Tower of London, the most ancient and historically the most interesting pile of buildings in the English metropolis. It is
surrounded by battlemented stone walls and a deep moat. It stands on the north bank of the Thames in the eastern part
of the city, beyond the site of the ancient city walls. The buildings are encircled by a double line of walls and bulwarks, in
some places forty feet high and twelve feet thick. The space between the walls is known as the outer ward and the
interior as the inner ward. The inner ward is defended by twelve massive and conspicious towers. In the middle stands the
main quadrangular building and great Norman keep known as the White Tower. to the north are the barracks and to the
northwest the Church of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains). The entrance to the buildings is on the west side by
the Lion's Gate.
The White Tower was reared by William the Conqueror, probably as a secure place of shelter for himself and a menace
to the turbulent citizens. It was designed by Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, and bears a great likeness to Rochester
Castle. Henry III spent much of his life and treasure in adding to the grandeur of the Tower. Traitor's Gate was built
by him, the noble arch under which so many noble heads passed to their doom. Other important towers are Salt Tower,
and Lantern Tower.
For centuries the Tower was a palace, a fortress, and a court of law. Here tragedy succeeded tragedy, and the innocent
blood of many of England's bravest and most beautiful poured forth in a cruel stream. The Tower was originally a palace
and a castle, but was converted early into a state prison - the Bastille of England. "No sadder spot on earth," says
Macaulay, "In England .....Death is there, associated .....with whatever is darkest in human nature and in human destiny,
with the savage triumph of implacable enemies, with the constancy, the ingratitude, the cowardice of friends, with all the
miseries of fallen greatness and of blighted fame."
Many an object of royal fear or hatred, as well as many a criminal of high estate, was confined in the Tower. Sometimes
the condemned were executed in the court, but often they were taken forth to Tower Hill under guard. Thomas Moore,
Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, Catherine Howard, Admiral Seymore, Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Sir John
Eliot, the Earl of Essex, and many other illustrious prisoners who were beheaded by royal order lie buried in the
Tower Chapel. It is one of the saddest spots on earth. The rooms in which these prisoners were confined are
still shown. Among other prisoners held in the Tower for a longer or shorter length of time may be mentioned John Baliol,
William Wallace, David Bruce, King John of France, Archbishop Cranmer, Pricess Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh,
the Earl of Stafford, Archbishop Laud and the Duke of Marlborough.
The Ghosts of The Tower of London, Part 1
Over the coming week, I hope to lead you on a journey of discovery and adventure. Briefly taking a glimpse into a past so
Of haunting tales and ghastly ends that awaited so many of her most famous occupants. Firing your imagination, so that
you will delve deeper into her history for yourselves.
During her long and illustrious 900 years, The Tower of London has developed into one of the most haunted places in
Britain. She has been home to beheadings and murders, torture and hangings, as well as being a prison to Queens
and Nobles alike.
Thomas A. Becket is "the first reported sighting of a ghost at the Tower of London."
During the construction on the Inner Curtain Wall in the 13th century, Thomas appeared apparently unhappy about the
construction, and it is said he reduced the wall to rubble with a strike of his cross. Henry III’s grandfather was responsible
for the death of Thomas Becket, so Henry III wasted no time building a chapel in the Tower of London, naming it for the
This must have pleased Thomas’ ghost because there were no further interruptions during the construction of the wall.
The Bloody Tower was the scene of the infamous disappearance of the two princes; Edward V (12) and Richard Duke
of York (10), who are thought to have been murdered in 1483 on the probable command of the Duke of Gloucestershire,
who was to be crowned Richard the III.
According to one story, guards in the late 15th century, who were passing the Bloody Tower, spotted the shadows of two
small figures gliding down the stairs still wearing the white night shirts they had on the night they disappeared.
They stood silently, hand in hand, before fading back into the stones of the Bloody Tower.
These figures were identified as the ghosts of the two princes. In 1674 workmen found a chest that contained the skeletons
of two young children, they were thought to be the remains of the princess, and were given a royal burial not long afterwards.
The story of the little princes is still to this day a heartbreaking story. They are "among the most poignant ghosts" in the
ower of London.
The most persistent ghost in The Tower of London is the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn.
The King, Henry VIII, after learning the baby she carried for nine months was a boy and still born, accused by her of infidelity.
She was taken to TOWER GREEN and was beheaded on May 19, 1536. Queen Anne appears near the Queen’s House,
close to the site where her execution was carried out. She can be seen leading a ghostly procession of Lords and Ladies
down the aisle of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula.
She floats down the aisle to her final resting place. Queen Anne is buried under the Chapel’s altar. Her headless body has
also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower.
Sir Walter Raleigh lived quite comfortable compared to others who were imprisoned within the walls of the Bloody Tower.
His "rooms" are still furnished as they were in the 16th century, and can be seen when visiting the Tower today. He was
executed by James I, and has been seen looking exactly as he does in his portrait hanging in the Bloody Tower.
I hope you have enjoyed Pt1 to The Ghosts of The Tower of London. In Pt2 we discover what happend to Catherine Howard
and Lady Jane Grey as well as the Horrific end to the Countess of Salisbury.
If these tales have brought your imagination back to life and you want to discover more ghostly and gruesome stories of
times past. Then pay a visit to my Haunted Castles page where you can find out about the grisly goings on at Windsor
Castle or read about the Heroic tale of the Two Brothers of Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon.
Best wishes and have a great day! By Stuart Bazga
A Guide to Castles of Europe was born from childhood dreams and aspirations. It is my hope to educate and stimulate
you into exploring these castles for yourselves.
The Ghosts of The Tower of London, Part 2
In this final instalment of The Ghosts of the Tower of London, you will learn about the fate of Catherine Howard and
discover the treachery behind the death of Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for only nine days.
The most grisly execution and thus haunting is that of the 70 year old Countess of Salisbury, the last of the
King Henry VIII had her executed for political reasons. The feisty Countess refused to put her head on the block like
a common traitor. When her executioner came after her she ran, but was pursued by him, with his axe in hand hacking
at her until he had hewn the Countess to death.
Her ghost has been seen reliving this truly gruesome act. Also the shadow of a great axe has been seen falling across
the scene of her murder.
At one time the Tower of London was home to the Royal Menagerie. Lions, leopards, bears, birds, monkeys and an
elephant, that was a gift from the King of France, were kept on exhibit. On the stroke of midnight in January of 1815
a sentry saw a bear from this menagerie emerge from a doorway. He lunged at it with his bayonet, it passed right
through the apparition.
The Sentry was later found unconscious, it is said he died of fright within two months of this encounter.
Something unseen and very frightening is in the Salt Tower. This is one of the most haunted areas of the Tower of
London complex. This is a very old section, dogs will not enter this ancient building, and ever since one of the Yeoman
Warders was nearly throttled by a force unseen, they will not go in the area after nightfall.
In 1864, a soldier whose post was to guard the Queen’s House at the Tower of London, saw a apparition so real, that
after ignoring the soldiers three challenges, he charged with all his might at the intruder with his bayonet, only to go
straight through the figure.
He was found unconscious at his post and was court-martialled for neglecting his duty. Luckily there were two
witnesses who corroborated his story. The soldier was eventually acquitted.
Lady Jane Grey is another tragic story of a young life cut short at the Tower, due to the actions of others the most
despicable of who was her own father.
She was the granddaughter of Mary (Henry VIII younger sister) and Louis XII of France. The Duke of Northumberland would
lose everything if Henry VIII’s son was to die and Mary, who was Catholic, would become queen.
He and her father arranged her marriage to his son and persuaded her cousin Edward VI to name her his successor in case
of his death instead of his two half-sisters. When Edward VI died she was crowned Queen of England, but the supporters
of Mary overthrew her.
Her own father got scared and in hopes to save his own skin, left the Tower of London and went to Tower Hill to proclaim
Mary I, as the Queen of England, Lady Jane never left the tower; she and her husband were immediately imprisoned and
sentenced to death. Queen Mary carried out the execution of Lady Jane’s father-in-law but set both Jane and her husband
free.Her father was involved in a rebellion against Mary I, Lady Jane and her husband were again placed in the tower.
Lady Jane watched as her husband was taken to Tower Hill where he was beheaded. She saw his body being carried
back to the chapel, after which she was taken to Tower Green where she was beheaded. She was only 17 years old.
Lady Jane Grey’s ghost was last seen by two Guardsmen on February 12, 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution.
She was described as a "white shape forming itself on the battlements". Her husband, Guildford Dudley, has been seen
in Beauchamp Tower weeping.
Catherine Howard escaped from her room in the Tower of London. "She ran down the hallway screaming for help and
She was caught and returned to her room." The next day she was beheaded. Her ghost has been seen sill running down
the hallway screaming for help.
Other strange sightings at the Tower of London have been "Phantom funeral carriages" and “A lovely veiled lady that,
upon closer look proves to have a black void where her face should be."
This concludes the brief insight to the Ghosts of The Tower of London. I hope this has fired your imagination enough so
that you want to learn more about the Towers most GRUESOME PAST.
A Guide to Castles of Europe was born from childhood dreams and aspirations. It is my hope to educate and stimulate you
into exploring these castles for youselves.
© 2005 http://www.guide-to-castles-of-europe.com - All rights reserved.