Thursday, April 28, 2022

Tower of London, 1

 To be honest, in my ignorance I pictured the Tower of London as...well...a tower. 

It's not. This cool picture was taken by my daughter after we got off the subway in the dark. My contribution was tripping over a curb I didn't even see and falling on the ground. Luckily, there were no witnesses. (Thank goodness it was dark.)

The Thames came right up to those walls at one time, but now the river keeps its distance. 

But many an unfortunate soul was brought by boat to Traiter's Gate...


...and held prisoner, sometimes for years. This is graffiti from some of those prisoners. There were an awful lot of religious prisoners. When a new ruler came in, they brought their faith with them. Refusing to switch to Catholicism if your Queen was Catholic (or vice versa) could find you carving your name on to a wall in the Tower of London, 


until your fate was decided. 


This is the site on the Tower Green where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (two of Henry the VIII's castoffs), and Lady Jane Grey. There were many others, not nearly as well known. 

The words around the monument reads:

Gentle Visitor, pause awhile: 
Where you stand death cut away the light of many days:
Here jeweled names were broken from the vivid thread of life: 
May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage:
Under there restless skies.

There are a number of these 'enemies of the state' who were trundled right in to the Tower of London's St Peter's Chapel and buried without their heads or ceremony. 

\
I'm disappointed that I've forgotten who this is, but it is a man, a wife, and the wife's sister. 
They were executed for refusing to change their faith. 

The outer walls of the Tower of London were topped by walk ways.


And the top of the walkways were guarded, of course



 
By the royal archers. 



There were towers on each of the four corners that were also well guarded. 

There was another wall inside that one. This now provides housing for the  32 yeoman warders and their families who work there now. 

These yeoman lead tours. Ours was hilarious. He said to be selected a yeoman must have 22 years of experience with no black marks on his record (in an aside, he said that this doesn't mean he never did anything wrong...it meant that he hadn't been caught). He also stated that yeoman must be devastatingly handsome (and he struck a noble pose) and grow a magnificent beard (stroked his fondly)

That's part one, but...

...you ain't seen nothing yet


You might notice an elephant's head peeping out of the wall. We'll save that story for next time.

23 comments:

  1. Well gosh! I thought it was a tower too! Sounds like merry 'ol England wasn't so pretty in the past. Glad you escaped and weren't hurt when you fell around the curb! Tiny flashlights are nice for older tourists in dark places. Thanks for the tour. Linda in Kansas

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    1. It is a palace. A church. A menagerie. A military outpost. A prison. An execution site. Cemetery to at least 1800 souls. A mint. It provided homes for those that worked there. It was a fascinating place and we spent hours there.

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  2. Thanks for posting this Debby. It has brought back memories now of my first visit there and the wonder I felt at the time.

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  3. You certainly learnt a lot about the Tower of London! You could get a job as a guide! Did you see the ravens.....I guess that might be in the next instalment? ( I had to go back to find the elephant)

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    1. No. I lack the required twenty two years of unbesmirched service to the queen, I am not devastatingly handsome, and I do not have a magnificent beard (owing no doubt to my habit of plucking stray chin hairs as soon as I see them).

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  4. I don't think your expectation of there being a tower at The Tower of London is unreasonable. We caught a cruise boat from Embankment Pier to The Tower which was a good way to arrive, and seeing a few bridges and the Oxo building along the way. I didn't find the attraction terribly interesting. Perhaps we should have taken a tour with a guide, yours sounding quite amusing. I liked the resident ravens.

    Ha, Backman Turner Overdrive brings back memories.

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    1. I guess that I should have said that I had an expectation that the Tower of London was JUST that. A tower. There was a lot to see. The crown jewels are there, for one thing.

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  5. I did notice the elephant and wondered what that was about!

    I suppose the Tower of London was a "tower" by the standards of its day. After all, high-rises didn't exist back then! Church steeples and cathedrals were the tallest buildings around.

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    1. You've never been to the Tower of London? Kings and powerful rulers used to present exotic animals to each other. There was actually a menagerie for a couple hundred of years. More on that later.

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    2. Oh I've been a couple of times, but it was many years ago. The "animals" arrived in 2010 and only one of my visits was after that date -- I saw some of them but guess I missed the elephant!

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  6. The tower not being a tower has always been something to try to wrap my head around. Did you see the ravens or the raven keeper? (I am just getting that from a vague memory from tv, so I may be wrong to ask.)

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    1. Patience, young grasshopper! Yep. Rooks are to be discussed later.

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  7. During my time in London, I took a few pictures of the Tower of London but never really investigated it closer. I lost myself in the street scenes happening everywhere that are so different than here on this side of the pond.

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    1. Lucky I had my daughter to keep me focused. On my own, I'd have just been losing myself as well. The Tower of London was definitely a highlight.

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  8. Fascinating story. We have a terrible record of how inconsiderate we were. I sometimes wonder how much better we are now.

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    1. Red, I don't see that we have learned one thing.

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  9. The Tower is a fun place to visit and I'd gladly go again (and again). Talk about standing there quietly reflecting on the past and those who have gone before..... -Kelly

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    1. You really do get a sense of the big scale of England's history, don't you? A lot of blood shed there.

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  10. I learned more about the Tower of London than I ever knew before! Thanks Debby! Did you mean to quote "May they rest in piece" or "May they rest in peace"? Unless the quote is referring to them being cut up!? :)

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I'm glad you're here!