Dark History that Surrounds Tower of London Since A.D. 1066
London is well-known for its rich past and significant landmarks. Its royal history makes it’s a notable tourist location. An exploration of the country reveals its unique and distinct sense of personality that sets it apart from other tourist locations. One of its most attractive landmarks is a 900-year-old castle which is quite famous for housing some of the most notable treasures and jewels.
The Tower of London is the biggest attraction in London. Throughout history, it served many purposes such as a menagerie, a records office, a barrack for troops as well as it housed the Royal Mints. However, it was well-known for housing many infamous prisoners. It was also used as a royal residence until the 17th century.
The tower was built by William the Conqueror in A.D. 1066, as a fortress because he feared an uprising by the inhabitants of the city. Since he lacked the support of the people, he believed in curbing the power of the citizens, and hence he built the fort as a means of protection. William and his various conquest were frowned upon by the people and hence he had a strong reason to build the fort.
Initially, he laid down the foundation of the fort which was later expanded 250 years after William’s death. Now, the tower contains a complex series of fortification which expands up to 25 Acres.
Haunt Behind The Tower
Though the tower was a place of royal beauty, it had a dark history. The tower was known for imprisoning a wide range of prisoners, from disposed of monarchs to criminals. Some of its infamous prisoners include Lady Jane Grey, who was the Queen for a week before she was disposed of by Mary I. Even Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, two of Henry VIII wives were imprisoned and later executed.
Another notable prisoner was Guy Fawkes who was imprisoned and tortured within the walls of the tower for attempting to blow up the House of the Royals and the Monarchs by denoting the gunpowder which was buried underneath the cellar.
In spite of its dark past, the history of the tower as a prison is quite popular. It is said that many of the royals that were imprisoned were treated quite well. They were even allowed servants and at times, they could leave the castle, provided they were accompanied by a guard. However, by the end of the 18th and 19th century, the tower was less frequently used as a prison. Its last notable prisoner was Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, who was seen fleeing Scotland, before being placed in the tower and later being transferred.
Despite the horror that was witnessed by the tower, it is one of the most attractive tourist areas for housing the crown’s jewel. The jewels that were worn by some of the monarchs at coronations and the opening of parliament. The tower began to serve as a secure place for the treasures since 1303 when some jewels were stolen from the Abbey of St. Peter at Westminster.
Since then, the rest of the remaining jewels were transferred to the tower for safe-keeping. The tower also contains an impressive amount of armours which also adds to its attractiveness. Also, a new jewel tower was built on the south side of the White Tower in 1508 for this purpose.
In recent times, the Tower is heavily guarded by Beefeaters, the bearded Yeoman Warders. The post of Beefeaters was handed down from one generation to another, however, this practice was forced to stop when the Duke of Wellington ordered that the future posts must be given to all Non- Commissioned officers of the Household Cavalry based on the Regiment's recommendation. This was a huge loss for the family of the original Beefeaters, who soon lost their moneymaking privileges.
When one visits the tower, it can be observed that the Ravens frequent the Tower. These flock of Raven dwell at the tower and they are taken care of by the Yeomen Warders Raven master. Legends state the Tower, as well as the Monarchs, are doomed to collapse if the six Ravens ever leave the Tower.
It is believed that Charles II is the first Monarch who ordered the protection of the Ravens. He gave the order in spite of protests by the royal Astronomer John Flamsteed who argued that the Ravens kept leaving their droppings on his telescope.
Today, the tower is one of the most attractive tourist locations and is even listed in the World Heritage Site. It has an estimate of two million visitors every year, each of them left in awe of its beauty and rich history. Ironically, the tower, though well protected from terrorists and sudden attacks, requires protection of its quality.
The pollution, as well as global warming, has led to walls of the tower to turn a bit yellow, just like The Taj Mahal. Hence, immediate actions on the part of the appropriate authorities should be taken to preserve the beauty of the castle and to continue its legacy.
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