The Tower of London is one of the most visited attractions in the British Isles. The Tower itself is actually a series of buildings originally constructed to be a fortress. It derives its name from the “White Tower,” which is at the heart of the complex.
London Tower dates to the Norman conquest of 1066 under William the Conquer (William I) the first recognized King of England. It was constructed during his reign, but not completed until 1087, the year he died. Many of the early English monarchs actually lived here. It is the most complete example of an 11th century fortress palace remaining in Europe. The Tower is situated strategically along the Thames River and was built to be a symbol of Norman power in the land.
Currently it is home to the Royal Family’s Crown Jewels. While there have been many additions and multiple reconstruction projects over the centuries, it still maintains its original footprint and design.
The White Tower was constructed as a ‘Keep’ or Donjon – in other words, it was meant to be a holding facility for those deemed dangerous to the Crown. The White Tower is almost a cube shaped at 118 X 105 X 90 feet in dimensions. From 1100 through to 1952, the Tower of London served as a prison. Though it has a reputation as a place for executions, only seven were ever actually executed here. Three of these however were English Queens.
On that score, “the Tower has been the setting for some of the most momentous events in European and British History. Its role as a stage upon which history has been enacted is one of the key elements, which has contributed towards the Tower’s status as an iconic structure. Arguably, the most important building of the Norman Conquest, the White Tower symbolized the might and longevity of the new order. The imprisonments in the Tower of Edward V and his younger brother in the 15th century, and then, in the 16th century, of four English queens, three of them executed on Tower Green – Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey – with only Elizabeth I escaping, shaped English history. The Tower also helped shape the story of the Reformation in England, as both Catholic and Protestant prisoners (those that survived) recorded their experiences and helped define the Tower as a place of torture and execution.”
Other famous prisoners held here include William Wallace, Guy Fawkes, Thomas Cranmer, Walter Raleigh, Thomas Cromwell, Rudolf Hess, and several others.
Did You Know?
Americans and Canadians alike have had a fascination with the Royal Family. The Queen of England is beloved in her country and abroad. At one point, Lady Diana may have been the most popular and recognizable person on earth. Yet, with all this admiration, such rulers are always flawed. Human magistrates are at best sinners trying to hold back a sin nature. Praise God for the fact that He sent His Son into the world Who lived a Perfect Life.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2: 10 – 11
Jesus Christ has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19: 16
Did You Know?
A group of six captive ravens live at the Tower of London. Their wings have actually been clipped so as to prevent them from flying away. This is owing to a superstition that if the Tower of London ravens were ever to be lost or fly away, the Crown and Britain will fall. In the picture below is one seen being held by a “Beefeater” – “Beefeater” is the moniker given to the active duty military personnel who act as caretakers of the Tower and the Crown Jewels.