- Tower of London
- Situated at the eastern extremity of the City of London on the north bank of the Thames on Tower Hill (S. 45, and Bayley, ed. 1821, I. p. 1), on the-confines of Middlesex and Essex, 1315 (Cal. P.R. 1313-17, p.314).The most celebrated fortress in Great Britain, not included within the City boundary.Tower of London Oldest portion is the White Tower, built by William I. in 1078, Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, being the architect.It was repaired by William Rufus and Henry I., and restored by Sir C. Wren (S. 45).In 1190 the wall of the City from the postern to the Thames was broken down to enlarge the Tower and to make a ditch round it (ib.).Fortified 1239 (S.47).Wall and dyke erected round the Tower by Edward I., land being acquired by him for the purpose in East Smithfield from the Hospital of St. Katherine by the Tower (Cal. P.R. Ed. III. 1343-5, p.84).Repaired 1532 (S. 49, and Bayley I. 117).There were two chapels in the Tower, " St. John's Chapel" and " St. Peter ad vincula" (q.v.).The records of the kingdom were kept in the White Tower until recent times.Fortifications consisted of the Inner Ward or ballium, and the Outer Ward, together with the wide ditch, or moat, now dry. The Inner Ward was defended by 13 strong Towers, partly square, partly circular, strong and thick, while the Ballium wall was 40 ft. high.The Towers were named: Bell, Beauchamp or Cobham, Devereux, Flint, Bowyer's, Brick, Jewel, Constable, Broad Arrow, Salt, Lanthorn, Record or Artillery and Bloody Towers (ib. 315).The defences of the Outer Ward were: Bulwark Gate, Lion Tower, Martin Tower, Byward Tower, St. Thomas' Tower, Cradle Tower, Well Tower, Iron Gate Tower (Britton and Brayley, p.348).The Tower is governed by a Constable and was in old days maintained by rents and profits received from tenements within the Tower precincts, tolls from boats and ships, and on fish caught in the Thames (ib. 197-8; and See L. and P. Ed. VI., etc., Vol. I. 1, p. 692).One half of the Tower, the ditch on the west side and bulwarks, formed part of Tower Ward before the Tower was built (S. 131). The remainder of the precincts were in Portsoken Ward.The Tower was said to be within the liberty and precinct of the liberty of the City (Cal. L. Bk. I. p.3, 1399-1400), and at an Inquest in 1321 the second gate of the Tower west is described as in the parish of All Hallows Barking in Tower Ward (ib. note). But it was and always remained outside and independent of the jurisdiction of the City.Boundaries of the franchise set out in temp. Rich. II. (Lansdowne MS. 155, p. 54).In later times this question whether the Tower and its precincts formed an independent Liberty was the cause of frequent disputes between the citizens of London, the King and the Officers of the Tower. The decision went against the City in 1555, and again in 1613 and 1679, when the Liberties were defined by Orders in Council. James II. confirmed these privileges by Charter, and again defined the boundaries (Bayley, II, 670-1, and App. cxviii.).The Liberties set out in these patents included the Little Minories, the Old Artillery Ground, and Well Close (Bayley, II. cxviii.).The circumference of the Tower is set out in this Patent, and some of the bounds indicated can be identified on the older maps.See Tower Liberty.Tradition says that there was a tower on this site in Roman times, and in 1772-7, when excavations were being made, the ruins of an old wall were found to the south-east of the White Tower, forming a portion of the old City Wall, and also some Roman coins. A portion of the wall of the Roman city was also found built into the Wardrobe Tower, the plinth of the existing wall being above the present level of the ground. The discovery of portions of the wall in this neighbourhood furnish evidence of the determination of William I. to erect his fortress within the City boundary as a sign and symbol of his authorityRoman remains have also been found near Cold Harbour Tower.
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.