London: volume 2

Knight, Charles.


XL.-The Tower.-No. 3. (Continued from No. XXXIX.): The Prison.

XL.-The Tower.-No. 3. (Continued from No. XXXIX.): The Prison.




Deeply interesting as the Tower appears from whatever point of view we look upon it, all other matters sink into comparative insignificance beside its preeminently distinctive feature--the State-Prison of England. Were it possible, indeed, to strip it of every other association, not the less would it remain of the most interesting buildings in the world. It is useless to speak of single names, or single incidents. The Tower could spare a score of these, each of them important enough to immortalize any locality, without sensible diminution of its wealth. Kings, queens, statesmen, patriots, philosophers, poets, martyrs, form the almost unbroken line of illustrious captives for some or centuries. There is scarcely a single great event of our history wherein this terrible edifice does not appear looming in the distance. It would be hardly possible to find ancient family of distinction to which the Tower has not bequeathed some fearful and ghastly memories.

But these remarks refer only to the known--the recorded history. If we could learn the unknown! When we reflect on the partial and occasional glimpses which have been afforded into the depths of those gloomy dungeons, which still meet the eye of the stranger, telling their fearful secrets in their lowering aspect, --when we read the plainest matter-of-fact descriptions of such places as the Little Hell, or the Rats' Dungeon, the imagination recoils in horror at the thought of


what must have met the eye, at almost any period of the earlier history of the Tower, could the entire buildings have been suddenly unroofed, and its most secret recesses laid open to the broad day! No refinement of physical cruelty ever devised by fiction but has here had its prototype in reality; no mode of mental suffering that has not here exhibited itself; and, we may add, no heights of human fortitude that have not been reached by the occupants of those earth-buried cells. It is not the greater inhabitants of the Tower only to whom these remarks apply. Inscriptions yet remain on the walls, like so many voices ascending from out the vast multitude of humbler prisoners, arousing our warmest sympathies and admiration for them too, whom we are but too apt to forget in the presence of their more distinguished fellows. How profoundly melancholy is this expression of grief, inscribed on the wall of the Beauchamp Tower!-

Since fortune hath chosen that my hope should go to the wind to complain, I wish the time were destroyed: my planet being ever sad and unpropitious. Wilim: Tyrrel,



[n.234.1]  Who was William Tyrrel? No can tell. He is but of thousands who have passed from the cheerful sunshine and great business of life into inscrutable darkness, and perhaps into the welcomed, because tortureless, and quiet grave. Dante's line, written over the infernal portals, , would indeed have been a suitable inscription for the Tower gateway, and there would have been little cause to fear a recurrence of an incident that did once take place, the death of a prisoner, who had so given up all hope, from mere revulsion of feeling at being informed he was free. Such liberations were never dangerously frequent. Yet there were men who could look upon so dread a trial as this without despair,--who would even take it to their bosoms whilst they wrote upon their prison walls in letters that, to our eyes, still make the place luminous:--

The most unhappy man is he that is not patient in adversities; for men are not killed with the adversities they have, but with the impatience they suffer.

The history of the Tower-Prison is necessarily, in a great measure, a reflex of the history of the monarchs of England, and, in every age, borrows its hues from their characters. So strikingly true is this, that there could be no doubt, for instance, as to the ambition of Edward I., or the weakness of Edward II., the lusts of Henry VIII., the bigotry of Mary, or the vanity of Elizabeth, if we possessed no other records than these walls could furnish.

Prior to the reign of the of these sovereigns, the principal persons who had been confined in the Tower were Ralph Flambard, the minister of Rufus's extortion and tyranny, who escaped in the mode before described; his less successful imitator, Griffin, son of the Prince of North Wales; and Hubert de Burgh, the brave, single-minded, but unfortunate minister of John and Henry III. Edward kept the Tower in continual requisition. , he fell upon the Jews, (in ,) who were seized without distinction in every part of England, on the pretence of clipping and adulterating coin, and of their number thrown into the Tower. The Welsh next furnished a supply of victims for these insatiable walls; then the Scotch, during the king's attempts to subjugate these countries. The battle of Dunbar, in , placed in Edward's hands not only the Scottish king, Baliol, but a large portion of the most influential Scottish


nobility, many of whom shared their sovereign's captivity in the Tower. But the great memory of the Tower in this reign is Wallace, who entered its gloomy walls in , and, after undergoing a kind of trial, was dragged from thence through to Smithfield, tied to horses' tails, and there executed with barbarities according but too well with the infamy of the deed. Lastly, the courts of law, and the monastic cloister, swelled the immense number of prisoners during this period, the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and several other judges, having been committed for corruption, and the entire inmates of , abbot, monks, and servants, on suspicion of theft. This was a curious affair. Whilst Edward was in Scotland, in , his treasury, then kept in the Abbey, was broken open, and robbed to the extent, it is said, of a . No thief could be discovered, so Edward summarily packed off to the Tower the whole establishment, of persons. They were tried, and acquitted. We have here a striking proof of Edward's determined character. The abbot, however, had perhaps as little of the spirit of Becket as the King of Henry II.

Edward II. troubled himself little with foreign acquisitions, but not the less did the Tower find a sufficiency of inhabitants. The Knights Templars were now dissolved, and all the knights-south of the Trent committed to the great state-prison, where the Master died. The continued struggles of the Welsh to recover their independence again resulted in the imprisonment in the Tower of many of their bravest champions, some of whom died there, others were liberated after long confinement. But internal dissension was the chief feature of this reign, and, consequently, whichever of the parties was uppermost, the weak King or his discontented barons, Englishmen still thronged the dungeons. Another escape marks this period. Elated by some little successes, the King all at once grew bold, and attacked the more powerful of his enemies on the borders of Wales, where he was little expected. Lord Mortimer and several other barons were seized, and committed to the Tower. Here he gained over his keeper, and having invited Stephen de Segrave, the constable, with the other chief officers of the Tower, to a banquet, he made them intoxicated, and got safely off to France. He then joined the Queen, and immediately set on foot the conspiracy which ended in Edward's imprisonment in his own palace here, and subsequent murder. A day of retribution was approaching. By the young King Edward III.'s order, Mortimer was, as we have before mentioned, suddenly arrested at Nottingham, and brought, with his sons and others, to the Tower, loaded with chains, and there left in of its darkest dungeons till the period of his trial and execution. This act of the new monarch told his subjects that a new period was dawning upon them. France and Scotland were again the battlefields on which English valour exhibited itself to the eyes of the world, and each country continued through this long and brilliant reign to pour their tribute of illustrious captives into our great fortress. John Earl of Murray, of the great supports of the Scottish throne, was taken prisoner in , and, being unable to raise the immense ransom demanded, lingered here for some years. The mode of his liberation is not the least remarkable part of his history. In he was granted to William Earl of Salisbury, like so much land or live stock,

to do with him as most for his advantage;

and, remarkably enough,


ultimately was exchanged for his own keeper (on Salisbury's being made prisoner in France), through the intercession of the King of Scotland. In another terrible blow desolated the hearths of half the nobility and knighthood of Scotland; this was the battle of Neville's Cross, near Durham, in which David Bruce, the King, the Earls of Fife, Monteith, Wigtown, and Carrick, the Lord Douglas, and other distinguished chiefs, fell into the hands of the English. The King was immediately conducted, with all honour and ceremony, under an escort of men, to London, through the streets of which he passed towards the Tower, mounted on a high black courser; the civic companies lining the whole way on the occasion, habited in their liveries. dreary years did the unhappy monarch spend in the Tower before he could obtain his liberation, even on the high condition of engaging to pay , and delivering some of his principal nobility as hostages. Some of his nobility were still less fortunate. The Earl of Monteith, having previously done fealty to Edward, was hanged and quartered. Let us turn next to the evidences of the French campaigns. In , Edward having taken Caen,

a goodly town, and full of drapery and other merchandise, and rich burgesses, and noble ladies and damsels, and fine churches, and


of the fairest castles in all Normandy,

sent off to the Tower, as the fruits of his success, the Constable of France, with the Count de Tankerville, opulent citizens, and an immense amount of booty. In the Tower gates opened to admit prisoners, of whom had been known only as peaceful citizens a few months before; yet even the grim warders themselves must have warmed with something like admiration, as they looked upon these same citizens now, and learned they were the men whose fame had spread far and wide, as the heroic defenders of Calais whilst it could be defended, and its saviours afterwards by their giving themselves up to the conqueror as an expiatory sacrifice for the crime of their fellow-citizens in refusing so long to yield their beloved town to foreigners. The Governor of Calais, John de Viennes, was at their head. The next important French prisoner was Charles de Blois, whose struggle for the dukedom of Brittany, against De Montford and his fair and gallant Countess, had cost both nations so much blood and treasure. He was not liberated till , and then only after heavy ransom had been exacted. In , rews of a great battle that had taken place in France began to be bruited abroad, in which it was said the English had thrown all their other recent victories into the shade. Accordingly, on the , the assembled multitudes of the metropolis beheld their Favourite Black Prince enter at the head of a triumphal procession that surpassed even the wildest tales of rumour. The King of France, his son, other princes of the blood, earls, and an innumerable train of lesser but still important personages, graced the pageant of the victor of Poictiers. The chief residence of John was the Savoy; the other illustrious prisoners were mostly confined in that prison whose terrible walls must by this time have become almost as much an object of awe in France and in Scotland as in our own country. Another eminent member of the bench, William de Thorp, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, was in the present reign degraded for venality and corruption, and thrown into the Tower. The frequent occurrence of cases of this kind is a noticeable commentary on the state of things at home, whilst our


monarchs were wasting their talents, energies, and revenues, to say nothing of their slaughtered subjects, in attempts at foreign subjugation. We shall only mention other captive of Edward's reign. Valeran, Earl of St. Paul, a young French noble, as distinguished for his elegance of manners as for his bravery, was made prisoner in a skirmish near Lyques, and presented to the English King. . The rugged Tower itself seems to have grown gracious to the light-hearted young foreigner whilst he stayed in it; and when he left it, it was for a confinement of a gentler description. At Windsor he met the Lady Maud, who was then residing at^ he castle with her mother, the Princess of Wales; both, it appears, had a taste for

dancing and carolling;

the result was that Earl St. Paul returned to his native country richer by a wife,

the fairest lady in all England,

than he had left it. The remarkable similarity between the circumstances attending this match, and those attending the marriage of the poet-King of Scotland, will not escape the notice of the readers of a previous number-St. Mary Overies.

The weakness of the next sovereign, Richard II., produced again the lamentable results which had marked the reign of the Edward,--internal warfare, jealousies, struggles of rival noblemen for power, &c. The closeness of the parallel indeed is extraordinary, for in the end, Richard, like his predecessor, was deposed, imprisoned in his own Palace-Tower-and only removed from thence to be mysteriously murdered. During this period many distinguished men were confined here; some but as a step to their execution. Sir Simon Burley, the companion of the present King, chosen by his father, the Black Prince, whilst Richard was yet a boy, and of the bravest and most accomplished men of his time, was the chief of these victims to the spirit of faction. He was executed on , on the spot afterwards destined to be famous for scenes of a similar kind. Froissart, noticing this event, says:--

To write of his shameful death right sore displeaseth me; for when I was young I found him a noble knight, sage and wise.

On the breaking up of the confederacy, at whose instance this savage deed had taken place, its chief members fell into Richard's hands; of whom the Duke of Gloucester perished, no knows how, in the castle of Calais; and the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, Lord Cobham, and Sir John Cheyney, took their late victim's place in the Tower, and the (Arundel) followed his footsteps still further, even to the gallows on the neighbouring hill. This improvement in the King's affairs was but temporary; the star of Bolingbroke was now in the ascendant. We need only add to the account of subsequent events given in the preceding paper, that Richard during his confinement had the anguish of beholding of his adherents, who were supposed to have been implicated in the death of the Earl of Gloucester at Calais, brought under the very window of his room, tied to horses' tails, and dragged off towards , where they were beheaded on a fishmonger's stall. captive in the Tower during this reign yet remains to be mentioned, who has not been noticed by the historians of the edifice, though of the most memorable of its unwilling visitants. The great poet Chaucer was confined in the Tower not less than years, during which he wrote his prose work called

The Testament of Love,

in imitation of the example of Boethius, who, under a similar calamity, produced his

Consolations of Philosophy.

The work is in the form of a


dialogue between the prisoner and Love, who visits him in his cell here, and listens to his account of his misfortunes, and their cause, namely, the politics of London, and his devotion to the Lady Marguerite, under which designation he fancifully refers to the spiritual comfort of the Church. Chaucer, like his great patron, John of Gaunt, was a firm Wickliffite, and took part in the struggle between the Court and the City concerning the re-election of John of Northampton, a follower of Wickliffe, and of the Duke's partisans. A commotion ensued, some lives were lost, John of Northampton was sent to prison, and Chaucer, who was implicated in the affair, fled to Zealand for a time; then returned to England, was arrested, and thrown into the Tower. He appears to have been liberated about , and at the price of certain disclosures, which have been too readily assumed as dishonourable, considering that he retained the friendship of his illustrious patron; and John of Northampton received the royal pardon: these apparently being the only persons, if any, affected by his statements.

Among the prisoners in the Tower concerned in the conspiracy that broke out almost immediately after Bolingbroke's accession to the throne, was his own brother-in-law, the Earl of Huntingdon, who was beheaded without trial, and his head placed on , till his wife (Bolingbroke's sister) obtained permission for its decent burial with the body in the college of Pleshy. Among the other distinguished captives of this reign were a kinsman and son of Owen Glendower; and James I. of Scotland, whom we have recently mentioned, who was confined here at several different periods. This reign is also characterised by the passing of an act against heretics, or Lollards, which soon began to fill the Tower dungeons with a new species of sufferers, and invest them with a more melancholy interest. The leader of these founders of English Protestantism was a man in every way worthy of the high but fearful mission allotted to him--this was Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham, a man of talent and courage, who had been the intimate associate of Henry V. prior to his accession to the throne. In the year of this King's reign Lord Cobham was accused of heresy; and Henry, having in vain endeavoured to convince his early friend of his errors, left him to the operation of the ecclesiastical law, by which he was ultimately sentenced to the flames. On hearing his fate pronounced, he fell on his knees in the Court and fervently prayed Heaven's mercy for his persecutors. Owing possibly in some way to the secret desire of the King that he should escape, Cobham managed to get out of the Tower, and in spite of the immense reward offered for his apprehension remained years at liberty. In he unhappily again fell into the hands of his remorseless persecutors, and was drawn from the Tower to Fields, hanged by the middle with a chain, and burnt to death. Turning from this and other similarly unhappy recollections of the Tower during the reign of Henry V., the reverse of the bright picture which too often alone occupies our thoughts when we think of the conqueror of Agincourt, we again meet with a continual stream of French captives pouring into the Tower; some of whom, including the Duke of Bourbon and Marshal Boucicaut, died within its walls. The Duke of Orleans, taken also in the great battle we have mentioned, spent many years in the Tower, amusing himself, as already noticed, with poetical recreations.



The young King of Scotland was all this time in captivity, though his marriage with Jane Beaufort had given a new colour to his residence in England. of the earliest acts of the government on the accession of Henry VI. was his liberation; when the Tower received a brilliant troop of Scottish nobles, who were to be kept there as hostages for the payment of their King's ransom. Their confinement was of the pleasantest description; their relatives having free access to them, as well as their servants, with horses, hawks, and hounds. We must now pass over many events, interesting in themselves, but which our space will not allow us to dwell upon, such as the confinement of Owen Tudor,--grandfather to Henry VII.; of the Duchess of Gloucester, who was charged with conspiring with Margaret Jourdayn, the witch of Eye, to take away the life of the King by devising an image of wax representing his person, who would then consume and die away as the image should melt before a slow fire; and of the Duke of Suffolk, who, soon after leaving the Tower in pursuance of his sentence of banishment, was beheaded on the side of a boat at Dover, a sacrifice to popular vengeance. The Wars of the Roses now begin, and every page of the subsequent history of the Tower is recorded in blood. Among the victims of this terrible and long-protracted struggle whom the Tower at different times received within its walls, and sent forth again to the neighbouring scaffold, were the Earls of Oxford, Lord Aubrey de Vere and his son, Sir Thomas Tudenham, Sir William Tyrell, &c., &c. During this period the poor King was bandied to and fro between the contending parties, from the palace to the prison, from the prison to the palace, enjoying little more real respect or attention in the case than in the other, till the battle of Tewkesbury at once sealed alike the fate of his crown and of his life. The intrepid Margaret, his Queen, was perhaps even more than himself to be pitied. From the neighbourhood of Tewkesbury, where her darling son, Prince Edward, had been so brutally murdered, she was brought to the Tower, where her husband, divided from her only by a few walls, experienced a similar fate. The impenetrable mystery in which this affair is wrapped extends to the death of Clarence, the brother of Edward IV., who was committed to the Tower on some frivolous charges, tried at the bar of the ,--where an advocate appeared against him that none dared to oppose, the King himself,--convicted, and sentenced to death. It will be remembered--that the recent fire broke out in a tower on the northern side of the fortress, called the Bowyer Tower; its name,--derived from the residence in it of the master and provider of the King's bows,--bespeaking its antiquity. This consisted of stories, but the original upper having long disappeared, a modern erection was built in its place. This is the part destroyed by the fire. Beneath, the ancient building still exists, consisting of a large vaulted chamber with walls of immense thickness, and large arched recesses. This, sayeth tradition, was the scene of the murder of Clarence; who, according to the same authority, was drowned in a butt of his favourite liquor, malmsey. And before the alterations which have been made, such as the widening the loop-holes in the recesses into windows, the spot must have had just the savage aspect that would expect to find connected with such a story. A still more dreary vault extends beneath, opening from the basement chamber by a trap-door, where, if there be any truth in the tradition, we may imagine the murderers to have found


the butt of malmsey, as they sought, in the words of Shakspere,

to hide the body in some hole.

We must not omit to add, that there is also a secret passage leading from this cell to some unknown part of the fortress. The next event we have to mention calls our attention to a different part of the Tower. In the south-west angle of the great area, in front of the lowly-looking chapel of St. Peter, is a small space in the pavement, distinguished from the rest by a somewhat darker appearance of the stones. A strange feeling crept over us as we gazed upon that spot for the time;--and, with a half anticipation of the answer, we inquired of a passing soldier the meaning of its peculiar aspect. That, he said, was the place of execution! Lady Jane Grey, and he knew not how many more, had there perished. In old times, he added, the space all around was covered with grass, but nothing would grow on spot. This then was

the green beside the chapel, within the Tower,

mentioned by Sir Thomas More as the place where Hastings was brought from the Council Chamber in the White Tower after the extraordinary scene mentioned in our account of the Palace,

and there, without time for confession or repentance, his head was struck off upon a log of timber

which happened to be lying on the grass: the instance, apparently, of those private executions which give a still deeper hue to the sanguinary history of the Tower-Prison. The brief reign of the author of this deed furnishes us with another noticeable case. A gentleman of the name of Collingbourne wrote the following lines with reference to Richard (whose crest was a wild boar) and his chief advisers, Catesby, Ratcliffe, and Lovel:--

The cat, the rat, and Lovel our dog,

Rule all England under a hog!

Many a hearty laugh no doubt greeted the publication of these lines; but the unfortunate author had to repent of his wit upon the scaffold at . Passing over with the briefest mention the death of the poet Surrey, the imprisonment of Perkin Warbeck, the execution of the young Earl of Warwick (the descendant of the murdered Clarence, a victim to Henry VII.'s jealousy of his royal descent), and that also of Sir William Stanley, who had helped to crown Henry at Bosworth Field, in the present reign; and the execution of that monarch's ministers, Empson and Dudley, in the commencement of the reign of his successor; we reach a period when almost every great event in the Tower annals is marked by some existing memorial, occurring here in the shape of a name given to a particular tower, there in of the numerous inscriptions yet visible on the walls, or by simple records and recollections attaching particular incidents to particular places.

The reign of Henry VIII. presents us with a long list of eminent prisoners. The chief crime of Edward Duke of Buckingham appears to have been his royal descent, which, coupled with some incautious expressions, led to his trial and conviction. As was usual, the Duke left the Tower for Hall in a barge, furnished with its carpets and cushions befitting the rank of the prisoner; but on his return, with a touching, and yet dignified humility, he refused to take again the same seat.

When I came to



said he,

I was Lord High Constable and Duke of Buckingham, but now, poor Edward Bohun!

Sir Thomas More next follows, a still more illustrious victim. The Tower seems to have had little horrors for him, unless, indeed, it were from seeing their effect upon others. From his entrance, when, according to custom, the porter


demanded his uppermost garment as his fee, meaning, no doubt, his cloak, or some such valuable article, and Sir Thomas, taking off his cap (with a kind of latent consciousness, perhaps, that he should have little further need of it), said, was his uppermost garment, and that he wished it were of more value,--to his final departure for the scaffold, where he remarked to the executioner, as he laid his head on the block,

Prythee let me put my beard aside, for that hath never committed treason,

the light-hearted and high-minded Chancellor still preserved all the delightful playfulness of manner which made him as much the beloved of his friends as his more important qualities made him the admiration of his contemporaries and of posterity. bitter moment, however, no temperament or fortitude could ward off. As he returned to the Tower after condemnation, Margaret Roper, the most beloved of his daughters, who had placed herself in waiting at the gate, suddenly rushed from among the crowd as he approached, tore her way through the guards, and flung herself, bathed in tears, on his neck, imploring in broken expressions his blessing. The officers were obliged at last to take her away by force, but she broke from them, and again threw herself upon his breast, crying,

Oh my father, oh my father!

The very guards partook of the general anguish. With Sir Thomas, Bishop Fisher had also been committed to the Tower, and for the same reason, refusing to acknowledge the King's supremacy. This aged and distinguished prelate was nearly years old when he was thus dragged from the quiet home he so much needed. Here was a case for a little more than ordinary attention to the prisoner's comfort, which, would have supposed, even Henry VIII. would have noticed. But had the venerable prisoner been at the mercy of men who, by some freak of nature, had been born without hearts in their bosoms, it would have been just as reasonable to have expected any kind of sympathy. In a letter written to Cromwell, the Bishop says,

Furthermore I beseech you to be good master in my necessity; for I have neither shirt, nor suit, nor yet other clothes that are necessary for me to wear, but that be ragged and rent too shamefully. Notwithstanding I might easily suffer that, if they would keep my body warm. But my diet also, God knoweth how slender it is at many times. And now, in mine age, my stomach may not away but with a few kind of meats, which if I want, I decay forthwith.

Bishop Fisher's residence was in the Bell Tower, a building of stories, built in a circular shape, with the lower (or basement) curiously vaulted, and having deep recesses and narrow embrasures in the vast walls. The crimson tide rolls on with increased velocity. The executions of More and Fisher were followed in the same year by that of Anne Boleyn, whose barge now again retraced the way from Greenwich to the Tower, though this time it stopped at a different entrance. The unhappy lady, as she looked upon the dread Traitor's Gate, read her fate in its aspect, and as she passed beneath its lowering arch, fell on her knees, and prayed God to defend her, as she was unspotted by the crime of which she was accused. But even death itself was not the worst. Her unnatural husband, having obtained her condemnation for treason , now obtained a sentence of the spiritual court, declaring she was no such thing, and that their issue () was illegitimate. She was beheaded on , and having resolutely refused to cover her eyes, which, as her head lay on the block, were fixed on the executioner, the man had not courage


to strike. At last he took off his shoes, caused another person to approach and draw her attention to the side, whilst he on the other gave the fatal blow.

On the death of Henry's son, Edward VI., the Prince became almost immediately filled with the participators in the Duke of Northumberland's attempt to make Lady Jane Grey Queen; and the Duke himself became the victim of his own schemes. Wyatt's insurrection, almost as short-lived, followed; and the brave, but imprudent leader, with Cobham, Bret, and others, were also brought hither. As he came to the wicket of the Bloody Tower, Sir John Bridges took

him by the collar, using many violent and abusive expressions, and saying,

But that the law must pass upon thee, I would stick thee through with my dagger.

To the which,

says Holinshed,

Wyatt, holding his arms under his side, and looking grievously with a grim look upon the lieutenant, said,

It is no mastery now,

and so passed on.

The origin of the name of this Tower, with its immense circular bastion, its striking-looking low deep gateway and iron-toothed portcullis, is very uncertain. At all events it cannot refer to incidents older than the reign of Henry VIII., for it was then known as the Garden Tower. Mr. Bailey thinks it may possibly be so called from the death of the Earl of Northumberland, who was said to have committed suicide, but under such mysterious circumstances, that we need not wonder the popular idea set it down as of the

foul and midnight murders

that have but too often stained the Tower walls. Treason, in connexion with Mary Queen of Scots, was his alleged crime. Various memorials of persons engaged with Wyatt still remain in the White Tower and in the Beauchamp Tower, and more particularly, in the latter, of the illustrious victims his ill-contrived movement was the indirect means of sending there. The Beauchamp Tower derives its name, in all probability, from Thomas


de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who was confined in the state prison here prior to his banishment to the Isle of Man in . It consists of stories, ascended by a circular staircase; the lower story is now used as the officers' mess-room. In this apartment there are several pointed arched recesses originally admitting light into it from narrow embrasures, but these are now blocked up, and windows opened in another part. The walls of this exceedingly interesting place are almost covered with inscriptions, devices, coats of arms, and autographs; of which we proceed to notice a few of the more important.

The partakers in the insurrection in the north, produced by the religious policy of Henry VIII.'s government, have left here many records of the failure of their attempt. This was in . In the following year, the Marquis of Exeter, Henry Pole Lord Montagu, and others, were convicted, chiefly on the evidence of Lord Montagu's brother, Sir Geoffrey Pole, of what was called treasonable correspondence with the famous Cardinal Pole, who had roused all the King's vindictive passions to the highest pitch by his eloquent denunciations of the murder of Sir T. More. The noblemen we have mentioned were executed on . The Marchioness of Salisbury, a sister of the Earl of Warwick mentioned in the preceding reign, was kept in confinement till , when, on the rising of a new commotion in Yorkshire, she was executed, chiefly on the ground of holding communication with her son, Cardinal Pole. Her death was almost too shocking for relation. When she was brought to the scaffold erected on the fatal Green, she refused to lay her head on the block, steadfastly declaring she was no traitor, and the executioner actually killed her as he followed her round the platform. The miserable being who had thus been the means of shedding his brother's and mother's blood was doomed to perpetual imprisonment within the Tower, where he has recorded his own infamy in the following inscription on the walls of the Beauchamp Tower:

Geffrye Poole,



On the right of the southern recess is the melancholy inscription referred to in the commencement of the present paper, by W. Tyrrel. Over the fireplace is a pious memorial of the Earl of Arundel, whose memory was so venerated that a late Duchess of the Howard family, according to Pennant, procured his skull, and, having had it enchased in gold, kept it by her as a sacred relic. His chief crime was that of being a firm Papist. He lingered here in confinement till his death. This was indeed a most unfortunate family. Arundel himself told the Queen, that his great-grandfather, his grandfather, and his father, had all been attainted without being traitors; the last being the Duke of Norfolk, executed by Elizabeth for his connexion with Mary Queen of Scots. We now reach the memorials of Lady Jane Grey and her friends. Near the middle recess is a piece of sculpture, about inches-square, representing a shield within an enriched border composed of roses, slips of oak, acorns, foliage, &c. The shield exhibits a lion, and a bear erect grasping a rugged staff, and beneath are the following lines:

You that these beasts do well behold and see

May deem with ease wherefore here made they be,

With borders eke wherein [there may be found The inscription being incomplete, the remainder has been thus supplied by Mr. Bailey.]

Brothers' names, who list to search the ground.



The sculptor was John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Northumberland, Lady Jane Grey's uncle; and the brothers referred to, in number, were all his fellow-prisoners, Ambrose, Robert, Henry, and Lady Jane's husband, Guilford. Mr. Bailey in part explains the enigma thus: the rose, for Amb-; the oak-sprigs for , from Robers. In another part of the room the letters I A N E appear upon the walls, which Mr. Bailey attributes to the hand of Lord Guilford; but in the changes of residence which may have taken place during the period of this unfortunate pair's confinement in the Tower, we see no improbability in the circumstance that the same apartment may have received both her and her relatives, though at different times, within its walls. These old traditions should be respected so long as no decisive proof of their want of foundation be given. At the time of Lord Guilford's execution, we know, from an affecting circumstance, that his lady was not in the Beauchamp Tower, but in

Master Partridge's house ;

where, on his way to , he passed beneath her window and received her last tokens of remembrance. She then prepared herself for the scene in which she was to be chief performer. As she was about to pass forth to , she beheld the headless corse of her husband carried in a cart to the Chapel; but she was armed against all that could happen to her.


Guilford, Guilford,

said she,

the ante-past is not so bitter that thou hast tasted, and which I shall soon taste, as to make my flesh tremble: it is nothing compared to the feast of which we shall partake this day in heaven :

and so she went onwards to the grim scaffold. When the executioner would have assisted to disrobe her, she desired him to let her alone, and turned to her gentlewomen, who took off the necessary attire. He then desired her to stand on the straw, which she did, saying,

I pray you despatch me quickly.

As she knelt, she inquired,

Will you take it off before I lay me down?

No, madam,

was the answer.


says Holinshed, in describing of the most affecting scenes ever witnessed,

she tied the handkerchief about her eyes, and,

feeling for the block

, she said,

Where is it? where is it?


of the standers by guided her thereunto, and she laid down her head upon the block, and stretched forth her body, and said,

Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

Another inhabitant of the Beauchamp Tower, confined at the same period and for the same cause, was the man afterwards so well known as Elizabeth's unworthy favourite, the Earl of Leicester, who has left us, as a memorial of his presence, a sculptured oak-tree with acorns, and his initials

R. D.,

Robert Dudley. There are several inscriptions here by the author of those golden sentences before transcribed in our preliminary remarks, C. Bailly, a Fleming, or Brabanter, who was imprisoned in the Tower for his devotion to the Queen of Scots. He was the medium of those dangerous communications which passed between Mary, the Bishop of Ross, and Ridolfi of Florence, the Pope's agent, respecting the attempts then making to induce foreign powers to take up arms against Elizabeth. He was racked once at least, without effect; and although he afterwards offered to disclose all he knew on Lord Burghley's promise that he should be liberated without stain of his honour and credit, it seems very doubtful whether the Bishop of Ross himself, the party in danger, might have not advised him to do so; for, as the ambassador of Mary, he knew Elizabeth dared not punish him as a traitor, and the event proved him right. After a


years' confinement in the Tower the Bishop was set at liberty. Bailly, in all probability, had been previously discharged. The religious prisoners who were so numerous in Henry's and Mary's reigns, and only a little less so in that of her successor, have left many memorials of their sufferings. Near Bailly's inscription is the following:



Iohn. Store. Doctor


This individual having offended the Protestants by his zeal during the period of Mary's rule, was, in the reign of Elizabeth, treacherously seized at Antwerp, brought over to England, and executed at , where he struggled with the executioner during the last and most revolting parts of his duty. In another place we perceive a great A upon a bell, the rebus of Dr. Abel, executed in for denying the King's supremacy. On the wall of the recess we read-

Thomas Miagh, which lieth here alone, That faine would from hence begone, By torture strange my truth was tried, Yet of my liberty denied. 1581. Thomas Miagh.

Mr. Jardine refers to this case in his work on Criminal Torture. It appears Miagh was charged with treason, and the persons appointed to examine him secretly, stated, on the , that they had forborne to put him in Skevington's irons, not merely because the presence of a gaoler would be required, but also because they found the man so resolute, as, in their opinion, little would be wrung out of him but by some torture. The famous irons here mentioned were invented by Sir William Skevington, lieutenant of the Tower, during the reign of a congenial spirit, Henry VIII., and acted by compressing the limbs and body all up together. Both the irons and the rack were tried in Miagh's case, and probably other methods, for the word


in the above inscription has a fearfully extensive meaning. In this very same year, Alexander Briant, a seminary priest, being thrown into the Tower, not only underwent the ordinary torture, but, according to Anthony Wood, was specially punished for whole days and nights by famine, till he ate the clay out of the walls, and drank the droppings of the roof. The use of the Rats' Dungeon is often referred to the period of Elizabeth, by Catholic writers, in connexion with the sufferings of prisoners of that persuasion. This was a cell below high-water mark, anti quite dark. When the tide flowed, innumerable rats poured into it for shelter from the muddy banks. Who can conceive even the extent of the horrors of such a place? We quit this room with the mention of the inscription signed by Edmunde Poole, and by A. Poole, , which records the captivity of the last descendants of George Duke of Clarence, who both died here. They were tried in the year of Elizabeth for conspiring to place the Queen of Scots on the throne of England, and to obtain for the elder brother, Arthur, the title of their eminent and unfortunate ancestor. The upper apartment, with its grated window and rough oaken planked floor, is supposed to have been the prison of Anne Boleyn; but, in a letter from Sir William Kingston, the lieutenant, to Cromwell, it is expressly stated that he had told her she should be placed in the lodging that she lay in at her coronation. Well might the poor Queen cry out, half frenzied at such associations,

It is too good for me. Jesus have mercy upon me!

and kneel down, weeping apace, and in the same sorrow fall into a great laughing, as it is recorded she did. The most interesting


memorial of this chamber of the Beauchamp Tower is a shield of arms within a circle, and various ornaments, sentences, &c., attached, which refer to Thomas Salmon, ,

close prisoner









person yet remains to be mentioned in connexion with Wyatt's attempt--the Princess Elizabeth; who, being suspected by Mary of participation, was brought to the Tower, and entered it by the same mode as Wyatt and her own mother, the Traitor's Gate. The proud heart of Elizabeth was sorely tried. At she refused to land there, but seeing force would be used, she cried out indignantly,

Here landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs; and before thee, O God, I speak it, having none other friend than thee.

Proceeding up the steps, she suddenly seated herself, and being pressed by the lieutenant to rise, answered,

Better sit here than in a worse place; for God knoweth, and not I, whither you will bring me.

Sovereigns have had proverbially short memories, otherwise might have expected the terrors of that time would have been remembered when Elizabeth was queen.
Once more our narrowing space warns us that we must hurry over many matters of the deepest interest in the history of the Tower-Prison with a few passing words only. Such of these as we shall have no other opportunity of noticing, in connexion with some locality, we dismiss . During the civil war, many eminent men, royalists, parliamentarians, and republicans, were confined in the Tower. We may instance Sir John Eliot, the Hothams, executed for treason, the witty Henry Marten, Monk, and Strafford and Laud. The latter, in his Diary, gave many interesting particulars of the period. Amongst other matters he mentions his being searched by the well-known Prynne. He followed his


fellow-captive to the scaffold on on the . Other remarkable prisoners were Felton, the assassin of the Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Charles I.; Algernon Sydney and Lord William Russell in the reign of Charles II.; the bishops in the reign of James II.; Lord George Gordon, Messrs. Horne Tooke, Thelwall, and Hardy; the Cato-street conspirators, &c., &c.

In our paper on the Palace we alluded to certain rooms in the White Tower. The smallest of these is a place of strange aspect. It is semicircular in form; and the roof, something like a horseshoe in shape, is of the most unique construction, appearing at glance as if made of large stones placed longitudinally in the direction of the room, but in reality formed of flat stones fixed edgewise in a deep bed of cement. It was originally lighted by narrow loopholes. This was the cage of the bird that Prince Henry said none but his father, James I., could have kept in captivity, Sir Walter Raleigh. He was implicated in the plot set on foot to place the royally-descended Arabella Stuart on the throne--a lady who, like the unfortunate Jane Grey, seems to have been the victim not of her own ambition but of that of her partisans. After her secret marriage, and a variety of adventures as melancholy as they are romantic which deprived her of her senses, she died in the Tower in that state in . Raleigh, after being sentenced to death, was left to pine away in this prison for years, during which time he wrote his famous

History of the World,

studied chemistry, and in many ways added to his already rare amount of knowledge. His release, the failure of his Guiana expedition, and subsequent recommittal and execution on the , are well known. During the last night he spent in this room, or in the world, he wrote on a blank leaf of his Bible:--

Even such is Time, that takes on trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,

And pays us but with age and dust;

Who in the dark and silent grave,

When we have wandered all our ways,

Shuts up the story of our days!

The chief memorial of the Lieutenalt's Lodgings refers also to the reign of James. In a room on the floor of that building are some rude paintings, a bust of the king, and a monumental record of the names of the remarkable body of men who were there examined, the Gunpowder Conspirators. The monument is of differently coloured marbles, and gives an account of the conspiracy, the names of the actors, and of the commissioners who examined them, &c. We pass now to the conclusion, the Chapel of St. Peter.

This most interesting building was, in old times, splendidly decorated by the pious liberality of the different monarchs, who frequently performed their orisons within its walls. In the reign of Henry III. there were stalls for the King and Queen, a chancel dedicated to St. Peter, and another to St. Mary. It was also adorned with a fine cross, images of saints, paintings on the walls, and stained glass in the windows; this may give some idea of the alterations the chapel has undergone. But it is not from such perishable sources the place derives its surpassing interest. Beneath that altar, unmarked by any visible memorial, lies the innocent Anne Boleyn, and her equally guiltless brother Lord Rochford, side by side with the guilty Catherine Howard, and her infamous pander, Lady Rochford. There too lie the venerable Countess of Salisbury,


the last of the Plantagenets in whose veins ran their unmixed blood; and Cromwell, the great suggester and accomplisher of Henry's religious policy. The same spot contains the ashes of brothers, both beheaded, and by the warrant of the other; the Seymours, the Admiral Thomas, and the Protector Edward. Near them we find the Duke of Norfolk, (whose royal mistress could never forgive the wooing of any but herself, much less her beautiful cousin;) the Duke's son, the pious Earl of Arundel, who died in his long confinement; and Robert Devereux, Elizabeth's handsome favourite. Turning our eyes towards the-Communion Table, we behold the last resting-place of the Duke of Monmouth. His courage was severely taxed during his latest hours. The King his uncle gave him audience, when the hopes that must have been thus raised ended in the unhappy prisoner's dismissal with insult; from that moment, however, Monmouth steeled his heart; and not even the frightful circumstances of his death could shake his fortitude. The executioner struck so feebly that the Duke looked him reproachfully in the face, when the horror-stricken man struck again and again without success, and at last threw down the axe in despair :--the sheriff was obliged to compel him to make a and more successful attempt. Under the gallery, near the richly decorated altar-tomb of Sir Richard Cholmondeley, of the heroes of Flodden Field, were buried the headless bodies of the Earls of Kilmarnock and Balmerino, and the treacherous and profligate Simon Lord Lovat, all of whom perished for their participation in the Scottish rebellion of . Finally, Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher add more names to this long list of the illustrious memories of Chapel in the Tower.


(To be continued in No. XI,.)


[n.234.1] Translated from the old Italian original, as given in Mr. Bailey's History.