Jack, 82
Kettlewell, the Non-juror, 200
King’s House, 121
King’s Justiciars, 176
Knighthood, order of, conferred in St. John’s Chapel, 34, 40, 47, 79
Knyvett, Lieutenant, 55

Lancaster, Henry of (see Henry IV.)
Lansdowne, Earl of, 83
Lanthorn Tower, 152
Lambert, Colonel, 77
Laud, Archbishop, 5, 73, 106, 197
Layfield, Edward, 206
Legend of Montrose, 137
Legge’s Mount, 135
Leiburn, Sir Roger de, 176
Lennox, Countess of, 66
Lion Gate, and Tower, 88
Lisle, Viscount, 55
“Little Ease,” 118
Lollards, the, 35, 36
London Tavern (Fenchurch Street), 64
London Wall,{218} 21
Longchamp, Chancellor, 24
Louis VIII. of France, 24
Lovat, Lord, 167
Love, Christopher, 76

Macguire, Lord, 90
MacMahon, Colonel, 90
Mandeville, Geoffrey de, 23
Margaret, Queen of Henry VI., 39
Martin Tower, 82, 138
Mary, Queen, 60-65, 111, 196
Mason, Dr. A. J., 208
Menagerie, Tower, 23, 88, 89
Middle Tower, 89-91
Mint, the Royal, 162
Mission College of Allhallows Barking, 205, 207, 208
Mitre Tavern (Fenchurch Street), 164
Moat, the, 26, 40, 88, 90-92
Models of the Tower, 112
Modernisation of the Tower, 15-16, 120
Monk, General, 77
Monmouth, Duke of, 76, 82, 97, 99, 132
More, Sir Thomas, 95, 96, 99, 133
Mortimer, Lord, 28

Nithsdale, Lord and Lady, 121-125
Norman Chapel (see St. John’s Chapel)
Northumberland, Duke of, John Dudley, 60, 111

Oates, Titus, 81
O’Connor, Arthur, 85
Oldcastle, Sir John, 35
Oratory, 17, 99, 107
Organ (Allhallows Barking), 179, 211, 212
Otway, Thomas, 158
Overbury, Sir Thomas, 104
Owen, Sir John, 76

Palace, royal, in Tower, 23, 108
Parish dinners, 157, 181
Parr, Samuel, 194
Passages, underground, 119, 136
Penn, William, 81, 158, 194
Pepys, Samuel (quoted), 77, 78, 79, 80, 97, 137, 182, 189
Pepys, Samuel, in Tower, 80, 81
Percy, Henry, Earl of Northumberland, 100
Perrot, Deputy, 68
Peter the Great, 159
Peveril of the Peak, 4-6, 126, 127
“Pilgrimage of Grace,” 51
Plague years, 195
Popish plot, 81
Portcullis (Bloody Tower), 106
Prince of Wales, H.R.H. the, 164
Prince Consort, 111
Princes in the Tower (Edward V. and his brother), 41, 100, 110
Privy Garden, 151
Prothero, Mr. (quoted), 96
Prynne, 74
Pulpit, Jacobean, 210

Queen Elizabeth’s Walk,” 64
Queen’s Garden, 146

Rack, the, 117
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 101, 113, 137
Raleigh, Lady, 158
“Raleigh’s Cell,” 116
Registers, parish (Allhallows Barking), 193-199
Restoration, the, 78
Richard I., 24, 135, 173, 174
Richard II., 30-34, 114
Richard III., 39, 41, 42-44, 100, 107, 114-116, 175
Richard de Lucy, 23
Rising, Jacobite (1745), 107
Robinson, Dr. A. W., 208
Rochester, Earl of, 160
Rochford, Lady, 54
Roman Catholic prisoners, 67
Roman London, 172
Roman remains,{219} 21, 22
Ros, Lord de, 133
Russell, William, Lord, 81
Rye House Plot, 81

St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East, 161, 162
St. Ethelburga (Abbess of Barking), 171, 184
St. John’s Chapel (White Tower), 24, 34, 100, 110, 111
St. Olave’s (Hart Street), 160, 161
St. Peter ad Vincula, 25, 96, 105, 131-133, 143
St. Thomas’s Tower, 25, 48, 98, 99
Salisbury, Countess of, Margaret Pole, 52, 132
Salt Tower, 146
Say, Lord, 38
Scaffold, site of, Tower Hill, 153
Scott, Sir Walter, references to, 1, 3, 23, 34, 40, 126
Scottish prisoners, 27
Seething Lane, 160
Seymour, Jane, Queen, 50
Seymour, Baron Thomas, 58
Seymour, William, 71
Shakespeare, William, references to, 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 34, 36, 38, 57, 70, 101
Sidney, Algernon, 81
Simnel, Lambert, 44
Slingsley, Sir Henry, 77
Smithfield, 36, 54, 56
Snayth, George, 185
Somerset, Protector, 58, 59, 133
Somerset, Robert Carr, Earl of, 104
Spenser, Edmund, 159
Stafford, William, Lord, 81
Stanley, Sir William, 45
Stapledon, Walter, Bishop of Exeter, 28
State apartments, 112
Stephen, King, 23
Stocks, public, 154
Strafford, Earl of, Thomas Wentworth, 73, 133
Stuart, Lady Arabella, 70, 99
Sudbury, Simon of, 31, 32, 111
Suffolk, Earl of, Edmund de la Pole, 48
Suicides in the Tower, 67, 68, 76, 100, 106
Surrey, Earl of, Henry Howard, 57, 196
Syndercombe, Miles, 76

Talbot, Sir Gilbert, 142
Theodore, Archbishop, 172
Thomson, James, 159
Thynne, William, 201
Tiptoft, John, 174
Torture in Tower dungeons, 42, 55, 67, 117, 118, 146-149
instruments of, 113
Tower Dock, 103
Tower Green, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 64, 84, 116, 120-121
Tower Hill, 20, 33, 37, 40, 45, 46, 47, 51, 52, 57, 58, 59, 64, 65, 67, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 81, 82, 83, 87, 103, 145, 153-159, 162-168
Tower Hill, Little, 95, 162
Tower of London: foundation of, 21;
beginning of its history, 21;
first prisoner, 22;
becomes Royal Palace, 23;
besieged, 24, 40;
Edward III. finds it ill guarded, 29;
mobbed in Richard II.’s reign, 32;
oldest picture of, 37;
attacked by Cade, 38;
cannon used for first time against, 40;
its darkest days, 40-43;
improved by Edward IV., 40;
prominence in Tudor times, 44;
festivities at, 46, 56;
becomes notorious as State prison, 47;
improvements in Henry VIII.’s reign, 47-48;
fires its guns upon City, 48;
attack on (Wyatt rebellion), 62;
seized in reign of Charles I.,{220} 73;
in keeping of Parliament during Civil War, 75;
in danger during Great Fire, 80;
Jacobite plot to seize, 84;
fire in, 85;
Fenian outrage in, 86
Tower Street, Great, 160
Towton Heath, battle of, 39
Traitor’s Gate, 25, 64, 98
Trevelyan, G. M. (quoted), 69, 105
Trinity House, 162-164
Trinity Square, Tower Hill, 84, 157, 166
Tudenham, Sir Thomas, 40
Turner, Mrs., 104
Tyler, Wat, 30, 32
Tyrrell, Sir James, 46, 101
Tyrrell, Sir William, 40

United Irishmen, 85

Vane, Sir Harry, 78
Victoria, Queen, 85, 108
Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham, 80
Virby, Thomas, 185, 186

Waad, Sir William, 102, 148
Wakefield Tower, 39, 106-108
Wallace, William, 27
Walpole, Sir Robert, 83
Walsingham, Sir Francis, 160
Walworth, Mayor, 31
Warbeck, Perkin, 45
Warders’ Parlour, 92
Warders, Yeomen, 93
Wars of the Roses, 37, 39
Warwick, the King-Maker, 39
Waverley, 84, 108
Welsh prisoners, 27, 34
Wharf, 25, 142, 150
White Tower, 12, 16, 22, 34, 37, 48, 86, 108, 109-120, 148
William the Conqueror, 21
William and Mary, 82-83
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, 38
Wilton, Lord Grey de, 72, 99, 137
Worcester, battle of, 76
Wren, Sir Christopher, 83, 108, 162
Wriothesley, Chancellor, 55
Wyatt rebellion, 62, 116
Wyatt, Sir Henry, 42-44
Wycliffe’s followers imprisoned, 35
Wyndham, Sir John, 46

Yeomen of the Guard (Savoy opera), 10, 11
Yeomen of the Guard, 93


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