Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

CHAPTER THE FIFTH.

The Tower - History — Traitor's Gate — Wakefield Tower - Horse

Armoury-White Tower-Salt Tower—Jewel House-Regalia-
Martin Tower—New Barracks— Tower Chapel-Beauchamp Tower
-Bell Tower-Lieutenant's Lodgings.

THE TOWER OF LONDON.

THE collection of buildings, various in aspect, age, and application, which bears the designation of the Tower of London, has a somewhat elevated position on the northern bank of the Thames, a little beyond the old city walls. The shape of the ground, which measures twelve acres and five roods, is an irregular square. It is encircled by a moat, now drained of its water, and then a battlemented wall, the outer ballium, is seen, with towers at intervals. Within this is a similar line of circumvallation, the inner ballium, with towers, and various buildings interspersed. In the middle of the enclosed

space

rises high above everything else the great square White Tower, the keep of the old fortress ; and scattered about this, the inner ward, are the chapel, the jewel-house, barracks, ordnance stores-houses, etc. Such of these as are shewn to the public we will proceed to describe ; but there are many interesting objects from which they are excluded, although we are not aware of any good reason why this should be so.

To this famous fortress tradition has assigned a very early date, but written records do not go further back than the time of William the Conqueror, who employed Bishop Gundulph to erect what is now known as the Keep or White Tower about 1078. Succeeding sovereigns enlarged or strengthened the place, and Stephen kept his court here in 1140 ; King John also at a later period. T moat was made about 1190 by Bishop Longchamp the regent. Edward II.'s eldest daughter was born here, and was known as Joan of the Tower. David king of Scotland, John king of France, and Philip his son, were imprisoned in this for

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

tress by Edward III. Richard II. took refuge here with his court and nobles to the number of 600 persons at the time of Wat Tyler's insurrection. In 1399 whilst being imprisoned here he was deposed. Edward IV. kept splendid court in the Tower. Henry VI., twice a prisoner here, died in the fortress in 1471. The tradition that George Duke of Clarence was drowned in the Tower in a butt of malmsey is well known ; and equally well known is the story of the two princes, Edward V. and his brother, murdered here at the wish of the usurper Richard, whose deposer and successor, Henry VII. often made the Tower his residence, and here held a great tournament in 1501, two years before the death of his queen, who expired here. His son received here in state all his wives before his marriages, and two of them, Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard, were beheaded where they had seen so much splendour. The youthful Edward VI. held his court here before he was crowned. The Protector Somerset was imprisoned here before he was beheaded on Tower Hill. Lady Jane Grey and her husband suffered the same punishment within the precincts of the Tower. The princess (afterwards queen) Elizabeth having been suspected of abetting Sir Thomas Wyatt's schemes was sent to the Tower, and as she entered traitor's gate she exclaimed, “Here landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs ; and before thee, O God, I speak it.” The pedant James frequently amused himself with witnessing the combats of the wild beasts then kept in the Tower. He was the last of our sovereigns who resided here, and the palace itself having become ruinous, was pulled down 150 years ago. It occupied the south-eastern portion of the inner ward.

It may be interesting to recount the names of the more distinguished persons who have been confined in this fortress :Griffin, Prince of Wales, killed in attempting to escape, 1240 ; Baliol, king of Scotland, and some of his nobility, 1296 ; William Wallace, 1305 ; the Knights Templar, 1307 ; Lord Mortimer, Queen Isabella's paramour, 1324 and 1330 ; David Bruce, king of Scotland, and his chieftains, taken prisoners at Neville's Cross, 1347 ; the Governor and twelve citizens of Calais, 1347 ; John, king of France, captured at Poictiers, 1357 ; Duke of Orleans, father of Louis XII., 1415 ; John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, 1534 ; Sir Thomas More, 1534 ; Cromwell, Earl of Essex, 1540 ; Latimer, 1541 ; Duke of Norfolk and his son,

« AnteriorContinua »