Life and Death in the White Tower

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Life and Death in the White Tower

<p>The Tower of London is one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. It has been a palace, an armoury, a zoo, a prison, an execution site and a fortress. At various times throughout its 1,000

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The Tower of London is one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. It has been a palace, an armoury, a zoo, a prison, an execution site and a fortress. At various times throughout its 1,000 year history it has housed the Royal Mint, The Royal Observatory and the Crown Jewels. The White Tower, which gives its name to the whole complex, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. The intimidating Norman structure was designed to terrorise the conquered Anglo Saxon population. It has been enlarged and modified over the centuries. The first permanent execution scaffold was established by Edward IV in 1465 during the Wars of the Roses.


Elizabeth I was imprisoned in the Tower twice as a young woman by her sister Mary I and accused of treason. Rudolf Hess was held in the Tower during World War II after his peace flight mission to Scotland in 1941. Sir Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Guy Fawkes, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and German spies in 1944 were all executed after their imprisonment in the Tower. The two young sons of Edward IV disappeared from the Tower in July 1483. The mysterious deaths of the 12 year old Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York have remained a tantalising and enduring murder mystery for the last 535 years.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Tales from the Tower (DVD), Eagle Media 2010
  • Edward Impey, Tower of London, The Official Illustrated History, Merrell, 2000
  • Nigel Jones, Tower, An Epic History of the Tower of London, St. Martins Press, 2012
  • Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Tales for the Tower, History Press, 2004