The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Tower of London

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Tower of London

Author: William Benham

Release date: November 11, 2018 [eBook #58271]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Paul Marshall and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


Book Cover.

The Tower of London.

From a MS. of the Poems of Charles, Duke of Orleans.
British Museum
, 16 F. II.


Rector of St. Edmund the King, Lombard Street,
and Honorary Canon of Canterbury

New York: E. P. DUTTON & CO.



is Dedicated


[Pg v]


Early History  1
General Survey of the Buildings 13
In the Days of the Later Plantagenets   24
In the Time of the Tudor Kings 38
The Tudor Queens 52
The Stuarts 68
The House of Hanover 92

[Pg vi]

[Pg vii]



The Tower of London. From a MS. of the Poems of Charles,

Duke of Orleans. (British Museum, 16 F. ii.) Frontispiece
Assault on a Fortress. From a MS. of Boccaccio de Casibus  
Virorum et Fœminarum Illustrium. (British Museum, 35321) 26
Artillery of the Fifteenth Century. From a MS. of the  
Chronicles of England. (British Museum, 14 E. iv.) 34
A Tournament. From a MS. of the Romance of the  
Sire Jehan de Saintré. (British Museum, Nero D. ix.) 42

1. South Aisle of St. John’s Chapel. From a Drawing by  
  J. Wykeham Archer. (British Museum)  8
2. Building a Gateway. From a MS. of Le Trésor des  
  Histoires. (British Museum, Aug. A. v.)  8
3. Men-at-arms Crossing a Drawbridge. From a MS. of  
  Les Chroniques d’Angleterre. (British Museum, 14 E. iv.)  8
4. Staircase of the White Tower. From a Drawing by  
  J. Wykeham Archer. (British Museum)  8
5. Indian Elephant and Rhinoceros brought over in 1686.  
  From a Mezzotint by P. Vander Berge. (Gardner Collection)  8
6. Lions’ Dens in the Tower. From a Drawing made in 1779.  
  (Gardner Collection)  8
7. The Tower, showing the East Outer Ballium. From a  
  Drawing by H. Hodge. (Gardner Collection) 16
8. The Salt Tower, and Part of the Ancient Ballium.  
  From a Drawing by J. Wykeham Archer. (British Museum) 16
9. The Prisoners’ Walk. From a Drawing by C. J. Richardson.  
  (Gardner Collection) 16
10. The Wakefield Tower. From a Drawing by C. Tomkins.  
  (British Museum) 16
11. Traitors’ Gate, from without. From a Drawing by C. Tomkins.  
  (Gardner Collection) 16
12. Traitors’ Gate, from within. From an old Engraving 16[Pg viii]
13. Banquet given by Richard II. From a MS. of the  
  Chronicles of England. (British Museum, 14 E. iv.) 24
14. An Act of Arms before the King and Queen. From a MS. of the  
  Romance of Sire Jehan de Saintré. (British Museum, Nero D. ix.) 24
15. Gateway of the Bloody Tower. From an Engraving by  
  F. Nash, 1821 24
16. Queen in a Horse Litter, attended by her Ladies on Horseback.  
  From a MS. of Froissart’s Chronicles. (British Museum, 18 E. ii.) 24
17. Vaulted Room in the Crypt of the White Tower, in which the Rack stood.  
  From a Drawing in the Gardner Collection 40
18. A Cell in the Bloody Tower. From a Drawing by  
  J. Wykeham Archer. (British Museum) 40
19. The Privy Council Chamber in the Lieutenant’s Lodging.  
  From a Drawing by P. Justyne. (Gardner Collection) 40
20. A Room in the Beauchamp Tower, with Prisoners’ Inscriptions  
  on the Walls 40
21. The Beauchamp Tower and St. Peter’s Chapel. From a  
  Drawing by P. Justyne. (Gardner Collection) 40
22. The Lieutenant’s Lodging. From a Drawing by C. J. Richardson.  
  (Gardner Collection) 40
23. The Collegiate Church of St. Katharine, looking West.  
  From an Engraving by J. Carter 40
24. The Collegiate Church of St. Katharine, looking East.  
  From an Engraving by B. T. Pouncey 40
25. The Execution of the Earl of Strafford.  
  From the Engraving by W. Hollar 80
26. The Seven Bishops taken to the Tower.  
  From a Dutch Etching of the time. (Gardner Collection) 80
27. The South View of the Tower of London.  
  By Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, 1737 80
28. The Tower and Old London Bridge. From an Engraving  
  after J. Maurer, 1746. (Gardner Collection) 80
29. The Moat. From an Engraving after J. Maurer, 1753.  
  (Gardner Collection) 96
30. The Tower and the Mint, from Tower Hill.  
  From a Drawing by T. S. Boys, 1842 96
31. The Tower from the Thames. After E. Duncan 96
32. The City Barges at the Tower Stairs. From a Drawing on stone  
  by W. Parrott.(Gardner Collection) 96
  Plan of the Tower of London.  
  From a Drawing made between 1681 and 1689 104

The numerous subjects drawn from the collection formed by the late Mr. J. E. Gardner are reproduced by kind permission of Mr. E. T. Gardner. The skill of Miss E. A. Ibbs has contributed to the production of the illustrations in colour.


[Pg 1]


Ancient London—Its Port and Trade—The Tower its Safeguard—Invasion by Julius Caesar—The Roman Province of Britain—Roman Wall and Tower—The Roman Abandonment—Saxon Invasion—London the East Saxon Capital—Danish Invasions—Desertion of London—Its Restoration by Alfred—The Norman Conquest—Bishop Gundulf, the Conqueror’s Architect of the White Tower—It becomes a Royal Palace for the East as Westminster for the West—The Royal Menagerie in the Tower—Great Additions made by Henry III—His unpopularity—The Civil War—How the Tower became a State Prison—Additions made by Edward I—Quarrels of Edward II with his Barons—His Occupation of the Tower—His Flight—Murder of Bishop Stapledon—Murder of the King—Residence of Edward III in the Tower, first as his Mother’s Prisoner, then independent—Execution of Mortimer—The Beginning of the Hundred-Years’ War—Strange use made of the Tower in the days of preparation—Imprisonment of illustrious French Captives, the Comte d’Eu, King John of France, Charles of Blois—Also of King David Bruce of Scotland—Peace of Bretigny—The Mint—St. Katharine’s Hospital.

The Tower of London is the most interesting fortress in Great Britain; it has a history equalled in interest by few fortresses in the world. The Acropolis at Athens and the Capitol of Rome are far more ancient, but they are fortresses no longer. The only rival in this respect that occurs to me is the massive tower at the Western Gate of Jerusalem. It was probably built by King David, and enlarged by Herod; and it is a military castle at this day. So is our Tower, and it was built for that use.

The Port of London held a high position from the beginning of the history of Western Europe. Before the first Roman invasion of Britain there was a City of London, carrying on trade not only with the inland towns, but with the Continent. It was, as it is, a splendid position, [Pg 2] and on the site of the present Tower the Britons had a fortress to protect it. Fifty-four years before the Christian era Julius Caesar led the first Roman invasion of this country, but he was only here three weeks, and it is very doubtful whether he ever came to London. He makes no mention of it in his Commentaries. We may therefore treat the story that he built the Tower as a myth, though Shakespeare does take it for granted (Richard II, act v, sc. 1). The Roman Conquest of our island was not achieved until nearly a century later; from which time, until the latter half of the fifth century, Britain was a Roman Province. The conquerors made London their chief city in Southern Britain, built the Roman wall, of which many portions still exist, and renewed the British fortress which held its commanding position as the safeguard of the city. On the south side of the great keep is a fragment which was laid bare some years ago, when some buildings were pulled down, and that fragment is certainly Roman. It is part of the Arx Palatina constructed during their domination. They abandoned the island at length, and after a brief interval came the invasion of our Teutonic forefathers, and London thus became the capital of the Kingdom of the East Saxons.

But it was now anything but a flourishing city. The Danish invasions for a while destroyed its prosperity, and as Sir Walter Besant holds, caused the greater part of the population to flee. It was King Alfred who restored London, repaired the broken walls, and brought back the trade. “There were great heroes before Agamemnon,” the poet tells us, “but they found no chronicler to recount their feats.” And in like manner, one may say, the Tower had, no doubt, passages of historic interest before the Norman Conquest, which have not come down to us. It is barely mentioned in the Saxon chronicles. A few Saxon remains are noted by antiquaries. But at the Norman Conquest the continuous and most striking history begins, and continues unbroken. As we look upon it to-day, spite of all the mighty changes which Time has wrought, not only in the surroundings, but in the building itself, the great square keep is the most conspicuous object, and it was built by William the Conqueror. He brought, on the recommendation of Lanfranc, from the monastery of Bec a Benedictine monk named Gundulf, and made him Bishop of Rochester. He had travelled not only over many parts of Europe, but [Pg 3] in the East, and was familiar with the beauties of Saracenic art, which he made subservient to the decoration of his monastery, and now brought into use in his new See. He rebuilt Rochester Cathedral, and the noble castle beside it has also been ascribed to him, but this seems to be a mistake. And then the great King set him to work on the London fortress; and he built the White Tower, as we call it, as well as St. Peter’s Church and the old Barbican, the present Jewel House. “I find,” writes Stow, “in a fair register book, containing the acts of the bishops of Rochester, set down by Edmund of Hadenham, that William I, surnamed Conqueror, built the Tower of London, to wit, the great white and square tower there, about the year of Christ 1078, appointing Gundulf, then Bishop of Rochester, to be principal surveyor and overseer of that work.” Gundulf was the greatest builder of his time; several still existent Norman towers in Kent are almost certainly his;[1] but he was also most earnest in the discharge of his episcopal duties, and both Lanfranc and Anselm entrusted much spiritual work to him. Even the rough and brutal Rufus, as well as his brother Henry I, treated him with marked respect. He died in 1108 at the age of eighty-four. The massive Ballium wall, varying from thirty to forty feet in height, was probably also his work.

Henry I was the earliest King apparently to use the Tower as a State prison. He shut up Ralph Flambard, Bishop of Durham, in the White Tower on the charge of illegally raising funds to build the very fortress. Probably the imprisonment was a sop to public opinion, for the Bishop was hated for his exactions. He escaped, however; got possession of a rope which had been hidden in a wine cask, invited his keepers to supper and made them drunk; then fastening the rope to a window bar he let himself down. A swift horse which some friends had provided for him carried him to the coast, and he went over to Normandy, where he was cordially received by Duke Robert. But after the battle of Tenchebrai had destroyed all the hopes of the latter, King Henry welcomed the overtures which Flambard made to him, and restored him to his see at Durham, where he afterwards achieved his beautiful architectural works. [Pg 4]

The Tower was from that time onwards a Royal Palace, as was Westminster in the West. We catch incidents of residence in two or three reigns, but they are few. It is noted by one chronicler that during the contest between Stephen and Matilda, Stephen broke through the older custom and kept the Pentecost festival in the Tower instead of at Westminster. One fact comes out clear enough. Some of the Norman Kings kept wild beasts; Henry I had some lions and leopards at his palace at Woodstock. Frederick II of Germany sent three leopards as a present to Henry III, and they were placed in the Tower, where were already some lions, an elephant, and a bear, probably other beasts as well. There is an old account of the arrival of an elephant at Dover, and the amazement of the people as it was led up to London. Amid all its vicissitudes the Tower remained a royal menagerie until 1834. The Sheriff of London was ordered in 1252 to pay fourpence a day for the keep of the bear, as well as to provide a muzzle and chain for him when he was set to catch fish in the Thames. All through the Plantagenet days the beasts had food provided at the cost of 6d. a day. Their keeper was a Court official, styled “The Master of the King’s bears and apes.” The bears dwelt in a circular pit, like that in the main street of Berne to-day. It was situated where the ticket office and refreshment rooms are now. In the days of James I the bears were baited for the brutal amusement of the privileged. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth a German tourist named Hentzner saw here “a great variety of creatures, viz. three lionesses, one lion of great size called Edward VI, from his having been born in that reign, a tiger, a lynx, a wolf excessively old, a porcupine, and an eagle. All these creatures are kept in a remote place, fitted up for the purpose with wooden lattices at the Queen’s expense.” All through our literature there are references from time to time to the Tower menagerie. The “Lion Gate” was so called from its proximity to this.

When Richard I went on Crusade, he left the Tower in charge of his Chancellor, Longchamp, Bishop of Ely. John, on usurping the kingdom, besieged the Tower, which Longchamp abandoned to him, and he committed it to the care of the Archbishop of Rouen, who held it till Richard’s return. When John’s kingdom was invaded by the French Dauphin, Louis, [Pg 5] at the invitation of the rebellious barons, the Tower was handed over to him, but he does not seem to have resided there.

The next important builder after William the Conqueror was Henry III. A good deal of English fortification work is to be attributed to him. His master mason at the Tower was Adam of Lambourne, but the King himself may be called his own clerk of the works. He built the outer wall facing the ditch which had been dug in Norman days, and of course supplied with water from the Thames. It will be remembered that this King was the builder of the greater portion of Westminster Abbey; whatever his defects as a ruler, he was a man of learning and taste, and he decorated the Norman chapel in the White Tower with beautiful frescoes and stained glass, and gave bells to St. Peter’s Church on Tower Green. The Lantern Tower, on the new wall, he chose for his bedroom, and built a tiny chapel in it for his own devotions, which was so used by his successors until the tragedy of a king murdered before the altar destroyed the sanctity. Traitors’ Gate, also, was his work, the great entrance from the river side, and a very noble piece of engineering; how it got its name we shall see abundantly hereafter. A yet more important work of his, and for a while most unpopular, was the Wharf: the strip of bank alongside the river like the Thames Embankment of our own day. Adam of Lambourne was the engineer also of this remarkable work. Piles of timber were driven into the mud, and rubble thrown in between them, and then the whole mass was faced with a barrier of stone. At the beginning of the work the high tide washed it down, and carried away completely a tower which he was constructing to guard it. The citizens sent a remonstrance, not only against the expense, but against the harm which they considered it would cause to trade navigation, but the King persisted and ordered Adam to make his foundations stronger. A cry was even got up that the ghost of St. Thomas of Canterbury had appeared to denounce the work. But the King’s wisdom was so far justified by the result, that there to-day is the Wharf, and its foundations are firm as ever.

I have told in the story of Old St. Paul’s how his Queen, Eleanor of Savoy, had much to do with King Henry’s unpopularity. She was beautiful to look upon, and highly accomplished, a patron of the arts, and the [Pg 6] bringer of musical excellence, both of voice and instrument, from her native land of Provence. But she was greedy of money, proud, arrogant and vindictive, and always bent on enriching her kindred. Her uncle, Boniface of Savoy, whom she made Archbishop of Canterbury, was detested by the clergy, especially by the monks, for his insatiable and unblushing avarice. Her husband loved the Tower as a place of residence, but when one day she started forth in her barge for Westminster she was received with curses and cries of “Drown the witch,” and had to hasten back in terror and take refuge once more within the Tower walls. Her son, Edward I, never forgave the Londoners for so insulting his mother, and not long after found an opportunity of revenging it. At the Battle of Lewes he defeated a regiment of London citizens fighting on the side of the Barons, and pursued them far out of the field, slaughtering some 2,000 of them. But his leaving his father to look after himself had much to do with his losing the battle.

The war between King Henry and the Barons came to an end with the defeat and death of Montfort at Evesham in 1264. The Barons had held the Tower until then, but the King now resumed authority over it, and increased its fortifications. He first made the famous Hugh de Burgh, Earl of Kent, Constable, but afterwards replaced him by Peter de Roches, Bishop of Winchester. Before long the peace of the country was again disturbed by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, who having obtained possession of the city of London denounced the Papal Legate Otho for residing in the Tower; it was “a post,” he said, “not to be trusted in the hands of a foreigner, much less of an ecclesiastic.” The Legate, in defiance, went to St. Paul’s, and under pretence of preaching in favour of the Crusade, broke forth into fierce invectives against the earl, who was present. The preacher had some difficulty in making his way back to the Tower, which was besieged by de Clare; but he held it successfully until the siege was raised by the royal army.

One notable prisoner of this reign was Griffin, son of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, who was caught and detained in the Tower as a hostage in 1244. He attempted to escape as Flambard had done, making a rope of his bedclothes. But he was very fat, it broke, and he was killed. His nephew Llewelyn was the chieftain who afterwards gave so much trouble to Edward I. [Pg 7]

Prince Edward went away to the Holy Land, and during his absence his father, Henry III, died. The custody of the Tower was committed to the Archbishop of York till his return to England, when he completed the works in the fortress which his father had begun, and erected some additional fortifications on the western side. Stow quotes a record of his in which he commands the Treasurer and Chamberlain of the Exchequer “to deliver unto Miles of Andwarp [Antwerp] 200 marks towards the worke of the ditch, then new made about the bulwarke, now called the Lion Tower.” Then, says Bayley, “may be regarded as the last additions of any importance that were ever made to the fortress.” During Edward’s active and powerful reign the Tower was chiefly appropriated to the use of a State prison. Of the multitudes of Jews who were apprehended in 1278, on the charge of clipping and adulterating the coin of the realm, no less than 600 were confined at once in the Tower, and the conquest of Wales and the attempt to conquer Scotland both provided a succession of illustrious prisoners, who lost their liberty in an unequal struggle for their country’s freedom. It was in 1296 that Edward began his war for the conquest of Scotland. The battle of Falkirk in 1298 scattered the whole Scottish army, but the subjugation was not complete, for the English had to retire for want of provisions, but the leaders of the Scottish army, the Earls of Athol, Menteith and Ross, with their poor King Baliol and his son Edward, and other Scottish leaders, were brought to the Tower, as in 1305 was William Wallace. The latter was executed in Smithfield, August 25, 1305. His was one of the first trials in Westminster Hall.

Edward II, like his father, showed no partiality for the Tower as a residence, but occasionally retired to it as a place of safety. In 1322 his eldest daughter was born here, and was called in consequence “Joan of the Tower,” as his youngest son was called John of Eltham from his birthplace. During that miserable reign the conspiracies raised by the barons, first against Piers de Gaveston, and afterwards against the Despensers, the successive favourites of the unhappy King, caused the issuing of frequent orders for putting the Tower in a state of defence. In 1312 engines were constructed, and [Pg 8] other precautions taken to make it impregnable, for the barons were in open rebellion. In 1324, Lord Mortimer being confined in the Tower, and more rebel barons in other fortresses, a plot was laid to set them at liberty simultaneously. This failed, but Mortimer contrived to escape by inviting the governor of the Tower, Sir Samuel Segrave, with other officers of the fortress, to a banquet and making them drunk. Though every exertion was made to recapture him he got away to France, where in conjunction with the Queen, Isabella, he brought about the unnatural conspiracy which deprived the wretched King of his throne and his life. Segrave was removed from his post and imprisoned, and the custody of the Tower was committed to Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter—a terrible trust, as was soon proved. For the rebellion was already assuming the most formidable shape. In the early part of 1326 the Queen and her accomplice Mortimer landed in Suffolk. The King retired to the newly-fortified Tower, summoned the Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen of the city to his presence-chamber, and gave his commands for the preservation of the tranquillity of the capital. He further issued a proclamation offering a reward for Mortimer’s head. But the rebels came on, in the full confidence of victory. The King in vain endeavoured to rouse the Londoners in his defence; and so on October 2 he left the Tower in charge of Bishop Stapledon, his young son John of Eltham being there also, and hastened away to the West of England, in hopes of finding greater loyalty there. He had hardly left London when the rebel spirit of its inhabitants broke out in fury; they seized the bishop in charge, dragged him into Cheapside, and beheaded him with some other officers, and appointed officers of their own to rule in the name of John of Eltham. Stapledon was a man not only of rectitude of character, but a munificent patron of learning. Exeter College, Oxford, owes its foundation to him, and much of the beauty of Exeter Cathedral is his work. He was first buried in the Church of St. Clement Danes, but afterwards removed to his Cathedral, where a magnificent monument covers him. The “she-wolf” queen and her paramour, after the King’s murder at Berkeley Castle, ruled for a while in the name of the young King Edward III, and kept him secluded in the Tower as a mere puppet. But they misjudged their power; he broke through their control, and threw himself on the nation; Mortimer was arrested at Nottingham and brought to the Tower, whence on November 29 he was carried to “Tyburn Elms,” hanged, drawn, and quartered—treated, in fact, as he had treated the Despensers.

1. South Aisle of St. John’s Chapel.

From a drawing by J. Wykeham Archer, 1852.
British Museum.

2. Building a Gateway.

From a MS. of Le Trésor des Histoires,
British Museum, Aug. A. v.

3. Men-at-Arms crossing a Drawbridge.

From a MS. of Les Chroniques d’Angleterre,
British Museum
, 14 E iv.

4. Staircase of the White Tower.

From a drawing by J. Wykeham Archer, 1851.
British Museum.

5. Indian Elephant and Rhinoceros brought over in 1686.

From a mezzotint by P. Vander Berge.
Gardner Collection.

6. Lions’ Dens in the Tower.

From a drawing made in 1779.
Gardner Collection.

[Pg 9] The great but unrighteous claim of Edward III to the crown of France, resulting in the “hundred years’ war” concerns us here thus far, that he resided in the Tower whilst he was making his preparations to enforce his claim; and on his departure placed a strong garrison in it, and furnished it as a fit and secure residence for his son, Prince Edward, whom he appointed regent in his absence. In 1341 he secretly returned to England, landed at the Tower at midnight on November 30, accompanied by the Earl of Northampton, Sir Walter Manny, and other great men, and finding the fortress badly guarded, imprisoned the governor and officers and treated them with exemplary rigour. He took up his residence in the Tower, discharged the Lord Treasurer and the Lord Chancellor, Robert Bishop of Chichester, and delivered the great seal to Robert Bourchier, who afterwards fought at Crecy. All these strong measures were in consequence of the disorders and abuses which he found. From this time till 1342 King Edward kept his Court here, and here, during that period, his Queen Philippa gave birth to a princess who was named Blanche, but who died in infancy and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

That great war wrought momentous changes in the course of English history, which will indirectly concern us in these pages. It also changed very decidedly and materially the position and the uses of the Tower, which from this time onwards became peculiarly celebrated as the prison of illustrious captives. On July 27, 1346, King Edward captured Caen, one of the richest and most powerful towns in Normandy, and took prisoner the Constable of France, the Count d’Eu, the Count of Tankerville, and sent them with 300 of the most opulent citizens as prisoners to the Tower of London. He then marched along Northern France, on August 26 won the battle of Crecy, and on September 3 laid siege to Calais, a very strong town, which had done much harm to the English and Flemings by piracies. That memorable siege lasted just eleven months, and we all remember the pretty story of the self-devotion of Eustace de Saint Pierre and the averting of the King’s vengeance by the intercession of Queen Philippa. [Pg 10]

While this siege was going on King Philip of France persuaded the King of Scotland, David Bruce, to invade England, and so to revenge past injuries, and secure future independence. He came with 50,000 men, laid waste all the border country, and drew nigh to Durham. But here he was met by a small body of English, led by Lord Percy, and entirely defeated. This was the battle of Neville’s Cross, fought on October 17, 1346. King David was taken prisoner, as were the Earls of Fife and Monteith and several more Scottish chiefs. They were all brought to London to the amazing joy and delight of the citizens. The captive King was mounted on a high black courser; the City Guilds, clad in their respective liveries, made a great escort for him, through street after street, until he was committed to the custody of Sir John D’Arcy, the Constable of the Tower, on January 2, 1347. The same year the roll of illustrious captives was increased by the famous Charles of Blois, one of the competitors for the Duchy of Brittany, and, on the surrender of Calais, by its valiant governor, John of Vienne, and twelve of his comrades. Bruce continued in captivity here for eleven years.

In 1358 the great fortress received a yet more illustrious prisoner. King John of France and his son Philip were taken captive by Edward the Black Prince at the battle of Poitiers, and brought to London. At first they were lodged in the Duke of Lancaster’s palace in the Savoy, then at Windsor, and apparently had a fine time with hawking and hunting and good cheer. Next year when King Edward returned to France “he made all the lordes of France, such as were prisoners, to be put into dyvers places and strange castelles, to be the more sure of them, and the Frenche Kynge was set in the Towre of London, and his yonge sonne with hym, and moche of hys pleasure and sport restrayned; for he was then straytlyer kept than he was before.” They had not a bad time of it, however, here apparently. The Scottish King had just been liberated, but there were many French nobles to make up a court for him. Next year the treaty of Bretigny restored him to his country.

Coining operations had been carried on in the Tower here ever since the Norman Conquest, if not long before. It was not, however, the only place. In the reign of Charles I there seem to have been fifteen mints, [Pg 11] but an edict of the reign of Edward III enacted that all moneys, wherever coined, should be made uniform with those of the Tower. After the Restoration, small rolling-mills were set up in the Tower, driven by horse and water power, and a great improvement was hereby effected—milled instead of hammered coins. The workshops were between the inner and outer walls, and the road which runs between St. Thomas’s Tower and the Bloody Tower was formerly called Mint Street. In 1696 an Act was passed, calling in the old hammered coinage, to be melted down in a furnace at Westminster, and sent in ingots to the Tower, to reappear in milled form. Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Mint, made many more improvements. In 1810 the Mint was removed outside—to Little Tower Hill, where it is at this day.

Though it did not belong to the Tower, nor was within its limits, the Royal Hospital of St. Katharine’s by the Tower cannot be passed over without mention. It was founded in 1148 by Matilda, wife of King Stephen, for the repose of her two children, for the maintenance of a master and several poor brothers and sisters. Eleanor, Henry III’s widow, augmented it in 1273, “for a master, three brethren, chaplains, three sisters, ten bedeswomen, and six poor scholars.” The foundation was placed under the especial patronage and jurisdiction of the Queen Consorts of England, and, with all changes, has so remained to the present day. The office of Master is the only preferment in the gift of the Queen Consort or Queen Dowager. Queen Philippa, Edward III’s wife, gave houses in Kent and Herts for its additional support. Thomas de Bekington, Master in 1445, afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells, obtained a charter of privileges, by which the precincts of the hospital were decreed free of all jurisdiction, civil or religious, except that of the Lord Chancellor, and to help the funds an annual fair was to be held on Tower Hill, to last twenty-one days from the Feast of St. James.

Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon founded here a guild of St. Barbara, among the governors of which was Cardinal Wolsey. He did not suppress it with the other religious houses, in compliment to Anne Boleyn, whom he had lately married.

The Church was in the Decorated style, very close to the Iron Gate of the Tower, properly St. Katharine’s Gate. Stow, writing in 1598, [Pg 12] describes it as “enclosed about and pestered with small tenements and homely cottages.” When the royal assent was given to the making of St. Katharine’s Docks in 1825, the hospital was removed to Regent’s Park. There were some interesting monuments in the old church. The first President of the Royal Society, Lord Brouncker, was buried here, and Ducarel the Antiquary. The fine tombs of John Holland, Duke of Exeter, his duchess, and his sisters, were removed to the Regent’s Park. The Duke, who died in 1447, was High Admiral of England and Ireland and Constable of the Tower.

[Pg 13]


A Walk round Tower Hill—The Moat—The Outward Ballium—The Legge and Brass Mount Batteries—Develin, Well, Cradle, and St. Thomas’s Towers—Traitors’ Gate—The Inner Ward, its Shape—Bell, Beauchamp, Devereux—Towers on the West; Flint, Bowyer, Brick, Martin, on the North; Constable, Broad Arrow on the East; Lanthorn, Wakefield and Bloody on the South—The Great Keep, its Construction—The Chapel—Armoury—Little Ease—The Ancient Palace, now removed—Church of St. Peter ad Vincula—The King’s House—Officers of the Tower—The Yeomen of the Guard.

Here we may conveniently pause; the building is substantially completed, the great keep, the two enclosures, the Inner and Outer Ballium. Subsequent changes are all within these, and we shall have occasion to notice them at later dates, but now that we have seen the fortress completed, and used, partly as a Royal residence, partly as a State Prison, we will survey the whole in detail. And I ask attention to the Plan opposite p. 104, which will make each point clear. I propose, then, first to take a walk round the outside and start from the bottom of Tower Hill by the main entrance, where the visitors are busy buying their tickets of admission. The modern building where they are doing this is the site of the old Lion Tower. Facing us is the Middle Tower, the gateway which leads over the Moat into the fortress itself. But as I am keeping outside I pass this and ascend the hill. To-day the whole of the bank of the Moat on the western and northern side is laid out as a flower garden, and the many seats among the trees are well occupied with loungers, mostly poor, some asleep and some reading the newspaper. The Moat, which is as old as the Tower itself, was deepened by Bishop Longchamp while he held the place for Richard I, and again by Henry III, the water of course being supplied from the Thames, which flowed in at what we call Traitors’ Gate. Its greatest [Pg 14] width is about a hundred feet. It is said that bathing in it in the days of the Plantagenets was a capital offence, but some one suggests that this simply means that it was so unsanitary as to be likely to prove fatal. There can be no doubt that the water splashing upon the walls and bastions added greatly to the picturesqueness; you see that in all the old pictures, but the changes of Time put aside its usefulness, and after eight centuries of its ebb and flow, the Duke of Wellington, when he was Constable, had it filled up to its present level and the communication with the river cut off. So now we look down upon a smooth level, on the west side gravelled, a place for recreation, and sometimes also a drying-ground of the Tower laundry. On the other sides, when we get to them, we see great portions laid down for garden ground. On the other side of the Moat is the Outward Wall, built by Henry III. Surveying it from this western side we see first the Byward Tower, which, as a glance at the plan will show, is opposite the Middle Tower, and forms the land entrance into the fortress. On the opposite end of this western side is the “drum bastion,” segment of a circle about 80 feet diameter, called Legge’s Mount Battery, probably after George Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, who had charge of it in the seventeenth century.

Turning eastward, and surveying the north side, we observe that this is not, like the western, a straight line, but an obtuse angle, which is bounded on the east by the Brass Mount, probably so called because brass cannon were mounted on it. At the bend is the North Bastion, a modern erection containing three tiers of casements, each pierced for five guns. At the north-east we leave the side of the Moat, and passing up through the gardens emerge opposite the Mint into the open road, which leads over that wonderful achievement of modern engineering, the Tower Bridge. But as our present business is not with it, we go down a flight of steps into Little Tower Street, on a level with the Thames. The wall on the eastern side is quite straight; and so we pass to the eastern end of the river front. This, as being the most exposed and also having the moat narrower, is fortified with five regular towers, the Develin, Well, Cradle, St. Thomas’s and Byward Towers. The Develin (temp. Henry III) formerly led into the precincts of St. Katharine’s. Till lately it was used as a powder magazine. The Cradle Tower is in [Pg 15] front of what were the royal apartments, and was a gate specially for the convenience of royalty. There was in those days a portcullis, and a hoist or lift by which a boat could be lifted from the river to the level of the gateway. Hence the name “cradle,” a movable bed.

Next we come to St. Thomas’s Tower, almost always called now Traitors’ Gate, from its ancient function. It was the water-gate of the Tower, and commanded the communication between the Thames and the Moat. It is in fact a barbican, probably unique, placed astride upon the Moat, which was here about 40 feet broad, and perforated by a passage leading from the river. The original name was the Watergate; “Traitors’ Gate” dates from the time of Queen Elizabeth. Independently of its historical associations it is really a wonderful structure, a magnificent arch, 62 feet span, with no key-stone, the stones of the two rows of the arch fitted together with perfect accuracy. The state prisoners were brought down the river in the government barge, conveyed beneath this arch to the flight of steps, by which they ascended to the gateway of the Inner Ward. Of course, like the rest of the Moat, the bed is now dry and the river walled out, but there, under the arch, are still the massive folding trellised gates, as well as the steps, the latter partially renovated, no doubt, but unmistakably showing some of the old ones which so many feet have trod. We think of the men, not only brought in as prisoners, but carried forth again to Westminster Hall for trial, and brought back so often under sentence of death, with the edge of the axe turned towards them. Not the Roman Capitol, nor the Römer of Frankfurt, nor the Bridge of Sighs at Venice can count such a list of names as Traitors’ Gate. St. Thomas’s Tower was built by Henry III, and named by him after St. Thomas of Canterbury. There is an old piscina showing that it once contained a chapel. Passing it we come along the Wharf to our starting-point, the Middle Tower, and so have completed the walk round the outside.

And now starting from the Middle Tower and crossing a stone bridge over the Moat, which replaces a wooden drawbridge which gave entrance of old, but has been withdrawn now that there is no longer need of it, we are in the Inner Ward, and I shall do with this as with the Outer, and first walk round it on the outside. It is enclosed within a curtain [Pg 16] wall, having twelve mural towers and a gatehouse. Its longest side faces the river, the east and west sides incline inwards, so that the north face is narrower than the base, and like the corresponding wall in the outer ballium, is broken by an obtuse angle, having like that a central salient. When we get to the inside we shall find that this Inner Ward is on a higher level than the Outer, some 15 or 20 feet. This may be partially owing to the earth excavated by Longchamp when the ditch was made being thrown up here. There is a clear passage between the Inner and Outer Ward, to which the ordinary visitor is not admitted. It is known as “The Casemates.” We first, by the courtesy of the authorities, walk round this and note the semicircles of the towers: on the west side, the Bell, Beauchamp and Devereux; on the north, Flint, Bowyer, Brick, Martin; on the east, Constable, Broad Arrow, Salt; on the south, Lanthorn, Wakefield, Bloody. Most of these will be noticed in turn. This passage round, which is now quite open, was formerly filled up with houses, warders’ residences and storehouses, which were removed in 1867. There are doorways along it into the outer wall, in which are lodgings for officials and chambers for stores. And now we make a yet further move, and pass within the wall, and so are in the heart of the Tower itself. The original entrance was through the Bloody Tower; it is so now for one division of visitors, but the Wakefield is made another entrance. Within, naturally, the prominent object in view as in historical interest is the Keep, the great White Tower of William the Conqueror. It stands on sloping ground, so that the north side basement is 25 feet higher than the south; quadrangular, 107 feet north and south by 118 east and west. The two western angles are square; that on the north-east has a round stone turret; the south wall terminates eastward in a bold half-round bow, marking the apse of the chapel. This keep is 90 feet high, composed of three floors, or four stages. The basement is below ground on the north, and on the ground level on the south. The walls are from 12 to 15 feet thick. The internal area is divided by a wall 10 feet thick, which rises from bottom to top, and so makes a separate smaller western and larger eastern portion. This last is again subdivided into two by another wall running east and west. The vault or subcrypt of the chapel is known in Tower phrase as “Little Ease.” We shall have it hereafter. On the first floor is the crypt and the upper storeroom. On the second floor is St. John’s Chapel, nave and aisle, and the Lower Armoury; on the third floor the chapel triforium and the Upper Armoury, the ancient Council Chamber, or “state floor.”

7. The Tower, shewing the East Outer Ballium.

From a drawing by H. Hodge, April, 1880.
Gardner Collection.




8. The Salt Tower, and part of the ancient Ballium.

From a drawing by J. Wykeham Archer, 1846.
British Museum.

9. The Prisoners’ Walk.

From a drawing by C. J. Richardson, 1871.
Gardner Collection.

10. The Wakefield Tower.

From a drawing by C. Tomkins, 1801.
British Museum.

11. Traitors’ Gate, from without.

From a drawing by C. Tomkins, 1801.
Gardner Collection.

12. Traitors’ Gate, from within.

From an old engraving.
British Museum.

[Pg 17] We can trace here the origins of our old Law Courts. From the first it was a recognized rule that the Inner Ballium was sacred to royalty, and the general world coming on business had to content itself with admission to the Outer Ballium. The great Council Chamber was especially the “King’s Curia,” the King’s Bench, where his justices sat to supervise the proceedings of inferior courts, as well as to deal with criminal matters directly affecting the Crown. The Court of Common Pleas, suits between subject and subject, was held in the Hall Tower close to the Outer Ballium, to which there was an entrance into the Royal Palace. And here strict rules were kept, in order to keep the commonalty at a distance. There was a preliminary meeting at the Church of All Hallows Barking, to settle who were to be admitted for the pleadings. This last Court was removed to Westminster Hall by Magna Charta.

The entrance into this wonderful building is by a well-stair at the south-west angle. The keep was restored on the outside by Sir C. Wren, who faced the windows with stone in the Italian style. The inside has been very little altered. The largest of the four turrets was the original Observatory of the great astronomer, Flamsteed.

The Chapel, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is a very rare, if not unique, example of such a large and complete apartment in a Norman keep. It is in plan a rectangle 40 feet by 31 feet, terminating eastward in a semicircular apse of its full breadth, making the total length 55 ft. 6 in. It is divided into a nave and aisles, a splendid example of Norman work, simple, complete. It was intended primarily, no doubt, for the devotions of the Conqueror and his descendants; the church of St. Peter below was built for the use of the garrison. Though architecturally plain, it was probably painted and hung with tapestry. Henry III gave some stained glass. The only fireplace in the great keep is on this floor.

The Armoury was begun by Henry VIII. His original locality of the armour was Greenwich, and consequently there is little armour here older than the fifteenth century. It used to be kept in a temporary [Pg 18] gallery, removed in 1883, on the south side of the keep; it was then removed to the top floor, and within the last few years the floor below is also required. I make no attempt to classify the armour here; the subject has been fully treated in the Portfolio monographs, Nos. 33 and 38.

South of the keep, between it and the ward wall facing the river, formerly stood the Royal Palace, which was removed at various times by James I and Cromwell to make room for storehouses. Some portions even remained until after the Restoration. The Castle Keep in the Middle Ages was the occasional residence of the lord, but he almost always had his ordinary lodging close by. In the plan will be observed “k. little storehouse in Cold Harbour”; it was the old gateway into the King’s residence, and the Queen had her own rooms between the Salt and Lanthorn Towers. At “h. Mortarpiece Storehouse” was the Great Hall where the King heard cases and received deputations.

Of the twelve mural towers the Wakefield is the most ancient. It is also known as the Record Tower, the national records having been kept there until they were removed to their present home in Fetter Lane. In the survey of Queen Elizabeth it is the Hall Tower, from its proximity to the hall just mentioned. It is a large circular building; the lower part is probably the work of William Rufus. The upper storey consists of a fine handsome chamber, with a recess which it is said Henry VI used as his private chapel, fitting it with aumbry and piscina; and tradition states that it was whilst he was praying here that he was murdered. The Wakefield Tower is now the receptacle of the King’s Crown and all the other splendid articles of the English regalia.

Bloody Tower was the original gatehouse of the Inner Ward. It stands opposite to Traitors’ Gate, and also abuts against the Wakefield Tower, does not bulge out into semicircle as do the others, but its exterior face ranges with the curtain wall. All this indicates that its safeguarding was carefully thought of. Its original name was the Garden Tower, and it is so called in the survey of Henry VIII. This was owing to its being close to the Constable’s garden, now the Parade. Its present name is given to it in the survey of 1597; popular prejudice [Pg 19] rather than Tower tradition attributes the change to the murder of Edward and his brother, but the word seems hardly appropriate to the smothering of the poor children. The chief warder showed me some hooks in the gateway. On these, he told me, heads were stuck after executions, and these he said were the origin of the name.

The Bell Tower was so called from the alarm bell suspended from its summit. The bell now discharges the duty of summoning the garrison to St. Peter’s Church.

The Beauchamp or Cobham Tower is one of special interest owing to the number of memorials cut upon its walls by its distinguished prisoners. We shall have some of them hereafter. Its name is derived from Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who was imprisoned here towards the end of the fourteenth century. The Devereux was originally the Robert the Devil Tower. The name was altered when Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was confined in it in 1601. The Flint and Curtain Towers were rebuilt not many years ago. The Bowyer is so called because it was the workshop of the royal maker of bows.

Martin’s Tower became the Jewel House in 1641. The jewels were moved that year from the south side of the White Tower, because, as that was used for a powder magazine, it was feared they might be endangered. It was here that Colonel Blood made his audacious attempt in 1673, as we shall see.

The others have nothing special which need detain us; they were all at one time or other used as prisons, except the Lanthorn Tower which was the King’s bedchamber and private room at the time when he had his palace here. It has been recently restored. It took its name from the light placed on the top for the benefit of vessels coming up the river.

The Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, in the north-west corner of the Inner Ward, was in existence from Norman times. There is mention of it in the days of King John, but the present building is mostly of the Perpendicular period. It is devoid of ornament, but has a deep interest as having been the burial place of so many victims who perished on the scaffold almost close to it on the Parade or Tower Green, as well as on Tower Hill outside. Most of them however have been removed to other resting-places. Some years ago the remains of the victims of the ’45 [Pg 20] were found, and the lead coffin plates are now fastened on the wall. The chaplain is appointed by the Crown, but is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.

The King’s House is the official designation of the Lieutenant’s lodging, on the south-west part of the Inner Ward. This also has many interesting historical associations. In the Council Chamber, now occupied as a bedroom, the Commissioners appointed by James I examined the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. A long Latin inscription on the wall commemorates the circumstances. Here was imprisoned Margaret, Countess of Lenox, grandmother of James I, for marrying her son, Lord Henry Darnley, to the Queen of Scots.

It has been found desirable to state these details as the canvas on which the historical incidents which follow can be written in their due course. But this seems also the place to give some account of the officers of the Tower.

When William the Conqueror had achieved his great work of building the Tower, he showed his high sense of its importance by conferring the charge of it on one of his faithful followers, Geoffrey de Mandeville, who had distinguished himself greatly at the Battle of Hastings. He was called the “Constable,” sometimes “of the Tower,” sometimes “of the sea”; this last owing to the jurisdiction which he exercised over the ships that came up the river. There are constant cases, dispersed through the records, how he allowed and restrained merchants to depart from the port, prevented forestalling, took security not to go to forbidden places, compelled those who brought fish to London for sale to take them to Queenhithe, and so on.

He had various customs and profits. From every boat coming to London laden with rushes, such a quantity as could be held between a man’s arms was to be laid for him on the Tower Wharf; from every oyster boat “one maund” (hand-basket full); from every ship laden with wine, one flagon before and one from behind the mast; swans coming under London Bridge towards or from the sea belonged to the Constable; horses, cows, pigs, sheep falling from the bridge into the Thames were the Constable’s if he could rescue them; and for every foot of such animals feeding within the ditches of the Tower, he was entitled to one penny. Then there were tenements on Tower Hill of which the rents were his, as [Pg 21] well as those for herbage growing on Tower Hill; herring boats from Yarmouth paid him twelve pence. Then prisoners had to pay heavy fees—a duke paid twenty pounds, an earl twenty marks, a knight a hundred shillings. And there was an annual fee of fifty to a hundred pounds, and allowances of wax, wine, and other necessaries for the use of the household. It is needless to add that though these particular privileges have gone, the Constable of the Tower has always been a very important personage, holding his appointment by Royal Letters Patent under the Great Seal. He has the honour of the privilege of audience of, and direct communication with the King. On his installation the keys are delivered to him by the Lord Chamberlain. He, always a man, therefore, of high rank, appointed a Lieutenant, to whom he allowed £20 a year, with such savings as could be made in furniture and food. In the reign of Henry VIII, the Lieutenant, who had now become the actual prison warder, had a new house built for his accommodation, in a courtly quarter, under the Belfry. This is now “the King’s House,” the residence of the present Major of the Tower, General Milman, who is, ex officio, a Justice of the Peace for the Tower Liberties, and a Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets. The Tower Commitment Book, containing the date of all prisoners as far back as 1666, is in his custody. By him the Yeoman. Warders are sworn in as special constables, their duties being confined to the limits of the Tower. They are described in the official regulations as “Honorary members of the King’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard.” They are selected from warrant officers and noncommissioned officers of the army, and are on the same footing as serjeant-majors of the army. The “Yeoman Gaoler” who carries the curious old axe (figured in the Tower trophy of arms) on state occasions is responsible for the general maintenance of order. The “Yeoman Porter” is chief warder; has charge of the gates and drawbridges; also has the care of the Warders’ Uniforms. He asserts the right of the Tower authorities over Postern Row and George Street, by closing the iron bars across these thoroughfares on the first working day in August. Every night at 11 o’clock, when the Tower gates are locked, the Yeoman Porter applies five minutes beforehand to the serjeant of the guard at the Main Guard for the escort for the King’s keys. The serjeant acquaints the officer that the escort is called for, [Pg 22] who furnishes a serjeant and six men for this duty, at the same time placing his guard under arms. When the keys return, the sentry at the guard-room challenges—“Halt! who comes there?” Yeoman Porter answers “The keys.” “Whose keys?” “King Edward’s keys.” Yeoman Porter places himself, with the escort, in front of the guard; the officer of the guard gives the word, “Present arms!” The Yeoman Porter then says in an audible voice, “God preserve King Edward!” and the whole guard answer “Amen!” The keys are then carried by the Yeoman Porter to the King’s House. A similar escort is called for in the morning at the opening, but no ceremony takes place then.

The Yeomen of the Guard were first appointed by Henry VII, and made their first public appearance at his coronation. Since then there has been no Royal Pageant in which they have not been conspicuous. The word “Yeoman” of itself is a puzzle. It evidently signified an officer of high grade; we have “Yeomen of the Guard,” “of the Black Rod,” “of the Chamber,” “of the Pantry,” “of the Robes,” “of the Crown,” “of the Mouth.” But the derivation of the word is quite uncertain. The Gentleman’s Magazine says (vol. xxix.) that it is of military origin, like “esquire,” and that as these were so called because they carried shields (ecu), so the yeomen were archers, who carried yew. But Johnson and Skeat both prefer ga (A.S. “village”) man. Another question is, why are they called “Beefeaters”? a question not likely to be ever settled. When I was a child, my old rector, Archdeacon Bayley, told me with much impressment that because one of their duties was to watch the royal beauffet, they were called “beauffetiers,” and that it has got thus corrupted. And this is the derivation given to the first query in Notes and Queries (I. iii. 167). Skeat (Notes and Queries, V. vii. 64) treats this with the utmost contempt. He says it was a mere guess of Steevens’s, that the yeomen didn’t wait at table, and that the word means “an eater of beef,” and by consequence “a jolly yeoman.” There are very many discussions running through Notes and Queries, and it seems to me that Skeat holds his ground well.

There are 100 yeomen. The costume is said to be that of the private soldier of Henry VII’s time. It will be remembered that he may be said to be the first monarch who had a standing army. The Naval and Military Gazette of 1876 has the following:— [Pg 23]

“The Yeomanry of the Guard were formed into a corps in 1485 and first made their appearance at the coronation of Henry VII in white gaberdines, ornamented with the royal device, and caps surrounded by the roses of York and Lancaster. The King, who loved a joke, would sometimes dress himself in the habit of his yeomen, and scour the country in search of adventures. On one occasion he paid a visit to the Abbot of Chertsey, who, ignorant of his guest and rank, but nevertheless hospitably inclined, placed him before a round of beef, which disappeared with marvellous rapidity. The worthy dignitary exclaimed that he would give a hundred marks for such an appetite. Shortly afterwards the churchman was arrested on the King’s warrant, and imprisoned in Windsor Castle, where he was fed on bread and water. At the end of some days a baron of beef appeared, to which the abbot did justice, and lifting his eyes at the end of his meal, saw the yeoman before him, who claimed the hundred marks. ‘Who art thou, Beefeater?’ exclaimed the priest. The King revealed himself, and took the hundred marks. But the Abbot profited by the joke, for he was not long after made Bishop of Bangor.”

Fuller tells the same story, but makes the King, with more probability, not Henry VII, but VIII.

[Pg 24]


Coronation of Richard II—The Wat Tyler Rebellion—Murder of Archbishop Simon of Canterbury—The Rebellion Quelled—Fresh Troubles raised by the Duke of Gloucester and quieted by Archbishop Courtenay—Still Troubles Continue—Execution of some Prominent Members of Parliament, and of Sir Simon Burley, the King’s Tutor—First Legal Execution on Tower Hill—Richard’s Wilfulness and Treachery—His Dethronement, August 19, 1399—Accession of Henry IV—Death and Burial of Richard II—Conspiracies against Henry IV—Battle of Shrewsbury—Prisoners shut up in the Tower—Among them James of Scotland, “The King’s Quhair”—The Great War with France—Charles, Duke of Orleans, a formidable rival; his Imprisonment and Life in the Tower—His Return to France—The Lollards—Sir John Oldcastle—His Plots and Death—Death of Henry V—Fall of the English Power in France—Rival Nobles in England: Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, Earl of Warwick—Marriage of Henry with Margaret of Anjou—Public Discontent—Cade’s Rebellion—Claim of Richard Duke of York—Battle of Wakefield—The Wakefield Tower—Battle of Towton—Accession of Edward IV—Henry VI a Prisoner in the Tower—Warwick’s Tergiversation—Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury—King Henry slain in the Wakefield Tower—Continued Tragedies, Duke of Clarence’s Disaffection and Plottings—His Death in the Bowyer Tower—Death of Edward IV—Edward V and his Brother brought to the Tower by their Uncle Gloucester, who has Lord Hastings beheaded for loyalty to Edward—Edward deposed—Richard Crowned King—Edward and his Brother secretly Murdered—Discovery of their Bones and Burial at Westminster.

The reign of Richard II began with festivities and pageantries of unprecedented magnificence, and the Tower was the scene of some of the most prominent. On the day of the Coronation, according to Holinshed, the King, clad in white robes, issued from its gate surrounded by a vast assemblage of nobles and knights. The streets were hung with drapery, and the conduits ran wine. In Cheapside was a castle with four towers, from two sides of which “the wine ran forth abundantly, and at the top stood a golden angel, holding a crown, so contrived that when the King came near, he bowed and presented it to him. In each of the towers was a beautiful virgin, of stature and age like unto the King, apparelled in white vestures, who blew in the King’s face leaves of gold and flowers of gold counterfeit. On the approach of the cavalcade, the damsels took cups of gold, and filling them with wine at the spouts of the castle, presented them to the King and his nobles.”

13. Banquet given by Richard II.

From a MS. of The Chronicles of England, Vol. III.
British Museum
, 14 E. iv.

14. An Act of Arms before the King and Queen.

From a MS. of the Romance of the Sire Jehan de Saintré.
British Museum. Nero D. ix.

15. Gateway of the Bloody Tower.

From an engraving by F. Nash, 1821.

16. Queen in a Horse Litter, attended by her Ladies on Horseback.

From a MS. of Froissart’s Chronicles.
British Museum, 18 E ii.

[Pg 25] These revels were scarcely ended, when the Wat Tyler insurrection broke out, and the King, with his mother, fled for refuge within the Tower from which he had lately so proudly emerged. The insurgents assembled on Blackheath and asked for a conference. Richard having heard mass in the chapel, sailed down the Thames to meet them, but was so frightened by their menacing looks that he precipitately fled back to the Tower. Therefore the angry mob advanced, quartered themselves in and near St. Katharine’s Hospital and invested the fortress, “hooting,” says Froissart, “as loud as if the devils were in them.” The Lord Mayor, Walworth, recommended a sally upon them, as the majority were drunk, but this was deemed too desperate, and the King declared he would meet them and hear their grievances. He had no sooner quitted the gates, than some of the insurgents, who had lain concealed, broke into the fortress, and killed some of the King’s officers.[2] But their main quarry was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the King’s Chancellor, Simon of Sudbury, whom John Ball, the Socialist priest, had furiously denounced. They made their way into the chapel where he was engaged in prayer. “Where is the traitor to the kingdom, where is the spoiler of the Commons?” they shouted, and Sudbury replied, “Here am I, my sons; your Archbishop, neither traitor nor spoiler.” They dragged him out on Tower Hill. He saw what was coming and warned them, but in vain. After he had spoken further, and given as far as in him lay absolution to John Starling of Essex, who was standing ready to behead him, he knelt down. He was horribly mutilated, not being killed till the eighth blow of the axe. Hales the treasurer and two others were slain with him, and [Pg 26] all the heads were stuck on poles, a cap on the Archbishop’s to distinguish him, and were placed on London Bridge. Two days later Sudbury’s head gave place to Wat Tyler’s, and he was buried with great pomp in his Cathedral at Canterbury, to which he had been a great benefactor. His fine monument is still to be seen there.

How this rebellion was quelled is no part of our subject, but the troubles of King Richard were by no means ended. In 1387 he had again to fly to the Tower for security against his uncle Gloucester and the other disaffected barons. His weakness and imbecility, and the corruptness of his ministers, had exasperated the nation against him, and Gloucester seized the regal authority and placed it in the hands of commissioners. The King summoned a Parliament at Nottingham which supported him; the nobles retorted by marching on London with forty thousand men. There was much anxiety and some fighting, but Archbishop Courtenay mediated with great patience and wisdom. Richard had gone to the Tower and was in fact besieged, and in the great Council Chamber there Courtenay arranged a meeting between the nobles and the King, with the result that the mutual differences were for the time adjusted. But the King had not in the least regained the confidence either of the nobles or of the commonalty. In fact the prominent members of the Parliament which had declared in his favour were arrested. Some were fined, others banished, others confined in the Tower. Of these latter Sir Robert Tresylian, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; Brembre, Mayor of London; Sir John Salisbury, Sir John Beauchamp and Sir James Berners were put to death at Tyburn. One of the victims calls for special mention. Sir Simon Burley had distinguished himself under the Black Prince in the French war. Edward had such a high opinion of him that he bequeathed the education of his son Richard to him. He seems to have justified the choice in the early days of the young King, and it was he who arranged his marriage with Anne of Bohemia, thereby incurring the enmity of the Lancastrian party. Although he had warned the King of his folly in the early days of his reign, he supported him in Parliament in his struggle against the barons, and in consequence he was sentenced on May 5, 1388, to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but this was commuted to beheading. We have seen that Archbishop Sudbury was executed on Tower Hill, but that was by mob violence. Burley was now condemned by law to die on the same spot. It was the first legal execution on the place which was for many years to come the regular place of execution.

Assault on a Fortress.

From a MS. of Boccaccio de Casibus Virorum et Foeminarum Illustrium.
British Museum
, 35,321.

[Pg 27] Richard bitterly resented this execution. He never forgave it. Burley had been a loyal and faithful friend both to his father and himself, and he waited for his opportunity of revenge. It came at last. He was accustomed to hold festivals from time to time with tournaments and feastings, and there was special merrymaking on the occasion of his second marriage. His first wife, “the good Anne” of Bohemia, died in 1396, and next year he married Isabel, daughter of Charles VI., the mad King of France. She was lodged in the Tower, awaiting her coronation. In the midst of the festivities the Duke of Gloucester, with the Earls of Arundel and Warwick and some others, were treacherously seized, and brought to the Tower. Gloucester was shipped off to Calais and murdered by the King’s command; Arundel was beheaded on Tower Hill; Warwick was confined in the Beauchamp Tower, named after him. But Richard dared not kill a man who had more than any man living fought for his country in the French wars, and he was sent away to the Isle of Man and kept close prisoner for life.

But Nemesis presently came. Arundel’s memory was revered by the people, who knew him as one of their great heroes, and his grave in the Church of the Austin Friars was visited by crowds day by day. Meanwhile the wretched King lost all self-control. Probably his mind had become unhinged. He dissolved the Parliament, announced that he intended to rule without one, and seized the lands of his uncle, John of Gaunt, who had lately died. On August 19, 1399, Gaunt’s son, Henry of Lancaster, landed in England, made him prisoner in Wales and brought him to London. On September 2 he was lodged in the Tower with the universal approval of the nation. On the 29th he formally resigned the crown “with a cheerful mien,” and next day Henry IV. seated himself on the throne. The fallen man remained in the fortress for a while, but as it became known that conspiracies were being formed to replace him on the throne, it was decided to remove him secretly and confine him in some secure place. First he was taken to Leeds Castle in Kent, then to [Pg 28] Yorkshire. There is no reasonable doubt that he died at Pontefract on February 14, 1400, probably of starvation. His body was brought to London, and exposed to the public in St. Paul’s, was then buried at King’s Langley, and afterwards removed to Westminster Abbey by Henry V, whom as a boy he had treated with kindness.

There was a grand ceremonial in the Tower on the eve of Henry IV’s Coronation, and forty-six new Knights of the Bath watched their arms all night in St. John’s Chapel. But the fortress under the Lancastrian kings became less of a royal residence and more of a prison.

Henry IV, after the Battle of Shrewsbury, shut up in the Tower some of the adherents of Owen Glendower, and also a number of preaching Friars, who had circulated taunting rhymes against him to excite an insurrection, and who in due course died as traitors at Tyburn. But King Henry’s most illustrious prisoner here was James, the son and heir of Robert III, King of Scotland. That unfortunate monarch, amiable and just, but infirm in body as in will, was heavily troubled by the plottings of his brother the Duke of Albany, and also by the divisions arising out of the English troubles. The Earl of Northumberland and his son Hotspur were joined by Earl Douglas, and they were all defeated at Shrewsbury. Poor old King Robert, worried by this, and having good reason to distrust Albany, determined to send his remaining son James, a boy of eleven (his eldest son, the Duke of Rothsay, had been got rid of by foul play), for safety to France, for the expressed reason that he could receive a good education there. The vessel conveying him was intercepted off Flamborough Head by an English ship, and the boy was conveyed to London; Henry IV gave orders that he should be confined in the Tower. This was in February, 1406. His poor old father sank under this fresh trouble and died that year, and thus James became King. But King Henry still, contrary to all law, kept him prisoner, and the Duke of Albany was appointed regent.

For nineteen years the young King remained in exile. From the recent publication of English and Scottish records we learn that his expenses in the Tower were reckoned at 6s. 8d. a day for himself and 3s. 4d. for his suite. Though his capture was a flagrant breach of law, he was well treated and received an excellent education. He was moved [Pg 29] about from time to time: part of the while he was in Nottingham Castle, then at Evesham, then at the palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Croydon. The poem which he wrote in his captivity, “The King’s Quhair” (Little Book), was the expression of his love for Lady Jane Beaufort, whom he met at Windsor. His marriage with her attached him to the royal family of England, and at length in 1424 he obtained his release, returned, and took possession of his throne, ruled with vigour and justice, until his earnest endeavours to assure the rights and just treatment of his people led to his assassination in 1436.

Another royal prisoner, partly contemporaneous with King James, and not less illustrious in history, was Charles, Duke of Orleans. Richard II, as we have seen, married for his second wife Isabel of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI. of France. After his death she married Charles, Duke of Orleans, whose clever, reprobate father Louis, brother of Charles VI, had been assassinated by order of the Duke of Burgundy. The two young people were therefore first cousins. When Louis had laid claim to the French throne, our Henry IV made a counterclaim, and thus there was fierce rivalry between the two men, and Louis took every opportunity of sending insulting messages to “the usurping Duke of Lancaster,” and married his son Charles to the young widowed Queen, when Hal, the madcap Prince of Wales, was eagerly wooing her. The hapless young wife died in childbirth in 1409, her husband being only nineteen years old. He bewailed his loss in some very beautiful verses. The little child lived to become Duchess of Alençon. Reasons of State induced Charles to marry again, his wife being Bona, daughter of the Count of Armagnac, who bore him no offspring. In 1415 came the memorable invasion of France and the great English victory at Agincourt. Charles, with his brothers and other members of the French royal family, had done their best in defence of their rights. Shakespeare depicts his zeal and his hatred of the invader in his flying utterances. The brave fellow fell among the wounded, and was found by the victor bleeding and speechless on the field. He made much of him, brought him to England, and sent him to the White Tower, fixing a ransom of 300,000 crowns on his head. He was now twenty-four years old, and Henry was anxious that the ransom should not be forthcoming. For he now married Isabel’s youngest sister, Catherine of Valois, and it [Pg 30] was most important in his estimate that Charles should have no children to dispute the rights of those of his wife. It was part of the treaty into which he entered that he should succeed to the French throne, and a son of Charles of Orleans would be a most formidable rival. The result was that the latter remained a prisoner in England for five and twenty years.

And here he continued faithful to his old troubadour instincts, and was constantly occupied in writing lyrics, chiefly on his lost love and his absent wife, some in French, some in English, in which he became proficient. There is in the British Museum a manuscript volume of his poems, beautifully illuminated, with the arms of Henry VII and Prince Arthur introduced into the borders. It contains our frontispiece, the oldest picture of the Tower of London which is known to exist. In the background is London Bridge with the City behind it, in front Traitors’ Gate, though the name had not yet been given. There is the Prince seated in the now demolished banqueting hall, writing his verses. He is seen again looking out of window, evidently hoping for freedom, and again we see him below embracing the messenger who brings his ransom. Next we behold him riding away, a freed man; and in the distance he is seen finally seated in the boat, which is being pulled off to the ship which shall carry him back to France.

That deliverance did not come until 1440. Henry V had been dead eighteen years, his widow Catherine, had married Owun Tudor and his conquests in France were now nearly all lost, thanks to the Maid of Orleans and to Charles’s natural brother, John of Dunois. Every year Charles’s life had become more precious to France, as the children of Charles VI dropped one by one into the grave. The Duke of Burgundy paid the enormous ransom, and Charles returned to find his wife Bona dead, and his daughter a woman of thirty. Reasons of State caused him to marry again, his third consort being Mary of Cleves. By her he had a son, who afterwards became King Louis XII.

A large body of prisoners of a widely different character, namely the Lollards, occupied the Tower at the same period; the most remarkable of them was Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. There is undoubtedly much mystery about his life and doings. He was a gentleman of Herefordshire, [Pg 31] and makes his first appearance in history as a trusted servant of Henry IV, who committed to him the charge of putting down insurrection in Wales at the time of the battle of Shrewsbury. It was then that he made the acquaintance of the Prince of Wales, which ripened into close friendship. In 1409, when a second time a widower, he married Joan, Lady Cobham, who on her side was in her third widowhood. She brought him two Kentish estates, Cobham Manor and Cowling Castle, and in this latter he took up his residence, and still remained high in favour of Henry IV and his son. Wyclif died on the last day of 1384. His opinions had become largely popular, in Kent as much as anywhere. A severe law was passed against them in 1401. How Oldcastle had come to adopt these there is no evidence to show, but in 1410 a great outcry was made against him because his chaplain was preaching Lollard doctrines, and he was accused of trying to bring the Prince of Wales over to them. Convocation which met at St. Paul’s in March, 1413, just before the death of Henry IV, denounced him unsparingly, and produced manuscripts emanating from Paternoster Row of which he was alleged to be the author. It is said that Henry V was so mindful of his old friendship that he wanted to prevent action against him, though he viewed his opinions with horror, and tried in vain to wean him from them. The sequel was that he withdrew from Court and shut himself up in Cowling Castle. When at length he was arrested he was brought before Archbishop Arundel and Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, who were both anxious to save him, perhaps knowing the regard of the King for him; but he refused to recant and was handed over to the secular arm, and meanwhile was committed to the Tower. From it in some mysterious manner he escaped, and there is strong evidence that he engaged in a widespread Lollard conspiracy. The official indictment charged the conspirators with “plotting the death of the King and his brothers, with the prelates and other magnates of the realm, the transference of religious to secular employments, the spoliation and destruction of all cathedrals, churches and monasteries, and the elevation of Oldcastle to the position of regent of the kingdom.” The plot was discovered and defeated. The body of conspirators found out in time that it was so, and escaped home; Oldcastle left London and fled into Wales. He remained hid, but apparently still plotting, until he was again [Pg 32] captured, was brought back to the Tower, and on December 14, 1417, was condemned to death, was drawn on a hurdle to St. Giles’s Fields, and there hanged and burnt to ashes. This is the man whom Shakespeare, following an older play, represents as the original of Falstaff. But though young Oldcastle was, as we have seen, a friend of Prince Hal in his youth, he was never a roué.

It would almost seem as if fuller knowledge had convinced Shakespeare of this, and that it was in this way of retractation that he put these words in the Epilogue:—“For Oldcastle died a martyr and this is not the man.”

The death of Henry V, August 31, 1422, was a heavy calamity for England. He was a wise and pious king, and his claim to the French crown, however ill-advised, was in his view just. His son was an infant of nine months old, and the mismanagement of the Government, and the victories of Jeanne d’Arc, the Maid of Orleans, make up a great chapter of English disaster. The heroine was burnt at Rouen, May 31, 1431, but it was speedily seen that her work had been successful. Henry VI was indeed crowned King of France at Paris that year, but what popularity remained to the English party was dissipated by the arrogance of the King’s rulers. He returned to England, and the cause still went down. His two royal guardians and uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, were at bitter feud. Two other nobles were now grown active and strong. The first was Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, a man of great ability as well as of patriotism. Henry V had reposed strong confidence in him, and had willed that he should be the guardian of his son during his minority. This had been set aside, but although Bedford and Gloucester had been substituted, their absence abroad and their quarrels gave Beaufort real power, which had steadily grown. The other was Richard, Earl of Warwick. He too had been highly esteemed by Henry V, and he and Beaufort were now exerting themselves to guide the King wisely, when he on attaining his majority was foolishly interfering in matters which he did not understand. Bedford died, the English cause in France grew more and more hopeless, and through Beaufort’s influence Henry married Margaret of Anjou, niece of King Charles VII. A few years [Pg 33] followed during which Henry gave himself to useful work, the foundations of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, among them. Gloucester died in 1447; murder was suspected, but probably without ground. Beaufort died the same year; William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, was murdered in 1450. That nobleman was one of the most distinguished in England. His father and three brothers had died on battlefields in the French wars. He had been a Knight of the Garter for thirty years when the Cade rebellion broke out, and his enemies got up against him a charge of supporting it. He took ship at Dover to fly to Calais, but was captured in the Strait by the captain of a vessel called Nicholas of the Tower. When he heard the name he lost all hope, for he had been told by a soothsayer that if he could escape the danger of the Tower he would be safe. His head was hacked off, and his body thrown upon Dover beach.

The Tower was ever receiving new occupants, and the kingdom was becoming more and more disturbed. Cade’s rebellion broke out in June, 1450, and was a very formidable danger for a short time. The King, to propitiate the rebels, sent Lord Say to the Tower; they dragged him forth and beheaded him in Cheapside. The rebellion was put down in consequence of the worthlessness of Cade himself, but the discontent grew, being increased by the high-handed dealing of Queen Margaret, and that same year Richard, Duke of York, proclaimed himself, with the sanction of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, as the deliverer of the kingdom from anarchy. The difficulties were increased by the mental illness of the King, from which after a while he recovered, but his popularity had still further decreased. The Queen bore him a son, but this strengthened York’s ambition. He claimed the crown and civil war began. The partisans of York made an attack on the Tower, and here comes a decided novelty in its history. It is said that cannon were first used at the battle of Crecy. They were used now to batter the Tower walls, but unsuccessfully apparently. When the moat was cleared out in 1843 a great number of stone cannon balls were found, which were probably a relic of that bombardment. They are now under a glass case in the Beauchamp Tower. Similar balls are shown in our illustration.

On December 29, 1460, York was defeated by Queen Margaret and slain at the battle of Wakefield, while King Henry was keeping Christmas in [Pg 34] London. She was fighting for her son’s rights; the King was under the care of the Earl of Warwick, who was actually supporting the claims of the Yorkists. In the following February Margaret was defeated three times, and Edward, Duke of York, was proclaimed King in London without waiting for Parliament. On Palm Sunday, 1461, the battle of Towton, the most terrible ever fought on English ground, placed the kingdom in Edward IV’s hands. The number of prisoners sent up to the Tower after the battle of Wakefield caused what had been hitherto the Hall Tower to be called “the Wakefield Tower,” a name which it has borne ever since. Queen Margaret still kept an army in the north, and Henry moved about from place to place. In 1464 he was captured and lodged in the Tower. Statements differ as to his treatment. One account says that Warwick, acting for the Yorkists, carried him through Cheapside and Cornhill with his legs bound under a horse with leathern thongs and a peasant’s hat on his head. Yorkist writers assert that he was treated “with all humanity and reverence.” He remained five years in this imprisonment; then came a revolution. Warwick joined Margaret and King Edward’s brother, the Duke of Clarence, and with such apparent vigour that Edward fled to Flanders. Henry was brought forth and marched through the London streets with great pomp to Westminster. But the chronicler Hall contemptuously remarks, with an epigram worthy of Sam Weller, “This moved the citizens of London as much as the fire painted on the wall warmed the old woman.” The citizens were flourishing under Yorkist encouragement of commerce, and were by no means disposed to Lancastrian restoration. Edward came back, and on Easter Day, April 14, 1471, Warwick was slain at the battle of Barnet, and Queen Margaret was defeated at Tewkesbury on May 4 following, and her son was slain. On May 21 King Henry was murdered in the Wakefield Tower by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, on the very day of the return of his brother King Edward to London.

Artillery of the Fifteenth Century.

From a MS. of “The Chronicles of England,” Vol. III.
British Museum
, 14 E. IV.

[Pg 35] In the octagonal chamber of the Wakefield Tower in which the regalia are now placed are two deep recesses opened into the walls. That to the south-east was formerly an oratory, and is so described in the Tower records in 1238. Tradition states that in this oratory Duke Richard, entering through the passage from the palace, stabbed Henry to death with many wounds as he was praying. His body was next day carried to St. Paul’s, “and his face was open that every man might see him, and in his lying he bled.” He was buried at Chertsey and the word went about that he was a saint and martyr. Henry VII afterwards requested Pope Julius II to canonize him, but gave up the idea on learning how much it would cost. He had the body removed from Chertsey, but to this day it is uncertain whether it was buried at St. George’s, Windsor, or in Westminster Abbey.

The reigns of the Kings of the House of York are full of Tower tragedies. Edward IV lived a good deal in the Tower, increased its fortifications, and deepened the moat. He had two brothers, the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester. The former had long been disaffected, had joined Margaret of Anjou and the Earl of Warwick, whose daughter he had married, in the conspiracy which caused Edward’s temporary flight, and after the latter had recovered himself and was again firmly seated on the throne, Clarence was certainly plotting against him. Clarence’s wife was dead and he aspired to the hand of Mary of Burgundy, to Edward’s indignation, who saw that he still hoped for the crown. He first sent him to the Tower, then accused him before Parliament, and he was sentenced to death. Edward was loth to carry the sentence out, but the House of Commons urged him, and to avoid the disgrace of a public execution he gave orders that it should be done in secret, and according to tradition he was drowned in a butt of malmsey in the Bowyer Tower. And perhaps it is owing to his brother Gloucester’s general bad character that he is accused of superintending the execution. The memory of this tragedy is said to have embittered the whole of Edward’s subsequent life. He was now secure on his throne, but his self-indulgent life was destroying his health, and his recklessness, joined with the perfidy of Louis XI, continually produced fresh troubles. He died at the age of forty-one, on April 19, 1483. His wife had borne him ten children, of whom seven survived him, two sons and five daughters.

The short reign of Edward V was merely a struggle for power between his uncle Gloucester and his mother’s relations, the Woodvilles. He was in Wales when his father died. His uncle, Lord Rivers, and half-brother, Lord Richard Grey, were bringing him up for his Coronation, when the [Pg 36] Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham intercepted them at Northampton, sent them prisoners to Pomfret, and brought the young King up to the Tower with every demonstration of loyalty, even declaring that the coronation should take place on June 22. Queen Elizabeth, anticipating what was coming, threw herself into Sanctuary with the Abbot of Westminster with her other son. A Parliament was summoned ostensibly to declare Gloucester protector, but he had already laid his train. The queen was called upon to allow her second boy to be placed with his brother in the Tower, and though she could see from the windows carpenters, vintners, cooks all making preparations for her son’s coronation, she knew in her heart that it would never be. Gloucester proceeded to make out a case for the illegitimacy of the children, on the ground that their father had made a previous marriage. That he had been a gross libertine was already notorious; Gloucester produced a witness who declared that he had married the King to one of his mistresses, Elinor Talbot. It is incredible, but there may have been some miserable frolic. Gloucester called a Council in the Council Chamber of the White Tower, and there caused his claim to be put forth in a tentative fashion. Lord Hastings thereupon declared his loyalty to Edward, and Gloucester, who had been listening outside, strode into the room. Turning up his sleeve, he showed an arm which he declared had been withered by the sorceries of Hastings, and called on the terrified councillors to condemn him. Words were useless. “I will not dine until your head is off,” he cried, and Hastings was carried down to Tower Green. The block was out of place, but a beam of wood was near; he was thrown on it and the deed was consummated.

Gloucester then got a creature, a brother of the Lord Mayor, to preach at Paul’s Cross from the text (Wisdom iv. 3), “Bastard slips shall not take deep root,” a sermon impugning the validity of Edward’s marriage, but the immediate result was to fill the listeners with shame and indignation. The Duke of Buckingham made a speech of the like character at the Guildhall, and it became known that Gloucester was getting an army together. So a packed assembly went to the schemer and offered him the crown, which he with feigned reluctance accepted. This was on June [Pg 37] 28, 1483, and on July 6 he was crowned at Westminster. Immediately afterwards he started on a progress through the country with the intention of strengthening his position by granting privileges and making promises, but the conscience of the Londoners and of the country was roused, and almost immediately a fresh shock was given by the news that the boy King and his brother had been murdered in the Tower. There can be no doubt of the main fact, but the precise date is uncertain. Richard had placed the two boys under the care of Sir Robert Brackenbury, and after he had left London sent a message ordering him to kill them. When Brackenbury refused he sent Sir James Tyrrell with a warrant to receive possession of the Tower keys. Tyrrell’s groom, John Dighton, with one of the gaolers, Miles Forrest, entered the chamber of the two boys in the Bloody Tower, killed them, called on Tyrrell to recognize the bodies, then buried them at the foot of a staircase. This was some time in the latter part of August, and was not divulged until it was known that a plot was hatching to place the young Edward upon the throne.

The life of Richard III, which bears the name of Sir Thomas More as its author, but which appears to have been written by Cardinal Morton and edited by More, gives information which may be implicitly trusted as to the circumstances of this cruel murder. The new king, superstitious as wicked men so frequently are, was uneasy in his mind, and ordered the Tower priest to remove the bodies, and he did so, but dying soon after, no one could ascertain where he had laid them. More does not know, and says so frankly. Shakespeare expresses the uncertainty:—

The Chaplain of the Tower hath buried them, But where, to say the truth, I do not know.

Henry VII would have been glad to learn at the time when Perkin Warbeck was declaring that he was one of the alleged murdered boys. It was not until the reign of Charles II that two skeletons were found under the old stone steps of the royal chapel in the great keep. They were covered with earth and had been carefully bestowed. As they answered in every way to the bones which had been vainly sought after it was concluded, and certainly with probability, that they were the bones of the murdered children, and they were laid, by King Charles’s command, in a royal sepulchre in Westminster Abbey.

[Pg 38]


Henry VII.—Battle of Bosworth—Thomas Wyatt and the Cat—Edward, Earl of Warwick—Perkin Warbeck—Sir William Stanley—Edmund de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk—Sir John Tyrrell—Sir John Wyndham—Marriage of Prince Arthur and Katharine—His Death and Death of his Mother, Elizabeth of York—Death of Henry VII—Henry VIII—Empson and Dudley—Marriage with Katharine of Aragon—High Festival—Building of the Lieutenant’s House and other Improvements—Stafford, Duke of Buckingham—Marriage with Anne Boleyn—Completion of the Tower Buildings—Birth of the Princess Elizabeth—Execution of Anne—Fisher and More—Lord and Lady Howard—The “Pilgrimage of Grace” and its Victims—Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter—The Pole Family—Treachery of Geoffrey Pole—Thomas Cromwell, his Rise and Fall—Marriage with Anne of Cleves and Divorce, 1540—Marriage with Katharine Howard, and her Execution—Anne Askew, Protestant Martyr, Friend of Katharine Parr—Festivities to French Ambassadors—Dukes of Norfolk and Surrey Condemned—Death of Henry VIII—Edward VI—His Uncles the Seymours—Their Fall—Ascendancy of the Duke of Northumberland—Other Executions—The King’s Death.

We have come to the end of secret murders, but the Tower was never more in use as a State prison than under the house of Tudor, which began its royal course after the battle of Bosworth, August 22, 1485.

In the reign of Richard III Henry Wyatt, a gentleman of Surrey and member of the House of Commons, was thrown into the Tower for favouring the claims of Henry Tudor. According to his son’s statement, Richard had him tortured, vinegar and mustard being forced down his throat, and afterwards remonstrated with him. “Wyatt, why art thou such a fool?” said he, “Henry of Richmond is a beggarly pretender; forsake him and become mine. Thou servest him for moonshine in water. I can reward thee, and I swear to thee, I will.” “If I had chosen thee for my master,” answered the prisoner, “I would have been faithful to thee. [Pg 39] But the Earl of Richmond, poor and unhappy though he be, is my master, and no allurement shall drive me from him, by God’s grace.” And here comes a pretty legend, we hardly dare regard it otherwise, which is told in the Wyatt papers. King Richard, in a rage, had him confined in a low and narrow cell, where he had not clothes sufficient to warm him and was a hungered. A cat came into this cell, he caressed her for company, laid her in his bosom and won her love. And so she came to him every day and brought him a pigeon when she could catch one. He complained to his keeper of his short fare, and received for answer, that “he durst not better it.” “But if I can provide any,” said Sir Henry, “will you dress it for me?” “I may well enough promise that,” was the answer, and so he promised. And he was as good as his word, and dressed each time the pigeon which the faithful cat brought. When Richmond became King Henry VII he rewarded his faithful liegeman by making him a Privy Councillor and giving him rich offices enough to enable him to buy Allington Castle, one of the finest in Kent. He was equally well regarded by Henry VIII, who visited him at Allington; but more of this farther on.

The two most noteworthy occupants of the Tower, however, in this reign, strangely different in character and circumstances, were brought into close connexion with each other. Edward, Earl of Warwick, was the eldest son of the Duke of Clarence, and was three years old when his father was put to death in the Tower. His early history is obscure; at one time Richard III, after the death of his son, thought to nominate him as his heir, but changed his mind, and sent him to Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire. After Bosworth Henry VII brought him from thence and shut him up in the Tower, his only offence being that he was the representative of the fallen dynasty of York. The injustice of this was widely felt, and this, combined with the uncertainty as to the whereabouts or movements of the youth, induced a usurper named Lambert Simnel to personate him in Ireland in 1487, and he was actually crowned in Dublin Cathedral. King Henry found it advisable to bring the Earl forth for a day and march him through the streets to St. Paul’s. It was the last day of his life that he spent outside the limits of the Tower. He was taken back and remained there for twelve years longer. And here we have to take up another history. Perkin Warbeck was the son of a [Pg 40] citizen of Tournay, who came to England as a serving man to two or three English gentlemen, and in 1491, moved by vanity and ambition, whilst in Ireland, where feeling against Henry VII was strong, declared himself to be the Duke of York, who had been reported murdered in the Tower with his brother Edward V. The King of Scotland, James IV, acknowledged him, and two years later gave him his own cousin, Catherine Gordon, to wife. Charles VIII of France also for a while acknowledged him. But his strongest ally was Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy. This remarkable woman has little to do with the Tower, but is too much connected with English history to be passed over. She was the sister of Edward IV, fifteen years old when he became King. In 1467 she married Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and is favourably remembered as having patronized Caxton, who gave up the Mastership of the Merchant-Adventurers of Bruges to enter her service, and produced his first great printing work under her patronage. In 1477 her husband was killed at the battle of Nancy, and she was left a childless widow. The rest of her life was spent in the Netherlands, and when Henry VII confiscated the dowry which her brother King Edward had granted her, nothing more was needed to ensure her hatred of his rule, and desire to get the Yorkist dynasty restored. She had abetted Simnel, and now furnished Warbeck with means to carry out his attempt. When the latter, after repeated failures, was taken prisoner in October, 1497, his life was spared on his making full confession of his imposture, and he was then placed in the Tower, after being paraded through the streets in mockery. In 1498 he escaped, but was captured in a week, placed in the stocks in Westminster Hall and in Cheapside, and then sent back to the Tower. Next year he renewed his attempt at escape by bribing his gaolers, and unhappily induced the Earl of Warwick, who was of course nothing loth, to join him. The plot was discovered, and on November 23 Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn, and five days later Warwick was beheaded on Tower Hill. This last was a shameful act of injustice, but Henry longed to get rid of him, and it is said that his aversion was furthered by the refusal of King Ferdinand of Aragon to marry his daughter Katharine to Arthur, Prince of Wales, so long as a son of the Duke of Clarence existed as a possible claimant of the succession. When, years later Katharine of Aragon was bewailing the injustice done to her, she observed that it was a judgment of God upon her because her former marriage was sealed with blood, namely Warwick’s.

17. Vaulted Room in the Crypt of the White Tower,
in which the Rack stood.

From a drawing in the Gardner Collection.

18. A Cell in the Bloody Tower.

From a drawing by J. Wykeham Archer.
British Museum.

19. The Privy Council Chamber in the Lieutenant’s Lodging.

From a drawing by P. Justyne, 1873.
Gardner Collection.

20. A Room in the Beauchamp Tower, with Prisoners’
Inscriptions on the Walls.

From an old engraving.

21. The Beauchamp Tower, and St. Peter’s Chapel.

From a drawing by P. Justyne, 1873.
Gardner Collection.

22. The Lieutenant’s Lodging.

From a drawing by C. J. Richardson, 1871.
Gardner Collection.

23. The Collegiate Church of St. Katherine, looking west.

From an engraving by J. Carter, 1780.

24. The Collegiate Church of St. Katherine, looking east.

From an engraving by B. T. Pouncey, 1779.

[Pg 41] There was yet another victim to Warbeck’s imposture. Sir William Stanley, who had turned the scale in King Henry’s favour at Bosworth Field, was, in 1495, impeached as having been heard to say that “if he were sure that the young man called Perkin was really the son of Edward IV, he would never draw sword against him.” For this he was sent to the Tower, tried in its Council Hall, and beheaded on Tower Hill, February 16, 1495.

Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, was the son of Elizabeth, sister of Edward IV. His plottings against Henry VII, encouraged by Maximilian, failed, and he fled the kingdom, and remained abroad several years. But Philip, King of Castile, who had given him shelter, visiting Henry in 1506, persuaded him to spare the fugitive’s life on his surrender, and Suffolk was committed to the Tower. Here he remained until 1513, when he was beheaded by order of Henry VIII on a charge of plotting. But he had involved two men in his ruin; Sir James Tyrrell, the same who had assisted at the murder of the two princes, and Sir John Wyndham, who had been knighted for his good service against Perkin Warbeck, were both executed on Tower Hill for their share in Suffolk’s treason. Tragedies enough, these, for one reign; yet we have hardly come to the end of them. The marriage of Prince Arthur with Katharine of Aragon took place in St. Paul’s Cathedral on November 14, 1501, and the rejoicings took the form of a succession of tournaments and feasts within the Tower walls. There were great pageants to emphasize the descent of the bridegroom from his namesake the British hero whose fabulous exploits fill the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth. But they could not alter the fact that he was a poor sickly child of fifteen, and five months later he died. The calamity was a terrible blow to his mother, Elizabeth, of York, whose health appears to have failed from that time. On February 2, 1503, she gave birth to a daughter, Katharine, in the Tower, and died nine days later, on her birthday, aged thirty-eight. An amiable and beautiful woman, according to all accounts; “brilliant, witty, and pious,” so says Erasmus. Six years later her husband was buried by her side in the Abbey. [Pg 42]

The reign of Henry VIII forms an epoch in the history of the Tower. There are tragical events in plenty, but there are other notes on which it is pleasant and interesting to dwell. He began his reign by imprisoning Empson and Dudley, who had been his father’s instruments of extortion. He did so because he knew how they were hated by the nation, though he profited by their misdeeds, for Henry VII bequeathed him what was then the enormous sum of £1,850,000. Next year they were both beheaded on Tower Hill. Meanwhile the King was holding high festival to celebrate his marriage with his brother’s widow Katharine. He was now nineteen years old, and she twenty-five. Surrounded by a splendid retinue he created four and twenty Knights of the Bath, after which there was a gorgeous procession from the Tower to Westminster; the details are given at length, and dismal enough they are when one sees the hollowness of them all in what followed. Henry was bent on improving the Tower buildings, and appointed Commissioners to take the work in hand. In the S.W. corner a Lieutenant’s house was built with many chambers, having a free passage both into the Beauchamp and Garden Towers. This house was flanked by two smaller buildings, warders’ houses, one on the West, the other on the South. The Bell Tower part of this building had a stone vault pierced for archers, who from it could sweep the outer works. This is called in old records the Strong Room. Though not intended for the reception of prisoners, it presently received an illustrious one, as we shall see. In the State Papers of the reign are the following memoranda of repairs done in the Tower during the summer of 1532: “Work done by carpenters and taking down old timber, etc., at St. Thomas’ Tower, and for alterations in the palace.” “There has also been taken down the old timber in the four turrets of the White Tower; and the old timber of Robert the Devil’s Tower—that is Julius Caesar’s tower; and of the tower near the King’s wardrobe. Half of the White Tower is now embattled, coped, indented, and cressed with Caen stone to the extent of 500 feet.” The cost is given as £3,593 14s. 10d.

A Tournament.

From a MS. of the Romance of the Sire Jehan de Saintré.
British Museum, Nero D. IX.

[Pg 43] But we have perforce to return to the tragical records. We have already recorded how the Earl of Suffolk, Edmund de la Pole, was beheaded in 1513. Edward Stafford, third Duke of Buckingham, was the great grandson of Humphrey Stafford, son of Anne, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, son of Edward III. Humphrey Stafford had received his dukedom for his services under Henry VI, had tried in vain to reconcile Queen Margaret with the Yorkists, and was slain at the battle of Northampton. His grandson was executed at Salisbury by Richard III in 1483. The Duke with whom we are now concerned was sworn a Privy Councillor in 1509, and was for a while high in favour with Henry VIII. But he hated Cardinal Wolsey, and the hatred was returned, and the Cardinal appears to have brought before the King some boasting speeches of the Duke about his royal lineage, implying a claim to the throne. For this he was sent to the Tower, was tried for high treason, and on May 17, 1521, was beheaded on the Green. Shakespeare gives us several pathetic touches in his Henry VIII. Half a dozen Augustinian friars, in gratitude for the many kind deeds which the Duke had done to poor religious men in his lifetime, took up his body and buried it in the Church of Austin Friars.

We come to scenes of revelry again in May, 1533, when the King brought hither his new wife Anne Boleyn; painful enough to read in connexion with the rest of the history. He had gone through a marriage service with her in the previous January, before his divorce from Katharine had been pronounced. Anne was now some months advanced in pregnancy. She was brought to the Tower preparatory to a stately march to Westminster for her coronation, and it was all very magnificent to look at, but the people viewed it in sullen silence; enthusiasm there was none. What was yet worse, the King’s passion for her was already on the wane. She gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth on September 7, 1533, had a miscarriage the next year, and a still-born child in January, 1536, only three weeks after the death of Katharine of Aragon. On Mayday following she was charged with unfaithfulness to the King, was brought a prisoner to the Tower next day, tried in the Great Hall on the 15th, beheaded on Tower Green on the 19th. This is not the place to discuss the question of her guilt or innocence. The twenty-five peers who tried her gave a unanimous verdict against her; the President of the Court was her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. Mr. Gairdner expresses his opinion that the evidence against her was not conclusive, but that her conduct had long been indecorous. [Pg 44]

But between her coronation and execution two illustrious victims had passed away. John Fisher, who as a College Principal had done splendid service in the way of advice and assistance to the munificent works of the “Lady Margaret,” Countess of Richmond, Henry VII’s mother, was raised in 1504 to the bishopric of Rochester. He was a man of saintly life, and eager to promote learning. There seems to have been a mutual distrust between him and Wolsey, which Burnet bluntly attributes to Fisher’s grief at the Cardinal’s lax morality. When the question of King Henry’s divorce was raised Fisher expressed himself firmly against it, and when, further, the doctrine of the royal supremacy was proposed to Convocation, he declared that the acceptance of it would “cause the clergy of England to be wiped out of God’s holy Catholic Church.” When it was carried in Convocation, it was he who procured the addition of the saving clause “quantum per Dei legem licet.” Unfortunately he compromised himself by giving countenance to Elizabeth Barton, “the nun of Kent,” when the soi-disant prophetess threatened calamity to the King for his marriage with Anne Boleyn. In April, 1534, he and Sir Thomas More were summoned to Lambeth to take the oath to the Act of Succession. They both agreed to that portion of the Act which fixed the succession to the offspring of the King and Anne, but firmly objected to call the Princess Mary illegitimate, and to the words denying faith, truth, and obedience to the Roman Church. The commissioners were anxious, Cranmer at the head of them, to accept the submission as sufficient for the occasion, but they were both sent to the Tower; and when the Act of Supremacy was passed in November, 1554, Secretary Cromwell read it to Fisher, with the clause making it high treason to deny the King’s right to the claim. Fisher declined to subscribe to it. Henry was unwilling to proceed to extremities, but at this very moment Pope Paul III, ignorant (as he afterwards declared) of the unhappy relations between King and bishop, and desirous of rewarding learning, made Fisher a Cardinal. Henry broke out into ungovernable fury when he heard it, and declared that the red hat might come, but that there should be no head on which to place it. The bishop was brought to trial at Westminster and beheaded on Tower Hill June 15, 1535. “There is in this realm no man,” said Sir Thomas More, “in wisdom, learning, and [Pg 45] long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.” He died with perfect calmness and dignity. The head was fixed on London Bridge, and the body lay exposed to insult all day. In the evening it was buried without ceremony in the Church of Allhallows Barking.

A fortnight later Sir Thomas More shared the same fate, and on the same charge. His brilliant abilities, wit, and virtue have made his name illustrious. Many of his noble friends visited him in confinement and did all they could to persuade him to yield, but in vain. Not only his firmness, but his cheerfulness remained undiminished. When he was brought through Traitors’ Gate the porter, according to ancient custom, demanded his uppermost garment as his fee. More handed him his cap, telling him that this was his “uppermost garment,” and that he wished it was of more value. When he ascended the scaffold he observed that it was somewhat insecure. “Prythee, good fellow,” he said to one of the guards, “help me up; when I come down let me shift for myself.” And when the headsman prayed his forgiveness, “I forgive thee, good fellow, with all my heart,” he said as he laid his head on the block. Immediately after he raised it for a moment to remove his beard. “That,” he said, “has not committed treason; pity it should be cut.”

Every succeeding year of this darkening reign brought more prisoners to the Tower. Thence Lord Howard was sent with his wife, the King’s niece, because they had married without the royal consent. Here the husband died and then the widow was released. She afterwards became the mother of Darnley.

“The Pilgrimage of Grace,” in other words the series of insurrections which broke out in the North because of dissatisfaction at the promulgation of the reformed doctrines and the dissolution of the religious houses, filled the Tower dungeons with prisoners. Among them were the Lords Darcy and Hussey, Sir Robert Constable, Sir John and Lady Bulmer, Sir Francis Bigot, Sir Thomas Percy, brother of the Earl of Northumberland, Sir Stephen Hamilton, William, son of Lord Lumley, Nicholas Tempest and Robert Aske; also the Abbots of Rievaulx, Fountains and Jervaux, and the Prior of Bridlington. All were convicted of treason and put to death in 1536. [Pg 46]

In 1538 Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, Sir Edward Neville, Sir Nicholas Carew and others were accused of holding a traitorous correspondence with Cardinal Pole, and were imprisoned in the Tower; as were also the Cardinal’s brothers, Lord Montague and Sir Geoffrey Pole, their mother the Countess of Salisbury, the Marchioness of Exeter, Sir Adrian Fortescue and Sir Thomas Dingley. Reginald Pole, who had never hesitated in his conferences with the King to condemn the divorce, had been entrusted by Henry to go on a mission to the Pope to make peace if possible. Pope Paul IV had made him a Cardinal, to Henry’s indignation, and he was still on the Continent. The Marquis of Exeter was a grandson of Edward IV, and Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was the daughter of his brother, the Duke of Clarence. The King was roused to fresh anger against them because Charles V and Francis I had laid aside their enmity and become friends, and the Pope, looking to them for assistance, had issued a bull of excommunication against him. Geoffrey Pole saved his life by giving evidence against the plotters. Exeter and Montague were beheaded, December 9, 1538, Carew on March 3 following. Lady Exeter was pardoned, but the Countess of Salisbury was kept in confinement for two years longer, when she was brought to the scaffold on the fatal Green. Froude thinks it was because she was found to be still secretly corresponding with her son the Cardinal against the King, and there were fresh alarms of a rising in the North under Sir John Neville. Froude discredits the story told by Lingard, that the aged Countess refused to lay her head on the block on the ground that she was no traitor, and that the headsman hacked it off as he best could; and Mr. Gairdner evidently does not believe it.

Of the King’s chief adviser in these terrible doings we have as yet said nothing, but it becomes necessary to do so now. Thomas Cromwell, who had risen from low estate, and whose early history is almost a blank to us, after a youth spent on the Continent, was appointed by Wolsey collector of his revenues of the see of York, entered Parliament in 1523 and became a member of Gray’s Inn. Wolsey leaned much upon him, made him one of the commissioners appointed (1525) to inquire into the conditions of the smaller monasteries—and in this work he acted with great harshness—and he also managed the work of the foundation of the [Pg 47] Cardinal’s Colleges at Oxford and Ipswich. He seems to have remained faithful to Wolsey to the end, but it was he more than any one who persuaded Henry VIII to make himself supreme head of the Church by way of facilitating his divorce from Katharine, and he rose high in favour with the King and became Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1535 he was made Vicar-General for a general visitation of churches, monasteries and clergy, was rewarded with large gifts of confiscated church lands, and was made Lord Chamberlain in 1539. This was the culmination of a career clever and wary, but tyrannical and oppressive to the English nation and utterly unprincipled towards foreign powers. His fall, which had long been desired by the Catholic party in England, was hastened by his negotiating the King’s marriage with Anne of Cleves. Henry’s disgust at his first sight of his affianced bride would not have sufficed to cause the agent’s ruin, but the alliance with German Protestants, of which the marriage was to be the seal, was unpopular, and as it had served its purpose, nothing more was to be got out of it. For arranging the marriage he was created Earl of Essex April 1540, and on June 10 following the Duke of Norfolk denounced him as a traitor at the Council board, and he was at once sent to the Tower, charged with receiving bribes wholesale, selling commissions, secretly dispersing heretical books, and designing to marry the Princess Mary and make himself King. He was not tried but proceeded against by attainder. Archbishop Cranmer vainly tried to stem the tide. He was beheaded on Tower Green July 28, 1540. It was one sign of a Catholic reaction. The Tower and other metropolitan prisons were crowded with Protestant heretics, who were dragged away on hurdles and burnt in Smithfield, as were also some Catholics at the very same period for denying the King’s supremacy.

Anne of Cleves was married to Henry on January 6, 1540, and divorced in July following. She lived the rest of her life in England with a pension, quite content, and rode in the procession along with the Princess Elizabeth at Queen Mary’s coronation. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, August 1557.

Immediately after this divorce Henry married Katharine Howard, niece of the Duke of Norfolk, and for a while all seemed bright. The royal pair next year went on a tour through the North. At Hampton Court they kept [Pg 48] All Saints’ Day, 1541, with much solemnity, and the King gave directions to the celebrant, the Bishop of Lincoln, to return thanks to God “for the good life which he hoped to lead after sundry troubles.” Next day after mass Archbishop Cranmer sorrowfully handed the King a paper which gave evidence of Katharine’s unchastity both before and after marriage. She was confined for a while at Syon House, on February 10 was brought to the Tower, and beheaded on the Green three days later. It was a strange request which she made, and which was complied with—that the block might previously be brought to her cell that she might learn how to place her head upon it aright. With her died Lady Rochford, who had connived at her immoralities.

Anne Askew, our next prisoner, presents a strange contrast. She was the daughter of a Lincolnshire gentleman, who married in early life a Mr. Kyme, an ardent Roman Catholic. Anne’s friends in London were equally ardent believers in the Reformed faith; among these friends was Queen Katharine Parr. Anne’s husband, who for some time had neglected her, charged her with heresy, resting his charge on the recently passed “Six Articles” Act, which ordained that denial of Transubstantiation should be punished with death by burning. It was in 1545 that she was charged. Bishop Bonner appears to have been so moved by the sight of her simple beauty as to try to save her, but the Chancellor, Wriothesley, pressed her with questions, and she was firm in her answers, and was condemned. Her first place of confinement was Newgate, but she was sent to the Tower to be racked. The rack, says Lord de Ros, was regarded with such horror by the people as to be applied only in secrecy, and there might have been an outbreak in the city had all this become known. The application of the torture was in order to force her to incriminate the ladies who had supported her, but she resolutely closed her lips, first declaring that she was grateful to all her friends and would not betray them, and that it was her faithful maid who had kept her from starvation by going out and begging for her “of the prentices and others she met in the streets.” Wriothesley himself worked the rack until she was nearly dead. She was taken off the machine, but was no longer able to walk, so she was carried in a cart to Smithfield and burned. Queen Katharine appears to have been in danger, but the King’s [Pg 49] sympathies were moved by the accounts which reached him of the sufferer’s noble constancy, and when Wriothesley came to him to excite him against the Queen, Henry called him a beast and a fool and drove him out of the room.

One more cheerful record remains of this terrible reign. In 1546, in honour of the peace which had been made between France and England, the former country sent its Lord High Admiral, the Bishop of Evreux, and some other nobles on an embassy to England. They landed at Greenwich and thence were conducted to the Tower, where a splendid banquet awaited them; thence to Lambeth Palace, and finally to Hampton Court, where the treaty was signed.

And still we have two more illustrious prisoners to name in this reign. The Duke of Norfolk was now seventy-four years old: He had commanded the victorious army at Flodden, had led another victorious campaign in Scotland, and had done good service in France. He was a son-in-law of King Edward IV, and two of his nieces had been Queens of England. The jealousy of Henry was aroused; he knew himself to be nearing his end, and feared that the Duke and his son, the Earl of Surrey, had designs upon the crown. He appointed Lord Hertford, his son’s uncle, to be his guardian during his minority, and sent to Parliament a complaint that Norfolk and his son were plotting to seize the government. Surrey was accused of quartering the arms of King Edward the Confessor on his shield, after the manner of an heir-apparent, and also (it is shocking to have to record it) of having persuaded his sister, the widow of the King’s natural son, the Duke of Richmond, to become Henry’s mistress, of course with a view to ruling his movements. Surrey was tried by jury January 13, 1547, and perished six days later on Tower Hill. The Duke of Norfolk was condemned by bill of attainder, and would have died in like manner, had not the King himself died January 28, 1547, a few hours before the appointed time of execution. The Duke remained a prisoner until the accession of Mary, when he was released. He presided at the trial of the Duke of Northumberland, and died in his bed in 1554, aged eighty-one.

The young Edward, now ten years old, was at Hatfield when his father died. Next day his uncle, the Earl of Hertford, brought him up to the Tower with great pomp and ceremony. Here he received knighthood by the [Pg 50] accolade of his uncle, and in return conferred on him the title of Duke of Somerset. On February 24 the coronation took place at Westminster with the usual pageants.

Almost immediately disturbances began. Thomas, Lord Seymour, Somerset’s younger brother, was sent to the Tower on the charge of aspiring to the kingdom by offering marriage to the Princess Elizabeth. He had secretly married Queen Katharine Parr on King Henry’s death, and when she died (Sept. 5, 1548) he made this new move. Other acts of ambition were charged against him, as well as of using his office of Lord High Admiral for privateering. He was beheaded on Tower Hill March 20, 1549, and though he was not worthy of much sympathy, public opinion was indignant against the heartlessness of his brother the Protector, and advantage was taken of it by the Catholic party to form a faction against him. He was accused, not unjustly, of accumulating vast riches by seizing property of the Church and Crown. A leader of the opposition to him was found in Dudley, Earl of Warwick. A meeting of his opponents was held in Ely Place in October 1549, with the result that the Tower was seized and Somerset was shut up in it. He was deposed from the Protectorate, and in February 1550 was pardoned and re-admitted to the Privy Council. But in October 1551 he was again arrested on the charge of plotting to raise the country and murder Warwick. On this charge he was tried and beheaded on Tower Hill. He was the first Protestant ruler of England, “a rank Calvinist,” and was, in fact, in close communication with Calvin. It was certainly his influence which led to the changes between the two English prayer-books of 1549 and 1552. His royal nephew, apparently, was, as Burnet puts it, “not greatly concerned” for him. This is his entry in his diary: “January 22, the Duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Touer Hill between eight and nine a cloke in the morning.” His fall involved the ruin of some of his principal supporters. Thus Sir Ralph Vane (or Fane; he belonged to the still existent Westmoreland family), though he had distinguished himself in the army, had offended the Duke of Northumberland. He was charged with complicity with Somerset and hid himself in a stable at Lambeth, but was arrested. Before the Privy Council he showed a bold front, and on his condemnation declared that his murder would make Northumberland’s pillow uneasy. He was hanged, and the royal diary [Pg 51] recording his “felony” and death adds that on his trial he “answered like a ruffian.” Sir Miles Partridge was also hanged; Sir Thomas Arundel and Sir Michael Stanhope were beheaded; the Earl of Arundel, Lords Grey and Paget were acquitted.

Edward VI’s was a short reign, but a terrible amount of blood was shed on the scaffold, through the machinations of evil counsellors.

[Pg 52]


Grave Difficulties as to the Right of Succession—Statement of the Various Claims—Duke of Northumberland’s Selfish Scheme—Its Failure—His Arrest and Execution—Lady Jane Grey—Triumph of Mary—Her Coronation—Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Rebellion—Execution of Lady Jane and her Husband—Execution of Duke of Suffolk and Sir Thomas Wyatt—Accusation against the Princess Elizabeth—Her Imprisonment and Liberation—Death of Mary and Accession of Elizabeth—Her Coronation—Religious Troubles—Lord and Lady Hertford—Plots in Favour of the Queen of Scots—Hopes of the King of Spain—Hatred of Spain in the English Nation—Execution of the Duke of Norfolk, the First for Fourteen Years—Fresh Prisoners owing to the Jesuit Activity against the Queen—Execution of the Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay, and Results—Sir Walter Raleigh’s Imprisonment and Liberation—Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex—His Prosperity, Folly, Downfall—Death of the Queen.

There had been no doubt about the succession when Henry VIII died. Jane Seymour, the mother of Edward, was Henry’s lawful wife beyond question, for Queens Katharine and Anne were both dead when he married Jane. But on the death of Edward the matter looked very complicated in many eyes. Let us take the possible claimants in order. First, there were the two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, who had both been declared illegitimate on the ground that their mothers had never been lawful wives. King Henry, it is true, in his later years, had received them as his daughters, and as possible heirs, though the Statute disqualifying them had not been repealed. Next, Henry VII had left two daughters. The elder, Margaret, married James IV of Scotland, who was killed at Flodden. His son, James V, was father of Mary Queen of Scots, but she was excluded from right of succession by the Alien Act, having been born on a foreign soil. But further, Margaret, within a year of King James’s death, had married the Earl of Angus, and a wretched marriage it was. He had a wife already, [Pg 53] but a papal brief decreed that, as she had married in good faith, her child Margaret was legitimate.

Henry VII’s second daughter, Mary, married Louis XII of France, but he died in his honeymoon. She then married Charles Brandon, afterwards created Duke of Suffolk, he having a wife alive. Their eldest daughter, Frances, was given in marriage to Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, the greatgrandson of Sir John Grey, first husband of Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV, on marrying her, made her son a peer. It is a miserable fact to have to record that the Marquis of Dorset, who now married the daughter of Brandon and Queen Mary, had put away his lawful wife in order to do so, the Lady Catherine FitzAlan, sister of the Earl of Arundel. No wonder that the latter, who had been an affectionate brother-in-law, became Dorset’s fierce enemy, and nursed his wrath in secret. Grey was created Duke of Suffolk on account of his royal spouse, and perhaps thought that the injury he had done was forgotten in his prosperity. His wife Frances, a lady of amiable temper, brought him three daughters, the eldest being the Lady Jane Grey, and out of all this crooked dealing came a great tragedy.

The Duke of Northumberland, who had risen victorious over the Seymour family, and was apparently in the plenitude of power at King Edward’s death, was an able, bold, and unprincipled man. He had wedded his fourth son, Lord Guildford Dudley, to the Lady Jane, and caused the dying Edward to declare her his legitimate successor. Obviously this was not the case, for her mother was yet alive, and would under any circumstances have had first claim. The poor girl was only sixteen years old. All accounts agree in making her both learned and amiable. She had no ambitions, but was told that duty lay upon her. The Duke for some hours kept the King’s death secret, while he took measures for securing the person of Mary, and brought the Lady Jane to the Tower, and also a large number of influential peers, to swear homage to her. But the Londoners were silent, “not a single shout of welcome or Godspeed was raised as they passed through the silent crowd on their way to the Tower,” writes Machyn in his diary. The Duke was hated for his arrogance, and the interference of France and Spain was to be [Pg 54] looked for if Mary’s rights were interfered with. And Jane’s husband, a poor, wretched, selfish creature, whined and sulked because he had expected to be declared King Consort. Northumberland, having had Jane duly proclaimed, went forth to encounter Mary, and soon saw that the game was up. The fleet off Yarmouth had declared in Mary’s favour, so had the soldiers which he had sent against her. And so in the street at Cambridge he threw his cap up in the air with the cry, “God save Queen Mary!” But it availed him nothing. The Earl of Arundel, who had been forced by Northumberland to offer allegiance to Jane, but who waited his opportunity, came forward with a warrant for his arrest, signed by Mary, and on July 25, nineteen days after Edward’s death, he was brought a prisoner to the Tower; on August 18 he was tried and condemned for high treason in Westminster Hall, the Duke of Norfolk presiding as Lord High Sheriff. He was taken back to the Beauchamp Tower, and inscriptions which were cut by him and his sons may still be read on the walls. Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, had been a prisoner there under King Edward; he was now restored to his dignity, and he paid a visit to Northumberland, who, in the hope of saving his life, declared himself a Catholic. Gardiner naturally took the opportunity; Mass was celebrated in the White Tower Chapel, and the Duke received after making recantation. Next day he was beheaded on Tower Hill, still clinging desperately to the hope of life, and making profession all the way to the scaffold of the fervency of his faith. Sir John Gates and Sir Thomas Palmer, both implicated in the same treason, perished with him.

Meanwhile the “nine days’ reign” of the hapless Lady Jane was at an end. She was consigned to the Lieutenant’s Lodging, called the King’s House, and her husband to the Beauchamp Tower, where the one word “Jane,” carved on the wall by him, is still to be seen. All through the month of September Jane was allowed to walk in the garden, and her husband and his brother Henry to promenade the outer walk on the wall which leads from the Beauchamp to the Bell Tower.

Queen Mary was crowned with great splendour on October 1. She was accompanied by her half-sister Elizabeth. [Pg 55]

On November 13 a procession went forth from the Tower Gate to the Guildhall. First the Gentleman Chief Warder, carrying the axe, next Archbishop Cranmer, followed by Lord Guildford Dudley and Lady Jane, the last-named accompanied by two of her ladies. They were arraigned for high treason, the Lord Mayor presiding, with the Duke of Norfolk as High Sheriff. They pleaded guilty, received sentence, and were taken back to the Tower.

It is possible that Mary may have had it in her mind to spare Lady Jane’s life, but there came a new event, namely, Wyatt’s ill-starred rising against the projected marriage of Queen Mary with Philip of Spain. The opinion of the nation was strongly against it, and Wyatt was certainly moved with an honest purpose. I would not venture to say as much for his fellow-conspirator, the Duke of Suffolk, Lady Jane’s father, who probably renewed his hopes of setting his daughter on the throne. He undertook to head a rising in Leicestershire, as Sir Peter Carew did in Devon. With the details of this unhappy expedition we have little to do here. Wyatt started from Maidstone, after publishing a declaration against the Queen’s marriage, and advanced with a numerous force to Rochester, where he defeated the Duke of Norfolk and Sir Henry Jerningham, who had been sent against him. Then he moved on to Gravesend, where he was met by some members of the Privy Council, who exhorted him to make known his grievances in a less disorderly manner. He assented, provided “the custody of the Tower and the Queen within it” were entrusted to him. This condition being declined, he went on towards London. Mary was exhorted to take refuge in the Tower, but cowardice was not one of her faults; she refused, and offered a reward of a hundred pounds a year to any man who would bring her Wyatt’s head; she also gave out to the citizens of London that she would not marry Philip if the match should be disagreeable to the nation. Wyatt, too, unappalled by his perilous situation, appeared at Southwark, opposite the Tower, fired upon it and was fired upon by the garrison, on both sides without effect, but the fact is to be noted as the last time in its history that the Tower was ever attacked. How he went on, crossed the river at Kingston, found himself more and more deserted, but still came forward with the courage of despair until he was captured between Temple Bar and Ludgate Hill, we all know. Now let Holinshed take up the [Pg 56] narrative: “As for the principals of this faction, Thomas Wyat, William Knevet, Thomas Cobham, two brethren named Mantells, and Alexander Bret, were brought by Sir Henry Jerningham by water to the Tower, prisoners, where Sir Philip R. Denny received them at the bulworke, and as Wyat passed he said: ‘Go, traitor, there never was such a traitor in England’; to whom Sir Thomas Wyat turned and said, ‘I am no traitor, I would thou shouldst well know that thou art more traitor than I, it is not the point of an honest man to call me so,’ and so went forth. When he came to the Tower gate, Sir Thomas Bridges, the Lieutenant, took him through the wicket, first Mantell, and said, ‘Ah thou traitor, what hast thou and thy companie wrought.’ But he, holding downe his head, said nothing. Then came Thomas Knevet, whom Master Chambeleine, gentleman porter of the Tower, tooke in. Then came Alexander Bret, whome Sir Thomas Pope tooke by the bosome, saying, ‘Oh traitor, how couldest thou find in thy heart to worke such a villanie, as to take wages, and being trusted ouer a band of men, to fall to hir enemies, returning against hir in battell.’ Bret answered, ‘Yea I have offended in that case.’ Then came Thomas Cobham, whome Sir Thomas Poines tooke in, and said, ‘Alas, Maister Cobham, what wind headed you to worke such treason’; and he answered, ‘Oh sir, I was seduced.’ Then came in Sir Thomas Wyat, whom Sir John Bridges tooke by the collar and said, ‘Oh thou villen and unhappie traitor, how couldest thou find in thy hart to worke such detestable treason to the queenes maiestie, who gaue thee thy life and liuing once alreadie, although thou diddest before this time beare armes in the field against hir and now to yeeld hir battell. If it were not (saith he) but that the lawe must passe upon thee, I would sticke thee through with my dagger.’ To the which, Wyat holding his arms under his side, and looking grieuously with a grim looke upon the Lieutenant, said, ‘It is no maisterie now’; and so passed on. Thomas Wyat had on a shirt of maile, with sleeues verie faire, thereon a veluet cassocke, and a yellow lace, with the windlace of his dag hanging thereon, and a paire of boots on his legs, and on his head a faire hat of veluet, with a broad bone worke lace about it. William Kneuet, Thomas Cobham, and Bret, were the like apparelled.” [Pg 57]

Wyatt was confined in the first floor of the great keep, his adherents in the crypt beneath. It is hardly to be wondered at that this fixed the fate of poor Lady Jane. Her father was imprisoned on February 10. Two days before Feckenham, the Queen’s confessor, afterwards Abbot of Westminster, was sent to bid her and her husband prepare for death, and to exhort them to embrace the Roman faith; but on this point they were both firm in their refusal, and the 12th was fixed for the fatal day. It was originally intended that they should both die on Tower Hill, but the fear that Jane’s beauty, simplicity, and sweetness would excite popular sympathy, induced the authorities to change the place of her suffering to the Tower Green. When Lord Guildford was told this he requested a final interview with her, but she declined it, lest it should change their constancy. On the day appointed he was led forth, and as he passed the window of “Master Partridge’s House,” where she was confined, she waved her farewell to him. At the Bulwark Gate, the sheriffs met him and conducted him to the scaffold, where he met his fate with firmness. The body was conveyed on a litter to the Tower Chapel, and Jane saw it on its way thither. “O Guildford, Guildford!” said she, “the antepast is not so bitter that thou hast tasted, and which I shall soon taste, as to make my flesh tremble: it is nothing compared to the feast of which I shall partake this day in Heaven.” When the Lieutenant of the Tower came to conduct her to her death, and asked her for some small present which he might keep in memory of her, she gave him her tablets on which she had just written three sentences, Latin, Greek, and English. At the scaffold she addressed the bystanders, protesting that she had erred through bad advice, in the belief that she was serving the interests of the country, and that she submitted to the consequences of her error without murmuring. She prayed fervently, and then—but let us hear Holinshed once more—“stood vp and gaue hir maid (called Mistress Ellin) her gloues and handkercher, and hir booke she also gaue to Maister Bridges, (brother of) the Lieutenant of the Tower, and so untied hir gowne: and the executioner pressed to helpe hir off with it, but she desired him to let hir alone, and turned hir toward hir two gentlewomen, who helped hir off therewith, and with hir other attires, and they gaue hir a fair handkercher to put about hir eies. Then the executioner kneeled downe and asked hir forgiuenesse, whom she forgaue most willinglie. Then he [Pg 58] willed hir to stand vpon the straw, which doone, she saw the blocke, and then she said, ‘I pray you dispatch me quicklie.’ Then she kneeled downe, saiing, ‘Will you take it off before I laie me downe?’ Whereunto the executioner answered, ‘No, Madame.’ Then tied she the handkercher about hir eies, and, feeling for the blocke, she said, ‘Where is it? where is it?’ One of the standers-by guided hir thereunto, and she laid downe hir head vpon the blocke, and then stretched forth hir bodie, and said, ‘Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ and so finished hir life.”

Eleven days later her father, the Duke of Suffolk, was beheaded, and many other participators in the ill-concerted rebellion were also put to death; three were hanged at Maidstone, three at Sevenoaks, more than fifty died in the City on the block or the gallows, the gates and London Bridge were disfigured with clusters of rotting heads, in several of the principal streets gibbets bore their ghastly burdens in chains, and the air was tainted far and wide. In the midst of this time Mary was married to Philip at Winchester.

Wyatt, who was put to death on April 11, had used some expressions which were held to implicate, among others, the Princess Elizabeth. The latter was lying sick, in semi-custody, at Ashridge in Herts, and a strong guard was sent to escort her to London, which performed its duty so zealously as to force admission into her bedchamber. She was brought, in spite of her remonstrances, by easy stages to London, and remained for a fortnight in close confinement at Whitehall, and was then conveyed to the Tower. Her angry protestations made a scene as she was landed at Traitors’ Gate on Palm Sunday, that day being fixed upon because the citizens were strictly ordered to Church, and it was feared that popular disaffection would be exhibited if the Princess was conducted through the city. Whilst in the Tower, her confinement was of the most rigid character; the Mass, though offensive to her, was constantly said in her apartment; at first she was not allowed to pass the threshold of her room, and when afterwards she obtained the privilege, through the intercession of Lord Chandos, she was constantly attended by the Lieutenant and Constable of the Tower, with a guard. “Queen Elizabeth’s Walk” is still the name of the path she daily [Pg 59] promenaded. She was frequently examined by the Council, but nothing against her could be found, and Wyatt with his dying breath declared her innocence. On May 19 she was liberated from the Tower, and conveyed, under the charge of Sir Henry Bedingfield, to Woodstock. In the old London Tavern in Leadenhall Street is preserved a heavy pewter meat dish and cover, which it is said was used at the meal which she took after leaving the Tower. And there is another tradition that the bells of some of the city churches were joyously rung on her release, and that to these churches on her accession she gave silken bell-ropes.

There still remained many prisoners in the Tower who had been concerned in the Lady Jane attempt and Wyatt’s subsequent rebellion. A large number of these were now released. The Earl of Warwick and his three brothers, Ambrose, Robert and Dudley, were in the Beauchamp Tower, but the Earl died in October, 1554, and his brothers were liberated next year. There was a strong desire to win popular favour and make the Spanish marriage less unpopular. The Archbishop of York, who had been imprisoned for refusing to attend Queen Mary’s coronation, and some twenty other knights and gentlemen were set free.

With the religious persecutions which followed for three years and a half we have no concern here. There was one more rising against the increasing authority of the Spaniards; Thomas, the second son of Lord Stafford, landed at Scarborough and took the castle, but was defeated by the Earl of Westmoreland, and a large number of prisoners were brought to the Tower. Stafford was beheaded on Tower Hill, and the others were hanged at Tyburn. Queen Mary died on November 17, 1558, and the accession of Elizabeth was certainly hailed with joy by the English nation.

Elizabeth was at Hatfield when her sister died. On November 28 she came to London, and entered, amidst general acclamations, the fortress where she had been so rigorously imprisoned. It is no wonder if it found no charms for her; on December 5 she retired first to Somerset House, then to Whitehall, where she remained until the eve of her coronation, when she came back to the Tower again. The procession from hence to the Abbey was more splendid than any that had been recorded. Seated in an [Pg 60] open chariot all glittering with gold, herself blazing with jewels, she was carried through streets strewn with flowers, with banners and tapestry on the houses, the conduits running wine, and the city companies manning the streets in their gorgeous liveries. A young woman called Deborah stood under a palm-tree in Fleet Street, and prophesied great prosperity to the nation.

Though the horrors of the stake were at an end, religious persecution was not; and the Tower seldom appears in the reign of Elizabeth save as a State prison. The Reformers were only too ready to retaliate on the Roman party, and so the Bishop of Winchester (Gardiner), who had rendered himself obnoxious under Mary, was soon in durance here, and was followed by the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of Ely, Lincoln, Worcester, Exeter, and Bath, and by Feckenham, Abbot of Westminster, and other Church dignitaries, for denying the Queen’s supremacy.

And there were fresh prisoners of State. Lady Catherine Grey, one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, Lady Jane’s sister, married in 1560 Lord Hertford, eldest son of the Duke of Somerset, but secretly, as it was known that the Queen would not approve of the match. He was twenty-two, and she twenty. The young people walked from Whitehall to Lord Hertford’s house in Fleet Street, and here the marriage took place, though they could not remember the name of the minister who thus clandestinely united them. When in due time the union could no longer be concealed they were in a terrible fright, Lady Catherine being of near kin to the Queen. Lord Hertford could not face her majesty’s anger, and fled across sea, leaving his poor wife to do the best she could for herself. This was not much, for when she threw herself at her royal mistress’s feet and begged for pardon, Elizabeth in a fury sent [Pg 61] her off to the Tower, where, soon after, her child was born.[3] Lord Hertford, returning to England, was sent also, and remained there many a long year, in the deeper disgrace because he could produce no proof of his marriage. He was separated from her, but bribed the keepers and gained access to her chamber, the result of which was the birth of another child. Elizabeth, we need hardly say, was more furious than ever; she declared, and probably thought, that there had been no marriage, dismissed summarily the Lieutenant, Warner, and had Hertford brought before the Star Chamber, where he was fined £15,000 and sent back to his prison, where he lay for nine years longer. During that time Lady Catherine died (1567). After his liberation he married again, but proved the validity of his first marriage in 1606 by discovering the minister who had performed it (Collins’s Peerage).

The Earl of Lennox was imprisoned in 1561, on suspicion of privately corresponding with the Queen of Scots, but was released next year. His wife, however, being a near kinswoman of Elizabeth, was continually suspected by her, and was imprisoned three times, “not for any crime of treason,” says Camden, “but for love matters; first when Thomas Howard, son of the first Duke of Norfolk of that name, falling in love with her, was imprisoned and died in the Tower of London; then for the love of Henry, Lord Darnley, her son, to Mary, Queen of Scots; and lastly for the love of Charles, her younger son, to Elizabeth Cavendish, mother to the Lady Arabella, with whom the Queen of Scots was accused to have made up the match.” In the King’s House there is an inscription in one of the rooms recording the second of these imprisonments.

The struggle between Elizabeth and the Queen of Scots was long and fierce. Before it closed on the scaffold at Fotheringhay, February, 1587, it had brought many prisoners to the Tower. Among the earliest were two more members of the Pole family, Arthur and Edmund, great grandchildren of the Duke of Clarence. They were imprisoned in the Beauchamp Tower in 1562 on the charge of conspiring to set Mary Stuart [Pg 62] on the English throne. Inscriptions on the wall may still be seen, bearing their names. There can be no question that Elizabeth’s position was one of great danger. England was half ruined when she came to the throne—no army, no fleet, a huge debt, and the whole country containing a population less than that of London to-day. And Spain was rich and populous, with the finest army and navy in the world. Philip expected England to buy his support against her neighbour, France, by becoming a dependency of Spain. But he misjudged not only the courage of the Queen, but the indomitable determination of her nation. They had had enough of Spain. Unjustly, no doubt, they attributed all the miseries and disasters of Mary’s reign to the Spanish alliance, and it was the special feature which so wonderfully marked the reign of Elizabeth that her people rallied round her in the hour of danger as people had never done to a sovereign before. We have to bear this in mind when thinking of the high-handed doings of Burleigh and the astute diplomacies of Walsingham. A suspicion of conspiracy was a most serious matter then. In 1569 Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, son of the ill-fated Surrey, was brought in on the charge of high treason, his overt act being the proposal to wed the Queen of Scots. Others implicated in the conspiracy to place Mary on the throne were the Earls of Arundel and Southampton, Lord Lumley, Lord Cobham, and his brother Thomas. A batch of letters, written by an Italian banker named Ridolfi, resident in London, on the same business, got into the hands of the government, with the result that a fresh haul of prisoners was brought in. They furnished evidence that the Duke of Alva was laying plans for the murder of Elizabeth, prior to Norfolk’s marriage with Mary. These prisoners were distributed in the various towers, and a young man named Charles Bailly, who was seized at Dover with a number of treasonable letters in his possession, was placed in the Tower, and under torture gave evidence against many prisoners. There are several inscriptions by him in the Beauchamp Tower. The Duke of Norfolk was beheaded on Tower Hill June 2, 1579, the first execution there for fourteen years. The old scaffold had become rotten, and a new one was set up for the occasion. John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, when put on his trial for the same crime, pleaded that, being an ambassador, he was not amenable to criminal trial. And on this plea he was put back, kept prisoner for two [Pg 63] years longer, and then dismissed the kingdom, to which he never returned. Some more executions took place, and a great many culprits were fined and set at liberty.

For the next few years the Tower held but few captives. Peter Burchet, a member of the Middle Temple, was committed in October, 1573, for attempting to murder Hawkins, the celebrated admiral, whom he mistook for the Chancellor Hatton. During his confinement, he struck to death a man left in charge of him, who was quietly reading the Bible at the window. His hand was first struck off for striking a blow in a royal palace, after which he was hanged at Temple Bar. In 1577 a gentleman named Sherin was drawn on a hurdle from hence to Tyburn and hanged for denying the Queen’s supremacy, and six others were carried to Norwich for the like fate for coining.

But it was in 1580 that the cells again became filled with Roman Catholic prisoners. It is easy to account for this. The breach with Rome was complete; the Papal Bull had been issued for the dethronement of Elizabeth, and the newly-established Order of Jesuits was sending forth its missionaries to carry out the decree. And so it was war to the knife. Thus, in June 1580, we have William and Robert Tyrwhitt sent to the Tower for attending Mass at their sister’s marriage; the Archbishop of Armagh, the Earls of Kildare and Clanricarde, with other nobles, for being concerned in the Earl of Desmond’s insurrection in Ireland; and before the year was out, six Catholic priests and three laymen are added. Next year it appears as if a system of torture was established; some were confined in “Little Ease,” a dungeon twenty feet below the level, in which they could neither stand upright nor lie down at length; some were racked, some placed in the “Scavenger’s Daughter,” an iron instrument which held bound the head, hands and feet. Add to these the thumbscrew and the boot. The most conspicuous prisoner in 1581 was Father Campion, an eloquent Jesuit who had worked hard to raise sedition in various parts of the country. He was dragged off with two other seminary priests to ignominious death, so were seven more priests that year; in 1583 a Warwickshire gentleman named Somerville strangled himself to avoid the ghastly dismemberment, but his father-in-law Arden suffered it. In 1584 five seminary priests [Pg 64] suffered, as did Francis, the eldest son of Sir John Throckmorton, convicted of treasonable correspondence with the Queen of Scots. In January, 1585, a clearance was made of those prisoners charged with religious offences, and twenty-one of them were shipped off to France. But their places were occupied by others, charged with complicity with the treasonable practices of Throckmorton. Among them were the Earls of Northumberland and Arundel. The former killed himself in the Tower to prevent that bitch, as he called the Queen, from getting possession of his estates by his attainder. Arundel was tried and condemned to death in 1589, but Elizabeth delayed the execution, though she gave very strict orders about his confinement. He might “walk in the Queen’s garden two hours in the day, with a servant of the Lieutenant’s to attend him, the garden door being shut at the time of his walking.” This severity, coupled with the strictest religious austerities which he constantly practised, hastened his death (Nov. 19, 1595). A memorial of his piety, graven with his own hand, may be seen in the Beauchamp Tower. William Parry, instigated from Rome, arranged with Edmund Neville to shoot the Queen when she was out riding. But the Earl of Westmoreland died in exile. Neville was his next heir, and hoped that by revealing the plot he might recover the forfeited estates. The result was that Parry died a traitor’s death and Neville was kept close prisoner for many years. Many prisoners were brought in in 1586, charged with being concerned in Babington’s conspiracy. So was Davison, the Secretary of State, who was charged with sending the warrant for the death of the Queen of Scots without Elizabeth’s sanction. This is generally considered to have been a crafty device of the Queen to screen herself from the odium. He exculpated himself, but was kept in the Tower, and ruinously fined by the Star Chamber. In 1598 Sir John Perrot, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, whose righteous endeavours had done much to restore tranquillity to that country, having incurred the enmity of Lord Chancellor Hatton, was recalled home and sent to the Tower on a charge of treason. He was a hot-tempered man, and had used some disrespectful words against the Queen. This was the only charge proved against him, but on it he was condemned. On being conveyed to the Tower he said to the Lieutenant in great anger that the Queen was “suffering her brother to be offered up as a sacrifice to his strutting [Pg 65] adversaries.” He was said to be an illegitimate son of King Henry VIII. Whether or not, when this speech was reported to the Queen, she refused to sign the warrant for his execution, and declared that his accusers were all knaves. He died in the Tower six months afterwards, broken-hearted.

An illustrious name comes before us in the annals of 1592. Sir Walter Raleigh was lodged here, having incurred the Queen’s displeasure by his amour with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the celebrated statesman. He soon regained his liberty, however, by using the most fulsome adulation of his royal mistress. Here is just one specimen, an extract from a letter which he wrote to Cecil, of course in order that it might be shown to her Majesty:—“My heart was never broken till this day, that I hear the Queen goes away so far off [she was about to start on her annual progress], whom I have followed so many years with so great love and desire in so many journeys, and am now left behind her in a dark prison, all alone. While she was yet near at hand, that I might hear of her once in two or three days, my sorrows were the less, but even now my heart is cast into the depth of all misery. I, that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure face like a nymph, sometimes sitting in the shade like a goddess, sometimes singing like an angel, sometimes playing like Orpheus.”

Elizabeth was always open to flattery, but in this case her “love-stricken swain” was further assisted by the arrival at Dartmouth of his good ship The Roebuck, which had taken a great Spanish treasure ship off Flores, with a treasure which Raleigh estimated at half a million pounds. The Queen gave him his liberty and sent him off to arrange the disposal of his capture, and of course got the lion’s share of it. He returned to Court fresh as ever, and this return was a fatal event in the fortunes of another brilliant courtier, in fact the most brilliant, of Elizabeth’s surrounding, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. He and Raleigh were bitter enemies. Ireland was again giving trouble. Raleigh advised that the disturbers should remorselessly be trampled out, Essex that justice and good-will should be shown. The discussion between them was firm on both sides, and when we remember [Pg 66] that both men were high-spirited, full of ambition, jealous of each other as to the royal favour, we can understand how their selfwill and egotism proved the ruin of them both. Essex was strikingly handsome, brilliant both at Court and in the field. His father had been a personal friend of the Queen, the Earl of Leicester was his step-father, Sir Francis Knollys his grandfather, Walsingham his father-in-law, Lord Burleigh his guardian, Shakespeare his friend. He was now sent to Ireland with the task before him of subduing the factions which kept the country in continual insurrection, and he failed, whilst his enemies traduced him at home. Enraged at learning this, and in despair at his continued illfortune, he returned after two years to England unbidden, hoping to justify his actions in the presence of the Queen. But several charges of misconduct were proved against him, and he was deprived of his offices and banished from Court. The Queen had said that an unruly horse must be kept short of provender, and when this was repeated to him he retorted that the Queen’s mind was as crooked as her body, and it is difficult to imagine a speech which would anger her more. Then, instigated by his secretary, Cuffe, he formed the desperate resolution of breaking in upon the Court, removing by force the courtiers, and so ruling the Queen by force. A terrible blunder to make. He was perhaps the most popular noble in London, but the citizens had no idea of imperilling their lives and fortunes by countenancing such a harum-scarum idea as this. Nobody came to his call, and after a short siege in his own house in the Strand he was captured, along with the Earl of Southampton, and conveyed through the fatal Traitors’ Gate. This was on February 6, 1601; on the 19th he was adjudged a traitor, and on the 25th beheaded. The execution took place within the Tower, some say because Essex was so popular that there was a fear of a demonstration in his favour if it had been on Tower Hill, others that it was his own wish to die within the walls. He was buried in St. Peter’s Chapel. He was only thirty-five years of age! There is a story that the Queen expected a ring which he was to send her when in trouble, and which was to win him forgiveness; that he had entrusted it to Lady Nottingham, who kept it back; but this story is certainly untrue. Elizabeth, as one can quite understand, was unwilling to sign the warrant, considering the favour in which she had once held him, and after its execution she fell into a terrible fit of [Pg 67] despondency, from which in fact she never recovered. Raleigh, who was never popular with the Londoners, was hooted in the streets for his enmity towards Essex, so was Bacon as one of his judges. Four of Essex’s fellow-conspirators were beheaded; Cuffe was hanged at Tyburn. Southampton was kept in close confinement, but liberated by special command of James I in 1603. Essex’s son, born 1593, lived to lead the Parliamentary army against Charles I.

Sad enough are the accounts of the last days of the great Queen, her loneliness and terror. No doubt the nature of her disease produced fits of delirium. She seemed to have no one near her to whom she could look for a loving or tender word. But she was a great monarch, and under her rule England rose out of weakness, confusion, distraction. Elizabeth had triumphed over all her enemies. Her bitterest foe, Philip of Spain, had gone to his grave five years before her, but not until he had seen his “Invincible Armada” beaten all to pieces. England was now in the first rank of the nations.

[Pg 68]


James I, arrival at the Tower—Lady Arabella Stuart—George Brooke—Sir Walter Raleigh—His Liberation—Fresh Imprisonment—Execution—The Gunpowder Plot—Sir Thomas Overbury—Carr, Earl of Somerset—Ascendency of Buckingham—Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex—Charles I—His Avoidance of the Tower—Sir John Eliot—Felton, Assassin of Buckingham—Lord Loudoun—Earl of Strafford—Archbishop Laud—Tower passes into power of Parliament when the Civil War begins—Imprisonments under the Commonwealth—Lord Capel—The Restoration—Execution of the Regicides—Villiers, Second Duke of Buckingham—Colonel Blood’s Attempt to Steal the Crown—The Mystery of his Pardon—Titus Oates—Lord Stafford—The Rye House Plot—Accession of James II—The Duke of Monmouth—The Seven Bishops—Bevis Skelton—Judge Jeffrey—William and Mary, only one Execution in the Tower all the Reign—But many Prisoners.

When King James arrived from Scotland he took up his residence and held his first Court in the Tower, but the plague was in London and there was no procession to Westminster at his Coronation, though the Londoners had made preparations for it. At the close of the year (1603) a conspiracy to place the crown on the head of Lady Arabella Stuart caused the imprisonment of many eminent men, among them Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, his brother George Brooke, Thomas, Lord Grey of Wilton, and Sir Walter Raleigh. Lady Arabella was the daughter of Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox, Darnley’s brother, and was therefore King James’s first cousin; she was also, as we have already had occasion to note, related to the Tudors, and this double relationship was the great misfortune of her life. At the trial of Lord Cobham it was clearly proved that she had no share in the scheme to make her queen. She had had many suitors, Henry IV of France and the Archduke Mathias of Austria among them, but had fallen in love with William Seymour, grandson of the Earl of Hertford, and for this Queen Elizabeth had kept [Pg 69] her in close confinement. In 1609 King James heard that she was about to marry some foreign prince; his jealousy was aroused, and he sent her to the Tower, but finding that his fears were groundless, he gave his consent to her marrying one of his subjects. She took him at his word, and married Seymour. In wrath the king sent her to Lambeth Palace as prisoner, and her husband to the Tower. From Lambeth she was ordered to Durham, to be under the Bishop, but at Highgate pleaded illness and remained there, and planned an escape for herself and husband. She obtained a male disguise and got to Blackwall, where her husband was to meet her, he having got out of the Tower by dressing like a labourer and following a cart of firewood. When he reached the appointed meeting-place he found that Arabella had sailed away in a French boat. He could not follow her, as the wind was against him, and he had to go to Ostend. Meanwhile an alarm was raised, Arabella was pursued, caught in mid-strait, and brought back to the Tower, which she never left again until her death, September 25, 1615. She had been for some years insane. She is buried beside Mary Queen of Scots in Westminster Abbey. Her husband survived her for nearly fifty years, and married a second wife, a sister of the famous Parliamentary general, the Earl of Essex, son of Queen Elizabeth’s Essex. In 1660 he became Duke of Somerset, and lived just long enough to welcome Charles II.

But in following Arabella’s fortunes I have greatly anticipated. We must go back to the conspiracy. George Brooke and two priests were the first to be tried and executed. His brother, Lord Cobham, and Lord Grey de Wilton were also condemned and actually brought out to be executed, but a respite had been previously signed, and it was produced at the block in a coup de théâtre. They were sent back to their prison, and for fifteen years longer Cobham lay in confinement. Then, his health failing, he was allowed to visit Bath in the custody of gaolers, after which he returned to his prison. Whether he died in the Tower or was allowed, as some accounts imply, to retire to an obscure house in the Minories, is uncertain. He died in January, 1619. There was much underhand dealing about his estates and those of his brother, by which Cecil gained possession of the greater part of them; and this entered [Pg 70] into the soul of William Brooke, George’s son, who became one of the most determined foes of Charles I, and died fighting against him at Newbury. Lord Grey of Wilton, a brilliant young man who might have served his country well, languished in the Brick Tower till his death in 1617.

Again disregarding contemporary events for awhile, we take up the history of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was detained for twelve years, mostly in the Bloody Tower, in rooms not uncomfortably furnished, was allowed two servants, and his wife and son could visit him. He had also the liberty of the garden which lay between his prison and the lieutenant’s house, and in it he constructed a little room for chemical experiments. And during this time he wrote his History of the World. In conception it was a colossal book, but he only completed his plan as far as the end of the second Macedonian war. It is a torso, one of the most wonderful books in literature, a great folio, very scarce; in fact, hardly ever to be seen except in old libraries, but full of learning, wit, shrewdness, when you get the opportunity of perusing it. In the early days of his captivity Sir George Harvey was lieutenant of the Tower. They were personal friends, and Raleigh often spent the evening with him. But when Harvey was succeeded by Sir William Wade things were changed. The new lieutenant had a personal dislike to Raleigh, and seems to have taken much trouble to curtail his privileges and make his life irksome. Henry, Prince of Wales, was partial to him, and frequently visited him, and the queen is said to have entreated the king to set him free. But James personally disliked him; partly, it is said, because he had heard that Raleigh made jests on his ugly face and uncouth gestures and accent. But, further, he was hated by Spain for his labours to make the English fleet the most powerful on the seas, to extend the English colonial possessions, and destroy the Spanish supremacy; and the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, was the most powerful minister at the English court. Prince Henry died in 1612, a heavy loss to Raleigh, but he got his liberty in 1616 by bribing Villiers, who went to the king and roused his cupidity by explaining that if Raleigh were allowed to make a fresh expedition to the West Indies he might gather great spoils, the lion’s share of which would go to the king. And so the warrant for his liberation was signed in March, 1616, at the time when Shakespeare was dying at Stratford-on-Avon. The wretched king [Pg 71] at the same time not only gave a pledge to Gondomar that if Raleigh touched any Spanish person or property he would hand him over to the Spanish Government to be hanged at Seville, but also showed him a private letter of Raleigh, stating the exact number of his ships and men, as well as the spot on the banks of the Orinoco where he expected to find a great silver mine. As the Spaniards claimed the whole of that territory, the vileness of the treachery becomes apparent. He started from Plymouth in March, 1617, with fourteen ships and nine hundred men. Continual disaster is the summary of the expedition. His eldest son was killed fighting gallantly in Guiana. In August, 1618, he returned a ruined man, and was again lodged in the Tower. The king was burning to get rid of him, but what should the pretext be? The Council of State was in uttermost perplexity. Bacon advised acting on the former sentence. Raleigh pleaded that the commission sending him to America was a reversal of that sentence both in law and reason, but the Lord Chief Justice Montagu gave his judicial opinion that it held good, and so on October 24 the warrant was signed, and on the 29th he was beheaded in Old Palace Yard.

Again we have to retrace our steps. In 1604 the penal laws against the Roman Catholics were re-enacted. On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes was seized in the vaults of the Houses of Parliament and conveyed to the Tower, as were also Thomas and Robert Winter, Robert Keyes, Thomas Oates, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, and Sir Everard Digby. They were placed in the dungeons beneath the White Tower. The room is still shown in the King’s House in which Guy was brought before the Council of State. And, moreover, in the subterranean dungeon are the bases of the rack on which he was tortured He is said to have been kept in “Little Ease” for fifty days. He was put to death, along with Thomas Winter, Rookwood and Keyes, in Old Palace Yard on January 31, 1606. Digby, Rookwood and Keyes suffered the same horrible death in Old Palace Yard.

But there were other persons who were implicated and brought in prisoners, of whom some account must be given, among them Henry Percy, the aged Earl of Northumberland, Lords Mordaunt and Stourton, and three [Pg 72] Jesuit priests, Garnet, Oldcorne, and Gerard. Northumberland had to pay an enormous fine and remained a prisoner here for sixteen years; Mordaunt and Stourton were also heavily fined and kept in durance. Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne were put to death in the usual horrible manner, one in St. Paul’s Churchyard, the other at Worcester. With Gerard it was different. He was questioned in the King’s House about Garnet’s knowledge of the plot and refused to answer, whereupon he was taken into the subterranean chamber and hung up by his wrists, he being a heavy man. In this position he was pressed with questions for an hour, and several times fainted. When he still refused to open his mouth Wade, the lieutenant, cried out in a rage, “Hang there, then, till you rot.” However, when the tolling from the Bell Tower gave notice to the Commissioners to quit the fortress for the day, the poor priest was suffered to crawl to his prison room at the top of the Salt Tower. Next day the same torture was renewed, and when he fainted he was restored by having vinegar poured down his throat. It was of no use, and he was again carried back to his prison, where he lay fifty days. Another Roman Catholic named Arden was confined in the Cradle Tower, some hundred feet off; they could see one another, and could even exchange a few words across the Privy Garden. Gerard persuaded his gaoler to let Arden visit him, and they planned an escape. They wrote a letter with orange juice, which is invisible until it is subjected to a process known to the initiated, and got it sent to co-religionists outside, who came opposite with a boat, and to them the prisoners threw a thin cord across the moat by means of a leaden weight attached to it. The boatmen fastened a stout rope to this, and it was hauled up and made fast within the chamber, and down it the two men “swarmed,” though Gerard was in agony from his swollen arms. But they succeeded and got away safely, Gerard to Rome, where he wrote a full account of his trial and escape.

We pass on to one of the foulest records in the history of our great fortress. Thomas Overbury, the son of a judge, was sent by his father “on a voyage of pleasure” to Edinburgh in 1601, and there made acquaintance, which ripened into intimate friendship, with one Robert Carr, page to the Earl of Dunbar. On the accession of King James to the [Pg 73] English throne he showed Carr great favour, and brought him to London. Carr, conscious of his own defective education and training, leaned much on Overbury’s ability, who thus to some extent shared his prosperity and was knighted in 1608. Carr was made Earl of Rochester in 1610. Their intimacy continued so close that men about court cringed to Overbury with a view to gaining Rochester’s favour, but now came a bitter feud. Rochester involved himself in a liaison with the Countess of Essex, a woman of altogether abandoned character, and she obtained a divorce with a view of marrying Rochester. But against this marriage Overbury raised an indignant protest, and entreated his friend to abandon the idea. Rochester resented his interference, and the countess in wrath excited him to retaliate. Rochester hesitated—probably Overbury was in possession of secrets which it was not desirable to bring out—and tried to persuade him to accept a diplomatic appointment abroad. He steadily refused all offers, and the Earl of Northampton, the countess’s uncle, who was keen for the match, persuaded the king, who was already prejudiced against Overbury, to send him to the Tower, on a charge of having spoken disrespectfully of the queen. Rochester regarded this imprisonment as a temporary expedient only; but far other was the idea of the countess. After making one or two proposals to officers to assassinate Overbury, she procured the dismissal of Wade from the governorship, and put in a tool of her own, Sir Gervase Helwys, by whose management the wretched captive was slowly and skilfully poisoned, September 15, 1613, three months and seventeen days after his first committal. A few weeks later Rochester was created Earl of Somerset. Nearly two years later a boy in the employment of one of the apothecaries revealed the crime. Investigations were made and proofs were abundantly forthcoming. Helwys and the attendants were hanged. The Earl of Northampton, it was clearly proved, had been an accomplice, but he had died. The Earl and Countess of Somerset were arrested, tried and convicted in May, 1616, but were pardoned and released from the Tower in 1621. Public opinion was much outraged; there were demonstrations in the streets, and it was even broadly intimated that King James must have been privy to the murder. There was a tradition that Mrs. Turner, one of the principal agents employed in [Pg 74] this crime by Lady Essex, appeared at her trial in a stiffened ruff which was all the fashion, and which we constantly see in portraits of that time, and in the same decoration was hanged (March, 1615), the result being that these ruffs immediately went out of fashion.

There were other occupants of the Tower during the reign of James I, and the records are miserable enough; intrigues and plots among rival aspirants to power frequently ended in imprisonment of the defeated. The rise of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, is undoubtedly a notable fact of the ignoble reign, but can only be touched upon here as connected with the imprisonment of Sir John Eliot, Sir Edward Coke, and Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex. Cranfield, a creation of Buckingham, was one of the foremost accusers of Bacon for corrupt practices. He had been made Master of the Wardrobe and Lord High Treasurer. He was convicted of robbing the magazine of arms, of pocketing bribes and selling offices, and of making false entries of the royal debts. He was condemned to pay a fine of £50,000, and to be imprisoned for life. He was released, however, in a few weeks, lived in retirement for the rest of his life, and remained neutral during the Civil War. He died in 1645. Two sons in succession succeeded him, after which the family became extinct.

The schemes and intrigues concerning the proposed marriage of Charles with the Infanta of Spain and the tortuous policy of the Duke of Buckingham have not come within our scope. But it has to be noted that Sir John Eliot, who had by reason of his great ability been appointed Vice-Admiral of Devon, had got into trouble during Buckingham’s absence in Spain, by arresting a notorious pirate named Nutt, who was under the secret patronage of Calvert, the Secretary of State, and Eliot was sent to prison on false charges. He was liberated after some months and got a seat in Parliament in 1624, where he almost immediately displayed remarkable power of oratory. Buckingham had now broken with Spain, and in this Eliot heartily went with him, but his feeling was altogether based upon the rights of the House of Commons and the popular feeling against any Spanish alliance. He was one of the leaders also of the impeachment of the Earl of Middlesex. Soon there appeared serious signs [Pg 75] of his divergence from the king’s policy. He was no Puritan, having a strong antipathy to Calvinism; but he urged enforcement of the recusancy laws against the Roman Catholics, because religion “made distractions among men.” As Mr. Gardiner puts it, his creed was “the monarchy of man.... There must be unity and purity of faith, and that faith must be one which brought man face to face with his Maker” (vol. v., p. 343). In those same early days he was in conflict with another man who was to become one of the most prominent politicians of his day—Thomas Wentworth, presently Lord Strafford. Wentworth too, according to his light, was a patriot. He was sincerely desirous for the prosperity of the country, but held that strength is the essence of good government, had a contempt for constitutional forms, and in his arrogance, knowing his own good intentions, paid no respect to those who opposed him. Eliot stood at the opposite pole. Parliament was to him the voice and the majesty of the nation. He earnestly and strenuously opposed the entrance of Wentworth into the House of Commons, on the ground that his election had been a forced one and was a sham: and he carried his point.

Further alienation followed. Buckingham’s war with Spain was a failure. Eliot, after some hesitation on account of old friendship, spoke bitterly against him in King Charles’ first Parliament of 1626; an impeachment followed, of which Eliot was one of the managers, and for this the king sent him and Sir Dudley Digges to the Tower. But the cleavage between king and parliament had grown serious; the Commons refused to proceed to business until their members were freed, and it was done, but he was dismissed from offices which he held. The third parliament met in 1628, and again Eliot spoke against Buckingham and against arbitrary taxation, and it was mainly by his energy that the Petition of Right was carried. Next year Buckingham was murdered by Felton. Eliot next directed his energies against Archbishop Laud, who had expressed his intention of raising Church ceremonial, and excluding Puritan teachers from office in the Church, and thus, according to Eliot, of making war upon the religious convictions of the nation. In the midst of an angry debate the king prorogued parliament, Eliot was again sent to the Tower, and parliament was dissolved (March 10, 1629). [Pg 76] When examined as to his conduct he refused to answer, on the ground that it would be yielding up the privilege of parliament. The Crown lawyers had much difficulty in meeting this contention, but they managed to secure his conviction in the Court of King’s Bench, on the ground that he had calumniated the minister of the Crown, and he was fined £2,000. A word of acknowledgment from him that he had been in the wrong would have procured his liberty, but he would not speak it, for to surrender the privileges of parliament would have been in his eyes to betray the liberties of the nation. So he lay in prison writing the treatise which he called The Monarchy of Man, which had a profound effect on public opinion and the change in the balance of forces. He showed signs of consumption, and petitioned for leave to go into the country to recruit his health. But it was refused, and he died November 27, 1632. His family petitioned that he might be buried with his ancestors, but this also was refused, and he was laid in St. Peter’s chapel.

It was convenient to carry on Eliot’s history unbroken, but it is necessary to look back to the assassination of Buckingham. The assassin, Felton, bought his knife at a stall on Tower Hill, went to Portsmouth, and there committed his crime. His motives still remain uncertain. Probably religious fanaticism was one, but private vengeance for supposed injustice as to promotion was another. Buckingham was so unpopular that when Felton was brought down the river to the Tower, blessings and prayers were cried after him by the crowd. He expressed deep penitence, and requested that he might be allowed to wear sackcloth and a halter until the day of his death, and might receive the Communion. He was hanged at Tyburn in December, and his body was hung in chains at Portsmouth.

Lords Spencer and Arundel were shut up in the Tower over a private quarrel. Arundel insulted Spencer by telling him that at no distant time back his ancestors had been tending sheep, to which the retort was, “And at that time yours were plotting treason.”

James I was the last monarch who used the Tower as a royal residence. Charles I did not even rest there on the night preceding his coronation, nor is there any record of his having visited the place during his whole reign. [Pg 77]

One line may be given to Mervyn, Lord Audley and Earl of Castlehaven, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1631 for a whole series of revolting crimes which probably indicate insanity. But the cells continued to be filled by offenders against the Government, Denzil Holles, Selden, Valentine, Coryton, Sir Miles Hobart, Sir P. Heyman among them. The first-named was brother-in-law of Lord Strafford, and strove to save him, but he took a strong part against the king’s policy, though after the Civil War broke out he opposed Cromwell and the Independents, and after the Restoration he was in the confidence of the king. John Selden was a steady opponent of the king, but after his fall kept entirely clear of politics, and gave himself to his great and valuable legal labours. Lord Loudoun was one of the commissioners sent to England by the Scottish Covenanters, and was committed to the Tower on the charge of treasonable correspondence. Clarendon has a story that the king ordered that he should be executed by virtue of his royal warrant, that the Marquis of Hamilton made his way to the royal presence to remonstrate, and was met with a curt refusal to listen. “Let the warrant be obeyed,” said the king, whereupon Hamilton said, “Then I shall start posthaste for Scotland to-morrow morning, for the whole city will be in an uproar, and I will show that I had no hand in it.” Thereupon Charles gave way, and soon after Loudoun was released. But the truth of this story has been questioned. He afterwards showed a genuine desire to reconcile the king with the Presbyterians, and was present at the coronation of Charles II at Scone in 1650.

But we come now to the two most prominent prisoners of King Charles’s time. On November 11, 1640, the Earl of Strafford was at Whitehall making proposals for the impeachment of the parliamentary leaders for treason. At the same moment Pym was impeaching Strafford in the House of Commons. The earl heard of this, and hastened to the House to defend himself, but was not allowed to speak, and was carried off to the Tower. So was Archbishop Laud. In January Strafford was brought to trial in Westminster Hall, and defended himself with superb eloquence. “Never any man,” says the Puritan chronicler Whitelock, “acted his part on such a theatre with greater reason, constancy, judgment and temper, and with better grace in all his words and gestures.” But he [Pg 78] was condemned to die. The king was eager to save him, and there was at one moment a possibility of it. Charles had made overtures for a ministry composed of the popular leaders, in which Pym was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer and Holles Secretary of State. But meanwhile he was planning to bring up the army from the North, discontented as it was by want of pay, to seize the Tower and free Strafford. He also reckoned on support from the Scotch, who were divided into opposing parties. But Pym became aware of his double dealing, a peremptory message was sent to him by the House of Commons for the death warrant, and Charles signed it. We have all heard how the earl wrote to the king beseeching him not to endanger his crown by opposing the will of the people, and how when he heard of the king’s assent he exclaimed, “Put not your trust in princes.” He was led out to Tower Hill to die on May 12, 1641. On his way he passed the Bloody Tower, in which Laud was imprisoned, and knelt to receive the blessing, which the prelate uttered with uplifted hands.

That was the turning-point in the history, the victory of Parliament over the minister whose theory of government was personal authority. And the same conflict of principles was seen in the case of the Archbishop. He was not brought to trial indeed for some years, for the House of Commons had pressing work on hand and the case was much more complicated. For there were those among the Puritans who loved the Prayer Book with all their hearts, whilst they rejected Laud’s theory of Church government. The prelate had been educated by Buckeridge, president of St. John’s College, Oxford, who had always set his face against Puritanism in the latter days of Elizabeth’s reign, and had laid much stress on sacramental grace and episcopal organization; and Laud had entirely accepted this teaching, and all his life was earnestly attached to the observance of external order. And herein he was supported by an increasing number of theologians hostile to Calvinism. In his early controversial writings he followed the teaching of Hooker, desiring to bring questions not of necessity vital, under duly authorized authority. He became president of his college in 1611, Archdeacon of Huntingdon 1615, Dean of Gloucester 1616, Bishop of St. David’s 1621. But these successive advancements were not so important in his life as the ascendency which he acquired at the accession of [Pg 79] Charles I. He had consistently held to his opinions, and now he saw his way, as he thought, to enforce authority as the rule in religion, with uniformity as its natural consequence. In 1626 he was made Bishop of Bath and Wells, in 1628 of London, Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1629, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633. It is needless to say that his determination to enforce uniformity was identified by the Presbyterians as of a piece with Strafford’s “thorough.” Of his zeal, his honesty and purity of purpose there is no question, any more than of his holiness of life. But he was blind to the necessity of paying due respect to the convictions of others, and his meaning was misjudged. Thus, when he insisted on placing the Lord’s Table at the east end of every church instead of in the middle, he was accused, quite untruly, of desiring to restore the Roman Catholic faith. He was angry at the charge, and himself incurred the anger of the queen, Henrietta Maria, for repudiating Roman doctrine.

Meanwhile the Civil War broke out (August, 1642), and in London for the time being Puritanism had the upper hand; the Bishops were excluded from Parliament, the Archbishop lay in close confinement in the Bloody Tower. His diary remains to tell us of the hardships he went through. On March 10, 1643, he was brought to trial and charged in general terms with “high treason and other misdemeanours.” The total want of particularity in the articles of accusation, however, prove the irregular nature of the proceedings. Sergeant Wild on the part of the prosecution admitted this, but said that when all the Archbishop’s evil deeds were put together they made many grand treasons. “I crave your mercy,” retorted Laud’s counsel; “I never understood before, Mr. Sergeant, that two hundred couple of black rabbits made a black horse.” The trial lasted for twenty days, with many intervals, but at length he was condemned on the charge that he had “attempted to subvert religion and the fundamental laws of the realm.” He was beheaded on Tower Hill on January 10, 1645, in the seventy-second year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of Allhallows Barking, but the body was removed to St. John’s, Oxford, in 1663.

From the time when Charles unfurled his standard at Nottingham, the Tower, though nominally held in his name, was in the keeping of Parliament, and its prisoners were the king’s supporters. Thus Sir Ralph [Pg 80] Hopton, who had voted for Strafford’s attainder and opposed King Charles’s taxation schemes, was sent here “for ten days” by the Parliament because he protested against violent speeches by his fellow members against the king. He afterwards joined the king’s army, and was created Baron Hopton. On the overthrow he retired to Bruges, where he died. He was a sincere patriot, and received earnest assurances from the Puritan leaders of their personal respect for him. Sir John Gayer, Lord Mayor of London, was shut up for publishing the king’s proclamation against the militia; so were three aldermen and a sheriff, Sir John Glynne, Recorder of London, a first-rate lawyer and splendid orator, a supporter of the Solemn League and Covenant, but imprisoned for opposing the ascendency of the army and the intolerance of the Independents; released and re-admitted to parliament, and one of the commissioners appointed to treat with the king at Carisbrooke; but still distrusted; made a speech in favour of monarchy in 1658, made king’s sergeant to Charles II. Two great names are those of John Paulet, fifth Marquis of Winchester (“Old Loyalty”), the celebrated defender of Basing House, and Monk, the future Duke of Albemarle, taken prisoner by Fairfax at the siege of Nantwich, and released from imprisonment on condition that he would fight for them in Ireland, but not in England. Two of his fellow-prisoners who had been fighting by his side, Lord Macquire and Colonel MacMahon, were captured in trying to escape by swimming the moat, and were hanged.

25. The Execution of the Earl of Strafford.

From a contemporary engraving by Hollar.

26. The Seven Bishops taken to the Tower.

From a Dutch etching of the time.
Gardner Collection.

28. The Tower and Old London Bridge.

From an engraving after J. Maurer, 1746.
Gardner Collection.

[Pg 81] At the time of the tragedy at Whitehall, January 30, 164-89, many of the king’s supporters were prisoners in the Tower, and some of the most illustrious of them shared his fate—the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Holland, Arthur Lord Capel. A brave old Welsh knight, Sir John Owen, who was also sentenced, made a low bow to the judges, and said they had “done honour to a poor gentleman of Wales to sentence him with such noble fellow-prisoners.” Ireton was so moved with this that he made a speech to the Commons pleading that whereas the rest had advocates to speak for them, plain Sir John Owen had none, and moved that he be pardoned. It was carried, and Sir John went back to Wales and died in peace in 1666. Another Lord Mayor, Sir Abraham Reynardson, was imprisoned and fined because he would not publish the parliamentary ordinance abolishing royalty. After the Restoration he was again Lord Mayor. There is a fine portrait of him in Merchant Taylors Hall. Christopher Love is another prisoner who claims mention. He was a Puritan minister, very eloquent, and attracted large congregations. In his horror at the execution of the king he turned royalist, and was beheaded for plotting for the Restoration. After the battle of Worcester in 1651 a great number of prisoners were brought hither—the Marquis of Worcester, Earls of Crawford, Lauderdale, and Rother; they remained until the Restoration. In July, 1656, a mandate was sent by Cromwell to the Lieutenant of the Tower for the release of Lucy Barlow and her child. She was otherwise named Lucy Walters, and was one of Charles II’s concubines. The child was afterwards Duke of Monmouth. She had been imprisoned for some time. Miles Syndercombe, who had been in Cromwell’s army, and in very intimate friendship with him, took affront at some slight and tried to assassinate him in 1657. He was sentenced to death, but committed suicide, and the body was dragged at a horse’s tail from the Tower to Tyburn, and there buried with a stake driven through it. Dr. John Hewitt was minister of the Church of St. Gregory by St. Paul’s, and Cromwell’s daughter, Elizabeth Claypole, was a regular member of his congregation. It is recorded that the Protector himself frequently joined her. This did not prevent Hewitt from raising forces in Kent and Sussex for the Restoration, and he was beheaded on Tower Hill, though Mrs. Claypole earnestly interceded for him. With him died Sir Henry Slingsby. There were very many others, and even after Cromwell’s death plotters were brought in, among them Henry Mordaunt, brother of the Earl of Peterborough, Lady Mary Howard, the Earl of Chesterfield, Lords Falconbridge, Falkland, De la Ware, Bellasis, Charles Howard and Castleton. They were subsequently released. When Cromwell died, and the nation was yet in uncertainty as to the course of events, the Tower became the object of much attention. There was the army on one side and the Parliamentary party on the other, and the latter arranged with Colonel Fitz, the Lieutenant, that Colonel Okey, with three hundred men, should appear at a given hour and demand and receive admittance. But this was divulged and the army sent Colonel [Pg 82] Desborough with a force, which seized the lieutenant, and placed a fresh garrison. This fell to quarrelling, whereupon Lenthall, the speaker, sent another force, which took possession under Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. Then came General Monk’s grand coup, and he seized the fortress in the name of King Charles.

The Restoration, as was probably inevitable, brought fierce reprisals on those who had been severe and unrelenting. Thomas Harrison had been one of the most eager of the regicides; he had afterwards been strenuous in support of Cromwell for a while, but, as an anabaptist, had become a Fifth Monarchy man, and had been twice sent to the Tower as such. Being released in 1659, he retired to his house in Staffordshire, and in May 1660 was arrested there, was brought to trial in October, drawn on a hurdle to Charing Cross, and there executed (October 13). So were Gregory Clement, a London merchant, Colonel John Jones, Thomas Scot, who had all taken part in the king’s trial. So were Colonels Axtel and Hacker, who had commanded the guard at the trial and at the execution. Sir Harry Vane, who had taken no part in the trial, was charged with having endeavoured to prevent the Restoration, and suffered on that charge. Some escaped, probably with the connivance of the guards. Three who had so escaped, and had reached Holland—Colonels Barkstead and Okey and Miles Corbet—were treacherously brought back and put to death at Tyburn in 1662. Some of the delinquents, e.g. Lord Monson, Sir H. Mildmay, Robert Wallop, were sentenced to be drawn on sledges from the Tower to Tyburn and back with halters round their necks, and then to suffer perpetual imprisonment. In contrast there were grand doings, and certainly not without national enthusiasm, in the coronation procession from the Tower to Westminster.

In the great fire of 1666 the Tower was largely indebted for its escape to the energy of the king, who had the buildings contiguous to the moat and the entrance blown up with gunpowder. Pepys was an eyewitness of this measure, and declares that as the White Tower was the powder magazine, “it would undoubtedly not only have beaten down and destroyed all the bridge, but sunk and torn the vessels in the river, and rendered the demolition beyond expression for several miles about the country.” [Pg 83]

There were many committals in the early years of Charles II’s reign, on charges of “seditious practices” and dangerous designs, but few of any abiding interest. Thomas, Lord Buller, of Moor Park, was sent for challenging the Duke of Buckingham, and the Marquis of Dorchester for “using ill language” about the same noble, and in 1667 the duke himself was shut up here, and not for the first nor second time. There is no need here to discuss the character of George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham. Dryden’s character of him as “Zimri” appears to be as true as it is masterly. He was an infant when his father was assassinated, and was brought up with the children of Charles I, and served them after the king’s death, fighting for the younger Charles at Worcester. But in Holland he quarrelled with the queen-mother and Clarendon, returned to England and married Fairfax’s daughter, for which he was sent to the Tower in 1658. Released at the Restoration, he was again admitted to royal favour and was an influential member of the Cabal ministry, but in 1668 seduced the Countess of Shrewsbury, killed her husband in a duel, was consequently treated with coldness by the Duke of York, and joined the Whigs; was again sent to the Tower for intriguing, but apparently his ribald conversation got him into favour again with Charles II, and he was restored to Court favour. From that time he kept out of politics and wrote verses. His clever play, the Rehearsal, holds its place in English literature.

We turn aside a while to record a most daring and sensational crime, namely Colonel Blood’s attempt to carry off the regalia from the Tower. He was a brutal ruffian, said to have been Irish born, half sailor, half highwayman, who had served under Cromwell, and for that reason styled himself Colonel. After the Restoration he became a spy of the Government, and if he could have had his way would have sent some innocent persons to death.

In 1671 Sir Gilbert Talbot held the post of “Master of the Jewel House.” His pay had been lowered, and by way of compensation he was allowed to admit visitors to his treasures and to charge. One day in April, 1671, came an intensely clerical-looking personage to the Martin Tower, with a long cloak, cassock and girdle, accompanied by a woman whom he represented as his wife, who was very anxious to see the regalia. The glorious dazzle made her faint, and the old curator, Talbot [Pg 84] Edwards by name, whom Sir Gilbert had placed in charge, called his wife to attend to the sick lady. The restoratives administered were so efficacious that the couple went off overflowing with gratitude and promising to return. And soon the “cleric” came again, bringing a pair of gloves to Mrs. Edwards in return for her kindness to Mrs. Blood. During this visit he announced that he had a nephew just come back from abroad after some prosperous ventures, and that he had set his heart on this nephew marrying Edwards’s daughter, and the negotiations so far advanced that he was invited to bring the nephew to dinner. At dinner he said a long grace with much emotion, and afterwards announced that he should bring two friends next day, who were leaving London, and very anxious to see the crown first. And next day (May 9) they came, all with concealed daggers and pocket pistols, and rapiers hidden in their canes, and directly they were shown into the room Edwards was effectually gagged, enveloped in a thick cloak, and told that if he attempted to give an alarm they would kill him. He could not cry out, but he struggled manfully, and they beat him on the head with a wooden mallet, stabbed him, and left him for dead. Then they turned their attention to their quarry. Blood hid the crown under his cloak, one companion put the orb in his breeches pocket, and another began to file the sceptre in two pieces, as it was too long to carry away without being seen. At this moment advancing steps were heard; Edwards’s son had unexpectedly come back from Flanders, and he heard his father endeavouring to give the alarm. The thieves ran downstairs; young Edwards, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Captain Beckman, who had arrived with him, hurried in pursuit. They had crossed the drawbridge leading to the wharf, Blood firing two pistols as he ran. There were horses waiting for them, but Beckman rushed at him, a fierce struggle followed, in which Blood was worsted and captured, as were his companions. When he dropped the crown some of the gems fell out but were recovered, as was a ruby which was found, having belonged to the sceptre. In fact the treasures were uninjured, but poor Edwards, who was eighty years old, died in a few days. Blood cynically remarked when he was brought a prisoner to the White Tower that “it was a brave attempt, for it was for a crown.” [Pg 85]

It is an absolute mystery why Charles II sent for him forthwith, and not only pardoned him, but conferred a pension of £500 a year on him and certain Irish estates. Evelyn, in his diary, expresses his amazement. Some think that Charles, wanting money, had commissioned Blood to steal the treasures and pawn or sell them in Holland, and divide the spoil with him; others suppose that Blood knew some awkward secrets about the king and threatened to reveal them. He often appeared at Court, and returned kindness which the Duke of Buckingham had shown him by a peculiarly atrocious attempt to blackmail him, for which he was fined £10,000. He died in Bowling Street, Westminster, August 24, 1680. His likeness in the National Portrait Gallery quite confirms Evelyn’s description of him, “a villainous unmerciful face, a false countenance.”

Yet even his rascality grows dim beside that of Titus Oates, whose horrible concoction of lies concerning a pretended Popish plot sent nearly forty men to the scaffold. The execution of William Lord Stafford on Tower Hill, December 29, 1680, on the charge sworn to by Oates that he planned to kill the king and place the Duke of York on the throne, was the turning-point in the agitation. When it began Oates was half deified by the excited populace as the deliverer of the country; but as time went on men shook their heads, doubtfully at first, then strongly. Lord Stafford on the scaffold declared his absolute innocence, and the spectators cried out with tears, “We believe your lordship.” Oates had made too rich a harvest to give up his devilish business, but after this he found no more believers. But that there was good reason to expect an endeavour to restore the Roman faith no one doubted. As far back as 1670 the Duke of York had given his adhesion to it, and therefore the “country party,” as it was called, were eager to prevent his accession to the throne. The struggles over the Exclusion Bill need not detain us here; but the failure of that Bill, owing to the “trimming” of some of its chief supporters who loved the favour of royalty, led to a secret project of the earnest Whigs to avert what they held to be a calamity. The leader of this party had been Anthony Ashley, first Earl of Shaftesbury. “Of these the false Ahithophel was first,” wrote Dryden in his great satire. He was joined by Lord William Russell, the Duke of Monmouth, [Pg 86] Algernon Sidney, the Earl of Essex, son of Lord Capel, who was beheaded in the early days of the Commonwealth, John Hampden, grandson of the great Parliamentary leader, and Lord Howard. Shaftesbury had been sent to the Tower in 1677 for agitating against the king’s high-handed proceedings against the Corporation of London, but had been released on submission. He now protested against the king holding a Parliament at Oxford and was again lodged in the Tower, but the Whig grand jury threw out the charge. But he soon found that his friends would not take such energetic measures as he called for, so he retired to Holland, where he soon died. His companions formed new projects of insurrection, but could not agree; Sidney and Lord Essex were for a Commonwealth, Monmouth hoped for the crown for himself. Russell and Hampden were attached to the old constitution, and sought for “redress of grievances.” And whilst they were discussing, the “Rye House Plot” was formed by some inferior conspirators of the same way of thinking. The Rye House lay on the road to Newmarket. The owner, Rumbold, was an old Republican, and a plan was formed to kill the king on his way to Newmarket races. It was made known to the Government, and though it was shown that some of the greater men had held meetings at the Rye House in support of their general views, it was also clear that neither Russell, Essex nor Sidney were parties to the assassination scheme. The trial of Lord Russell, and the devotion of his wife furnish a pathetic chapter in history. He was beheaded in Lincoln’s Inn Fields July 21, 1683. On the same day Lord Essex was found in the Tower with his throat cut. Some held that he had been murdered by the king and the Duke of York, but the coroner’s jury brought in a verdict of suicide, and Gardiner and Green both consider this as the most probable view. Sidney followed. He was in principle a republican, though he had refused to accept a seat among the judges of Charles I. He was now condemned on the sole evidence of his companion, Lord Howard, who had turned king’s evidence to save his own life, and on that of some letters of his in which he upheld the lawfulness of resisting tyrants. Jeffreys, who was now Chief Justice, tried him, and persuaded the jury to convict. He was beheaded on December 7.

Charles II and his brother James are said not to have visited the Tower for fifteen years before they came thither at the time of Essex’s death. [Pg 87] When Charles died, February 6, 168-45, the Tower may be said to have ceased to be a royal residence. At the coronation of James II, the usual procession from thence to Westminster was omitted, and has never since been revived. But it continued to be a state prison. There is no need to tell how the unhappy son of Charles II and Lucy Walters, James, Duke of Monmouth, took up arms to obtain the crown, and how he was defeated at the battle of Sedgemoor, the last battle fought on English ground, July 6, 1685. He was captured and brought to London on the 13th, and being allowed an interview with the king, with abject cries supplicated in vain for his life. He was sent to the Tower, and two days later, a bill of attainder having been previously passed against him, he was beheaded on Tower Hill. The Bishops of Ely and Bath and Wells (Turner and Ken) accompanied him to the scaffold, where his head was hacked off after five blows.

But a memorable time was reached in the history of the Church and Nation when “the Seven Bishops” were brought hither as prisoners. The king announced his intention of repealing by his own personal act the Penal Laws against Roman Catholics and Dissenters. The leading Dissenters in reply—Baxter, Howe, Bunyan—rejected such “indulgence,” which they said should be by Act of Parliament, not by an absolute overruling of the law. They saw, of course, clearly what his aim was. He was, as usual, obstinate, published the “Declaration of Indulgence,” which all the clergy were commanded to read in church. Four only did it in London, and when they began the congregations walked out, and a similar spirit was shown in the country. The Archbishop, Sancroft, summoned his brother bishops to Lambeth, and the six who were able to obey him, namely Lloyd of St. Asaph, Ken of Bath and Wells, Turner of Ely, Lake of Chichester, White of Peterborough, and Trelawney of Bristol, joined in a temperate protest, in which they told the King that the declaration was illegal, and asked him to withdraw it. In anger he sent them all to the Tower for “uttering a seditious libel.” They were carried to Traitors’ Gate, the banks of the river thronged with cheering spectators; the very sentinels knelt for their blessing and the soldiers drank their healths. The narrative of their trial in Westminster Hall is perhaps the most splendid chapter in Macaulay’s History. On June 29 they were acquitted, although the jury had been [Pg 88] packed and the judges were tools of the Crown, and the roof of Westminster Hall cracked at the tremendous applause which followed the verdict.

A curious episode occurred in the last days of James’s reign. Bevis Skelton was English minister in the Netherlands, and warned James of the designs of the Duke of Orange, whereupon the latter pressed for his recall. James sent him then to Versailles, and he moved Louis XIV to oppose William’s schemes. But King James resented his interference, recalled him, and sent him to the Tower; and then finding that the danger from Orange was imminent, made Skelton governor of the fortress in which he had been a prisoner. When James fled, the keys of the Tower were taken from Skelton and confided to Lord Lucas, who held them for the Prince of Orange. Skelton followed the king across seas and died in his service.

Lucas had not long held his office before he was entrusted with the custody of Judge Jeffreys. That this extraordinary man was violent of temper no one questions; he was also a man of strong convictions; he never in his subservience to his royal master showed any yielding to that master’s faith; he had great natural ability; and as we read of his unrelenting cruelty in his progress through Dorset and Somerset to try the rebels after the Sedgemoor campaign, it is also impossible not to see how skilfully he produced evidence against his prisoners. In that “Bloody Assize” 350 rebels were hanged, more than 800 were sold into slavery beyond sea, and a yet larger number were whipped and imprisoned. Even loyal subjects were appalled at the cruelty, and he was regarded with horror and disgust. James made him Lord Chancellor, and when James fled, Jeffreys knew that his own fall was imminent. He heard the mob shouting his name and disguised himself as a collier, and hid himself in a little house at Wapping until such time as he could escape beyond sea. He was recognized, whilst looking out of window, by a clerk that he had bullied from the bench, was seized and conveyed first to the Mansion House, then to the Tower. And here he died, on April 19, 1689. He was only forty-one years old. He is buried in the chancel of St. Mary, Aldermanbury.

During the twelve years’ joint reign of William and Mary there was only one political execution, namely that of Sir John Fenwick, who was beheaded on Tower Hill, January 28, 1697, for conspiring to assassinate [Pg 89] King William. He was a man of irregular life, and there is no doubt of his guilt. But the Tower was constantly receiving fresh captives, partisans of the House of Stuart. Thus in 1690 “Francis Cholmondeley, Esquire, a member of the House of Commons, was committed for refusing to take the oaths of allegiance; and Matthew Crosse, otherwise Long, Colonel John Butler, Major George Matthews, Lieutenant-Colonel Knyvet Hastings and the Earl of Yarmouth, in the same year, ‘for abetting and adhering to their Majesties’ enemies.’ To these may be added Charles Halton, Esquire, for publishing a treasonable libel; Bernard Howard, Esquire; Lord Ross; Arthur, Earl of Torrington; Sir John Gage and Sir Walter Vavasour, for various political offences amounting to high treason. Mr. Stafford, the Earls of Newburgh, Clancarty and Tyrone; with Thomas, Lord Morley and Monteagle; Henry, Earl of Clarendon; George, Lord Dartmouth; Major-General Maxwell; Lord Cahire; Major-General Dorrington and Mr. Maxwell were also prisoners, but the specific charges under which they were committed are unascertained” (Britton).

In 1692, John, Earl of Marlborough, was imprisoned on a charge “of abetting and adhering to their Majesties’ enemies,” as were also Lord Brudenell, the Earl of Huntingdon, Sir Robert Thorold and Colonel Langston. They were, after two months’ confinement, released on bail to reappear if called upon. Charles, Lord Mohun, was also a prisoner in the same year, for having killed William Mountford, the celebrated comedian, in a quarrel on account of Mrs. Bracegirdle, an eminent actress. Readers of Esmond will remember the story. “In February, 1692, Lord Viscount Falkland and Henry Guy, Esquire, suffered a short confinement in the Tower for having, as Members of Parliament, received bribes; and, at various intervals during the year, Colonel John Parker; Bartholomew Walmesley, Esquire; Sir Thomas Stanley; Caryl, Lord Viscount Mollineux; Sir Rowland Stanley; Sir Thomas Clifton; Sir William Gerard; Peter Leigh and William Dicconson, Esquires, were immured in the same prison on charges of adhering to the enemies of the Government, and levying war against their Majesties.”

“In 1696, Charles, Earl of Monmouth, ‘for having spoken disrespectfully [Pg 90] of the king,’ and Henry Buckley, Esquire; Thomas, Earl of Ailesbury; Sir Philip Constable; Arthur, Lord Forbes; and Sir John Fenwick were imprisoned here on various charges of sedition and treason. Thomas, Lord Kerry, and Brigadier Richard Ingoldsby were committed, in the following year, for having challenged the Lord Chancellor of Ireland; as were, likewise, John Knight and Charles Duncombe, Esquires, members of the House of Commons, the former for having falsely endorsed exchequer bills, and the latter for aiding and assisting in his illegal practices. Two years afterwards, Sir Richard Levin was lodged in this fortress for aspersing the characters of four of the commissioners of Irish forfeitures; as were also Charles, Lord Mohun, and Edward, Earl of Warwick and Holland, on a charge of murdering Richard Coote, Esquire; but those noblemen were unanimously acquitted by their peers.”

The largeness of the number of prisoners is shown by a paper in the handwriting of Sir C. Wren in 1695. He was directed to examine the Bloody and Beauchamp Towers to see what additions could be made for the reception of prisoners, apparently with special reference to the arrivals from Ireland. He replies, “I have also viewed the place behinde the Chappell, and considered and do approve the annex’d draught proposed to be built wch I take to be as Large as ye place will afford containing 15 square and if it be well built in 3 storeys, Cellars and garretts it will cost £600. As to the number of Prisoners the place may hold I can only report wt number of rooms each place contains. Beauchamp Tower hath a large Kitching 2 large rooms and 2 small servants rooms. Bloody Tower hath a kitching one room and one closet. The new building may contain 9 single rooms, besides cellars and garrets and a kitching, all wch is humbly submitted.”

In the early years of Queen Anne’s reign there were a good many sent to the Tower, taken in the French wars, but no state prisoners. But in 1712 a notable attempt was made on a famous public man, Sir Robert Walpole. He had been in Parliament since the queen’s accession, and had displayed such brilliant ability as a financier as to induce the Duke of Marlborough to give him office in the Government. But his Whiggism, moderate as it was, offended Harley and Mrs. Masham, who gained continually more ascendency over the queen, and Harley intrigued [Pg 91] shamefully against him, and brought a vague charge of breach of trust in office and of corruption. It was a thoroughly unjust charge, but on the strength of it he was sent to the Tower and expelled from the House of Commons. But public opinion was roused by the injustice, and largely withdrew its confidence from the Tory ministry. Whilst he remained in the prison he was visited by great people, and his constituency (King’s Lynn) returned him again as its member. He remained in confinement from February to July, and employed his time in writing political pamphlets.

[Pg 92]


Accession of George I—Impeachment of Harley—The Rebellion of 1715—Execution of Lords Derwentwater and Kenmuir—Escape of Nithisdale—Plots of Atterbury and others in 1722—Imprisonment of Lord Macclesfield—The “45”—Execution of Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, Charles Retcliff, and Lord Lovat—Imprisonment and Trial of Wilkes and his Friends on the Charge of Treason—of Alderman Oliver and Lord Mayor Crosby for alleged Condonation of Misdemeanour—of Horne Tooke and his Companions for Treason—of Sir Francis Burdett for Breach of Privilege—Of the Cato Street Conspirators—The Fire of 1841—The Fenian Conspiracy of 1885—Conclusion.

The accession of George I was at once marked by the ascendency of the Whigs, and they lost no time in showing this. Robert Harley, whom Queen Anne had made Earl of Oxford, and who had been a favourite minister of the nation, was impeached on the charge that during the French wars, in his hatred of the Duke of Marlborough, he had instructed the French king as to the best method of capturing Tournai. On June 10, 1715, the House of Commons, of which but a short time before he had been the idol, sent him to the Tower, where he languished for two years, never losing confidence. His continual petition to be tried was at last conceded, and he was acquitted in July, 1717.

But there was an influential party among the high Tories who were unmistakably anxious to restore the Stuarts, and even the Duke of Marlborough, who all his life through had a passion for intrigue, finding that he was not trusted by King George, seems to have entered into negotiations with the Pretender, “the Chevalier de St. George,” who in August, 1715, published from France a manifesto, asserting his right to the throne. When the Whig Government impeached Bolingbroke and the Duke of Ormond for complicity, they fled to France. But the rising [Pg 93] incapable man; and though he was joined by other nobles in the North, and might have won most dangerous successes, he shrank before the Duke of Argyll, who had been sent by the king to oppose him. The result was the rebellion of 1715 and its failure. The most conspicuous character in this ill-starred attempt was James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater, a young man of twenty-six who deserved a better fate, for all accounts describe him as singularly attractive and winning in person and manner. He was the only Englishman of note who joined the enterprize. His mother, Mary Tudor, was a natural daughter of Charles II, who brought him up as a Roman Catholic. He was very rich for those days. His home, from which he took his title, was an island in the most beautiful of English lakes, and his income from mines was nearly £40,000 a year. With him were six Scotch nobles, William Maxwell, Earl of Nithisdale; Robert Dalzell, Earl of Carnwarth; William Gordon, Lord Kenmure, brother-in-law of Carnwarth; George Seton, fifth Earl of Wintoun; William, Lord Nairn; and William, fourth Lord Widdrington. They were brought up to London tightly bound on horseback, and paraded through the streets to the prison. Much interest was made for them in Parliament, and a vote of petition for pardon was carried in the House of Lords. They were tried in February, 1716, and condemned. Wintoun was the only one who refused to plead guilty, but was convicted and sentenced. Next year Widdrington, Carnwarth and Nairn were pardoned, the others were left for death. So greatly was Derwentwater loved in his own home that it is said the peasantry drove his wife out of it because, as they alleged, she had driven him to rebel and so deprived them of a generous landlord. But when the crowds assembled on Tower Hill, they found, to their great amazement, that there were only three victims. For Lord Nithisdale had escaped the night before. His young wife had travelled up, through the winter snow, all the way from their home in Dumfriesshire to beg forgiveness for him. Failing in this, she formed her plans with great skill, and has left the narrative, which reads like an entrancing romance—the taking into the condemned cell a friend to whom she had confided her method as they walked along the street, the double dress which she persuaded the friend to put on at [Pg 94] entrance, enduing the prisoner with the outer dress, and so deceiving the sentinels. They got away safely, hid for a few days in London, and then he went away to Rome, disguised as one of the footmen of the Venetian ambassador. Not content with this feat, she resolved to petition for the restoration of the estates, and made her way into St. James’s Palace, and into the king’s presence. He would have gone out without answering her, but she writes, “I caught hold of the skirt of his coat that he might stop and hear me. He endeavoured to escape out of my hands, but I kept such strong hold that he dragged me on my knees from the middle of the room to the very door. At last one of the Blue Ribands who attended his Majesty took me round the waist, while another wrested the coat from my hands.” They lived together at Rome till 1749, when he died, and she not long afterwards. How Wintoun escaped is not precisely known, but the probability seems to be that he bribed a warder and filed through the bars of a window.

The zeal for the house of Stuart was by no means quenched, and the failure of the South Sea project, the panic in the money market arising out of it, the downfall of great commercial houses, produced general discontent, which rekindled the hopes of the Jacobites. This time, in 1722, the movement was led by Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester and Dean of Westminster. Joined with him were the Duke of Norfolk, Lords North, Orrery and Grey, some commoners, and an Irish priest named Kelly. They planned to seize the Tower and the Bank, to arrest the king, and proclaim King James. But the plot became known to the regent Orleans, who was on terms of friendship with the English king, and told him of it. The conspirators were all sent to the Tower on a charge of high treason. They lay in prison for some months. Atterbury was deprived and banished the country. He died eight years later, just seventy years old, and was brought to England and buried in the abbey that he loved.

Lord Chancellor Macclesfield was imprisoned in 1724 for “venality in the discharge of his office.”

We come now to a very serious and important passage in the records of the great fortress, namely, the rebellion of “the Forty-five.” The Scotch were, as we have seen, largely in sympathy with the exiled family. In 1743 a Highland regiment, distinguished for its good order [Pg 95] and discipline, mutinied on being ordered to Flanders. They declared that they had received a promise that they should not be sent abroad where they would very likely be brought into warfare with their Jacobite friends. A hundred and nine of them laid down their arms and marched away. Three regiments of dragoons were sent to bring them back; they were sent to the Tower; three were shot, and the others sent to the plantations. This cruel measure produced a most bitter feeling through Scotland, and rendered comparatively easy a fresh endeavour of the Stuarts to re-establish themselves. Twenty years of calm had passed when Charles Edward, “the Young Pretender,” landed in Inverness-shire in July, 1745. His adventures are nowhere better told than in Waverley. He defeated Cope at Prestonpans, marched into England as far as Derby, retreated, was crushed by the Duke of Cumberland at Culloden on April 8, 1746, and the hopes of the Stuarts were at an end for ever. He, as we know, made his escape, but the “rebel lords” who had thrown in their lot with him were brought to the Tower, which had seen no political prisoners for more than twenty years. William Boyd was fourth Earl of Kilmarnock; William Murray, Marquis of Tullibardine, son of the Duke of Atholl, had been pardoned after taking part in the “15”; he now brought a great number of Atholl men at this second rising, gave himself up after Culloden, quite worn out, though he was only fifty-eight; he died in the Tower in a few days. Arthur Elphinstone, sixth Baron Balmerino, had also been pardoned after the “15,” but joined the fresh rebellion, hid himself after Culloden, but was betrayed. There were also Charles Radcliffe, a younger brother of the Earl of Derwentwater, who had perished in 1715, and a few others of little mark. Horace Walpole, writing to Sir Horace Mann, gives a striking account of the trial of the three lords in Westminster Hall. Kilmarnock and Cromarty pleaded guilty, Balmerino not guilty, but he was condemned by the unanimous vote of the peers. He was evidently a man of high character; “the brave, noble old fellow,” Walpole calls him. His calmness, courage, piety in his last days, had a profound effect upon all who were with him. Cromarty was afterwards pardoned. The Gentleman’s Magazine for 1745 gives full details of the execution of the other two on Tower Hill. They died with firm courage. Radcliffe [Pg 96] also died on the same scaffold. Somewhat later followed another execution; Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, an utterly unscrupulous political intriguer, and a man whose disreputable life reads like a bad novel. He had what was probably a unique experience, in having been a prisoner in the Bastille in 1702, on the charge of betraying a Jacobite plot to the English Government, and in the Tower for treasonable correspondence with the Pretender. While on his way from his capture in Scotland to the Tower he rested at the White Hart at St. Albans, and there fell in with Hogarth, who there and then made the portrait of him which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, and the engravings of which are so familiar to us. This engraving was made under the superintendence of the painter, and there was such a run upon it, the printing press being always at work, day and night, that for a considerable time he made £12 a day by the sale. Lovat was beheaded on April 9, 1747, and it was the last execution on Tower Hill. There were two more executions from the Tower—Earl Ferrers in 1760 for shooting his steward, and Henry Francis de la Motte, a French spy—but these were both hanged at Tyburn. Lord Ferrers would certainly in our day have been acquitted on the ground of insanity.

A few more names have to be mentioned before we close the history of the Tower as a State prison. John Wilkes, M.P. for Middlesex, was brought in on April 30, 1763, as the author of No. 45 of The North Briton, which was styled in the warrant committing him, “a most infamous and seditious libel.” After argument in the Court of Common Pleas, Chief Justice Pratt decided that the misdemeanour charged against him was “not an offence sufficient to destroy the privilege of a member of Parliament,” and he was immediately liberated (May 3). Alderman Oliver and Sir Brass Crosby, Lord Mayor, were both sent to the Tower in March, 1771, for admitting a man to bail who had, under the Speaker’s warrant, apprehended the printer of the London Evening Post for publishing the debates of the House of Commons. They justified their conduct on the ground of city privileges, and the House against them asserted its authority. They remained immured till Parliament was prorogued in the following July, and were then released; but public opinion was evidently so strong in their favour that the Commons from that time gave in. Lord George Gordon was imprisoned after the riots of 1780, was tried next year, and declared “not guilty.” At the same time the Earl of Pomfret was committed for challenging the Duke of Grafton. In 1794 John Horne Tooke, John Thelwall, Thomas Hardy and others were imprisoned on the charge of high treason. They had distributed the writings of Thomas Paine, and had gone certain lengths in favour of the “Rights of Man,” but repudiated the application of the principles of the French Revolution to England. They were “radicals” in desiring reform, yet were not in favour of general subversion. In fact, they were men who, after raising a cry, were frightened at the logical consequences of it, and settled down into quietude. Chief Justice Eyre tried them with conspicuous fairness, and they were at once pronounced “Not guilty,” to the satisfaction of the spectators.

29. The Moat.

From an engraving after J. Maurer, 1753.
Gardner Collection.

30. The Tower and Mint, from Tower Hill.

From a drawing on stone by T. S. Boys, 1842.

31. The Tower, from the Thames.

From an engraving after E. Duncan.

32. The City Barges at the Tower Stairs.

From a drawing on stone by W. Parrott.
Gardner Collection.

[Pg 97] Arthur O’Connor and three other “United Irishmen” were charged with high treason in 1798; they were accused of holding a traitorous correspondence with the French Directory. They were acquitted, but O’Connor lay in the Tower for some time; he was then discharged and went to France, where he received a commission from Napoleon. Sackville Tufton, Earl of Thanet, was also tried for attempting to release O’Connor, and was sentenced to be imprisoned for a year in the Tower and to pay £1000 fine.

In April, 1810, Sir Francis Burdett, M.P. for Westminster, who had laboured unselfishly and conscientiously on behalf of liberty of speech and Parliamentary reform, made a speech in the House of Commons demanding the discharge from custody of a radical orator who had been imprisoned for objecting to the exclusion of strangers from the debates. He was defeated by a large majority, 153 against 14. Thereupon he printed and published his speech. This was declared a breach of privilege, and Speaker Abbot issued a warrant for his arrest. He shut himself up in his house, and there was great excitement on the question whether it might be forcibly entered. The soldiers were called out, and after four days’ excitement the house was entered and Burdett was conveyed to the Tower, with many thousands of soldiers guarding the town. He remained in prison till Parliament was prorogued, when he was released and went quietly home by water, much to the disgust of the [Pg 98] mob, who wanted to have a great demontration. He pursued his steady course of promoting reforms, but still declared that he was not a party man, and his disapproval of the speeches of O’Connell drove him into union with the Tories in his later years. He was a generous and kindly man, a perfect type of a country gentleman.

In March, 1820, Arthur Thistlewood, Richard Tidd, James Ings, John Harrison, William Davidson, James Brunt and John Monument entered into a plot to assassinate all the Ministry at a Cabinet dinner at Lord Harrowby’s, in Grosvenor Square. This is known as the Cato Street Conspiracy, from the place where the meetings were held. It was divulged in time, and the cut-throats were arrested and placed in the Tower, and tried at the Old Bailey. All the above, except Monument, were hanged outside Newgate. This is the last time that the Tower was ever used as a State prison. Thistlewood, who had held a commission in the Militia, was confined in the Bloody Tower, the others in the Middle, Byward and Salt Towers.

It remains to chronicle two events in the history of the great fortress in the reign of Queen Victoria. The ugly Armoury which had been begun by James II and completed by William III caught fire on October 30, 1841, from the Bowyer Tower, on which it abutted. The latter building was set ablaze by an overheated flue. The whole building was destroyed, as were 150,000 stands of small arms piled up within it. A policeman named Pierce, at the risk of his life, broke the bars of the cage in which the regalia were kept and handed them out, with the result that not one was missing, though the cloth in which some of them were wrapped was charred. The only relic of much interest which was destroyed was the wheel of Nelson’s ship Victory. The site is now occupied with the barracks, built under the direction of the Duke of Wellington, and reaching from the end of St. Peter’s Church to the East Wall, loopholed for musketry, and capable of holding a thousand men. The Iron Duke’s primary idea of the place was as a fortress.

On January 24, 1885, a plan was concocted by Fenians for a simultaneous threefold outrage in London. Explosive packages were placed at 2 p.m. in St. Stephen’s Chapel, the Inner House of Commons, and the Tower of [Pg 99] London. In the first case a lady saw it, and, suspecting mischief, told a constable on duty. Constable Coles rushed into the chapel and picked up the packet, but almost as soon as he reached Westminster Hall he was obliged to let it fall, and it went off with a terrific explosion, blew holes both in the floor and the roof, and smashed windows. In the House itself a few minutes later the explosion tore off doors and brought down the Speaker’s and Peers’ gallery, and injured two constables badly. At the Tower the miscreants chose the middle storey of the White Tower, used as a storehouse for modern arms. The chief damage was done to the large Hall and St. John’s Chapel. The Armoury caught fire, but it was extinguished in about an hour. Two boys and three girls were badly injured. The perpetrator in this case was caught, and proved to be an old hand at like outrages. He was sentenced to fourteen years’ hard labour.

So ends our history. From the nature of the case, it has mainly dealt with crime and punishment, but we all feel that it would be unfair and untrue to call it a history of gloom. The history of suffering contains elements of sublime beauty, of courage, and self-denial, and faith, and patient endurance. “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain,” but it does so in faith, sometimes in blindness, always looking for and striving after the revelation of the Perfect Will, the Visible Kingdom of God. I have thought so continually in writing these records, constant war and bloodshed, too often the offspring of unholy ambition and selfish greed. But there was always a King above the waterfloods, and therefore our national history is a history of God subduing the wrath of man and turning it to His praise. Norman, Plantagenet, Tudor, Stuart—the Tower has memorials of evil deeds wrought by each one in turn; but there is not one of them all which has not left beneficent and abiding results. We have seen how More and Fisher died the death of heroes in defence of the Roman faith, and how Anne Askew was burned for rejecting it, and who will deny her the name of faithful martyr also? But one or the other must be wrong, I may be told. And I answer, Neither was wrong; each was clinging to the truth which God was [Pg 100] revealing to the soul. A fragment of truth, no doubt, but real in its measure. “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, and then shall each have praise from God.”

Our little systems have their day, They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of Thee, And Thou, O Lord, art more than they.

Noble words of the great poet; and what student of Theology or History has not felt their truth? Strafford died a martyr to a great cause, as he honestly deemed it, namely, the good order and permanence of the kingdom, and Sir John Eliot died broken-hearted in the Tower because he resisted him, as the defender of personal liberty. Laud died because he believed in the divine mission of the Church of England, and Richard Baxter was imprisoned and persecuted as a Puritan. But the honest reader of their lives will call them both saints. William Penn wrote his “No Cross no Crown” in the Tower.

And the great Keep lifted on high above the surrounding city tells of stern strength and repression; yet this is not its message to the passers-by. The life of a great nation contains two essential elements, Permanence and Progress. And to the teeming thousands who live in sight of it, the Tower of London may speak of both. All through the centuries it has looked down upon a people who have risen to greatness; upon a nation which, beginning on an island, has become a benefactor to the whole world by loving its ancient traditions and recognizing God as its King. And its records also tell that under the hand of God this has been done by men who suffered hardships, imprisonment, violent death, to bear witness of their hope, to strive for the right, to make their country, according to their light, more worthy of its name, more conducive to the glory of God, more beneficent to mankind.

[Pg 101]


Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.

Plan of the Tower of London

(From a Drawing made between 1681 and 1689 by order of
Ld. Dartmouth, Maj. Genl. of the Ordnance.)

A Martin’s Tower P Brick Tower e The Great New Storehouse
B By Ward Tower Q Jewell Tower f Office of the Ordnance
C Legge Mount R Constable Tower g Constable’s Lodging
D Brass Mount S Broad Arrow Tower h Mortar Piece Storehouse
E Develin Tower T Salt Tower i Treasury house
F Well Tower V Lanthorn Tower k Little Storehouse in Cold Harbour
G Cradle Tower W Record Tower l Mint Street
H Traitors’ Gate X Bloody Tower m Place for the Lions
I Draw Bridge Y The Chapel n Cranes on the Wharfe
K Bell Tower Z The Main Courtyard o Traitors’ Bridge
L Beauchamp Tower a The White Tower p Banbury Castle
M Devereux Tower b Lieutenant’s Lodgings q Brewer’s Quay
N Flint Tower c Lower Old Storehouse r Waggon house
O Bowyers Tower d Upper Old Storehouse  


[1] The fine old keep at Malling, in Kent, (now like Rochester only a shell) is the work of Gundulf.

[2] Stow says that though there was a garrison of 1,200 well-armed men in the Tower, they were so panic-stricken that they offered no resistance to the rebels, many of whom rushed into the King’s chamber and wantonly rolled about upon his bed, and insisted on kissing his mother. Mr. Trevelyan, in his England in the Age of Wycliffe, evidently thinks that Richard betrayed this fortress to the rebels as Louis XVI did the Tuileries in 1792, and sent orders that the mob were to be admitted.

[3] In the wardrobe accounts in the British Museum (Lansdowne MSS., No. V., Art. 41), the furniture of Lady Catherine’s prison-room is catalogued. “There were five pieces of tapestry for hanging the chamber; three window-pieces of the like stuff; a sparver for a bed, of changeable silk damask; a silk quilt of red striped with gold; a bed and bolster of down with two pillows of down; one white linen quilt stuffed with wool; four pairs of fustians; two Turkey carpets; one small window carpet; one chair of cloth of gold raised with crimson velvet, with two pannels of copper gilt and the Queen’s arms on the back; one cushion of purple velvet; two footstools covered with green velvet; one cupboard joined; one bed, one bolster and a counterpane for her woman.” But some marginal notes in the handwriting of Sir Edward Warner, the Lieutenant of the Tower, state that it was all old, worn, broken and decayed, and another letter of his to Cecil in the same collection of MSS. says that the Lady Catherine did further injury to this furniture with her monkeys and her dogs.


With 4 Illuminations in Colours and Gold, and 33 other Illustrations.
Sewed, 5s. nett, or in cloth, gilt top, 7s. nett.



Author of “A History of Gothic Art in England,” etc.

In this volume Mr. Prior treats of the Great English Mediæval Cathedrals, with special reference to the men by whom they were designed, and the craftsmen by whom they were erected. He thus characterizes the successive periods of Cathedral building in England:—


Miniatures from Illuminated MSS.
in the British Museum,
printed in Colours.

Other Illustrations

Westminster Abbey. Confessor’s Chapel. Boyce. Westminster Abbey. N. Ambulatory. Nash. Canterbury Cathedral, from the S. Hollar. Durham Cathedral, from the River. Daniell. Durham Cathedral from the West. Cotman. Winchester Cathedral, N. Transept. Blore. Norwich Cathedral, Nave. F. Mackenzie. Canterbury Cathedral. N. Aisle of Choir. G. Cattermole. Wells Cathedral, Arches under the Central Tower. Garland. Wells Cathedral, N.W. Tower. J. H. Gibbons. Chichester Cathedral, S.E. View. Garland. Southwark Cathedral, Nave. Dibden. Salisbury Cathedral, Small Transept. F. Mackenzie. York Minster, from the North, Ed. Blore. York Minster, North Transept. Garland. Lincoln Cathedral, from the West, De Wint. Lincoln Cathedral, the Chancel. Garland. Lincoln Cathedral, from the East. Hollar. Salisbury Cathedral, the Chapter House. F. Mackenzie. Salisbury Cathedral, from Cloisters. Turner. Exeter Cathedral, from the S.E. S. Rayner. Ely Cathedral, the Octagon. Garland. Gloucester Cathedral, Presbytery. J. Harold Gibbons. Gloucester Cathedral, Cloisters. Garland. York Minster, East End. F. Mackenzie. Winchester Cathedral, West Front. Garland. York Minster, Choir. F. Mackenzie. Sherborne Minster. Constable. St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, from S. Hollar. St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Interior of Choir. Hollar. St. Paul’s Cathedral, West Front. T. Malton. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Interior of Choir. R. Trevitt. Truro Cathedral, from the South-East.

“It is satisfactory to find the subject approached after a masterly and in many respects an original fashion. This book is brightened by various able reproductions of some of the best old engravings of England’s minsters.”—Athenæum.

“To not a few every page will be a delight.”—Church Times.

38 Great Russell Street.

Extra Crown 8vo, with 33 Illustrations, and a photogravure vignette,
in cloth, gilt top, 7s. 6d. nett.



Students of the Royal Academy



With a General Introduction and Special Introduction
to each Discourse, and Notes by


Author of Giovanni Bellini, etc., etc.

Of the value of Reynolds’ Discourses to art-students of the present day, Professor Clausen said, in one of his lectures delivered at the Royal Academy in 1904: “There is no book that an artist can read so illuminating and helpful as Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses.... These admirable Discourses give with the utmost candour and clearness, with entire freedom from the sentimentality and gush which mars so much that is written on artistic subjects, the ripe conclusions of a great artist. We see the perfect workman—the master craftsman, if I may say so—putting his methods before us and laying bare his mind to us.”

The illustrations for the edition now presented have been selected with much thought and care by Mr. Roger Fry, who has also endeavoured in his Introductions and Notes to bring to bear on the subject the results of modern criticism and research.


Sir Joshua Reynolds. Design. Photogravure on Title Page. Sir Joshua Reynolds. Cymon and Iphigenia. Annibale Caracci. Youth Pouring a Libation. Ludovico Carracci. Virgin and Child between St. Frances and St. Jerome. Lorenzo Bernini. David. Le Sueur. Descent from the Cross. Tintoretto. The Last Supper. Paolo Veronese. The Marriage of St. Catherine. Claude. The Enchanted Castle. Correggio. St. Thomas and St. James the Less. Guido Reni. Pietà. Salvator Rosa. Cain and Abel. Nicolas Poussin. Memoria della Morte. Raphael. The Crucifixion. Guercino. St. Bruno’s Vision. Caravaggio. Entombment. Baroccio. Holy Family. Guido Reni. Samson Drinking from the Jawbone of an Ass. Tintoretto. The Road to Calvary. Jacopo Bassano. Il Riposo. Annibale Caracci. The Flight into Egypt. Rubens. Landscape in Moonlight. Rembrandt. Man in Armour. Parmegianino. Madonna del Collo lungo. Filippino Lippi. St. Paul Visiting St. Peter in Prison. Raphael. Part of the Cartoon of St. Paul Preaching at Athens. Titian. St. Sebastian. Titian. Detail from the Bacchus and Ariadne. Correggio. Drawing for La Notte. Rubens. Altar of St. Augustine’s, Antwerp. Salvator Rosa. Landscape. Sebastian Bourdon. Return of the Ark. Pellegrino Tibaldi. Composition. Michel Angelo. Study for a Crucifixion.

“No reprint could be welcomer.”—Pall Mall Gazette.

“Rendered of great value by the critical introductions.... The interest of the plates is further considerably enhanced by Mr. Fry’s brief appreciation of the various articles.”—Athenæum.

38 Great Russell Street.

In large 4to, price Five Guineas net, in cloth









Of the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum.

“I have been studying,” said Mr. Hamerton in 1894, “the works of Rembrandt’s immediate predecessors and contemporaries in etching, with a view to understand his relative position more accurately. The result has only been to deepen my sense of the master’s incomparable greatness, of his sterling originality, and especially of that wonderful quality in him by which he does not belong to the seventeenth century, but quite as much to the closing years of the nineteenth. In like manner, when it comes, he will be at home in the twentieth century, and in many another after it.”

Much has been done, since those words were written, to spread the great etcher’s fame through the many reproductions of his plates that have been published. The art of reproduction, however, is a very modern one, and has only recently attained perfection. The plates here offered have been pronounced by experts to be superior to any hitherto produced.

The selection has been made with the view of showing Rembrandt’s work in its rich variety, and it includes several of his most important and largest subjects.

Mr. Hamerton was specially qualified to write on the subject from his intimate practical knowledge of the technicalities of etching. His valuable essay was highly appreciated at the time of its appearance; and Mr. Campbell Dodgson has now added to it a complete annotated catalogue of all Rembrandt’s etchings, embodying the latest conclusions of the best critics.

The edition is limited to 250 copies, of which only 225 are for sale.
Each copy will be numbered.


 1 Rembrandt’s Mother, Head and Bust  2 Rembrandt’s Mother Seated at a Table  3 The Rat Killer  4 The (large) Raising of Lazarus  5 Angel Appearing to the Shepherds  6 Rembrandt with Raised Sabre  7 Jan Uytenbogaert  8 Rembrandt and His Wife Saskia  9 Bearded Man wearing a Velvet Cap with a Jewel Clasp 10 Young Man in Velvet Cap 11 Three Heads of Women 12 Study of Saskia as St. Catherine. “The Little Jewish Bride” 13 Joseph Telling His Dreams 14 Death Appearing to a Wedded Couple 15 Uytenbogaert, Receiver General. “The Goldweigher” 16 Rembrandt, Richly Dressed, Leaning on a Stone Sill 17 Old Man with a Divided Fur Cap 18 View of Amsterdam 19 Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Preacher 20 The Angel Departing from the Family of Tobias 21 Landscape with Windmill 22 Reading Woman in Spectacles 23 Man in an Arbour 24 Cottage with a White Paling 25 The Hog 26 The Three Trees 27 Christ Carried to the Tomb 28 Abraham and Isaac 29 Six’s Bridge 30 View of Omval 31 Ephraim Bonus, Jewish Physician 32 Jan Six, Burgomaster of Amsterdam 33 Beggars at the Door of a House 34 Christ Healing the Sick. “The Hundred Guilder Print” 35 Landscape with a Square Tower 36 Landscape with Three Gabled Cottages 37 The Blindness of Tobit 38 The Flight into Egypt. A Night Piece 39 Clement de Jonghe, Printseller and Artist 40 Christ Preaching 41 Dr. Faustus in his Study Watching a Magic Disc 42 Titus, Rembrandt’s Son 43 Presentation in the Temple, in the Dark Manner 44 Christ Taken Down from the Cross, by Torchlight 45 Christ at Emmaus 46 Abraham’s Sacrifice 47 Thomas Jacobsz Haaring, Auctioneer. “The Young Haaring” 48 Portrait of Arnold Tholinx 49 Jan Lutma (the Elder), Goldsmith and Sculptor 50 The Phœnix, or the Statue Overthrown. “Le Tombeau Allegorique”

38 Great Russell Street.

Transcriber's Notes:

The cover image was created by the transcriber, and is in the public domain.

Uncertain or antiquated spellings or ancient words were not corrected.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate.

Errors in punctuation and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected unless otherwise noted.

Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.