Built-in 1066 by William the Conqueror, this uncompromising castle served many purposes. The most famous feature of this fortress is its long history as a prison or execution site. Henry VIII ordered the execution of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard here. Two young princes, who were held there after the death of King Edward IV, disappeared in 1483. Their remains weren’t discovered until 1647. There are many ghost stories about Tower’s victims and ghost tours through Historic Royal Palaces. Read more
The Ghosts of the tower
Grim, grey, and inspiring, the Tower has been a dominant feature of London’s history and landscape since William the Conqueror constructed it in 1078 in the wake of the Norman invasion. It evolved into a majestic Royal Palace and became home to several monarchs over the next five hundred years.
Visitors flock to this place because of its dark reputation. They hear horror stories about imprisonment, torture, and execution.
It is a list of names that were lost to the world after Traitors Gate was closed. Anne Boleyn (Lady Jane Grey), Guy Fawkes, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others spent their final days, weeks, or even decades in this prison. We don’t know how much they suffered. Few left written records, and sometimes only cold stones remained silent witnesses to their pain.
It’s not surprising, then, that this building is the most haunted in England. The building has a dark, often tragic, history, and its ghosts are some of the most famous.
This walk will take you on a journey of imagination, where the urban landscape is very different from the area Dickens described in his book.
However, the section that passes through Spitalfields with its 18-century weaver houses and the stories of the various immigrants that settled here is truly fascinating.
The area was once famous for its poverty. Children were raised in poverty.
Dickens was very familiar with the horrible conditions found in crowded slums. His readers were warned that they would be in danger if they ignored this dark underbelly. “Turn that dog’s descendants lose,” Dickens wrote. “In a very few years, they will become so sick that they will lose… Their bark but not the bite.”
It appeared that his prophecy was fulfilled when, 18 years later, the area became Jack the Ripper’s murderous hunting ground.
THE NINE DAY QUEEN
Another sad resident, Lady Jane Grey (The Nine Day Queen), was taken, prisoner.
On 12 February 1554, she watched from her upstairs window as Guildford Dudley, her husband, led sobbingly to his execution.
Later that day, the 16-year-old girl, who was pushed to the throne in vain by her father-in-law, bravely took her own life.
Since her execution, her ghost has appeared as a shimmering white figure on the anniversary. It seems to float from the rolling river mists and glides along the battlements. Then, it slowly withers away.
THE QUEEN’S HOUSE
The Queen’s House is a black-and-white timbered building that dates back to 1530. This was the residence of the Governor of London Tower.
An old tradition that Anne Boleyn spent her last days before her execution on May 19, 1536, is now discredited.
However, her ghost seems not to have been informed of this historical inaccuracy. It is here that her wraith reputedly returns – sometimes with alarming results.
A sentry was stunned by an unknown headless figure dressed in white who suddenly approached him from the dark in 1864.
He raised his bayonet when his challenge failed to say “HALT” and failed to stop the specter from moving forward. The weapon went through the figure, and terror overcame the sentry.
He was found by his commanding officers and was sent to court for dereliction. Two witnesses, however, were able to save him from any disciplinary action as they testified that they had witnessed the entire episode from their nearby windows.
THE BLOODY TOWER
The Bloody Tower exhibition is dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh’s imprisonment. It has been seen more than once.
The Bloody Tower’s sinister reputation is due to the tale of the little princes Edward and Richard.
In 1483, their uncle Richard Duke of Gloucester sent them to the tower. Richard III was Richard III. Both boys mysteriously vanished.
It was believed that Richard ordered their murder and that they were buried within the fortress.
In 1674, two skeletons were found beneath the White Tower’s staircase.
They return to the darkened rooms where they were held, clutching one another in terror and wearing white nightgowns. The spectral boys are often resented by their witnesses, who feel sorry for them. However, if they do, the trembling ghosts retreat slowly towards the wall before disappearing into the fabric.
The top of these steps is where kings, queens, and lords would have looked out at the outside world.
The Tower of London is not a respecter of rank or birthright. You can offer a prayer to their repose, shake the dust off history from your feet, and then leave this dark fortress to its shadows and memories.