The Tower of London

The Tower of London is  one of the oldest buildings in London, built in 1066AD by William I, better known as William the Conqueror. Some of the most dramatic, fascinating, shocking and gory history of England has happened right there inside those ancient stone walls, on the banks of the mighty River Thames.

For a sneaky millennium-in-a-minute look at all that history, scan this:

1066  William the Conqueror establishes the Tower to keep hostile Londoners at bay.

1086 Construction of the White Tower is under way.

1101 Ranulf Flambard, the first known prisoner at the Tower, makes a daring escape.

1155  Thomas Becket (later St Thomas), keeper of the works, carries out repairs.

1220s Henry III starts a major expansion of the royal palace.

1251  A polar bear joins the Tower menagerie.

1263 Henry III surrenders the Tower to Simon de Montfort.

1275-79 Edward I builds St Thomas’s Tower and the watergate known as Traitors’ Gate.

1360 John II ‘the Good’ of France lives in great splendour as a prisoner.

1381 Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, is dragged out of the Tower and murdered on Tower Hill during the Peasants’ Revolt.

1389 Geoffrey Chaucer, clerk of works, oversees completion of Tower Wharf. Chaucer is famous as the author of The Canterbury Tales.

1483 The Princes in the Tower disappear, presumed murdered.

1485 Henry VII establishes the troop of Yeoman Warders or ‘Beefeaters’.

1536 Queen Anne Boleyn is beheaded on Tower Green by a swordsman brought especially from France.

1554 Lady Jane Grey, the ‘nine days queen’, is executed. Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, is imprisoned in the Tower.

1605 Guy Fawkes is tortured at the Tower following the failed Gunpowder Plot to assassinate James I and blow up Parliament.

1671 Colonel Blood attempts to steal the Crown Jewels.

1780 The last hanging takes place on Tower Hill.

1826 Duke of Wellington becomes Constable of the Tower and appoints Yeoman Warders based on their exemplary military service.

1835 Tower Menagerie closes. The animals are transferred to the new London Zoo.

1850 Koh-i-noor diamond is presented to Queen Victoria.

1952 East end London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray are held at the Tower.

2012 The Crown Jewels exhibition opens.


Find out more here:

Wikipedia about the Tower

Tower of London official website

Ravens at the Tower