What once housed the Royalty and even the filth and scum of London now houses its famous Crown Jewels and is keeper to the Royal Ravens. Do you need a better reason to visit the Tower of London? Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. Actually although there has been a lot of talk and a pervading belief that the tower is a place of death and torture, only a total of seven people were executed within the tower, a figure which is low compared to other places.
The ravens are flightless birds due to the fact their wings are clipped and this tradition points to the superstition that the English still believe dating back from time of Charles II that when there are no longer ravens in the Tower both the White Tower and the Commonwealth of England would fall. I never got to see these famous ravens…..
The Tower of London is situated next to the Thames River and definitely impossible to miss. It is one of the most visited places in the UK not only for its rich history but also for its ghosts.
Walking along the wall of this old prison you get fabulous views over the river and over all the buildings that make up the Tower of London.
During its 900 years of existence, the Tower of London has earned the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the UK. Thomas A. Becket is said to be one of the first ghosts seen in the tower. When the Inner Curtain Wall was still in construction, Thomas seemed to be very unhappy about it and reduced the wall to rubble with the strike of his cross. The grandfather of Henry III was said to be the reason for Thomas A. Beckett’s death so he built a chapel in the Tower for the Archbishop. People believe that Beckett was pleased with the construction of the chapel because no further interruptions were reported after the incident with the Inner Curtain Wall. As we walked around the tower I kept an eye out for his ghost but didn’t spot anything. Maybe he only comes out at night?
Arbella Stuart is one of the castle’s most famous ghosts. It is said that her ghost stays in The Queen’s House on Tower Green. According to records, Arbella Stuart married the nephew of Lady Jane Grey, William Seymour. The marriage was thought of as a threat because it did not have the permission of King James I. Arbella was put under house arrest in Lambeth while her husband William was sent to the tower. Arbella plotted to get William released so that they could travel together to France, however, William missed the rendezvous. Arbella set sail all alone but she was recognised and was sent back, this time to the Tower. William, on the other hand, made it to freedom. She stayed there until her death in 1615 in The Queen’s House. It is believed that she was murdered in the castle.
The most persistent of all ghosts in the Tower of London is that of no other than Queen Anne Boleyn. I think she definitely has a good reason to haunt these corridors. She was married to King Henry VII. She was arrested and taken to Tower Green and was beheaded on the 19th of May 1536. Several sightings of Anne Boleyn have been reported. She appears close to the site where she was executed and has also been seen leading a procession down the aisle of a chapel. Several people have reported seeing her headless body walking the Tower’s corridors.
The Bloody Tower is a place in the castle which conjures up grisly images. There is the story of the two young princes, Edward V and his brother Richard, who were declared illegitimate by Parliament and sent to the tower. They were often seen playing around happily in the grounds but suddenly vanished and were never seen again. It was assumed that they were murdered by order of their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Two skeletons, believed to be the children, were unearthed beneath a staircase in the White Tower. The ghosts of the children are often seen wearing nightgowns clutching each other in terror in the rooms of the castle. They are also heard throughout the Tower.
As we entered the main building that houses the crown jewels we were greeted by a conveyor belt. You are not allowed to stand around and stare at the huge cullinan diamond but have to move along on the conveyor belt under the watchful eyes of a guard. The tradition of housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London probably dates from the reign of Henry III. The Jewel House was built specifically to house the royal regalia, including jewels, plate, and symbols of royalty such as the crown, sceptre, and sword. When money needed to be raised, the treasure could be pawned by the monarch. The treasure allowed the monarch independence from the aristocracy, and consequently was closely guarded.
As we exited the Tower of London we passed an empty guard post and couldn’t resist getting into it.