Tower of London

   Although also a fortress, armory, and royal residence, the Tower of London was the principal English state prison, and as such it was the place of imprisonment and execution for many prominent figures during the WARS OF THE ROSES.
   In 1077, William the Conqueror began building a large stone castle along the Thames at the southeast corner of the old Roman wall surrounding LONDON. Known as the White Tower because it was originally whitewashed, William’s fortress had by the fifteenth century become the center of a large complex of defensive walls and towers constructed by various medieval monarchs. The Tower first became a factor in the civil wars in July 1460. After the city authorities allowed Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and the other Yorkist earls from CALAIS to enter London, the city’s Lancastrian garrison withdrew to the Tower, where it held out for weeks under the command of Thomas SCALES, Lord Scales. After his capitulation, Scales was released by the Yorkists, but murdered by Londoners enraged at the death and destruction his Tower guns had rained on the city.
   After his accession, EDWARD IV enlarged the Tower fortifications and built the first permanent scaffold on Tower Hill. To pacify the city authorities, who had previously enjoyed the financial benefits deriving from the crowds that attended public executions, Edward allowed the city to supervise all Tower Hill executions. The most prominent Tower prisoner during the wars was HENRY VI, who, except for the months of his READEPTION in 1470–1471, was confined in the Wakefield Tower from 1465 to 1471. Although Lancastrian writers complained that Henry was illtreated during his imprisonment, contemporary Tower accounts indicate that he had a generous allowance for food and clothing, was allowed to hear Mass, and had occasional visitors. Henry was murdered in the Tower on the night of 21 May 1471, shortly before his wife, Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU, was also confined there. Another mysterious death occurred in the Tower in February 1478, when George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, Edward IV’s brother,was executed privately in the fortress by unknown means, although legend claims the duke was drowned in a butt of malmsey wine.
   The Tower was the site of several momentous events in 1483, including the dramatic COUNCIL MEETING OF 13 JUNE, during which William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings, was arrested and summarily executed on Tower Hill, ostensibly for plotting against Richard, duke of Gloucester. During the following months, after Gloucester had seized the throne as RICHARD III, his deposed nephew EDWARD V and Edward’s brother, Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, disappeared in the Tower, where they were probably murdered on Richard’s order. Later accounts of the princes’ deaths claimed they were buried secretly in the Tower, a claim that gained credence in 1674 when two sets of bones belonging to boys their age were uncovered during Tower renovations.
   Further Reading: Mears, Kenneth J., The Tower of London: 900 Years of English History (Oxford: Phaidon, 1988);Wilson, Derek A., The Tower of London: A Thousand Years (London: Allison and Busby, 1998).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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  • Tower of London —    Situated at the eastern extremity of the City of London on the north bank of the Thames on Tower Hill (S. 45, and Bayley, ed. 1821, I. p. 1), on the confines of Middlesex and Essex, 1315 (Cal. P.R. 1313 17, p.314).    The most celebrated… …   Dictionary of London

  • Tower of London — Tower Tow er, n. [OE. tour,tor,tur, F. tour, L. turris; akin to Gr. ?; cf. W. twr a tower, Ir. tor a castle, Gael. torr a tower, castle. Cf. {Tor}, {Turret}.] 1. (Arch.) (a) A mass of building standing alone and insulated, usually higher than its …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tower of London —   [ taʊə əv lʌndən], Zitadelle im Osten der Altstadt von London am nördlichen Themseufer oberhalb der 1886 94 erbauten Tower Bridge, das älteste Bauwerk Londons, von Wilhelm dem Eroberer 1077 angelegt, seitdem mehrfach erweitert (UNESCO… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Tower of London — Tower of Lon|don the Tower of London also the Tower a ↑fortress (=protected group of buildings including a castle) in London next to the River Thames, built in the 11th century but originally built in Roman times. The kings and queens of England… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Tower of London — n. a fortress made up of several buildings on the Thames in London, serving in historic times as a palace, prison, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Tower of London — For other uses, see Tower of London (disambiguation) Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°4′34″W / 51.50806°N 0.07611°W / 51 …   Wikipedia

  • Tower von London — Der White Tower, der Grundstein der gesamten Festung Modell des Towers …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tower of London — Der White Tower, der Kern der gesamten Festung Modell des Tower …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tower of London — /tow euhr/ a historic fortress in London, England: originally a royal palace, later a prison, now an arsenal and museum. * * * Royal fortress on the northern bank of the River Thames. The central keep, or donjon, known as the White Tower because… …   Universalium

  • Tower of London — noun a fortress in London on the Thames; used as a palace and a state prison and now as a museum containing the crown jewels • Instance Hypernyms: ↑fortress, ↑fort • Part Holonyms: ↑London, ↑Greater London, ↑British capital, ↑capital of the… …   Useful english dictionary

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