The Intriguing History of the Tower of London

One of the most popular and well-known landmarks in the United Kingdom is the Tower of London. Now a major tourist attraction, the tower has a long, interesting and often savage history, and was the scene of many pivotal points in British history. It is no surprise that the Tower of London is so full of history – it was built in 1066 after the Normans invaded Britain, William the Conqueror ordered the Tower of London to be built, and was intended to be a display of his power and his victory in battle.

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The location of the Tower, on the banks of the River Thames, also meant it had a strategic purpose as a defence of the city, and the entrance to London. The first tower that was built was the white tower, however, it grew larger over time as the Tower of London evolved through the centuries.

One of the things that the tower is best known for is the princes in the tower – two boys who were the sons of the King, Edward IV were born during the War of the Roses. When Edward died, the boys were taken into the care of the Duke of Gloucester, who had them placed in the Tower of London. Although he claimed this was for their own protection, they were never seen again, and the Duke of Gloucester went on to become the King.

The tower was also the place of execution for many other members of the Royal family – many Queens were executed on the green, including Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII and also Lady Jane Grey. It was a place of torture as well as execution, and its most famous victim is probably Guy Fawkes.

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It is not all murder and torture though – the tower of London was used for many years to house the menagerie, a collection of exotic animals that were kept by the monarch to show their status, and all manner of creatures were kept here, even lions! In fact, this laid the foundations of what is now London Zoo. Nowadays, there is an animal sculpture like this to commemorate the royal menagerie.

Of course, many legends surround a building so old, and the Ravens of the tower are likely the most popular residents. The reason why there are ravens kept in the tower is because it is said that there must always be six ravens at the tower or the Kingdom will fall.

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