Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Tower of London (London)

The Tower of London is one of the iconic sights of the exceptionally historic City of London, and indeed of England.

The Tower of London could reasonably be called London Castle. It is a Norman castle, built soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066, when William the Conqueror wished to overawe the local population.

The site is actually just inside the City, being inside the Roman wall.

The original wooden tower was rebuilt from 1077, and is still known as the White Tower. The complex was added to over the centuries, particularly in the reigns of William II, Richard I, Henry III and Edward I.

The Tower has been used as a fortress, a Royal palace, prison and even a menagerie.

Many famous people have been imprisoned within its walls, including Anne Boleyn; Sir Thomas More; Elizabeth I (before she became Queen); Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex; Sir Walter Raleigh; and Guy Fawkes. During the Second World War, Rudolf Hess was also imprisoned here.

On Tower Green,there is a paved square which marks the execution block. Only a few were executed here, most being decapitated on nearby Tower Hill, which was much more public. Despatched on Tower Green were Anne Boleyn; Catherine Howard; Lady Jane Grey; the Earl of Essex; the Countess of Salisbury; and the Countes of Rochford.

One of the Tower's most famous functions is as the home of the Crown Jewels, which most visitors wish to see.

The Yeoman Warders, better known as the Beefeaters, still guard the Tower in the Tudor-style dress that they have been wearing since their formation by Henry VII in 1485.

Six ravens live within the Tower's walls. They are kept carefully, as legend says that if the leave, the Tower will fall, and so by implication will England.

The Tower of London is said to be the most haunted collection of buildings in England.

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