The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas


White Tower.


It is a large massive quadrangular building, occupying an area of feet north and south, and feet east and west; it is feet high, embattled with a turret at each angle; of these turrets was used by Flamstead as an observatory previous to the establishment of the royal observatory at Greenwich. This building consists of very lofty stories, under which are most spacious and commodious vaults. The roof is flat, and covered with lead, affording an extensive and delightful prospect. On the floor of the White Tower are large rooms, of which is used as a repository for cavalry arms, and the other as a tool house. There are also a vaulted room and a cell, both of which gloomy apartments were evidently intended for prisons; and tradition relates, that in of these cells sir Walter Ralegh wrote his History of the World. Here, too, were confined several of the persons connected with sir Thomas Wyat's rebellion in -, of whom have left the following inscription on the sides of the door-way leading to the cell:--













On the floor are rooms used as armories, ( cons tains the small arms for the sea service, curiously laid up, to furnish men upon any emergency), and an apartment commonly called Caesar's chapel, which may justly be said to exhibit of the finest and most perfect specimens of the Norman style of architecture now extant in this country.

When the sovereign held his court in the Tower, this chapel was used for the private devotions of the royal family and household. A chaplain regularly performed service here, whose salary, in the reign of Henry III., who greatly ornamented the chapel, was a year. This chapel was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. It has a semi-circular termination towards the east, and consists of a nave and side aisles, the latter separated from the former by circular columns; the capitals of which display a studied variety in their ornaments, and are terminated with


a square abacus variously moulded; the bases are circular, and rest on square plinths. Immediately above the arcade is a plain chamfered strong course, on which are raised a series of low rectangular piers without any base or impost moulding, and supporting another arcade of plain arches corresponding with that below, and opening to a gallery occupying the space over the side aisles. This chapel is lighted by semi-circular headed windows, on the south side and on the east.

From Henry III.'s letter, in , for its repairs it appears it was ordered to be whitened, and to have glass windows; on the north side, with a little Mary holding her child; on the south, with the image of the Trinity; and another on the same side, with the image of St. John the apostle and evangelist. He also ordered the cross and the beam [ the rood] beyond the altar of the same chapel to be painted well and with good colours; and images to be made and painted, where more conveniently and decently they might be done in the said chapel, of St. Edward holding a ring, and reaching it out to St. John the Evangelist, &c. which representation alludes to the legend of the power pretended to be given to king Edward the Confessor of curing the king's evil, in reward of his great charity, which relieved St. John, in the appearance of a poor beggar, with his ring from his own finger; and probably this chapel was; in subsequent times set apart by his successors for performing the ceremony of touching for that evil. This chapel has long formed part of the rooms belonging to the Record office, and contains chiefly the proceedings in the Court of Chancery, during the reigns of king James I. and Charles I.

On the top of this Tower is a large reservoir for supplying the garrison with water in case of need, about feet deep, broad, and long, which can be filled by an ingenious contrivance from the river Thames.

The uppermost story of the White Tower exhibits a massive timber roof and supporters of great antiquity. The principal room on this floor is traditionally styled the council chamber; and here, it is supposed, the duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., is said to have ordered the execution of lord Hastings, and the arrest of the archbishop of York, the bishop of Ely, and lord Stanley.

On new paving the east side of the White Tower, in , an elegant little crown, of the size and form represented in the next page, was found about feet below the level. It was of the finest gold. In each leaf is set small pearls, with an emerald in the centre; round the fillet are placed small pearls, rough rubies, and emeralds; a ruby under the centre of each leaf, and an emerald under each intermediate point. It was probably intended to adorn the head of a small statue of the Virgin or some saint.



In the lieutenant's house a large and inconvenient old building, usually occupied by the major or resident governor, there is a monument recording the gunpowder plot conspiracy.

The Bell Tower is of a circular form, with a curious vaulted roof. It was in this tower that the amiable Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was confined; and tradition, without any good ground, also marks it as the place of queen Elizabeth's confinement by her bigotted sister Mary. It is now used as of the domestic offices of the governor.

A short distance from the Bell Tower, northward, is the Beauchamp, or Cobham Tower, which has always been of the principal state prisons. It takes its double name from Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who was imprisoned here in , previous to his banishment to the Isle of Man, and from the Cobhams, who were certainly confined here in the reign of queen Mary, for Wyat's conspiracy. The Beauchamp Tower was formerly embattled, and consists of stories, whose walls bear numerous records of the misery of those who were confined within them, and, destitute of books or paper, beguiled the time in inscribing memorials of their sufferings on the walls.

The chief prison-room is a spacious apartment on the floor; and adjoining to it are small cells, probably, says Mr. Bayley,

intended for the better securing of prisoners by night. In the walls of the former are


large recesses, in each of which there was a narrow embrasure; but these have of late years been stopped up, and, in lieu of them,


additional windows made towards the east.

Of the plan and appearance of this room the annexed plate is a faithful representation. The inscriptions, most of which are in tolerably perfect order, are sculptured around the walls; the principal are as follows:



On the left hand side entrance to the room is a large piece of sculpture, see fig. . in the annexed plate. It consists of the arms and name of Peverell, but as regards the sculptor no information has hitherto been discovered.

Over the fire-place is the interesting autograph of the earl of Arundel before mentioned, it is represented in the annexed plate, fig. . and consists of the following:

Quanto plus afflictionis pro Christo in hoc

saeculo, tanto plus gloriae cum Christo in

futuro. Arundell.

June 22, 1587


Gloria et honore eum coronasti domine.

In memoria eterno erit justus.


This nobleman, who had been arrested on frivolous charges, and condemned on very questionable evidence, was reprieved by Elizabeth, and, after lingering upwards of years in confinement, died on the , in the fortieth year of his age. His principal crime was that of being a staunch papist; and it is said, that the descendants of the family considered him so much a martyr to the Roman Catholic religion, that a late duchess procured the skull, upon the vault being opened for the burial of Edward duke of Norfolk, in , and had it enchased in gold, as a valuable relic and stimulant to devotion. This earl has left several other inscriptions on the walls of the Beauchamp Tower, expressive of his innocence, and of his consciousness that he was punished for his religious opinions alone.

On the right hand side of the fire-place is a large piece of sculpture by John Dudley, earl of Warwick, eldest son of the duke of Northumberland, who died in this tower in . It is well executed, representing the bear and ragged staff (the family arms), surrounded with a border of oak sprigs, roses, and other flowers. Under the badge is his name, , and beneath the whole is the following:






In different parts of the room are memorials of Charles Bailly, an adherent of Mary queen of Scots, who once suffered the tortures of the rack without making any disclosure of importance. In place is a square frame arched at the top. On the frame is





Within the frame is the following:



Anno D.


. X. P. S.

10 Sept.

The most vnhapy

man in the world is he

that is not pacient in ad-

versities. For men are not

killed with the adversities

they have: but with ye impa-

cience which they suffer.

Tout vient apoient, quy peult attendre

Gli sospiri ne son testimoni veri dell' angos. cia mia.




Charles Bailly.

Near this inscription is a memorial by Dr. Story:





He was educated in the university of Oxford, and was created doctor of laws . Refusing to take the oath of supremacy he was drawn from the Tower to Tyburn, where he was executed . A singular circumstance attended his execution: he was cut down before his senses had left him; and is reported to have struggled with the executioner, while the latter was carrying into effect that revolting part of the punishment of traitors (now repealed) tearing out his bowels. of the charges against Dr. Story was, for consulting with a noted magician against the queen's life, and for having cursed her daily in his grace at meals!

On the left hand side of the recess is a large inscription as follows.

















The person mentioned in this inscription was perhaps Thomas Clarke, a Roman Catholic priest, who made his recantation sermon at Cross, .

In this part of the room there are numerous other inscriptions by persons of whom nothing is known.



Upon the testimony of this man, his brother, viscount Montague, the marquis of Exeter, and several other persons of consequence were executed for high treason in corresponding with cardinal Pole. This man was confined in the Tower till his death.

In the same part of the prison are several inscriptions by Edmund Poole, of which is engraved in the annexed plate, fig. , and several by his brother Arthur.

I. H. S.

A passage perillus

makethe a port




Arthur Poole

AEt. sue


A. P.

Arthur and Edmund Poole were great grandchildren to George duke of Clarence, brother to king Edward IV. About , they Were accused of conspiring to withdraw into France to the duke of Guise, and thence to return with an army into Wales, and there to proclaim the queen of Scots queen of England. They were found guilty, but the queen spared their lives but subjected them to perpetual imprisonment. Both died in the Tower, and were buried in the chapel.

Immediately under the last mentioned inscription is the word JANE, generally considered as the royal title of the amiable and accomplished lady Jane Grey; but Mr. Bayley, the historian of the Tower, says, there is no proof that she was confined in this room, and therefore conceived it was cut by of the sons of the duke of Northumberland, or perhaps lord Guildford. Females


were usually confined in the private house of the lieutenant, or some respectable officer.

The inscription mentioned above is engraved in the annexed plate, fig. .

Passing several inscriptions of prisoners, of whom nothing is known, we come to the following:



This prisoner was eldest son of Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Kildare, and lord deputy of Ireland. He was executed for high treason at Tyburn, .

Near this inscription is the following:





He was the last abbot of Joreval or Jerveaux in Yorkshire, and was executed in the above year for opposing the measures of Henry the . Engraved fig. .

In another part of this room a rebus, the word Thomas under a bell, with a capital A on it. This was executed by Thomas Abel, D. D. and domestic chaplain to Catherine of Arragon; he being attached to his mistress, opposed the divorce of the marriage between Henry and Catherine, which brought on him the displeasure of the tyrant; and he was with Dr. Edward Powel and Dr. Richard Fetherstone executed in Smithfield, .





This inscription is evidently by sir Ingram Percy, son of Henry, earl of Northumberland. Mr. Bayley says, there is every reason to believe that he was implicated in the northern rebellion, for which his brother and several others suffered at Tyburn, . He appears to have been pardoned, and to have died about the end of the following year. Engraved fig. .

The last inscription of consequence is the following:




This person was only son of Henry Radclyffe, earl of Sussex, by his wife Anne, daughter of sir Philip Calthorpe, of Norwich, knt. When young he was engaged in the rebellion in the north, , and fled to Spain; after enduring great distress he returned to England, when he was apprehended and committed


to the Tower. Being subsequently banished the realm, he entered the service of Don John of Austria, when he was accused of attempting to poison that prince with the connivance of Walsingham, secretary to queen Elizabeth, for which he was condemned and executed before Namur.

There are several inscriptions in the lower apartment of this tower, but none particularly worthy notice.

The Beauchamp tower is traditionally said to have been the prison of Anne Boleyn; but, though there is no evidence to support it, it is by no means improbable, as it was long more used as a prison than any of the towers. Some of the state prisoners of were confined here.

The Devereux Tower, so called after the surname of the celebrated earl of Essex, is of older date than the tower last noticed. It consists of stories, the walls at the base being feet in thickness.

The Flint Tower was taken down about years ago.

The Bowyer's Tower took its name from having, in early times, been the residence of the master and provider of the king's bows. The basement floor, which is the only part of the original building, is here represented.

It is vaulted and groined; and in the walls, which are about feet thick, are recesses, in each of which was a narrow embrasure; but these have been enlarged and modernized. There is a tradition that it was in this room that George, duke of Clarence, brother to Edward IV., was secretly put to death, by drowning in a butt of malmsey.

The next tower is the Brick Tower, which was probably erected as early as the reign of Edward IV. or Richard III.

The Jewel Tower, where the regalia are now kept, was


formerly known by the name of the Martin Tower. Little remains of the primitive structure.

The Constable Tower, in form and style of architecture, closely corresponds with the Beauchamp Tower, but is of smaller dimensions.

The Broad Arrow Tower is also similar to the Beauchamp Tower, and, like it, has been much used as a prison, and its walls contain numerous inscriptions, few of which are of interest.

The Salt Tower contains a very singular and hieroglyphical device, by

Hew Draper, a tavern keeper at Bristol,

who was committed here on the , on the accusation of


John Man, an astronomer, as a suspect of a conjurer or sorcerer, and thereby to practise matter against sir William Lowe and my ladie;

a lamentable instance of the facility with which life and liberty could, in those days, be sacrificed.

There are also a host of inscriptions in this prison, but none worthy notice, either on account of composition, or from their having been executed by persons of note.

The Bloody Tower is thought to have derived its appellation from the circumstances of the princes, Edward V., and his brother, Richard, duke of York, who are supposed to have been put to death here, by order of their uncle, the duke of Gloucester Mr. Bayley, who doubts whether the royal brothers were


murdered in the Tower, and ridicules the idea of calling it bloody when the children were smothered, infers, that if they were put to death in this fortress at all, it must have been at a different part of it; as the bones discovered in the time of Charles the , which, on account of their appearing to be those of children, had afterwards royal interment in Henry VII.'s chapel, were found on the south side of the White Tower, which is at a considerable distance from the place where the deed is supposed to have been perpetrated.

The gateway represented above, is of the style of architecture of the century; it is about feet in length and feet in width. The roof is groined, and each end of this entrance was originally secured by gates and a strong portcullis; at the south end this still remains, and the gate in particular has a very venerable appearance. On the eastern side, between these defences, was a small circular stone staircase leading to the superstructure, which formed the lodging of the porter or warden, and consisted of gloomy apartments above the other, and a space for working the portcullis.

The Lanthorn Tower was of considerable antiquity, and formerly contained the king's bed chamber. It communicated with the great hall, the scene of many a royal banquet in the reigns of our Henries and our Edwards. The Lanthorn Tower was considerably damaged by fire in , and soon after its remains were taken down. The site of this tower, and of several other parts of the ancient palace, are now occupied by the buildings of the Ordnance office.

The Record or Wakefield Tower is a large circular building of great antiquity. Mr. Bayley says

with the exception of the White Tower it is unquestionably the oldest part of the fortress now extant.

This tower consists of only a basement and a story, each forming an octagonal apartment; the former about and the latter feet in diameter. On the ground floor the walls are about feet in thickness.

In addition to the towers thus described, there were several others, of some of which nothing but the foundation remains; nor is the history of them interesting even in their ancient state.

The principal towers in the outer ward are the Develin, the Well, the Cradle, Traitors Gate, and the Byward. The interior of the Well Tower exhibits a curious specimen of the architecture of the century; the roof is groined in an elegant manner. The Cradle Tower also exhibits in the interior some elegant architecture of the latter part of the reign of Henry III. Traitors Gate, which is a large square building, with circular towers, having a passage under for the conveying of state prisoners by water into the Tower, retains much of its original appearance, and the interior displays some interesting specimens of the early pointed style of architecture.



The last fortification of the outer ward is the Byward Tower; it is the principal entrance to the exterior line of fortifications. It consists of a strong tower flanked with bastions, and the gateway was originally defended by gates and a portcullis. The interior is in a perfect state, particularly an octagonal apartment, about feet in diameter, on each side of the gateway; the roof of each is groined, and they receive light through narrow embrasures.

Opposite this building is another tower, on the outer side of the ditch called the Martin Tower; it corresponds in almost every particular with the last described, except that the upper part is of comparatively modern erection.

The office of Ordnance is a modern building, a little to the N. E. of the White Tower; to which all other offices for supplying artillery, arms, ammunition, or other warlike stores, to any part of the British dominions, are accountable; and from which office all orders for the disposition of warlike materials for every kind of service are issued.

When the principal arms consisted in the bow, and before the introduction of gunpowder, we find this office supplied by officers under the following names; the bowyer, the cross-bowyer, the galeator, the armourer, and the keeper of the tents. Thus in the d of Richard II. Robert Bridford was by patent appointed the officer for keeping and making the bows, and allowed certain houses belonging to his office; and in the of


Edw. IV. a like patent passed to Thomas Masburgh, with the grant of a house situate between Wakefield Tower and the Tower called , for the exercise of the foresaid office.

The officer belonging to the cross-bows, called in the records , seems to have provided harness and accoutrements for those bows, and was allowed half-penny per day in the reign of Edw. I.

Richard Glover, esq. was the galeator, or purveyor of helmets or head-pieces, in the of Henry IV.

In the of Richard II. William Snell, and in the of Edward III. John Fleet, were appointed the keepers of the king's armour in the Tower, with the fee of per day. And in the of Henry VI. we read of the tent-keeper's place granted to Richard Lound for term of life, with a messuage appropriated to his office, and situate upon the wharf near hospital.

Besides these were other patent-officers; as, the master smith, whose fee in of Edward I. was halfpenny per day from the crown, and per day from the warders or Tower-guards. He also had an appointment of messuages on Wharfham, i. e. on Tower-wharf, and a parcel of land within the palace of , in the of Henry VI.

The master mason and master carpenter; for in the of Edw. III. William de Ramsay was made chief mason of the king at the Tower, and chief overseer of all the king's works in all his castles on this side the river Trent, with an appointment of robe yearly, and per day paid at . And at the same time and manner William Hurle was made chief carpenter.

In this state continued the office of ordnance, till Henry VIII. placed it under the management of a master, a lieutenant, surveyor, &c.


[] Rot. Liberat. 25 Hen. III. m 11.

[] Maitland, i. p. 151.

[] Archaelogia, v. 440.

[] Bayley's Tower of London, p. 137.

[] Dodd's Church History, ii. 75.

[] Bayley's History of the Tower, p. 162.

[] Engraved in the annexed pl. fig. 4.

[] Engraved in Bayley's Tower of London, p. 210.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London