Tower of London

The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is 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 toward the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. 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 Norman ruling class. The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There wer...Read more

The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is 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 toward the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. 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 Norman ruling class. The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the Princes in the Tower were housed at the castle when they mysteriously disappeared, presumed murdered. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.

The zenith of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the world wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures.

In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, and the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, and guarded by the Yeomen Warders, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.

Foundation and early history

Victorious at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, the invading Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, spent the rest of the year securing his holdings by fortifying key positions. He founded several castles along the way, but took a circuitous route toward London;[1][2] only when he reached Canterbury did he turn towards England's largest city. As the fortified bridge into London was held by Saxon troops, he decided instead to ravage Southwark before continuing his journey around southern England.[3] A series of Norman victories along the route cut the city's supply lines and in December 1066, isolated and intimidated, its leaders yielded London without a fight.[4][5] Between 1066 and 1087, William established 36 castles,[2] although references in the Domesday Book indicate that many more were founded by his subordinates.[6] The Normans undertook what has been described as "the most extensive and concentrated programme of castle-building in the whole history of feudal Europe".[7] They were multi-purpose buildings, serving as fortifications (used as a base of operations in enemy territory), centres of administration, and residences.[8]

William sent an advance party to prepare the city for his entrance, to celebrate his victory and found a castle; in the words of William's biographer, William of Poitiers, "certain fortifications were completed in the city against the restlessness of the huge and brutal populace. For he [William] realised that it was of the first importance to overawe the Londoners".[1] At the time, London was the largest town in England; the foundation of Westminster Abbey and the old Palace of Westminster under Edward the Confessor had marked it as a centre of governance, and with a prosperous port it was important for the Normans to establish control over the settlement.[5] The other two castles in London – Baynard's Castle and Montfichet's Castle – were established at the same time.[9] The fortification that would later become known as the Tower of London was built onto the south-east corner of the Roman town walls, using them as prefabricated defences, with the River Thames providing additional protection from the south.[1] This earliest phase of the castle would have been enclosed by a ditch and defended by a timber palisade, and probably had accommodation suitable for William.[10]

 The White Tower dates from the late 11th century.

Most of the early Norman castles were built from timber, but by the end of the 11th century a few, including the Tower of London, had been renovated or replaced with stone.[9] Work on the White Tower – which gives the whole castle its name –[11] is usually considered to have begun in 1078, however the exact date is uncertain. William made Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, responsible for its construction, although it may not have been completed until after William's death in 1087.[11] The White Tower is the earliest stone keep in England, and was the strongest point of the early castle. It also contained grand accommodation for the king.[12] At the latest, it was probably finished by 1100 when Bishop Ranulf Flambard was imprisoned there.[13][nb 1] Flambard was loathed by the English for exacting harsh taxes. Although he is the first recorded prisoner held in the Tower, he was also the first person to escape from it, using a smuggled rope secreted in a butt of wine. He was held in luxury and permitted servants, but on 2 February 1101 he hosted a banquet for his captors. After plying them with drink, when no one was looking he lowered himself from a secluded chamber, and out of the Tower. The escape came as such a surprise that one contemporary chronicler accused the bishop of witchcraft.[15]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that in 1097 King William II ordered a wall to be built around the Tower of London; it was probably built from stone and likely replaced the timber palisade that arced around the north and west sides of the castle, between the Roman wall (to the east) and the Thames (to the south).[16] The Norman Conquest of London manifested itself not only with a new ruling class, but in the way the city was structured. Land was confiscated and redistributed amongst the Normans, who also brought over hundreds of Jews, for financial reasons.[17] The Jews arrived under the direct protection of the Crown, as a result of which Jewish communities were often found close to castles.[18] The Jews used the Tower as a retreat, when threatened by anti-Jewish violence.[17]

The death in 1135 of Henry I left England with a disputed succession; although the king had persuaded his most powerful barons to swear support for the Empress Matilda, just a few days after Henry's death Stephen of Blois arrived from France to lay claim to the throne. The importance of the city and its Tower is marked by the speed at which he secured London. The castle, which had not been used as a royal residence for some time, was usually left in the charge of a Constable, a post held at this time by Geoffrey de Mandeville. As the Tower was considered an impregnable fortress in a strategically important position, possession was highly valued. Mandeville exploited this, selling his allegiance to Matilda after Stephen was captured in 1141 at the Battle of Lincoln. Once her support waned, the following year he resold his loyalty to Stephen. Through his role as Constable of the Tower, Mandeville became "the richest and most powerful man in England".[19] When he tried the same ploy again, this time holding secret talks with Matilda, Stephen had him arrested, forced him to cede control of his castles, and replaced him with one of his most loyal supporters. Until then the position had been hereditary, originally held by Geoffrey de Mandeville, but the position's authority was such that from then on it remained in the hands of an appointee of the monarch. The position was usually given to someone of great importance, who might not always be at the castle due to other duties. Although the Constable was still responsible for maintaining the castle and its garrison, from an early stage he had a subordinate to help with this duty: the Lieutenant of the Tower.[19] Constables also had civic duties relating to the city. Usually they were given control of the city and were responsible for levying taxes, enforcing the law and maintaining order. The creation in 1191 of the position of Lord Mayor of London removed many of the Constable's civic powers, and at times led to friction between the two.[20]


The castle probably retained its form as established by 1100 until the reign of Richard I (1189–1199).[21] The castle was extended under William Longchamp, King Richard's Lord Chancellor and the man in charge of England while he was on crusade. The Pipe Rolls record £2,881 1s 10d spent at the Tower of London between 3 December 1189 and 11 November 1190,[22] from an estimated £7,000 spent by Richard on castle building in England.[23] According to the contemporary chronicler Roger of Howden, Longchamp dug a moat around the castle and tried in vain to fill it from the Thames.[24] Longchamp was also Constable of the Tower, and undertook its expansion while preparing for war with King Richard's younger brother, Prince John, who in Richard's absence arrived in England to try to seize power. As Longchamp's main fortress, he made the Tower as strong as possible. The new fortifications were first tested in October 1191, when the Tower was besieged for the first time in its history. Longchamp capitulated to John after just three days, deciding he had more to gain from surrender than prolonging the siege.[25]

John succeeded Richard as king in 1199, but his rule proved unpopular with many of his barons, who in response moved against him. In 1214, while the king was at Windsor Castle, Robert Fitzwalter led an army into London and laid siege to the Tower. Although under-garrisoned, the Tower resisted and the siege was lifted once John signed the Magna Carta.[26] The king reneged on his promises of reform, leading to the outbreak of the First Barons' War. Even after the Magna Carta was signed, Fitzwalter maintained his control of London. During the war, the Tower's garrison joined forces with the barons. John was deposed in 1216 and the barons offered the English throne to Prince Louis, the eldest son of the French king. However, after John's death in October 1216, many began to support the claim of his eldest son, Henry III. War continued between the factions supporting Louis and Henry, with Fitzwalter supporting Louis. Fitzwalter was still in control of London and the Tower, both of which held out until it was clear that Henry III's supporters would prevail.[26]

In the 13th century, Kings Henry III (1216–1272) and Edward I (1272–1307) extended the castle, essentially creating it as it stands today.[27] Henry was disconnected from his barons, and a mutual lack of understanding led to unrest and resentment towards his rule. As a result, he was eager to ensure the Tower of London was a formidable fortification; at the same time Henry was an aesthete and wished to make the castle a comfortable place to live.[28] From 1216 to 1227 nearly £10,000 was spent on the Tower of London; in this period, only the work at Windsor Castle cost more (£15,000). Most of the work was focused on the palatial buildings of the innermost ward.[29] The tradition of whitewashing the White Tower (from which it derives its name) began in 1240.[30]

Beginning around 1238, the castle was expanded to the east, north, and north-west. The work lasted through the reign of Henry III and into that of Edward I, interrupted occasionally by civil unrest. New creations included a new defensive perimeter, studded with towers, while on the west, north, and east sides, where the wall was not defended by the river, a defensive ditch was dug. The eastern extension took the castle beyond the bounds of the old Roman settlement, marked by the city wall which had been incorporated into the castle's defences.[30] The Tower had long been a symbol of oppression, despised by Londoners, and Henry's building programme was unpopular. So when the gatehouse collapsed in 1240, the locals celebrated the setback.[31] The expansion caused disruption locally and £166 was paid to St Katherine's Hospital and the prior of Holy Trinity in compensation.[32]

Henry III often held court at the Tower of London, and held parliament there on at least two occasions (1236 and 1261) when he felt that the barons were becoming dangerously unruly. In 1258, the discontented barons, led by Simon de Montfort, forced the King to agree to reforms including the holding of regular parliaments. Relinquishing the Tower of London was among the conditions. Henry III resented losing power and sought permission from the pope to break his oath. With the backing of mercenaries, Henry installed himself in the Tower in 1261. While negotiations continued with the barons, the King ensconced himself in the castle, although no army moved to take it. A truce was agreed with the condition that the King hand over control of the Tower once again. Henry won a significant victory at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, allowing him to regain control of the country and the Tower of London. Cardinal Ottobuon came to England to excommunicate those who were still rebellious; the act was deeply unpopular and the situation was exacerbated when the cardinal was granted custody of the Tower. Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford, marched on London in April 1267 and laid siege to the castle, declaring that custody of the Tower was "not a post to be trusted in the hands of a foreigner, much less of an ecclesiastic".[33] Despite a large army and siege engines, Gilbert de Clare was unable to take the castle. The Earl retreated, allowing the King control of the capital, and the Tower experienced peace for the rest of Henry's reign.[34]

Although he was rarely in London, Edward I undertook an expensive remodelling of the Tower, costing £21,000 between 1275 and 1285, over double that spent on the castle during the whole of Henry III's reign.[35] Edward I was a seasoned castle builder, and used his experience of siege warfare during the crusades to bring innovations to castle building.[35] His programme of castle building in Wales heralded the introduction of the widespread use of arrowslits in castle walls across Europe, drawing on Eastern influences.[36] At the Tower of London, Edward filled in the moat dug by Henry III and built a new curtain wall along its line, creating a new enclosure. A new moat was created in front of the new curtain wall. The western part of Henry III's curtain wall was rebuilt, with Beauchamp Tower replacing the castle's old gatehouse. A new entrance was created, with elaborate defences including two gatehouses and a barbican.[37] In an effort to make the castle self-sufficient, Edward I also added two watermills.[38] Six hundred Jews were imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1278, charged with coin clipping.[17] Persecution of the country's Jewish population under Edward began in 1276 and culminated in 1290 when he issued the Edict of Expulsion, forcing the Jews out of the country.[39] In 1279, the country's numerous mints were unified under a single system whereby control was centralised to the mint within the Tower of London, while mints outside of London were reduced, with only a few local and episcopal mints continuing to operate.[40]

Later Medieval Period  A model of the Tower of London as it appeared after the extension of the wharf in the late medieval period and the addition of the brick Bulwark at the west end of the castle under Edward IV.[41]

During Edward II's reign (1307–1327) there was relatively little activity at the Tower of London.[42] However, it was during this period that the Privy Wardrobe was founded. The institution was based at the Tower and responsible for organising the state's arms.[43] In 1321, Margaret de Clare, Baroness Badlesmere became the first woman imprisoned in the Tower of London after she refused Queen Isabella admittance to Leeds Castle[44] and ordered her archers to target Isabella, killing six of the royal escort.[45][46][47] Generally reserved for high-ranking inmates, the Tower was the most important royal prison in the country.[48] However it was not necessarily very secure, and throughout its history people bribed the guards to help them escape. In 1323, Roger Mortimer, Baron Mortimer, was aided in his escape from the Tower by the Sub-Lieutenant of the Tower who let Mortimer's men inside. They hacked a hole in his cell wall and Mortimer escaped to a waiting boat. He fled to France where he encountered Edward's Queen. They began an affair and plotted to overthrow the King.

One of Mortimer's first acts on entering England in 1326 was to capture the Tower and release the prisoners held there. For four years he ruled while Edward III was too young to do so himself; in 1330, Edward and his supporters captured Mortimer and threw him into the Tower.[49] Under Edward III's rule (1312–1377) England experienced renewed success in warfare after his father's reign had put the realm on the backfoot against the Scots and French. Amongst Edward's successes were the battles of Crécy and Poitiers where King John II of France was taken prisoner, and the capture of the King David II of Scotland at Neville's Cross. During this period, the Tower of London held many noble prisoners of war.[50] Edward II had allowed the Tower of London to fall into a state of disrepair,[51] and by the reign of Edward III the castle was an uncomfortable place. The nobility held captive within its walls were unable to engage in activities such as hunting which were permissible at other royal castles used as prisons, for instance Windsor. Edward III ordered that the castle should be renovated.[52]

 Charles, Duke of Orléans, the nephew of the King of France, was held in the Tower during the Hundred Years' War. This late 15th-century image is the earliest surviving non-schematic picture of the Tower of London. It shows the White Tower, the water-gate, and Old London Bridge in the background.[53]

When Richard II was crowned in 1377, he led a procession from the Tower to Westminster Abbey. This tradition began in at least the early 14th century and lasted until 1660.[50] During the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 the Tower of London was besieged with the King inside. When Richard rode out to meet with Wat Tyler, the rebel leader, a crowd broke into the castle without meeting resistance and looted the Jewel House. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury, took refuge in St John's Chapel, hoping the mob would respect the sanctuary. However, he was taken away and beheaded on Tower Hill.[54] Six years later there was again civil unrest, and Richard spent Christmas in the security of the Tower rather than Windsor as was more usual.[55] When Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile in 1399, Richard was imprisoned in the White Tower. He abdicated and was replaced on the throne by Bolingbroke, who became King Henry IV.[54] In the 15th century, there was little building work at the Tower of London, yet the castle still remained important as a place of refuge. When supporters of the late Richard II attempted a coup, Henry IV found safety in the Tower of London. During this period, the castle also held many distinguished prisoners. The heir to the Scottish throne, later King James I of Scotland, was kidnapped while journeying to France in 1406 and held in the Tower. The reign of Henry V (1413–1422) renewed England's fortune in the Hundred Years' War against France. As a result of Henry's victories, such as the Battle of Agincourt, many high-status prisoners were held in the Tower of London until they were ransomed.[56]

Much of the latter half of the 15th century was occupied by the Wars of the Roses between the claimants to the throne, the houses of Lancaster and York.[57] The castle was once again besieged in 1460, this time by a Yorkist force. The Tower was damaged by artillery fire but only surrendered when Henry VI was captured at the Battle of Northampton. With the help of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (nicknamed "the Kingmaker") Henry recaptured the throne for a short time in 1470. However, Edward IV soon regained control and Henry VI was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was probably murdered.[54] In 1471, during the Siege of London, the Tower's Yorkist garrison exchanged fire with Lancastrians holding Southwark, and sallied from the fortress to take part in a pincer movement to attack Lancastrians who were assaulting Aldgate on London's defensive wall. During the wars, the Tower was fortified to withstand gunfire, and provided with loopholes for cannons and handguns: an enclosure called the Bulwark was created for this purpose to the south of Tower Hill, although it no longer survives.[57]

 Prince Edward V and Richard in the Tower, 1483 by Sir John Everett Millais, 1878

Shortly after the death of Edward IV in 1483, 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.[58] Edward V's uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester was declared Lord Protector while the prince was too young to rule.[59] 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 June. The princes were last seen in public in June 1483;[58] it has traditionally been thought that the most likely reason for their disappearance is that they were murdered late in the summer of 1483.[59] 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 Roman graveyard found, in 2011, 12 ft (4 m) underneath the Minories a few hundred yards to the north.[60] 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.[58] As king, Henry VII built a tower for a library next to the King's Tower.[61]

Changing use

The beginning of the Tudor period marked the start of the decline of the Tower of London's use as a royal residence. As 16th-century chronicler Raphael Holinshed said the Tower became used more as "an armouries and house of munition, and thereunto a place for the safekeeping of offenders than a palace roiall for a king or queen to sojourne in".[53] Henry VII visited the Tower on fourteen occasions between 1485 and 1500, usually staying for less than a week at a time.[62] The Yeoman Warders have been the Royal Bodyguard since at least 1509.[63] In 1517 the Tower fired its cannon at City crowds engaged in the xenophobic Evil May Day riots, in which the properties of foreign residents were looted. It is not thought that any rioters were hurt by the gunfire, which was probably meant merely to intimidate the mob.[64]

During the reign of Henry VIII, the Tower was assessed as needing considerable work on its defences. In 1532, Thomas Cromwell spent £3,593 on repairs and imported nearly 3,000 tons of Caen stone for the work.[65] Even so, this was not sufficient to bring the castle up to the standard of contemporary military fortifications which were designed to withstand powerful artillery.[66] Although the defences were repaired, the palace buildings were left in a state of neglect after Henry's death. Their condition was so poor that they were virtually uninhabitable.[53] From 1547 onwards, the Tower of London was only used as a royal residence when its political and historic symbolism was considered useful, for instance each of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I briefly stayed at the Tower before their coronations.[67]

In the 16th century, the Tower acquired an enduring reputation as a grim, forbidding prison. This had not always been the case. As a royal castle, it was used by the monarch to imprison people for various reasons, however these were usually high-status individuals for short periods rather than common citizenry as there were plenty of prisons elsewhere for such people. Contrary to the popular image of the Tower, prisoners were able to make their life easier by purchasing amenities such as better food or tapestries through the Lieutenant of the Tower.[68] As holding prisoners was originally an incidental role of the Tower – as would have been the case for any castle – there was no purpose-built accommodation for prisoners until 1687 when a brick shed, a "Prison for Soldiers", was built to the north-west of the White Tower. The Tower's reputation for torture and imprisonment derives largely from 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century romanticists.[69] Although much of the Tower's reputation is exaggerated, the 16th and 17th centuries marked the castle's zenith as a prison, with many religious and political undesirables locked away.[69] The Privy Council had to sanction the use of torture, so it was not often used; between 1540 and 1640, the peak of imprisonment at the Tower, there were 48 recorded cases of the use of torture. The three most common forms used were the infamous rack, the Scavenger's daughter, and manacles.[70] The rack was introduced to England in 1447 by the Duke of Exeter, the Constable of the Tower; consequentially it was also known as the Duke of Exeter's daughter.[71] One of those tortured at the Tower was Guy Fawkes, who was brought there on 6 November 1605; after torture he signed a full confession to the Gunpowder Plot.[69]

Among those held and executed at the Tower was Anne Boleyn.[69] Although the Yeoman Warders were once the Royal Bodyguard, by the 16th and 17th centuries their main duty had become to look after the prisoners.[72] The Tower was often a safer place than other prisons in London such as the Fleet, where disease was rife. High-status prisoners could live in conditions comparable to those they might expect outside; one such example was that while Walter Raleigh was held in the Tower his rooms were altered to accommodate his family, including his son who was born there in 1605.[70] Executions were usually carried out on Tower Hill rather than in the Tower of London itself, and 112 people were executed on the hill over 400 years.[73] Before the 20th century, there had been seven executions within the castle on Tower Green; as was the case with Lady Jane Grey, this was reserved for prisoners for whom public execution was considered dangerous.[73] After Lady Jane Grey's execution on 12 February 1554,[74] Queen Mary I imprisoned her sister Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I, in the Tower under suspicion of causing rebellion as Sir Thomas Wyatt had led a revolt against Mary in Elizabeth's name.[75]

 Memorial To The Executed in the Tower, unveiled in 2006, designed by Brian Catling The cobbled surface of Tower Hill to the north of the Tower of London. Over a period of 400 years, 112 people were executed on the hill.[73]

The Office of Ordnance and Armoury Office were founded in the 15th century, taking over the Privy Wardrobe's duties of looking after the monarch's arsenal and valuables.[76] As there was no standing army before 1661, the importance of the royal armoury at the Tower of London was that it provided a professional basis for procuring supplies and equipment in times of war. The two bodies were resident at the Tower from at least 1454, and by the 16th century they had moved to a position in the inner ward.[77] The Board of Ordnance (successor to these Offices) had its headquarters in the White Tower and used surrounding buildings for storage. In 1855 the Board was abolished; its successor (the Military Store Department of the War Office) was also based there until 1869, after which its headquarters staff were relocated to the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich (where the recently closed Woolwich Dockyard was converted into a vast ordnance store).[78]

Political tensions between Charles I and Parliament in the second quarter of the 17th century led to an attempt by forces loyal to the King to secure the Tower and its valuable contents, including money and munitions. London's Trained Bands, a militia force, were moved into the castle in 1640. Plans for defence were drawn up and gun platforms were built, readying the Tower for war. The preparations were never put to the test. In 1642, Charles I attempted to arrest five members of parliament. When this failed he fled the city, and Parliament retaliated by removing Sir John Byron, the Lieutenant of the Tower. The Trained Bands had switched sides, and now supported Parliament; together with the London citizenry, they blockaded the Tower. With permission from the King, Byron relinquished control of the Tower. Parliament replaced Byron with a man of their own choosing, Sir John Conyers. By the time the English Civil War broke out in November 1642, the Tower of London was already in Parliament's control.[79]

The last monarch to uphold the tradition of taking a procession from the Tower to Westminster to be crowned was Charles II in 1661. At the time, the castle's accommodation was in such poor condition that he did not stay there the night before his coronation.[80] Under the Stuart kings the Tower's buildings were remodelled, mostly under the auspices of the Office of Ordnance. Just over £4,000 was spent in 1663 on building a new storehouse, now known as the New Armouries in the inner ward.[81] In the 17th century there were plans to enhance the Tower's defences in the style of the trace italienne, however they were never acted on. Although the facilities for the garrison were improved with the addition of the first purpose-built quarters for soldiers (the "Irish Barracks") in 1670, the general accommodations were still in poor condition.[82]

 An engraving of the Tower of London in 1737 by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck

When the Hanoverian dynasty ascended the throne, their situation was uncertain and with a possible Scottish rebellion in mind, the Tower of London was repaired. Most of the work in this period (1750 to 1770) was done by the King's Master Mason, John Deval.[83] Gun platforms added under the Stuarts had decayed. The number of guns at the Tower was reduced from 118 to 45, and one contemporary commentator noted that the castle "would not hold out four and twenty hours against an army prepared for a siege".[84] For the most part, the 18th-century work on the defences was spasmodic and piecemeal, although a new gateway in the southern curtain wall permitting access from the wharf to the outer ward was added in 1774. The moat surrounding the castle had become silted over the centuries since it was created despite attempts at clearing it. It was still an integral part of the castle's defences, so in 1830 the Constable of the Tower, the Duke of Wellington, ordered a large-scale clearance of several feet of silt. However this did not prevent an outbreak of disease in the garrison in 1841 caused by poor water supply, resulting in several deaths. To prevent the festering ditch posing further health problems, it was ordered that the moat should be drained and filled with earth. The work began in 1843 and was mostly complete two years later. The construction of the Waterloo Barracks in the inner ward began in 1845, when the Duke of Wellington laid the foundation stone. The building could accommodate 1,000 men; at the same time, separate quarters for the officers were built to the north-east of the White Tower. The building is now the headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.[85] The popularity of the Chartist movement between 1828 and 1858 led to a desire to refortify the Tower of London in the event of civil unrest. It was the last major programme of fortification at the castle. Most of the surviving installations for the use of artillery and firearms date from this period.[86]

During the First World War, eleven men were tried in private and shot by firing squad at the Tower for espionage.[87] During the Second World War, the Tower was once again used to hold prisoners of war. One such person was Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, albeit just for four days in 1941. He was the last state prisoner to be held at the castle.[88] The last person to be executed at the Tower was German spy Josef Jakobs who was shot on 15 August 1941.[89] The executions for espionage during the wars took place in a prefabricated miniature rifle range which stood in the outer ward and was demolished in 1969.[90] The Second World War also saw the last use of the Tower as a fortification. In the event of a German invasion, the Tower, together with the Royal Mint and nearby warehouses, was to have formed one of three "keeps" or complexes of defended buildings which formed the last-ditch defences of the capital.[91]

^ a b c Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 5 ^ a b Liddiard 2005, p. 18 ^ Bennett 2001, p. 45 ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 45–47 ^ a b Wilson 1998, p. 1 ^ Allen Brown 1976, p. 30 ^ Allen Brown 1976, p. 31 ^ Friar 2003, p. 47 ^ a b Wilson 1998, p. 2 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, pp. 5–9 ^ a b Allen Brown 1976, p. 44 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, pp. 9–10 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 12 ^ Wilson 1998, p. 5 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 5–6 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, pp. 12–13 ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference Parnell 1993 54 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Creighton 2002, p. 147 ^ a b Wilson 1998, pp. 6–9 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 14–15 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 13 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 15 ^ Gillingham 2002, p. 304 ^ Cite error: The named reference ABC 15-17 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 13–14 ^ a b Wilson 1998, pp. 17–18 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 17 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 19–20 ^ Cite error: The named reference Parnell 1993 27 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, p. 20 ^ Wilson 1998, p. 21 ^ Allen Brown & Curnow 1984, pp. 20–21 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 24–27 ^ Wilson 1998, p. 27 ^ a b Parnell 1993, p. 35 ^ Cathcart King 1988, p. 84 ^ Parnell 1993, pp. 35–44 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 31 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 34, 36 ^ "Records of the Royal Mint". The National Archive. Retrieved 6 June 2017. ^ "Tower of London World Heritage Site Management Plan" (PDF). Historic Royal Palaces. pp. xi–xii. ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 41 ^ Lapper & Parnell 2000, p. 28 ^ Wilson 1998, p. 40 ^ Costain 1958, pp. 193–195 ^ Calendar of Patent Rolls. 1321–1327. p. 29 ^ Strickland 1840, p. 201 ^ Friar 2003, p. 235 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 34, 42–43 ^ a b Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 42 ^ Cite error: The named reference Parnell 1993 47 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Wilson 1998, p. 45 ^ a b c Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 51 ^ a b c Parnell 1993, p. 53 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 44 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 45 ^ a b Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 46 ^ a b c Impey & Parnell 2000, pp. 46–47 ^ a b Horrox 2004 ^ Kennedy, Maev (29 October 2013). "Roman eagle found by archaeologists in City of London". The Guardian. ^ Weir 2008, pp. 16–17 ^ Thurley 2017 ^ Yeoman Warders, Historic Royal Palaces, archived from the original on 29 July 2010, retrieved 21 July 2010 ^ Bowle 1964 ^ Cite error: The named reference Parnell 1993 55 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 73 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 52 ^ Wilson 1998, pp. 10–11 ^ a b c d Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 91 ^ a b Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 92 ^ Black 1927, p. 345 ^ Parnell 1993, p. 117 ^ a b c Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 94 ^ Plowden 2004 ^ Collinson 2004 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 47 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 57 ^ Semark, H.W. (1997). The Royal Naval Armament Depots of Priddy's Hard, Elson, Frater and Bedenham, 1768–1977. Winchester: Hampshire County Council. p. 124. ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 74 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, pp. 54–55 ^ Cite error: The named reference Parnell 1993 64 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Parnell 1993, pp. 76–77 ^ Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 by Rupert Gunnisp.129 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 78 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, pp. 79–80 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 81 ^ Executions at The Tower of London (PDF), Historic Royal Palaces, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2011, retrieved 31 July 2010 ^ Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 123 ^ Sellers 1997, p. 179 ^ Parnell 1993, pp. 117–118 ^ Osbourne 2012, p. 167

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