The Tower of London
The Bloody Tower
The Crown Jewels
The Tower of London is the fortress in the historic centre of London,
on the north bank of the river Thames. It is the oldest building in
Great Britain. Now Tower is the historical site and museum.
The founder of Tower was William the Conqueror, who replaced the
wooden fort onto huge stone building in 1078. Later the Tower was
whitewashed and since it called as White Tower. For over 900 years, The Tower of London has been standing guard over the
capital. As a Royal Palace, fortress, prison, place of execution,
arsenal, Royal Mint, Royal Zoo and jewel house, it has witnessed many
great events in British history.
The Tower of London is perhaps better known as a prison. The prisoners
would be brought, via the river, from Westminster where they would have
been tried and crowds would wait on the river bank to find out the
verdict to see if they would be treated to the spectacle of a public
execution. The executioner, with his long sharp axe would stand behind
the accused on the boat. If the accused was guilty he would point his
axe towards the victim and if not guilty he would point it away. People
knew that if found guilty there would be a public execution 48 hours
The responsibility for looking after the prisoners was given to the Yeomen Warders or Beefeaters (these guards, although looking very similar, are different from the Yeomen of the Guard).
The Yeomen Warders originate from twelve Yeoman of the Guards, who were once private bodyguards of Henry VIII.
In the centre of the Tower of London is the famous White Tower. It is
the oldest part of the fortress and was built on the site of the Norman
Keep built by William the Conqueror.
The Tower, or Bloody Tower as it is known, has been host to many famous executions and imprisonments, including those of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey and Sir Walter Raleigh.
As well as being a palace and a fortress, the Tower of London has also served as:
Today the Tower of London houses the Crown Jewels and is open to the public as a museum.
- the first Royal Armoury
- Royal Mint (where money is made)
- Royal Observatory
- Royal Zoo