Memorials of the Tower of London

De Ros, William Lennox



Plan of the Tower, 1866
AMONG the objects of interest which attract the notice of the stranger in London, perhaps there is not one which is more generally popular than the Tower. Unfortunately. its situation renders it less accessible than most of the sights of London, not only from actual distance, but from the prodigious throng of carriages of all kinds, which encumber and block the principal streets leading to Tower Hill from the northern and western parts of the town. In spite of these inconveniences, the Tower of London appears to possess an universal attraction for all ranks and classes, from the antiquary and historian to the labourer and artizan, and from the distinguished foreigner to the schoolboy taken out for a holiday of sight-seeing and amusement.
It seems strange that no popular account of this venerable and celebrated Palace and Fortress should yet have been offered to the public. Mr. Bailey's elaborate work upon the Tower presents, no doubt, the result of a vast quantity of laborious historical and antiquarian research but it is too bulky in form (two large quarto volumes), and gives too much dry detail, to suit the ordinary reader; nor do the doubts in which he has shown such an inclination to indulge, upon some of the most received
historical traditions, by any means add to the interest of his book, though it bears, in many respects, the stamp of diligent and careful inquiry. Mr. Ainsworth has regarded the Tower rather as a suitable scene for an interesting work of fiction, than as a subject of historical illustration.
In attempting a Memoir of this Royal Palace and Fortress, and of the most remarkable and notorious persons who have been inmates of the Tower, it would be unjust not to acknowledge the value of Messrs. Britton and Brayley's book, as the most satisfactory reference for most of the disputed questions of Tower tradition, as well as for the general historical accuracy with which they have treated the whole of the subject.