Wednesday Wander is back! I had a little bit of a break due to work and health turmoil, but it’s a new year, all is well, and it’s time to wander again. This week I’m taking a closer look at a part of the Tower Of London. I’ve written about the Tower before, and looked at some of the many doors, but it is a place so rich in history and significant buildings that I could probably write another half dozen posts and not cover it.
This week I’m wandering into the Beauchamp Tower. It looks and sounds rather a romantic place, but its history, as with many of the Tower buildings, is a sad one. From the 1300s it was used to hold high-ranking prisoners, including the Earl of Warwick (after whom the tower is named), the Dudley brothers, and Lady Jane Grey. Many of the prisoners, being wealthy and well-educated, left their mark upon the walls – this graffiti has been preserved and is now a popular attraction at the Tower.
The Beauchamp Tower overlooks the green where high-ranking prisoners, including Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were executed. Lady Jane Grey watched from this window as her husband, Guildford Dudley, was beheaded, then was taken out and executed herself a short while later. The four Dudley brothers are commemorated within the tower in a piece of ornate carved graffiti, with roses for Ambrose, carnations for Guildford, oak leaves for Robert and honeysuckle for Henry.
Not all prisoners held in the tower were executed, but they must have seen their fair share of horrors through the leaded glass windows, and wondered whether they might be next. Despite the sunshine and the views, it was a cold place, not somewhere you would want to spend a lengthy amount of time. There are said to be ghosts in the Tower of London, and I wouldn’t be surprised if several of them were in the Beauchamp tower…
Thank you for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!
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I’d love to see it one day.
I hope you get to, Craig – any chance you might head over this way at some point?
There is a slim possibility. Need to work through some financial issues first.
I have fingers crossed for you 🙂
Thanks. I’d love to check out some of the sites once.
And maybe catch up with some bloggers over this side of the Atlantic 🙂
That would be cool.
Never been one to add to my bucket list
It was a much more interesting place than I thought it would be 🙂
I got a case of claustrophobia in that tower. The tourist crowds were horrendous, and we were literally shuffling along in a queue – no stopping, no going back, just straight ahead to wherever the crush was leading. Going up the super narrow, winding staircase, all I could see was the feet of the person in front of me, feeling the who-knows-how-many people coming up behind me. One worn stone step after the other, no clue how many more there were to come before I could get out of that tower. I had to get a good tight grip on myself to not panic, and as soon as I stepped through the door at the top into the open air I hightailed it out of there!
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be locked up in that place for years on end.
Oh, that’s awful! Those stone staircases are awful, they do feel as though there is no way out, so I totally understand your panic. We went in March and got there early, and I guess it wasn’t as crowded that day? we certainly had plenty of room to move.
And I agree, it would have been awful to be locked up in there.
Yes, apparently March is a lot better. I was there in August, and even though I got there early, by the time I made it to the Beauchamp Tower the crowds were insane. I was *done* after that – realised I’d never even stopped to look at the execution site on the green, I was so eager to get out.
But having said all that, it was so totally worth it seeing it all! It’s one of the most history-steeped places in the world; I’m so glad I got to go.
I’m glad you’re still taking a positive from it, even though it sounds as though you didn’t have the best experience. I confess I didn’t venture inside the White Tower when I was there – at that point there were more crowds, and the 200+ spiral stairs that apparently I would have had to negotiate made it less than appealing. I plan a return visit one day, though early and in the off-season!
The tower is such a neat place now, though I would definitely not have wanted to be a guest back then.
Me either! I agree, it’s really cool when looking at it now, but it must have seen awful suffering in its time.
I love the “graffiti”. I read somewhere that they found graffiti in the structures in Egypt! Very interesting how the world changes but some things stay the same. For instance, the graffiti in Rome written by an avid fan of one of the gladiators. Great post.
Yes, the desire for humans to leave their mark hasn’t changed for a very long time! 🙂 I wonder what it is about us, as compared to almost every other species, that makes it so. Glad you enjoyed the post – it was such an interesting (though sad) place to visit 🙂
What a hauntingly beautiful location, from the coldness of the walls to the haunting markings in the walls. I wonder how it must’ve been for Lady Jane to know her forced reign came so short as did her marriage to the touch of a cold blade and the cold sympathy of her cousin?
It was definitely haunting – a place where the walls did talk, in their own way.
Was the graffiti done by lady Jane herself or by another captive of the towers?
Many captors over the years contributed to the graffiti in the tower – I’m not sure that Lady Jane did, but her husband, Guildford, did.