Tower



The Tower of London, located next to Tower Bridge on the banks of the Thames, is a location containing much history. In 1066, William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress on this site to guard the entrance to London. Since then there have been many additions and much history.

Map - Tower 1

The Tower is famous and infamous for many things among them are the Crown Jewels and the beheading of two of Henry the VIII's six wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. The Tower has many attractions and exhibits including : The Crown Jewels, The Medieval Palace, The Wall Walk, The White Tower, Tower Green and the Fusilier's Museum.


Main Entrance to the Tower

The main entrance to the Tower can be found on the eastern side. The most convenient tube station is Tower Hill located on both the green District Line and yellow Circle Line. As you exit Tower Hill tube station you should end up facing south towards the Thames with Tower Hill road directly in front of you. If you proceed down the stairs on the left hand side you will find a passage under the road leading to the Tower. ( map location 1 )


Wall around the Tower

After emerging from the tunnel you should get your first glimpse of the Tower. In front of you will be the wall that forms the perimeter defense of the Tower. Directly in front of you, just on the other side of the wall will be Flint Tower. Also just nearby are the recently discovered remains of Roman constructions illustrating that not only William the Conqueror appreciated the strategic importance of this position.

Turning right and heading along the pathway will take you around the western side of the Tower. After turning left and heading south towards the Thames again you will come to Main Entrance where you can buy your entry tickets ( map location 2 )

When you have got your tickets enter the Tower via the Middle Tower ( map location 3 ). Upon entering the Tower you see the location of the Yeoman Warders guided tours ( map location 4 ). The Yeoman Warders ( often called Beefeaters ) have been part of the Tower since the fourteenth century. The main tour offered by the Yeomen takes about 60 minutes and gives the visitor a good idea of the Tower's history and notoriety. Also, bookable every day at the Lanthorn Tower ( at the southern eastern corner of the Tower ).are free short talks including - The history of the Yeoman Warders and Prisoners and punishment. There are also free tours - Attack the Tower and Chapel of St. John.


Beside Bell Tower looking towards Traitors' Gate

The causeway along which you are now walking originally contained a drawbridge. Until 1843 the Moat was full of water. A bit further along from the Yeoman Warder Tour point, through Byward Tower and actually inside the Tower walls, is the Information point. The information point is staffed throughout the day and is happy to answer any query a visitor may have. On the left hand side of the walkway, guarding the inner wall at this corner is Bell Tower. The Bell Tower stands on the corner of Mint Street and Water Lane and is the oldest tower in the castle ( other than the White Tower ).

Map - Tower 2

The Outer Ward, in which you now stand was created by Edward I and his expansion of the Tower in 1275-85. The whole of the Outer Ward  along the south  was reclaimed from the river and a towered curatin wall constructed along the foreshore of the Thames. Before this time all the structures on the inner curtain wall stood on the Thames's edge. This roadway therefore became known as Water Lane. Continue along the Water Lane until you reach Traitors' Gate on your right ( map location 5 ). This entrance, that opens onto the Thames, was used for prisoners brought from trial in Westminster Hall. Famous names who passed through this gate would have included Queen Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas Moore.

The structure above Traitor's gate is known as St Thomas's Tower and was built by Edward I around 1275 to provide accommodation for the King as well a new entrance to the castle from the Thames.

Nearby, also on the right you will find the start of the Medieval Palace attraction. For the time being continue east along the roadway.


Wakefield Tower on the left near Traitors' Gate

Continuing east you will pass Henry III's Watergate and Wakefield Tower ( map location 6 ), Lanthorn Tower ( on the left ) ( map location 7 ), Cradle Tower ( to the right ), Salt Tower ( left ), Well and Develin Towers ( right ). In this area you will also find toilets and telephone facilities ( map location 8 ).

Henry III's Watergate would have originally lead directly from the river to the ground floor of the Wakefield Tower. This would have been occupied by soldiers who were stationed there to guard the entrance from the Thames. The Wakefield Tower was built between 1220 and 1240 during the reign of Henry III ( 1216 - 1272 ). As well as being the principal room for the King it was an important part of the defense of the Tower. The upper chamber that was the private chamber of Henry III lost its original function under Edward I and became just an ante- room to the new chambers in St Thomas's Tower. It is thought that under Edward I the room may have been used as a throne room and as such a copy of the throne from Westminster Abbey now resides here. After Edward's death in 1307, the king's private chamber was moved to Lanthorn Tower and Wakefield Tower was abandoned as a residence.

Lanthorn Tower  ( map location 7 ), was built about the same time as the Wakefield Tower and was originally constructed for the Queen's residence. It was gutted by fire in 1774 and soon after demolished. The present structure was reconstructed in the late 19th century and today contains a number of artefacts from the period of Edward I. 


White Tower

If you enter the inner wall of the Tower, near Lanthron Tower ( map location 7 ) you will come across a line of a Roman city wall that was once located here ( map location 9 ). To you right will be the New Armouries, while in front and to the left is the White Tower.


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Subpages (2): Tower Part 2 Tower Part 3
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