The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite.
The White Tower is a keep (also known as a donjon), which was often the strongest structure in a medieval castle, and contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, “The great tower [White Tower] was also, by virtue of its strength, majesty and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence”. As one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, the White Tower has been described as “the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe”.
The Murder of The Princes
the notorious murder of the Princes in the Tower is traditionally believed to have taken place. The incident is one of the most infamous events associated with the Tower of London. Edward V’s uncle Richard Duke of Gloucester was declared Lord Protector while the prince was too young to rule. Traditional accounts have held that the 12-year-old Edward was confined to the Tower of London along with his younger brother Richard. The Duke of Gloucester was proclaimed King Richard III in July. The princes were last seen in public in June 1483; it has traditionally been thought that the most likely reason for their disappearance is that they were murdered late in the summer of 1483. Bones thought to belong to them were discovered in 1674 when the 12th-century forebuilding at the entrance to the White Tower was demolished; however, the reputed level at which the bones were found (10 ft or 3 m) would put the bones at a depth similar to that of the recently discovered Roman graveyard found 12 ft (4 m) underneath the Minories a few hundred yards to the north. Opposition to Richard escalated until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, who ascended to the throne as Henry VII.
Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536 for treason against Henry VIII; her ghost supposedly haunts the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried, and has been said to walk around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm.This haunting is commemorated in the 1934 comic song “With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm”. Other reported ghosts include Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Pole, and the Princes in the Tower.In January 1816, a sentry on guard outside the Jewel House claimed to have witnessed an apparition of a bear advancing towards him, and reportedly died of fright a few days later.In October 1817, a tubular, glowing apparition was claimed to have been seen in the Jewel House by the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, Edmund Lenthal Swifte. He said that the apparition hovered over the shoulder of his wife, leading her to exclaim: “Oh, Christ! It has seized me!” Other nameless and formless terrors have been reported, more recently, by night staff at the Tower.
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